How many poker chips do you need for 2, 4, 6, or more players?

To determine the actual amount of chips needed, you first need to know whether you’re hosting a cash game or a poker tournament.

  • In cash games, the blinds stay the same. This makes it a lot easier to calculate the amount of chips needed for each player. You may only need two chip denominations. Three denominations is definitely enough.
  • In tournaments, blinds go up every level. The more the levels, and the more the players, the more chips and chip denominations you will need. So you need to work out the number of chips depending on the structure.

Cash game

In the more traditional version of poker, the blinds do not change.

For example, if it’s a $1/$2 game, then the small blind will always be $1 and the big blind will always be $2. This makes it a lot easier to work out the amount of chips needed.

In actual casinos, each player decides how much they are buying in for. There is no set buy-in — only a minimum and a maximum to sit down.

For example, the minimum could be $50, and the maximum could be $500. Players can leave the table at any time, and cash out their chips.

Now, for a home game, you could play the same exact way (if allowed by your state/country) or make it easier and friendlier, such as:

  • Fixed buy-in which goes into one pot. At the end of the night, the pot is split between the players based on how many chips they have, approximately.
  • Fixed amount of chips per player, no real money. Blinds stay the same, and the winner is whoever has the most chips at the end of the game.

How many poker chips for 2 players?

Let’s say the blinds are $1 and $2 — real money, or just the chip value.

To have 150 big blinds each, which is reasonable, two chip denominations may be enough.

For instance, each player could get twenty $1 chips (one stack) and 56 $5 chips (almost three stacks).

In this case, assuming you won’t be allowed to buy-in twice, the total amount of chips would be 152.

If each player had 150 big blinds, but three denominations, then you could use twenty $1 chips, 36 $5 chips, and four $25 chips — only 120 chips in total.

How many poker chips for 4 players?

By using the same stacks of the previous example, you would need roughly 240 chips — sixty for each player.

Say the blinds are $1 and $2 and each gets 200 big blinds ($400) to start with.

This could be broken down into one $100 chip, four $25 chips, 36 fivers, and a stack of singles — 61 chips per player, 244 total.

Even if there are other buy-ins during the game, these could be issued using higher denomination chips, such as the hundreds. You won’t need the lower denominations as there will be enough change on the table already.

So if you have a 300 chip set, that’s probably going to be enough for four players provided there are enough denominations and assuming you’re not playing too deep.

You will always need to work out the total amount of chips based on the blinds, the amount of each buy-in, and whether it’s a single buy-in per player or more.

How many poker chips for 6 players?

As the number of players increases, you want to make sure you have enough change — enough low denomination chips.

If the blinds are 1/1 or 1/2, you’re probably fine with ten singles per player (three stacks if you’re playing six-handed).

I wouldn’t use less than that personally as you may end up not having enough change and that can slow down the game significantly, even with an experienced dealer.

Poker tournament

Now, tournaments are a completely different story. You won’t just need to work out the amount of chips, but the structure of the tournament as well.

How long do you want the tournament to be, roughly? Will it be a freezeout, or will players be allowed to rebuy? Will there be a chip race?

I’m going to assume you won’t be playing poker tournaments with three players or less, so here’s what I would do if there were 4, 8, or more players.

How many poker chips for 4 players?

Typically, the smallest chip denomination for poker tournaments has a value of 25. Then you have the 100s, 500s, and so on.

For a friendly tournament with just four players, assuming each player gets a stack of 5,000 and isn’t allowed to re-buy, you would only need less than a hundred chips.

Here’s an example.

Poker chips per player

Chip valueNumber

Total poker chips

Chip valueNumber

Now, most poker sets come with at least 300 chips, so even with rebuys, you’ll be fine.

Keep in mind, you don’t have to issue a whole lot of chips for rebuys if there’s already enough change on the table.

How many poker chips for 8 players?

With eight players, it gets more interesting. You still only need one table, but it’s more of a proper tournament.

Let’s first have a look at a possible structure of the tournament. The following would make it last about three to four hours, which is ideal:

  • Eight or nine players
  • 15,000 starting stack
  • 20 minute blinds (no big jumps)
  • Short breaks every three/four levels
  • No ante or button ante (easier)

Poker chips per player

Chip valueNumber

Total poker chips

Chip valueNumber

As you can see, even with rebuys a standard poker chip set will be enough.

If you want to use a bigger starting stack, e.g. 20,000, you’d simply need to use a few more 1,000 or 5,000 chips. Easy as that.

Chips for 10 or more players

For bigger tournaments, consider getting a few more chips — a 500 chip set or even a thousand chip set.

Also, if there are more than nine/ten players, you’re going to need to have two tables. And expect the tournament to last longer unless the blinds are super fast.

300 chips may be enough for one table, but for bigger tournaments you’ll need more.

A bigger poker chip set means you’ll have enough chips and change, and one or two more denominations as well.

This will allow you to replace the smallest chips with bigger ones once the blinds go up (this is called chip race).

Final thoughts

When setting up a home game, there is no standard rule as to how many chips you will need.

Once you’ve decided the type of game you want to host (or the type of tournament structure), that’s going to give you an idea of the amount of chips needed as well as the denominations.

Keep in mind, you can use unmarked chips — you’re not playing in a casino, which means you can assign a value to the chips based on the color.

If you’re not sure about the total amount, go with the bigger chip sets to make sure you’ll have enough change and denominations available — if you don’t, that can slow down the game.

Shuffle up and deal!