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How to Play Poker

Poker at Blue Lake Casino & Hotel

Poker is hands down one of the most popular games in any casino. In fact, it is one of the most popular games to play around the world.

People have been playing poker for hundreds of years and in countries in every continent. It is an easy game to learn how to play, but it is difficult to learn how to master.

People love the accessibility and the challenge because it means they can come back to it time and time again, experiencing something new each time.

Traditional Poker Rules

Traditional poker is a five-card game. The dealer passes out cards one at a time in a circle – one card goes to one player, the next card goes to the next player, and so on. The circle continues until all players have five cards. Players look at their cards and decide which cards they would like to keep and which cards they would like to trade in order to increase their chances of getting the best hands. Rarely does a player have a strong enough hand on the first deal.

The dealer will check in with each player, in the same order in which their cards were dealt, to ask if they would like to trade out any cards. Typically, players put the cards they want to give back on the table in front of them, the dealer takes them, and then deals the same number of new cards. Typically, players can trade in up to four cards, though house rules vary.

After players get their new cards, they are looking at their final hand. They then decide whether to fold or stay. Folding means that the cards and any bets made up to that point are forfeited. Staying means playing through the hand and seeing if it wins. Staying also requires matching any bets or raises that are made.


Several variations of poker are played, including one in which seven cards are dealt and “stud,” which deals some cards so they are face up and visible to all players. These variations influence the chances for putting together a stronger hand, as well as betting and playing strategy for other players.

Poker Chip Values & Colors

Playing poker can be fun and exciting. The game is fast-paced, and it can have high stakes. With all the betting action that takes place during most poker games, it would be too confusing to have a lot of cash bills flying around. Instead, most professional games — and plenty of household games — use colored chips. In many casinos, these chips are actually marked with the denominations so that there isn’t any confusion about what is being bet. However, classic poker chips are unmarked, and you are supposed to understand poker chip values based on their colors.

Common Poker Chip Values and Colors

Poker chip values can vary by casino, tournament, or individual game. However, there are some common values that you are likely to see wherever you go. Knowing these values will put you at ease, giving you a baseline of understanding when you enter a game.

  • Poker Chip Values — 4 Colors

    The standard poker chip set has four colors:

    • White: $1
    • Red: $5
    • Green: $25
    • Black: $100

    The general trend is that the chips get darker as they increase in value. However, you will find exceptions to this.

  • Poker Chip Values — 5 Colors

    The five-color chipset is common in house games. The values and colors are the same as the four-color set, but there is the addition of a blue chip that is valued at $10.

    Again, there can be exceptions to this general rule, but these are the colors and values you will find in most cases.

What are Poker Chips

Poker chips are small discs that are used to represent a monetary value when placing bets in a poker game. The chips are made of hard plastic, and they are a couple of inches in diameter. The chips are colored, and they may have a graphic in the center, such as the casino’s logo. If you are using chips in a home game, the center may be blank. Often, chips also have a striped border.

When you go to a casino, you would purchase the amount of chips you want from the cashier. Then you take those chips to the game you want to play, and you put down the chip corresponding to the bet you want to make. When you want to raise your bet, you add the appropriate colored chip.

Poker Chip Colors and Denominations

Typically, most casinos are going to have chips in the traditional colors with the usual values so as to maintain some consistency. There will be some overlap with the four and five-color sets, but since casinos offer a variety of high and low-stakes games, there will be a greater range of values.

Usual poker chip colors and denominations include:

  • White: $1
  • Red: $5
  • Blue, Brown, or Orange: $10
  • Green: $25
  • Black: $100
  • Purple: $500
  • Yellow, Orange, or Gray: $1,000
  • Orange, Gray, or Red/White/Blue: $5,000
  • Dark Green, Dark Blue, or Brown: $25,000
  • Light Blue or Gray: $100,000

Casinos will also often have marked chips that clearly indicate the value so that there is no confusion. Players will know for certain how much they are betting by looking at the value printed right on the chip.

Determining Poker Chip Stack Sizes

Most casinos put chips together by value in stacks of 20. In a tournament, when a player busts out, the remaining players will acquire their chips. However, because the games progress to higher stakes, those lower value chips accumulate and are not used. Therefore, most players will trade out their lower value chips to higher value so they can keep their stacks at a manageable size.

Rules can vary for home games based on the stakes. If the blinds are low — like $1 and $2 — then players won’t usually need the higher value chips. However, if players want a high stakes game, they can assign the chips new values, and they can distribute their chips accordingly. Typically, most home games would have each player getting 25 to 50 chips. Stack sizes would be determined by what makes the most sense for the game.

Types of Poker Chip Sets

Most poker chip sets available for home play will have the same distribution of the standard four or five colors, made of one of the following types of materials:

  • Plastic
  • Composite/Clay
  • Ceramic
  • Metal

Chip sets come in varying sizes, and some sets have more colors for a wider range of values. You can also buy specialty sets that mimic tournament sets. You can even order poker chip sets customized with your own text or logo.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Do I Buy Poker Chips?

    You can buy poker chips from numerous online sites. Sometimes, casinos will also make their old chips available for purchase.

  • Can I Use Poker Chips from One Casino at

    The five-color chipset is common in house games. The values and colors are the same as the four-color set, but there is the addition of a blue chip that is valued at $10.

    Again, there can be exceptions to this general rule, but these are the colors and values you will find in most cases.

Play Poker at Blue Lake Casino

Blue Lake Casino is proud to offer exciting games of poker to give players many opportunities for play — and perhaps to win big. Visit us today to join a hand or even to sign up for a tournament.