There’s nothing wrong with a standard dinner party, where you, as hosts, welcome friends and family into your home for some tasty grub and hearty drinks.
But if you want to take it up a notch, hosting a casino-themed party is a super-fun avenue to explore. These are easier than you might think to set up, and much cheaper than a roadtrip across North America, but with all the fun. Better yet, the memories are sure to last a lifetime.
Here are a few pointers to get you started.
Step 1: Set the Scene
The first thing is to get your guests into the Las Vegas spirit. If they think they’re attending just another house party at Mike and Sarah’s, they aren’t going to engage with the theme as much as you would like them to.
So visually, you have to transport them to the casino environment. We’re not suggesting that you need to go out and buy ten slot machines and hire professional croupiers, but a few carefully crafted banners and visuals can really help to set the scene.
And then, of course, there’s the option of introducing a strict dress code of black tie and ball gowns. That will add a certain je ne sais quoi to proceedings, and leave your guests in no doubt that they should be preparing for a special engagement rather than a run-of-the-mill dinner party.
Step 2: All About the Games
Even with the best of intentions, your casino-themed party isn’t going to work unless you have games that are accessible and relatable to everyone.
You don’t really want to be spending the first hour of your shindig explaining the scoring mechanisms of craps, nor informing bewildered guests about the different variations of baccarat.
The rules of blackjack are easy enough for even casino newbies to follow, and when the attention turns to poker you can have some printed out sheets detailing the various hands and their hierarchy of importance. These two games are almost cost-free too, save for a pack for of cards and some poker chips.
As for roulette, there are a myriad of retailers online and on the high street that sell roulette wheels. These generally are, admittedly, rather less grandiose than those found in Vegas, but still more than adequate for the job. You can hire these too if you prefer, although buying outright gives you plenty of excuses to host more parties in the future.
Step 3: Drinks and Nibbles
It’s unlikely that you’ll have the time or the inclination to bash out a roast dinner or a ten-course tasting menu in the midst of your party.
Instead, stick to ‘finger food’ that can be strategically placed around your game table to enable your guests to tuck in as and when they’re ready.
Chicken wings are a great place to start (just have some kitchen towel handy), and you can follow up with potato wedges, crisps, olives, peanuts and, for those with a sweet tooth, sweets and chocolate.
As for the drinks of choice, many of your guests will reach for their favourites as is their want at a party. But how about designing your own casino-themed cocktails for them to try?
These could be Martini-based (James Bond is a keen casino enthusiast) or be created around a tipple of your choosing. Just don’t forget to give them a related name like Snake Eyes, The Joker, Double Down and the like.
Step 4: The Next Level
Playing casino games for fun or for small amounts of cash should be enough to titillate your guests, but there are ways to crank up the excitement yet further.
Casino games plus alcohol typically equals a rather good time, so why not introduce a few drinking games to proceedings if your soirée is strictly adults only.
Arguably the best casino-themed drinking game is shot roulette. Set up 37 (or 38 depending on your wheel) shots; these can range from water and beer to the more exotic stuff like tequila, sambuca or any spirit of your choosing.
Each drink is assigned a number, and guests take it in turns to spin the roulette wheel. Wherever the ball lands reveals the tipple they drink; after a few rounds of this, you and your guests will be suitably in the mood to party.
Step 5: Enjoy!
The casino lifestyle is not one that many of us get to enjoy regularly with work and family life often taking precedence. It’s no wonder that online casino gaming continues to grow in popularity as our spare time becomes more and more precious.
So follow the above steps and enjoy your foray into hosting your own Las Vegas style evening. In the company of good friends, there are few things better.