Idea No.


Casino Night - Dealers Get More Chips



Feb. 2004


Bill in San Jose, CA USA

Honorable Mention

Casino Night Party

Casino Night -- The Self-Working System  There are two major challenges when hosting a casino night:

1) finding enough dealers to run the tables and

2) knowing what to do with the unlucky guests who lose  all their money, but still want to gamble.  

Here's a system my wife and I invented that solves both of these problems. 

THE INVITE:  All our guests received an invite that included a $1,000,000 bill (with a picture our six- month old photoshopped onto it). Every guest was asked to bring a small gift to the  party. 

THE SETUP: Using a variety of beach-themed decorations from a local party supply store, we  converted our garage into a "Tropical Paradise Casino.ö This included a ten-foot tall  palm tree, a large inflatable shark, a pirates treasure chest, tiki torches, etc. Major  items in the garage that could not be removed were either a) covered with a blue tarp  and draped with fish netting and decorated with fish or b) decorated and put to use,  such as the washer and dryer which were converted into a bar.   Our casino had several types of tables: roulette, blackjack, craps, and poker.

The first  three were felts purchased at the World's Largest Gift Shop in Las Vegas and the  poker table was bought for $50 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Since California laws do  not permit people to own (non-antique) slot machines, we downloaded MP3 slot  machine sounds and had them playing in the background. 

For non-gamblers (or folks who needed a break), we had life-sized video games by  projecting PlayStation games onto a blank wall using a projector (borrowed from  work). And we even built a mini-stage complete with a spotlight, stool, and a  microphone attached to a Karaoke system to provide a platform for any budding  standup comics or lounge singers. 

As an extra touch, we included our remote friends and family who live on the other  coast by setting up a live feed. This camera, strategically placed in an upper corner of  the room, acted as our ôeye in the skyö by posting a new surveillance-style image to  the web every 30 seconds. 

THE BIG NIGHT: As guest entered, we handed them each a $1,000,000 dollars in chips (white =  $10,000, red = $50,000, blue = $100,00, and gold $200,000). These guests were  then free to gamble, eat, and mingle.   How did we entice guests to work the party?   By paying them! Guests were paid $10,000 for dealing a black jack or poker hand or  for running a spin of the roulette wheel. $50,000 for every shooter was paid to the  craps dealer since this can be a more complex game to run.   This way, we never had a shortage of dealers and our (more unlucky) guests always  had an opportunity to earn back their money!  [Note: When we do the party again, we'll even pay $50,000 per joke told or song sung  as an incentive to get more people up on the stage to perform.] 

At the end of the evening (which was gauged by when people started to slow down  their gambling), everyone cashed in the chips for raffle tickets ($10,000 per ticket).  Even the non-gamblers had $1,000,000 to purchase tickets! We then raffled off the  various gifts that people brought to the party. Each winner could either keep the item  won OR trade it with any of the previous items raffled off earlier. This created a great  sense of tension, since some of the items were really nice (such as a good bottle of  wine, a gift certificate to the Gap, and a free Blockbuster rental), while others were  purposefully lame (such as a can of corn).  As the first phase of the party came to a close, the more hardcore gamblers remained  to play poker for money. 

The whole time, our eye in the sky silently captured images making for great  viewing the following morning!

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