Gaming chips have been made from a wide range of materials in an almost infinite variety of styles since the birth of gambling and the need to keep track of winnings. The most common material types used today in the manufacture of modern poker chips are plastic, clay composite, and acrylic composite. Clay chips, the oldest of the bunch, have been manufactured in America since the late 1800s.
Back in the 1800s, poker players seemed to use any small valuable object imaginable. Early poker players sometimes used jagged gold pieces as well as chips - primarily made of wood and clay. By the 20th century, poker chip designs began to play a greater prominence, and the smooth edges of older chips gave way to chips with engraved slits to keep them neatly stacked together. Most recently, affordable plastic poker chips appeared in the 1940s.
There is no doubt that poker has grown steadily in popularity ever since its origin in the 1800s. With the explosive growth of online gaming and specialty TV shows, public interest in poker has accelerated faster than ever before. Many people are first introduced to poker by TV shows such as Bravo's "Celebrity Poker Showdown" or the Travel Channel's "World Poker Tour," and many will play their first hands online. Despite online poker's rise, nothing replaces the feeling of shuffling heavy clay poker chips in your hand, throwing chips into the center of a casino table, or stacking tall piles of chips after showing a victorious hand.