7 Ingenious Poker Strategies Without Chips

Recently, while visiting a friend, the topic of Poker came up. During our conversation, he asked me, “Can you play poker with no chips?” After I replied, he asked me if I could play poker without any chips.

Bets and wagers are the basis of poker. If you’re playing poker strictly for fun, you will need some currency or monetary replacement to play with. Without it, it’s almost impossible to see who is winning or losing. Poker chips are the most popular thing that is used instead of real currency.

Sometimes an impromptu tournament will take place, and you won’t have any poker chips. Do not worry. There are many options for alternative solutions in your home and business. I know this because I looked through my office and house for ways to meet the needs of avid poker players, including playing without chips.

1. Spare Change

This one is obvious, so I saved it for the last. You might have forgotten about the piggy bank of your kids or the coins in the car’s center console. I have a $4,000 savings account that I built from spare change. Use the accidental savings you make to play a quick game or two with family and friends. It would be great to have a roll of pennies, nickels, or dimes. It is essential to set the parameters beforehand so the winner can keep the money.

2. Play Money

One of the most popular options is play money, which can be collected from various board and card games. Monopoly, Payday, and the Game of Life are some of the most popular. You can be confident that at least one of these types is hidden away in a cupboard or drawer somewhere. Fake money will be helpful in poker games. Play money can be fun because you pretend that the money is accurate and you are part of a high-rolling group.

3. Board Game Pieces

You can continue your quest for board games with play money while going through the game cupboard. Many other games have pieces that can be used as poker chip substitutes. Here are some examples of games with either a chip or other money-altering items. Nearly everyone wins at least one of these games, which can be used as a substitute for poker chip: Othello or Connect 4, Backgammon or Checkers. You can also bet on Scrabble tiles in a pinch.

Mix and match multiple games that have valuable pieces so you can play poker. Scrabble tiles may cost $1; red Connect 4 chips might cost $5. You can also use black Othello pieces to make $1,000.

4. Dried Foods

The other option is to upset your significant other by using common dried foods from the pantry. Because they are simple to store and don’t cause a lot of mess, dried beans, legumes, and corn work well, they can even be boiled to make poker chili.

You should avoid eating foods that are not ready to eat. Most people find the temptation too overwhelming and will likely eat all the profits. Who wants to eat an M&M that’s been touched by everyone at the table? It’s pretty gross.

5. Office Supplies

You will have limited options when playing an impromptu office game with no poker chips. Even so, plenty of desk drawer items can likely be used in a poker game. Be sure to keep your boss away.

Here are some items that may be lying around or in a drawer on your desk.

Paper clips (Preferably in color)


Rubber bands

Posted Notes

6. Color Popsicle Sticks

This is a superb stackable option, which most households, especially families with children, have stored in a drawer. I recommend dividing each stick into thirds to maximize the number of chips you have. This will increase the variety of your game.

You can write different things on the sticks and other denominations if you don’t have any colored popsicles. You can do this best by giving a stack of sticks to each player, who will be responsible for writing on a different amount. You can give each player a stack if you don’t want the sticks to be divided into various denominations.

7. Garage Items

Many items in a garage can come multiple times and be used as chips. This is particularly true if your toolbox contains many of the following items:






Electrical Terminals

How Many “Chips” do you need for poker?

Most poker games require 500 or fewer poker chips. Games with six players or fewer will usually be able to manage 300 chips. It may sound like a lot, but this is not because most people will have many items in their homes or office that could be used to substitute for poker chips. You can also distribute coins if you have enough.

What type of game should we play?

I recommend playing only short-stacked cash tournaments or cash games where the blinds do not go up. You won’t need to purchase too many replacement chips and can focus on the poker game. Your boss or spouse might not appreciate you if you start digging around like a groundhog, making a lot of mess.

Assigning Denominations

The best thing to do when you don’t have real poker chips is to keep it simple and use only three poker chip amounts. I recommend playing 25/50 Blinds and using the following “chips” denominations.

$25-8 Chips

$100-8 Chips

$500 – 2 Chip

Each player will be given $2,000 and 40 significant blinds. This creates an exciting and action-packed game. Sign up for my newsletter to get a quick guide and charts on how to play short stacked. Use my raising ranges or anything else that you wish to help you dominate your friends.

What happens if someone runs out?

I advise someone who loses to “rebuy” for half of a stack of 20 big blinds (or $1,000). By doing this, no one will ever be out of the game. Some players can also play deep-stacked as they progress.