Poker Tips: Learn Poker Chip Tricks

Mastering chip tricks alone will not get you to a final table on the World Poker Tour, but it can give you a competitive edge in many ways.

Poker is the hottest casino game in the country right now. Millions of people enjoy this game of chips and wits. Many of us want to play like the pros from the World Poker Tour do. One way to do that is to learn how to handle your chips like they do.

Have you watched pros like Gus Hansen and Daniel Negreanu? They know how to move their chips around in between their fingers very well. They make it look almost like magic, but it's really not. With a little know-how and some practice, you can master these tricks of the chip trade. Once you do that, you can then wow your friends and fellow poker players with this added skill.

Before we delve into the tricks, let's discuss a few things. First, what kind of chips will you use? There are many different types of chips out there. Generally speaking, you'll probably want a good quality poker chip for learning tricks. Many experts recommend the 11.5 gram chips because they are closest to what is used in the casinos. These chips are more expense than the 9.5 gram chips, so if budget is a big concern, start low and work your way up as you improve. The important thing is to find chips that you like and will want to practice with, right?

What kinds of benefits do chip tricks offer a poker player? Are they just neat visual tricks and nothing more? Not necessarily. Poker is a game in which you play the player just as much (if not more) than the cards you're dealt. As a result, chip tricks can enhance your strategy in three very important ways.

1) Distract or intimidate your opponent. If you are playing with your chips, it will remind your opponent, especially if you are the chip leader, just how many chips you do have. If your opponent is watching you play with your chips, he or she is not watching his or her cards. That is to your advantage.

2) Grounding you in the game. Poker is all about chips. Whoever has the most chips wins. If you are checking out your chips, then you are reminding yourself what the object of the game is. You may also be able to count your chip stack without garnering too much attention, from the other opponents. This can be especially helpful in those difficult pots in which you're on the defensive.

3) Helping you to size up your opponents. Let's say you've just been check-raised. You're trying to gauge your opponent's reaction. If you look him or her dead-on, your opponent may be able to adjust him or herself and keep from giving away his or her tell. Now, if you are playing with your chips and checking out your opponent out of the corner of your eye (which works even better if you're wearing sunglasses like many of the pros do), he or she may not pick up on it and will give something away. It goes back to the distraction/intimidation factor.

Now, you've got some chip basics and reasoning for doing chip tricks. Let's move along. There are quite a few chip tricks out there. In this article, we'll focus on several.

The Twirl: Hold 3 of your chips between your thumb and your index finger (Note: once you master "3", you can move on to "4"). The outside chip is positioned about ½ inch from your finger tips; the inside chip should be about 1 inch from your finger tips. Move your middle finger so that's it is on the bottom of the inside chip. Your ring finger should be below all three chips.

Loosen your grip on the thumb and index finger; only the middle chip should fall out of position. When the middle chip has descended about ½ inch from the inside & outside chips, then you can move it out.

Move the ring finger under your thumb. Press it against the middle chip and remember to keep a tight grip on the other two chips.

You should be able to move the middle chip forward by applying pressure with your ring finger and the index finger. Check to see if the middle chip is completely clear from the other two chips. Now, hold the middle chip between the ring finger and index finger; then, rotate it 180 degrees so that your middle finger moves towards the palm of your hand. Then, slide the chip back in place as you move the ring finger and thumb towards each other. The index finger will act as a pivot point.

Knuckle Roll: (with 1 chip. There are variations of this move with both 2 and 3 chips.) Place the chip between your thumb and index finger. Move the chip above your index finger and bring it down between your index and middle fingers. Move the chip above your middle finger; it should come back down between the middle and ring fingers. Then, the chip will go over the ring finger, coming down between your ring finger and pinky. Finally, it will move under your index, middle and ring fingers so that you can get it back to the starting position between the thumb and index finger. Repeat process as many times as you wish.

Front to Back: Place five chips in the hand you feel most comfortable with. (Probably the hand you write with) The chips are positioned in between your fingers. Apply pressure to the chips, especially with your pinky and middle fingers. Move the chip on the left (if you're doing this right-handed and right if you're doing this left-handed) loose before you even begin. (Yup! We're still in the set up phase.)

When that chip is about 1 millimeter above the others, apply pressure on the remaining chips with pinky and middle finger. Spin the loose chip up using your thumb to roll it; the middle finger is its anchor (or pivot point). When that chip is high enough, pull it down and to the opposite direction using your thumb.

Now that you have three basic poker chip tricks, it's time to practice, practice and then, more practice. If you don't get it right at first, don't be disheartened. Even the pros didn't get it perfect the first time.

© High Speed Ventures 2011