Poker Chip Review Game

Let me tell you about my new favorite thing - gambling in the classroom  my poker chip review game. It was SO engaging that my students were begging to play it - even students that don't typically get involved were participating! It will work with any subject area and is sure to make you wonder for at least half a second that how much fun it would be to be a BlackJack dealer.

Welcome to Casino Dyal. These poker chips were collecting dust in a spare bedroom and were absolutely perfect for this activity. Inspiration for this game came from Math = Love, but Sarah used Bingo chips. I think using poker chips was one of the big keys to success here because it was very easy for me to "pay" them, they could easily stack them up, and they could see their money grow as they exchanged for different color chips. I only used three colors and wrote on the board: White = 1, Red = 10; Black =100

Each team started with 11 white chips. They were required to keep at least one chip off the board, so they could always get back in the game (and I would never take their last chip). I would use my projector to display a multiple choice question and give groups time to figure out their answers. Not only did they have to figure out their answer, but they also had to assess how confident they were in their answer. This discussion was my favorite to eavesdrop on and where I heard a lot of people who usually sit and do nothing don't participate start to get involved.

I would give a warning and then five second countdown before I would call times and remind students, "Do NOT touch your chips!" Then I could have group's share their reasoning or why they chose various answers. Usually with multiple choice questions, I hear a lot of "I guessed," but not when there was wagering involving. If group's went "all in," I would have them share how they knew their answer was correct, I would hear some great explanations then too about using process of elimination to get rid of obviously wrong answer choices. If groups only placed a few chips on the board, we could discuss why their confidence wasn't high in their answer.

Then I would remind students not to touch their chips and I would change the slide to the next question. As they worked the problem out, I would walk around and "pay" them or take their chips. I just walked around with chips in my hand and matched their stacks, just like at the BlackJack tables. I would also cash in stacks of 10 white ones for a red or stacks of 10 red ones for the coveted "black chip."

I expanded this game beyond just multiple choice by having them stack chips on their answer. For one question, they had to fill out this two-way frequency table. In other questions, they would draw a graph or even write an equation. By stacking the chips on top of their answer, there was no way for them to cheat and change it. (I had plenty of eyes watching to make sure no one touched their chips after I gave the correct answer).

Sometimes we played for homework passes, extra credit points, or a Dum-Dum. The students would come in begging to play "That Super Fun Poker Chip Game" - anytime you can get kids begging to do math - it's a "Winner Winner Chicken Dinner" in my book!


  1. I have a case of poker chips just like your picture. I am all over this! I am moving from 6th grade to 9th and 10th. They will love it!

    1. That's perfect! I think they really like the weighted poker chips and having something tangible. I hope your students love it as much as mine do!

  2. what if they got 1 wrong answer, should I take 10 white chips or 1 red chip from them

  3. Replies
    1. They wager each round based on their confidence in their answer. If they get it wrong, you take whatever they wagered.

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