Not all poker chips are created equal, so learn the difference between clay, plastic, and other kinds of poker chips before you go to the store. Also find out how many chips you'll need for your game.
Clay Poker ChipsThere are three types of materials most poker chips you can buy are made of. The fanciest kind are known as clay poker chips, though truly they're made of a combo of clay and other materials, and are the standard casino diameter of 39 mm. They have a nice heft, and weigh from 8 to 11.5 grams a piece.
Metal Poker ChipsThe second kind of poker chips are made of a metal core surrounded by plastic and weigh either 8 or 11.5 grams. These metal-core composite poker chips are the closest match to what you'll find in most casinos these days, and are a good, durable choice.
Plastic Poker ChipsFinally, you'll find plastic poker chips. While they aren't as substantial as the other two kinds of chips, they are a lot cheaper and in the end, do the job just as well. You can find a kind of plastic chip that's better than the kind you can pick up at toy stores and Kmarts, but I'd recommend starting out with the cheapest ones and saving your money for when you can buy metal-core or clay chips.
How Many Poker Chips To BuyDepending on the size of your game, you're going to need to stock up on different amounts of chips. I recommend:
--200 Chips for 3-4 players
--400 Chips for 5-6 players
--600 Chips for 7-8 players
--800 Chips for 8-10+ players
You may end up with more than you need, but it's always better to have too many chips than too few.