Faux Gambling Featured at ‘Gatsby’ Casino Night

Photo by Nicole Williams

A night of artificial gambling, mocktails and swing music was hosted by the College Programming Board this Sunday at Great Gatsby Casino Night in Friends Hall. Attendees each received $500 of fake cash to try their luck at casino games like blackjack, poker and roulette to see just how many imaginary winnings they could rack up by the end of the night.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Ronika Khanuja, publicity chair of CPB. “We use a company called Any Excuse, and they are the people who have all the tables.”

According to Khanuja, CPB aimed to draw inspiration from the classic book and its recent movie adaptation without being too predictable. “The Great Gatsby has been a hugely popular theme for a lot of things, and we were like, okay, let's try something different—let's not just do a dance or something,” Khanuja said.

Friends Hall took on the novel’s atmosphere of 1920s luxury with tables draped in black tablecloths and scattered with white feathers, gold and silver-colored beads and caramel chocolates with golden wrappers. Khanuja and other members of CPB served mocktails with names such as “The Fizzy Flapper” in colorful plastic martini glasses. CPB volunteers acting as waitresses walked around with trays of finger food to offer the attendees.

“It was fun. I spent most of my time at the poker table,” freshman Steven Daniels said. “I was doing pretty well when my friends were there, and then a group of other people came who were much more skilled than I was."

The historical feel was completed by the “electro swing” music which played throughout the night. Electro swing is a genre which combines earlier styles of music, such as swing and jazz, with more contemporary styles like electronic dance music and hip hop. This fusion of vintage and modern formed a catchy backdrop for the event’s other activities.

“I knew there would be gambling, and I usually don't let myself gamble, but my friend wanted to go eat food so I said ‘okay, I'll gamble,’” said freshman Danielle Rogers.

Of course, the most engaging element of the event were the casino games. Five tables attended by dealers offered the opportunity to compete in the classic casino games of blackjack, poker and roulette. Each table attracted a group of students gathered around it, trading in their paper cash for poker chips, similar to what occurs in a real casino.

Khanuja, however, felt that the uncrowded attendance was a benefit.

“It's not like we got hundreds and hundreds of people, but I think it's enough. It's very intimate and it makes it a lot better, the night a lot more special,” she said.