Jun20
Posted in: Entertaining

Make it a Party: Casino Night

Calling all card sharks! Whether your game of choice is Texas Hold ‘em, Bunko, or some Go Fish silliness…a Casino Party is sure to be a hands-on hit with your friends.

Your Party Plan

Dress Code:

Invite friends to a Casino Party at your place dressed to impress in their Rat Pack best (or Vegas tackiest!). Or go black and white attire for an easy, low-key option.

Decor: 

There are many great choices here, ranging from the simple to the extravagant.

  • You can go simple — plenty of poker chips, cards, and dice used in original ways with an overall party palette of red, black, and green (for table coverings, plates, cups, utensils). Hang party lights and glittery beaded garlands to create a festive vibe.
  • Use cards as your theme. Pick up several packs of cards in varying sizes to string on ribbons and hang, scatter on buffet tables, or use for other table decorating. Glue hands together into a “full house” or “royal flush” to use as centerpieces for platters. Tape cards around the edge of a tall pedestal platter piled with sweets or sandwiches. Or label dishes by writing on cards with a felt marker.
  • You can also use the Four Suits as a motif: Make large heart, club, diamond, and spade cutouts to glue on construction paper and decorate a blank wall.
  • For a little something dramatic, pick up large square boxes at a packing store, wrap in plain white paper and glue on large circle cut outs to make dice — great in an entryway or for a photo-op spot. For an easy-yet-elaborate-seeming centerpiece, fill a vase with poker chips and red flowers. Scatter chips and dice around and you’re good to go.
  • It’s easy to create a game table by covering any table with green felt. No need to hem, and no sewing makes it easy. Just cut to fit and tape in place. Use masking tape to make table markings for your game of choice.

Activities: 

What games to play? Dealer’s choice! Some ideas to make the party a winner:

  • Decide early on if you’ll be playing for cash or just bragging rights (you might want to include this on the invitations).
  • Prepare for non-gamers with activities for them: You could throw a “house of cards” building contest.
  • Plan ahead for your dealers: If you live in a fairly large city and really want to blow it out, hire some experienced dealers to teach your crew the rules and run the tables during the party. Or just enlist the help of card shark friends to deal and make sure everyone is up to speed on the rules. Playing dealer can be seriously fun, so you shouldn’t have much trouble getting volunteers!

A final (super-silly, but seriously fun) option? Set up tables to play Go Fish, Old Maid, and Snap or War. Hang a poster with the rules nearby and let the childlike antics begin.

On the Menu

Think finger foods and go retro! Things like mini sandwiches on cocktail bread, chips and dips, pretzels, pizza bagels, and pigs in blankets are all easy to snack on without showing your hand. Break out the martini glasses, too: Anything served in one is automatically more fun. Shrimp cocktail, nut mixes, or small candies work well.

Get whimsical with desserts: dot sugar cubes with chocolate frosting to use as “dice” cupcake toppers, or do the same with white frosting on square-cut brownies. Fill glass bowls with red and black colored candies (licorice, gummies) and gold coin chocolates for sweet treats.

Cocktails are a must. Set up a martini bar with cocktail fixings and shakers, or offer a signature old-school drink in a beverage dispenser to keep it simple. Try my Ginger Peach Whiskey Sours for an easy crowd pleaser. Make sure to serve plenty of water, too, so your guests won’t feel like extras in “The Hangover” the day after.

Let the Fun Begin!

This party pretty much makes the fun for itself: Just play some Sinatra, loop gambling-themed movies on TV (“The Gambler,” “Casino Royale,” “Casino,” or just about any Rat Pack movie) and let the games begin!

Send everyone home with a stack of gold ribbon wrapped Baby Grand candy bars. Everyone’s a winner on Casino Night!

What’s your favorite card game?

Julie Hartigan

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is a recovering engineer turned chef. She develops recipes and writes about cooking, entertaining, and health for Bed Bath & Beyond, WeightWatchers, FitPregnancy, and others, looking for the spot "where Healthy meets Happy." Julie shares a small urban condo with her 2 little girls, 2 chubby guinea pigs, and 1 very patient husband. You can find her on Twitter @cookingwjulie.

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