on September 21, 2010
I was on the fence about whether to give the set 5 stars for the set itself, which it deserves as long as you understand what you're buying, or dinging the rating to 3 stars for the fact that it looked like this set used surplus parts and was stored next to a dust-producing factory. In the end I went with 4 stars as a compromise. But don't let that detract you from getting this set, if you're in the market for a very good but inexpensive set. And who knows, maybe the condition of my set was a fluke. After all, my case was perfect, which also sounds like a fluke.
I already had another beginner set that I purchased about a year ago from Brookstone. It only had 400 chips in white, blue, red, and black denominations. The chips had a dice design on them and although they were resin and not clay, they had a very solid weight to them and made enjoyable sounds on the table. But after my last poker tournament, I realized I really needed more than 400 chips to host more than a couple guys. So I needed a new set where the chips would at least look similar to my existing chips, have similar feel and sound, and at least one new color. This set from Da Vinci fit the bill to the tee.
* DELIVERY: relatively speedy with tracking information available
* CASE: unlike many other reviewers out there, I inspected my case and couldn't find a single flaw with it. It also looks and feels more sturdy than my existing chip set case. It does come with a set of keys to lock it but I haven't found anyone yet who actually used them. The felt-like dividers in the case are standard for this sort of case, nothing fancy and not super strong, but as long as all you're doing is carefully taking chips out and putting them back in, they'll get the job done.
* ACCESSORIES: as has already been mentioned, this set comes with a full complement of dice, two decks of cards (which I haven't opened but I trust the plethora of reviewers who say you might as well throw them away and use your own cards), big/small blind and dealer buttons, as well as a full assortment of cut cards. Maybe I just misread the description, but I was only expecting 2 cut cards in the case but I actually got 5, each a different color. The cut cards are pretty flimsy and not great quality, but most sets don't even come with them so having them thrown in as a bonus, even if they're cheap quality, is still a pro in my book.
* CHIPS: ok, this is really why you're buying the set. 500 very decent quality chips. Amazingly, they have the same dice design as my existing chips, so they're a perfect match in design and color. That also means they have the same nice weight and sound. So it's literally the perfect extension to my original beginner set. This set gives me a stack of green chips as well, which really adds more flexibility to your games and tournaments and I now have very deep stacks of whites, reds, and blues to properly host probably up to 12 people if I really wanted to. So yes, the chips are the main reason you're buying this set and I really don't have ANYTHING bad to say about these chips.
Of course, just because I don't have anything bad to say about the chips themselves doesn't mean I don't have anything bad to say at all. Read on.
* CONDITION: This is my only gripe about this set. I've never EVER bought a new product that arrived looking used! The really curious thing is that everything looked used or dirty INSIDE the case but not outside. So how does that happen, I wonder?? The cut cards had smudges on them, possibly from the manufacturing process but still. They also had fine scratches on them. Again, probably attributable to their very cheap material and just rubbing against each other in the plastic bag, but still. The dice in my brookstone set were all plastic wrapped in a line. These dice are all loose. The plastic buttons have scratches. My brookstone set had each stack of 50 chips wrapped as a whole. This set has weird combinations. For example, in a stack of 50, you might have two sets of 25 chips wrapped separately, or one set of 30 chips and another of 20. On top of that, the plastic wrapping over most components FELT dusty. In some cases I could see a fine film of something, probably dust, but not on every component. Overall, the impression I got was that these sets were using left over parts, returns, etc to make whole sets. I don't know if that's actually what they're doing, but that's the only way I can explain the haphazard, random wrapping of stack denominations, loose dice, smudged and dirty components. Now, that being said, even though the chips are wrapped in weird numbers and the plastic wrap might feel or look dusty, the chips themselves are fine. And since I got 5 cut cards, even if some are smudged or scratched, they are still usable. So end of the day, even if this is a Frankenstein set and they are using all the leftover parts from other sets, manufacturing surpluses, returns, etc. it still doesn't detract from the nice chips, getting 500 of them, in 5 color denominations, in a case that should be sturdy enough for regular intended use, at arguably the best price (cost + free shipping) on all of Amazon.
Knowing what I know now about this set, would I still buy it again? Absolutely. The fact that the chips are nice quality and match my existing chips makes it worth every cent I paid for it, probably even more. It has a nice assortment of extra accessories thrown in. The case arrived in PERFECT shape for me. So for what I needed, it's exactly what I was looking for. I could have spent 3X as much on clay chips and a handsome new wood chip box and quality cut cards, only to have the chip colors be slightly off from mine and have a different design, and feel and sound different. So my situation is probably a bit unique. But as long as what you're in the market for is a very complete beginner set, and you aren't worried about trying to match this set to a different existing set, then this will answer the mail for you and I highly recommend it.
ONE LAST THOUGHT:
Another reviewer already mentioned this but I think it bears repeating. If this does become your beginner set, you'll probably someday want or need more chips, be it to deepen your existing denomination stacks, or add new colors for added flexibility in games. At that point, rather than being in my position of trying and hoping you can find chips that are close enough to your existing chips, Da Vinci already sells additional chips in this exact design, in the same basic colors as well as a number of additional colors (yellow, pink, purple, etc). So you can always add on to your set without having to worry about mismatching your chips. That's a REALLY nice bonus.
on May 25, 2010
First off, the chips, which is what most of you will be buying this item for, are of good quality. They're nice and heavy and make a nice sound.
That said, the rest of the set is pretty abysmal.
The cards are your run of the mill cards, very average. I went ahead and invested in a few decks of KEM plastic cards before buying this. The dice, dealer buttons, and cut cards are all acceptable. Nothing extraordinary. The buttons and cut cards feel a bit cheap.
The metal case is the worst offender. Mine wasn't properly aligned so closing/locking it properly is a pain in the neck. Inside, the pseudo-black-velvet base (the thing that holds the chips and cards) is already falling out and bent in certain places. The base also does not fit the case properly, and an unappealing "bald spot" runs down the left side.
The rest of the deck is also somewhat damaged. A few chips have white spots due to the colored parts falling off. The small blind button has quite a few scratches (I suspect the other ones do as well, but their color makes it negligible). Finally, the case has a small dent on one side, about the side and depth of a quarter.
The value of this set is nowhere near $120. Even $40 would be pushing it.
The box the set arrived in is in perfect condition, so I'm ruling out shipping problems.
I bought the set from ChipsAndGames.
I've received my replacement set from Amazon (Amazon's support is great). The replacement set didn't have any of the obvious defects, but the overall quality is still a bit iffy.
Once again, if you're looking to buy nice poker chips and the rest is just a bonus, this is not a bad deal.
on October 16, 2010
For the money I paid, I'm very pleased with this product. Specific to what I bought this for, the chips are plastic, not clay, but are of very decent quality, have a nice weight, good tactile feel, nice clacking sound, and I would easily use them for any poker gathering. For the price, I give them five stars.
The case is pretty good. It would probably not survive a fall down the stairs, but is certainly good enough to carry the chips around in. Everything fits nice inside, and the assembly of the case itself looks acceptable. While in a court of law someone could prove that there's aluminium in its construction, it's not all aluminum. This is certainly no Zero Halliburton briefcase, but it gets the job done. Thinking of this as a free bonus with the chips, I give it four stars.
The cards, dice, and buttons are, as expected, poor in quality, but they're not what I bought this for. The cards are Bee knockoffs, and are comical as they proclaim "Glub Special" and "Extra Selected". Give them to your kids. The dice & buttons are already worn, as I'm sure they came in a bulk box from some Chinese factory. The cut cards are ok I suppose, but there's not too much to say about plastic cards.
Shipped via Amazon, it came double-boxed, and there was no damage to the case itself. The free shipping was very nice, as the chips make for a pretty hefty overall weight.
Again, for the price, I'm very pleased with the chips, and the case is pretty good, and I would recommend this product to anyone.