Here's an article on chip counting and organizing for live play that might be helpful.I still have it difficult sometimes when playing live tourneys ,keeping my chip count accurate.
Counting and Organizing Chip Stacks
For live poker players, a manageable stack of chips is an absolute necessity. If you are unable to tell how much money you are playing with, it will make things a lot more difficult. Not only is a neat and clean chip stack a help to your opposition, but it will make your life one thousand times easier when it is time to count out a bet or even rack up.
There are a handful of different common methods of counting and organizing chip stacks at the poker table. Your personal preference is just that, a personal preference, and there is no definitive right or wrong way to stack your chips
A primary consideration when stacking poker chips is the player’s space who is sitting to your left or right. You should always be sure to give ample room to any of your opponents. If you do not allow enough space for the other players to maneuver, you will likely be asked by the dealer to re-assemble your chips in a more appropriate manner.
20 Chip Stacks
The most widespread and common way to stack chips at the poker table is in towers of 20. This is a figure where the stacks are sizable enough that they do not take up loads of space, but small enough that you can easily count them. If you have stacks of 20 chips and are playing deep, make sure that you color up when you start to cover a lot of real estate. Anything over 8-10 stacks of 20 chips will begin to put a restraint on the amount of space that the other players are able to utilize.
40 Chip Stacks
The next step up from stacks of 20 chips is a stack of 40 chips. What happened to stacks of 30, then? Well, stacks of 30 are implemented by some players, but it is easier to count chips in sets of 20 for the majority of players. Stacks of 20 are a good idea if you start to build up a massive stack but have not colored up. Six stacks of 40 chips can easily be kept in a reasonable amount of space. The only drawback to using stacks of 40 chips is that you will have a mess on your hands if they happened to get knocked over. When stacking chips this high, be careful to keep them neat and tidy so as to minimize the risk of a collapse.
A hybrid of these two methods is a pyramid stack. A pyramid of triangle stack is wide at the base of the rail, and things out to a point nearest the center of the table. This is a good way to allow for room nearer the playing area, while utilizing all of the space immediately in front of you. A lot of players like to pile chips on top of their triangular architecture, and this is a perfectly acceptable way to build upon your existing structures.
The least common way to stack chips is without any rhyme or reason at all. Some players simply scatter stacks out with no apparent pattern. This is sometimes used as a read of your play, implying that you are somewhat sloppy or careless if your chip stacks are a mess. While no one is stopping you from laying your chips across the felt in any which way, it is frustrating to dealers who need to calculate stack sizes or when a player wants to see how many chips you are playing with.
Keep High Value Chips in Sight
A very important side note for chip stacks is that you should always keep your higher value poker chips in eyesight for all players at the table. For example, if you have six stacks of red chips and a handful of black chips and green chips, you should place the black and green chips on top or in front of your piles. This will allow all players, and the dealers, the opportunity to see exactly what they are up against. It is very much frowned upon if you attempt to trick other players into thinking you have less than you do, even if it is an honest mistake. Most dealers will notify players if their stack arrangements are prohibiting others from seeing just how much money you have in front of you.