How to perform "The Twirl"


Banned User
Jul 30, 2005

This is a favorite of most players and it takes some initial investment of time and practice.

The Poker Chip Twirl is traditionally done with 3 chips held vertically, between the thumb and 1st finger, with some assistance of the 2nd and 3rd fingers. The move is to extract the middle chip from between the other two chips, twirl it (rotate), and reinsert it back between the other two.

At the start of this flourish the three chips are held with the pads of the 1st finger and thumb. I measure almost inch from the tip of both my thumb and 1st finger, to the center of the middle chip. The pads hold the 3 chips vertically, by the edges, on the upper portion of the chips.

Loosen the squeeze on the chips and you will find that the middle chip falls. Through trial and error you will find how much you need to ease off on the squeeze for the middle chip to fall, yet be able to maintain hold on the other two chips. Its a feel you will develop. Once you get it, its like riding a bike. It may seem difficult at first but youll be amazed at how easy it gets. You can also try moving the chips either forward or back on the pads. Your fingers are contoured surfaces and an area a millimeter away may work better.

Position the 3rd finger by the thumb, on the underside of the chips. The 2nd finger stays beside the 1st finger to block the middle chip from falling out that side.

Once the middle chip falls, you trap it between the 3rd and 1st fingers. Apply a squeeze and swing the 3rd finger (and chip) out as the middle chip pivots against the 1st finger. The middle chip is now extracted from the other two chips.

You will find your middle finger is in perfect position to catch the edge of the middle chip and rotate it 180 degrees.

The middle chip can now be returned between the other two by swinging the 3rd finger back toward the thumb. The 2nd finger could follow up behind the chips closing them together.

Many times beginners will find that the two outer chips fall as the middle chip is being extracted. REMEDY: This is the result of not keeping enough squeeze between the thumb and 1st finger. Your attention is being focused on the extracted chip and you need to remember to maintain a steady squeeze on the other chips as well.

Another problem beginners find is that the middle chip travels up or down when rotated. This puts the chip in a different place and it is difficult to reinsert it back into the gap it just came out of. REMEDY: Either ease off, or tighten, the squeeze between the 1st and 3rd fingers when rotating the middle chip. Experiment. Find the pressure that minimizes the travel.

The gap between the two chips closes when the middle chip is extracted and it cannot be reinserted between the other chips.
REMEDY: When the gap closes you are basically dead in the water. Put the chips down and restart.
You may be easing off too much on the squeeze of the two chips, allowing the front of the upper chip to fall, thus closing the gap.. Keep a constant pressure.
Here againits a feel. Work with it, and youll get it. It might seem hard at first but when you have itits easy.

The middle chip just wont fall?
REMEDY: Are your chips sticky? Got Coca Cola on it? Thats a real deterrent. Try cleaning the chips with warm water, mild soap, and dry quickly. No soaking.

Try not to pack the three chips tightly together when held vertically. Allow some air to get in between them. You can do a chip flip (flipping the front chip over the other two becoming the inside chip) to accomplish this.

I hope you are not using plastic chips. They weigh only 1 grams and dont have the weight needed for table acrobatics. You need clay or acrylic composite chips weighing 8 grams or more. If you dont have any, take some home from your local casino or poker room. Use them, and return them anytime.
If any break, the casino/poker room will either replace them or buy them back. Life is good.

A variation of The Chip Twirl is The Double Chip Twirl. In this, you use 4 chips, and extract the two middle chips.

The Chip Twirl also looks good when used in combination with The Chip Flip and The Back To Front. Any rotation works, but I personally like to Flip, Twirl, and Back to Front.

Author: Tom Golabek plays the poker tables of South Florida, Vegas, and Atlantic City. Tom has published for both Poker Player and Full Tilt Magazines, and is an award winning Magician. He has produced a step by step instructional DVD on how to perform a collection of colorful poker chip tricks and card handling techniques which will make you look like a poker veteran. The DVD is sold on Just plug in poker chip tricks into the search box. Bidding starts at $3.95 for the DVD, and $.99 for the VHS.


Dormant account
Jun 15, 2007
What we do in the UK. Is flick 3 chips up with one of our pinkie fingers. Juggle them a few times on our shoulders. Shoulders sould rotate in a slow constant moving anti clockwise motion. With a flick of the forehead we flip one chip onto the waitresses tray as a tip, one in her cleavage & the other in the box to play our blackjack hand. Usually the Americans are quite impressed but its standard practice in the UK. Im always on the hunt for new tricks to learn. Thanks for the tip:thumbsup:

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