The expert’s guide to impressive chip tricks

January 21, 2016, Scott  

Thanks to the rise of televised poker tournaments, chip tricks have really taken off. Chip tricks, quite simply, are little bits of sleight of hand, manipulating poker chips in ways are unusual, difficult or simply quite impressive. As a result, being able to successfully pull off one of these chip tricks places you somewhere between the realm of looking like a pro and looking like a magician. Incidentally, this sleight of hand is the reason that casinos don’t like it when you touch the cards in most of the games they run.

So you want to try your hand at sleight of hand? Fortunately while some of these tricks are rather tricky, some of them are surprisingly simple. What starts as a simple way of counting chips or passing chips between your knuckles quickly becomes your first step on the way towards the ultimate poker player’s showmanship. If you’re looking to try a couple of tricks for yourself, here are a couple of impressive ones that you can work your way through.

1. The Knuckle Roll

This is one of the most basic chip tricks around, popularized not just by the best poker players in the world, but by Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean. Simple as it is to do this trick slowly, being able to flippantly pull it off while you wait for your opponents to call your bluff will have you feeling (and looking) like a pro in no time at all.

Simply take a chip between your thumb and index finger and lift it onto your knuckles. Manipulate your fingers so that the chip rolls over each one, either reversing the process at the end or sliding it back under your ring finger with your thumb. Once you’ve got the basic technique, start working on speed and fluidity.

2. The Chip Flip

The Chip Flip is one of the building blocks for more complicated tricks like The Butterfly. It’s incredibly simple, and yet looks impressive all the same.

Hold a roll of chips in your fingers. Flip the chip closest to your thumb to the other end the stack using just your thumb with a level of cool nonchalance. Not only does it make you look pensive about the play you’re about to make, but it makes it look like you’ve been doing this for a long time, and that you know what you’re doing.

3. Front to Back

If these first two tricks aren’t tricky enough for you, the Front to Back is an intermediate level trick which always looks fairly impressive. You take two (or more) chips between your fingers, lift one, flip the other and then slip the first behind it. This obviously looks better with chips of different colors.

Hold the chips between your thumb and middle finger. Lift the front chip with your thumb and flip the other chip 180 degrees using your middle finger. Place the raised chip behind it. Simple as it sounds, it takes a certain level of dexterity to pull it off quickly and fluidly without dropping the coins.

4. The Shuffle

The Shuffle is one of those casino movie staples that always looks good. It’s one of those tricks that simply states “I’m so good at poker I can shuffle these chips as if they were a pack of cards, and I can do it with one hand, without looking – make your move.”

To do this you’ll want to take a stack of chips, split them side by side and carefully lift the middle of the stack using your middle finger, pushing the stacks together gently with your thumb and little finger. There’s actually a fantastic guide to this chip trick on the Ladbrokes website, so make sure you check it out if you’re struggling.

5. The Butterfly

The Butterfly is one of those moves which, if you can pull off, really sets you apart from the crowd; the flipside is that if you fail, you’ve effectively just thrown your chips at the opponent – not a recommended move by any standard. Make sure you practice this one at home before you try it at the table. Again, there’s a brilliant step by step guide to this trick on the Ladbrokes website.

Pick up a stack of four chips in one hand – new chips are the easiest to do this with as the edges are still square. Start with a chip flip and catch the chip so that the middle two chips fall down slightly. Now grab those middle two chips with your middle finger and pull them out of the stack – catch them with your ring finger and little finger so they don’t fall to the floor. Now you want to split the chips so that your middle finger can pass through and then flick the bottom chip of each stack out so that you have a chip between each finger. If this
sounds tricky, it’s because it is – master this and will look like a true pro.