How To Play Poker Without Chips: Variations, Rules, Gameplay And More

How To Play Poker Without Chips: Variations, Rules, Gameplay And More

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Poker is a fun and innovative chip-based table game played around the world.

You can play poker at home for fun or at a professional level with other contenders. The professional games involve league rules and tournaments. There are poker events held around the world all through the year where candidates can not only earn money but titles too.

A game of poker involves a great deal of intellect. You need people skills to read your opponents, psychology to get into people’s minds like Daniel Negreanu, math skills to keep track of the cards and predict the probability of wins with each hand dealt, and the ability to maintain your equanimity.

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These are talents that parents always want to instill in their children too. Yet, there is the remote possibility that in trying to do so, you may inadvertently turn your sweet child into a gambler and no one wants that. For one, it is illegal, and two, you don’t want to ruin the child’s life.

Therefore, an alternative way to accomplish this task is to play poker without chips.

The idea is to teach them the game and the skills associated with it. However, the lack of poker chips makes this an informal game unlike those played in casinos. The child simply learns how to play but associates win with acquiring items that they are not allowed to keep. Thus, you circumvent the gambling problem.

You can also play poker without chips with adults. It is an entertaining way to play the game without making it too competitive. Some versions of playing poker without chips can help couples connect with each other at a primal level while others are great for some family-friendly fun.

how to play poker without chips

List of ways how to play poker without chips

There are various items that you can use when playing poker without chips. Some of these items can be used as-is whereas others need you to assign values to them. Based on who you’re playing with, make sure to choose appropriate items. For instance, using pins, paperclips, nuts, bolts, etc. is not suited for children.

In any case, here is a list of items you can use to play poker without chips.

i. Articles of clothing

This is the first and foremost alternative that comes to mind thanks to the innovative game of strip poker.

The idea is to bet on items of clothing that you’re wearing during the game instead of using poker chips. Each article of clothing is assigned a value, especially in strip poker.

Although a fun and playful alternative, make sure you’re comfortable enough around the other players. You will be stripping in front of them.

Another alternative is to bet clothes that are in your closet. In such cases too, a value is assigned to the objects you offer but it is highly unlikely that the items will be returned. People only bet clothing, jewelry, accessories, etc. apart from strip poker when they play poker for real not just for fun.

ii. Play money

One of the most commonly used items when playing poker without chips is play money. You can find them in monopoly boards and similar games. These fake currencies are primarily used for board games therefore any associations with gambling are subconsciously discouraged.

Additionally, play money already has values ascribed to them. Therefore, you don’t have to assign new values or remember overly complicated numbering systems. You can simply use the fake currency as is and play the game.

iii. Household items

Household items such as tools, pins, clothing pins, colored rubber bands, etc. can be used as poker chips. Simply assign a value to each object and use them as poker chips.

It can be a little confusing so consider creating a reference catalog.

iv. Spare change and cash

You can use any spare change lying around the house as poker chips. Assign values to the coins, preferably a larger number associated with the printed one. Use these for betting throughout the game.

You can also use real cash from your wallet and simply add it to the pot. Although games of poker do not permit cash because they subliminally induce gambling addictions, it might be ok to play this way once in a blue moon.

v. Apps and software

Playing poker without chips can be a healthy alternative to developing a gambling addiction. Instead of poker chips, consider using monetary apps and software tools to bet.

These ordinary tools used for expense tracking can help you keep track of betting during gameplay. At the end of the game, you simply compute the total amount each player owes to one another and pay off.

vi. Stationary

You can use a notebook and pen to track all the bets when playing poker without chips. Much like apps and software tools, simply note down how much each person is betting, calling, and raising in tabulated columns and calculate at the end of the game.

You can also use colored paper such as sticky notes to write down figures to bet. Or you can designate a currency to each color and use them as chips.

vii. Items of food

Remember what Serena said about her stepfather teaching her poker with Necco wafers?

You can use items of food in place of poker chips such as edible potato wafers, oreo cookies or other biscotti, grains, cut up or whole fruits (use small fruits like grapes and cherries if whole), nuts, etc.

The best part about using items of food to play poker without chips is, you can use them to teach kids. Although not for gambling purposes, poker can present wholesome family fun. Therefore, when you use items of food, not only is it ok if children eat them but they also never associate the game with gambling.

viii. Candy

Similar to items of food, you can also use various types of candy as chips. Assign a value to them based on their size or taste. When playing with children, try not to use ones that are easy to unwrap if you don’t want them to eat it all ad get a sugar rush.

ix. Pieces from board games

You can use anything from pieces of the checkers’ board to backgammon. Even marbles can serve as chips when playing a hand of poker. Just assign values to each distinct piece and use them in place of chips.

This can be an excellent alternative to playing poker at home when you have the cards but no chips. Investing in chips and playing with them can get people addicted to gambling but alternatives such as pieces of board games help prevent that.

x. Computer Poker

You can play poker games online where you don’t invest real money or use chips. You can use figurative amounts by simply adding digits. Online poker games with real money are also fine to play poker without chips. The game has all the possible accessories you need so you don’t have to worry about poker chips.

There are also several offline poker games that you can play with bots. These games have their own in-built accessories too so you can play poker without worrying about chips. These games can be programmed for multiplayer as well, although, keep in mind, you may be seeing the other person’s cards if you’re not careful.

Here is a list of games that you can play without using chips in hand:

  1. Strip poker – You can play this game using items of clothing for chips. Just assign a value to each article of clothing and use them for betting in each round of the game.
  2. Online poker – You can play this on laptops, tablets, cell phones, and any electronic gadget with an active internet connection. You don’t need any chips because all the accessories for the gameplay are inbuilt.
  3. Five-card draw – You simply use one of the above-mentioned substitutes for chips during gameplay.
  4. Texas Hold ‘Em – You can play these using a large number of substitute items, preferably distinct ones such as coins, play money, and apps that can track your betting system. You can also play Hold ‘Em on online and offline gaming forums.

Now that you know how to play poker without chips or money, let us take a look-through at the rules and general etiquette of alternative gameplay.

poker without chips

Rules and gameplay

The rules of poker are grounded in the use of chips. Therefore, when you remove poker chips from the equation the rules and gameplay change as well.

  • For starters, you will need fewer items to play with. Any number of items available to you must be divided equally among all the players.
  • Secondly, the value of substitute chips may vary although it is ideal to maintain only three or four denominations due to the limited variety.
  • Thirdly, it is likely that the game will end soon due to limited resources. You can simply start again by assuming the winner to have the leading hand and distributing the chips all over again.
  • Lastly, if your game of poker without chips is not just for fun, then consider reducing the number of players in the game. It can be confusing and you don’t need matters of money to complicate an enjoyable game night.

Remember, people mostly play poker without chips to either spend some time with family and friends or to teach kids for fun. If your game involves real-time scenarios, don’t invite the ramifications they entail. Just get some real poker chips instead.

Benefits of playing poker without chips

While there are plenty of games to play with poker chips such as the namesake game and all its variants, there are certain benefits to playing Poker without chips.

  1. You can play it at any time with items available throughout the house.
  2. Playing poker without chips is a great way to introduce your children to the game without encouraging gambling addictions.
  3. The gameplay remains fun and enjoyable instead of becoming too competitive.
  4. You can combine poker with other games such as truth and dare, especially if you’re playing strip poker.
  5. You have an opportunity to improve your game without any actual risks or losses incurred.

Playing poker without chips implies that there will be no hostility among players. Money can cause real problems and the objective of playing poker without chips is to have loads of fun during a game night without causing conflicts.

Poker Without Money Vs. Poker With Money: Which is Better?

Without a doubt, cash poker is more challenging, more thrilling and certainly better than playing poker without money. While most people don't want to lose their money, a small bet shouldn't hurt anyone. In most games between friends, the betting amount is usually low.

There is a drive that comes with playing Cash Poker that you don't get when there is nothing to play. Without that drive, there's a real chance that poker could be reduced to just a boring game. This is why many people who play poker without money try to place small bets like candy or small pieces of food to make the game a little more interesting.

Selection about leaderboard of Poker on GetMega

The leaderboards on GetMega are categorized and updated constantly. The leaderboards for poker are not only classified but also award bonus winnings.

Here are the selections of leaderboards available on GetMega:

  • Hourly – These leaderboards are updated on an hourly basis on the top of the hour to maintain which players have a winning streak going for them.
  • Daily – At the end of the day, the winners on the leaderboards are updated to reflect who had the best gameplay throughout the day.
  • Weekly – The weekly leaderboard reflects which players have consistently maintained their position on the daily leaderboards.
  • Monthly – This leaderboard reflects the consistency of wins for players based on the monthly leaderboard.

You can choose the free leaderboards to feature your accomplishments or opt for the paid leaderboards. Of course, the free leaderboard will show you your rank among other players and how well you perform as compared to players on the same level.

The paid leaderboards, on the other hand, offer additional rewards. The first 10 players on the leaderboard are eligible for these prizes. Based on their position on the leaderboard, the prizes will differ.

When a player happens to be on the top of the leaderboard all through the week with 100,000 in winnings, then they win various rewards such as gadgets, gold coins, and whatnot up to a new cell phone.

If you wish to not only earn real cash but also be rewarded for your excellence in poker, then the paid leaderboards are definitely worth every penny.

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About The  

Kanchan Sharma
Kanchan Sharma

Kanchan Sharma started her career as a learning designer at an MNC while pursuing poker as a hobby. However, she soon pivoted to becoming a professional MTT (Multi Table Tournaments) player. She is currently a leading player, who has taken the male dominated poker world by storm. During her stint as a poker player, she has bagged many titles including India Online Poker Championship (IOPC) for Rs. 17,98,906, Winter Celebration Series for Rs. 6,62,500 and has final tabled multiple tournaments. She continually seeks to improve her poker game and work on her mindset to win the WSOP title soon. Her journey from being a recreational player to a poker pro is inspiring for many people out there.

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