How To Play Poker Without Chips

How To Play Poker Without Chips

Poker is built around the concept of speculating on the outcome; it’s a critical feature that can’t really be removed from the game. Casinos have adopted chips as a way to mark how much currency is being wagered, but if you are not quite up to heading to the Casino yet, or you’re just looking to have a casual game with some friends, you might not have easy access to the tokens. Luckily there are plenty of alternatives, so you can play poker without chips.

Play Money

Fake money is probably the best option to substitute for chips because there is no need to work out the values of each note. Most of the time, fake money is already different colours and has the amount printed on it. Board games like Monopoly are an excellent source for large sums of fake paper money, failing that, there are plenty of others that have stacks of play money. Aside from being a great substitute, there is something weirdly satisfying about being able to throw around thousands of dollars in cash, regardless of whether it’s fake.


Pretty much everyone will have cookies, nachos, rice, candy or beans somewhere in their house, and these small pieces of food are perfect to use in a game of poker. Just work out how much you want each piece to represent. The only risk is that hungry players might eat everything before the game is over!

Board Game Pieces

Board games like checkers, chess or another equivalent have plenty of small pieces that substitute fairly well for poker chips. Similar to using food, simply work out how much each piece will be worth and then start playing.

Office Supplies

Bits of paper, clips, tacks, rubber bands, really anything that you can find a large amount of can be substituted for chips. It doesn’t matter if an impromptu game breaks out at work, you should be able to find something to use for representing stakes.

Household Items

There are literally dozens of everyday items you can find around the house that would be suitable to substitute for poker chips. Coloured popsicle sticks can be cut into several pieces, bolts, nails, batteries, beads or crystals are all suitable to use in place of chips.


There are apps for everything nowadays, including ones that can create virtual markers to represent currency for poker games. Alternatively, if everyone has access to a computer or tablet, some sites will allow players to create their own virtual table to battle it out with friends.


Unconventional, and potentially embarrassing, classic strip poker is not ideal as an everyday event. Still, if you are among a group of good friends, wagering clothing can be a fun way to play without chips.

One Last Thing To Remember

Chips are just a way of marking a wager; they are by no means essential to have a game of poker. There are plenty of viable alternatives out there; the only limit is your imagination!