If you've ever watched professional poker players on television, you've probably seen them fiddling with their chips, stacking them and restacking them and shuffling them together. And that annoys me to no extent. It's like, "C'mon guys, just play already!" And I just want to jump up on the table and punt their piles of chips across the room. Inevitably the dealer would get angry and start throwing chips and cards at me to get me to stop. And then I would pull out a grid and catch all the chips, and we'd start playing Chip Chain, a match-3-esque puzzle by AppAbove Games where making combos with chips and cards can lead to huge points. (I'm good friends with the dealer, so he'd totally be down with this plan.)
Near the bottom of the screen, you'll find a queue of chips to be placed on the grid, with only the left-most chip available to use. When you tap an empty space on the grid, your chip will fly to that spot. The dealer then randomly throws down a chip of its own, sometimes a helpful chip exactly where you want it, sometimes useless (particularly the worthless X chip). Ideally, you want to set up chains of three or more adjacent chips with the same number, and if you can manage it, chains of increasing value next to each other. Tapping a chain clears that cluster of chips, but leaves a chip of the next-highest value in the spot where you tap. If you clear that new chip immediately in another chain, you can get an extra card to play, plus you start racking up more and more bonus points with each consecutive chain you clear.
The ultimate goal of Chip Chain is to accumulate the highest score possible given your stack of chips, but you're also given a hand of cards to play that can influence the board, such as adding or subtracting to the value of the chips, picking up a chip and moving it to the front of your queue, or even matching all of the chips of a certain value on the board, whether or not they're in a cluster. To use a card, tap it in your hand at the bottom of the screen, then tap the chip you want to use it on. Using cards does not interrupt your active combo, so you can use them to strategically change your chips mid-play to increase your score. However, your hand is limited in size, and new cards will bump older cards out of play if your hand is already full, so be sure to use them before they disappear.
In addition to the points that you score, you are awarded gems for each match that can be used to unlock special advantages in play, such as extra cards in your hand or longer limits on the Short and Timed game modes. In the free version of Chip Chain, there are only two modes available to play on a day, but all game modes and bonuses can be unlocked by saving up gems from play, or by purchasing gems in-game. The gems, however, are not a valid form of currency to bail yourself out of trouble when casino security throws you out for ruining the poker tourney, so you'd be better off grabbing Chip Chain to satisfy your chip-and-card urges.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on an iPhone 4. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.