Look, not everyone can make it to their favorite casino for the holidays. Things like work, family commitments, and even budget restrictions can prevent you from dashing out the door and hopping on a plane.
Don’t let that stop you from enjoying all the casino action you love. Spice up your holiday party by hosting your own casino night.
Below, you’ll learn how to host a casino night for the holidays. Forget the ugly sweaters and matching footie pajamas. Start dressing like you’re in Monte Carlo and roll the dice!
Like any worthwhile endeavor, hosting a successful casino night requires proper planning.
There are a lot of moving parts involved in hosting your own casino night holiday party. The holiday season’s stress can bear an extreme burden on some of us, and I recommend starting as early as possible.
During this important stage of the process, you’ll need to decide things like picking a theme, choosing a menu, deciding what casino games you’ll be playing, and setting a budget.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help either. Having a family member or close friend on your team will drastically reduce the stress level you endure leading up to the event.
Split areas of responsibility fairly and allow input from all parties involved. Not only will you be able to distribute the workload, but you’ll also be able to share in the sense of accomplishment for a job well done.
Decide on a Budget
In order to throw a decent casino-themed holiday party, you’re going to need to spend some money. Decorations, food and drink, hiring dealers, prizes, and renting equipment all cost money.
It can add up quickly, and the last thing you want to do is book dealers and a caterer only to find out that you don’t have the funds for renting tables or stocking the bar.
If you’re working on a limited budget, prioritizing is key. It doesn’t matter if you buy top-shelf alcohol if your guests are playing Casino War at the kitchen table with your seven-year-old nephew as the dealer.
Games should be of paramount importance. Decorations can be a DIY project, as can the food, but you probably aren’t going to build a roulette table.
There are some great ways to have guests help absorb the costs of a fantastic casino night.
For starters, you can have each guest bring a bottle of their favorite alcohol. This will not only save money but ensure that each guest has the perfect drink to enjoy for the evening.
Next, you can do a potluck, buffet-style spread; this is especially easy among close friends and family. Nothing says Las Vegas like having your very own buffet.
Finally, consider having guests buy-in for chips. Usually, this would be done by setting a buy-in price, maybe $25, and in return, the guest gets a set dollar amount of chips to play with for the night.
Pick a Theme
This may seem redundant; after all, you already picked a theme by having a casino night. However, you can take the fun to the next level.
Have you ever walked into a casino that didn’t appear to have any theme whatsoever?
It probably came across as boring and sloppy. You’re better than that, and your guests deserve more. I can’t think of many successful Las Vegas casinos that don’t have a carefully coordinated theme and decor.
Imagine Caesars Palace for a moment.
I’m guessing your mind quickly went to images of Ancient Rome.
Now, try the Venetian. Let me guess, you pictured the Grand Canal with gondolas cruising by people at the shoppes?
Creating a unique theme can leave a great impression on your guests.
Might I suggest that you go with a grown-up North Pole theme if you’re hosting your casino-themed party around Christmas? For those of you that must take things to the extreme, go all out for your event. You can decorate different rooms with totally unique themes and create the wow factor your friends will love.
If you’re having a tough time deciding on a theme, don’t hesitate to borrow from your favorite casino.
Spruce things up by going black tie for the game night and add a touch of sophistication. Tuxedo t-shirts are optional.
Create an Authentic Feel
I suppose you could throw in a couple of decks of cards and some poker chips on the kitchen table and call it blackjack.
However, if you want to impress your guests, add a memorable touch of style and authenticity to your casino night by renting real equipment.
Given that you’re within a couple of hours’ drive from a major city, you should be able to find companies that will rent out casino equipment. The service includes delivery and setup, as well as breaking down after the event.
You can make the event as extravagant or as intimate as you prefer. Poker and blackjack tables are on the cheaper end but can only accommodate a small number of guests at a time.
While the larger tables like craps and roulette will cost more, they can easily fit 15 guests at any given time.
I recommend offering a variety of different games for the party. You may opt for two blackjack tables, or you could even set up a Casino War table like I mentioned before.
Having something different for guests to enjoy will keep the party from getting stale when someone’s getting smacked around on the poker table.
You’re going to have a difficult time pulling off a successful a casino-themed party without some help from the pros.
I’ll start with dealers because they run the games, and casino nights are all about the games. Hiring knowledgeable dealers to handle the table games will also free you up to enjoy the evening with your guests.
There is a tremendous impact on the game between simply having a base knowledge of the casino games and understanding the subtle intricacies of how the games play.
And you don’t have to stop at just dealers for your holiday party.
Hiring a bartender and a cocktail server or two will add to the authentic feel of a Las Vegas casino. Your guests will appreciate sipping perfectly executed cocktails while they try their luck at the roulette wheel.
Professional bartenders also know how to mix drinks that taste amazing but don’t overdo it. We all know that friend that believes that more is always better and pours with a hefty hand; I’m that friend.
However, the last thing you need at your casino-themed party is Aunt Tammy passed out underneath the craps table at 9 PM because your neighbor poured a fifth of vodka into her martini.
Go with the pros, and take some of the guesswork out of your night.
Food and Drink
You can’t host a casino night without a solid menu. Yup, I’m referring to food and drink here!
While the holidays are a time full of extravagant meals around the dining table, sit-down meals don’t necessarily fit into the theme of a Casino Night.
Starting with food choices, you have two basic avenues to go down. The first is the casino-style buffet.
Providing a buffet for your guests allows you to provide a range of options to suit everyone’s dietary restrictions and personal preferences. It also frees guests up to choose when they dine and with whom they break bread.
As you can imagine, caterers book up pretty quickly around the holidays. So, book them as early as possible.
If possible, try pairing your menu’s theme around that of the casino you’re portraying. For example, if you’re going Roman, then serve Italian. If you’re going with a nautical theme, have seafood brought in for the big event.
A well-stocked bar can go as far as a killer spread for your casino night. It’s important to have the staples like beer and wine, but add a few spirits to the mix for those in search of something stronger.
Don’t forget a good selection of non-alcoholic drinks. There may be several guests that aren’t partaking for a bevy of reasons, and they’ll get thirsty. Water, soda, and tea should be plenty to keep them hydrated.
Adding prizes for the players with the most chips at the end of the night is a great way to add a competitive edge to your event.
You could have the players buy in and use that cash to pay the top 3 winners. Another great idea that’s easy on the wallet is by having fun gifts to give as prizes for the top players.
My buddies and I love trophies; it gets a little ridiculous. I had to have a friend of mine build me an extra trophy case to put in my office.
Small trophies and plaques can be made for less than $10, and it reminds your guests of the special night that they’ll proudly display for years.
It’s amazing, but my circle won’t care about winning a $100 prize among us. However, bring a trophy out to the golf course, and we will compete as if we’re in the U.S. Open.
I have no doubts that you’ll be a hit with your friends and family by transforming your home into a posh and ultra-exclusive casino for a night.
Spice up your holiday party by hosting your own casino night, and you’ll make wonderful memories for the entire group.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …