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Chips and money (a complicated relationship)-1

The first thing to understand is that chips are real money, just in a different form. This truth is simultaneously obvious and elusive. Weintraubs observation gets at how easy it is to forget it, and treat chips as mere abstractions.

In The Biggest Game in Town one of the most articulate and influential books ever written about poker Al Alvarez mused, The chip is like a conjurers sleight of hand that turns an egg into a billiard ball, a necessity of life into a plaything, reality into illusion. Players who freeze up at the sight of a fifty-dollar bill, thinking it could buy them a weeks food at the supermarket, will toss two green [$25] chips into the pot without even hesitating if the odds are right.

Successful poker players rely on their weaker opponents losing touch with the equivalence of poker-world chips and real-world money. As for their own relationship with that truth, however, strong players both remember and disregard it. That is, you must keep in mind that playing badly and as a result losing $100 in chips is the same as setting a $100 bill on fire. But at the same time, you cant let the fear of losing your hard-earned money prevent you from investing your chips in the way that will be the most profitable.

But enough abstraction. Lets deal with the tangible aspects of poker chips, as they are used in casinos. All of the following points apply equally to both tournaments and cash games, with two exceptions, which I will note when we get to them.

Post time: May-24-2022