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Color Up

What is 'Color Up'

Color up is an American term that is commonplace in casinos. Usually if a gambler is coloring up, they are exchanging their chips for chips of higher denominations, meaning that they are doing well. By coloring up, players are limiting the amount of chips they have to carry around from table to table. If for example a player has twenty $5 chips after winning a series of small bets, they may wish to 'color up' to one $100 chip, two $50 chips, five $20 chips or ten $10 chips depending on how much they want to bet. The process is referred to as 'color up' because the players are getting a higher denomination and different chip values have different colours.

'Color Up' Explained

Coloring up is usually seen as a good thing because, after all, if a player is exchanging their low value chips for higher value ones, they have been winning at the tables, but experienced gamblers are always wary of casinos encouraging players to 'color up'. If a player places a relatively low even money bet of $2 and wins then they have turned their $2 into $4 worth of chips. Here is where a casino can add an element of underhand tactics into the proceedings.Instead of the dealer rewarding the player with four $1 chips, they will give the player one $5 chip and take a $1 chip off the player's stack of four. All of a sudden, the player has been on the receiving end of a coloring up without asking for it. By doing that, the casino has encouraged the player to place a bigger bet which they could lose and, almost instantaneously, the casino has taken all the player's chips in one single bet.Players should be aware however that just because they've received a larger chip from the casino, they are under no obligation to bet with it. They can ask the dealer for smaller denominations if they wish to continue making smaller bets. Experienced gamblers tend to let the dealers see their stack of chips because they know that an experienced dealer will keep an eye on it, ensuring that the player has the right chips to ensure they can continue with their betting system if they have one. Dealers are ultimately on the side of the casino, so if they see an opportunity to move a small wager player off the table by coloring them up and hoping they will place a bigger bet and lose, they will. If the dealer manages to free up a space on the table, it may make room for a player who places bigger bets which, ultimately, makes more money for the house.Some casinos even have a policy in place to supply players with 20-30 working 'units' (chips that fit in with their low wager system) in order to gain the confidence of the player before coloring them up. If a player trusts the dealer, they are less likely to ask for smaller chips, and if they've been having a good time at the table, they may choose to make the bigger bet the casino wants them to.
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