Throw a Vegas-Worthy Poker Party

Whether you go for Texas Hold 'Em, 5-Card Stud or a rousing battle of War, a casino party is a great way to get friends together for some fun, food and friendly competition.

 

Tips to Set the Casino Vibe

Invite your pals over and encourage them to dress in their Rat Pack best, or tackiest casino wear. Then get your place ready with some simple decorative touches — poker chips, cards, and dice used in clever ways really add that va-va-voom, and sticking with an overall party palette of red, black, and green (for table coverings, plates, cups, utensils) keeps everything tied together.

To give your living room some casino floor glitz, grab several packs of cards in varying sizes then string them on ribbons to hang, scatter on buffet tables, or use for other table décor. String party lights and beaded garlands to create a festive vibe or use the four card suits as a theme. Cut out large heart, club, diamond, and spade shapes to use as wall decorations.

You can even wrap some large square boxes in plain white paper and glue on black circle cutouts to make dice. To make an easy yet great looking centerpiece, fill a vase with poker chips and red flowers. Scatter chips and dice around the base and you’re good to go!

Use extra decks of cards to create your own Vegas style buffet. Glue hands together into a full house or royal flush to use as decoration, or write on individual cards as a cute way to label dishes. There are lots of options ... just get creative.

When it comes to deciding which game to play, that's dealer's choice. If you really want to blow it out, consider hiring a casino party company with experienced dealers to teach everyone the rules and run the tables during the party. You can even rent game tables to give your place an authentic feel.

If you'd rather not dish out the moolah for real dealers, ask your card shark friends to run the tables and keep the peeps up to speed on the rules. Serving as the dealer can be seriously fun, so you shouldn't have any trouble getting help. For an official game table, just grab some green felt and cut it to fit your table — no sewing necessary. Masking tape is great for making table markings, depending on your  game of choice. 

A last super-silly, seriously-fun option: set up tables for Go Fish, Old Maid, Snap or War. Hang a poster with the rules nearby and let the childhood games begin.

What to feed your friends?

Go retro with finger foods that are easy to snack on without showing your hand. Think mini sandwiches on cocktail bread, chips and dips, pretzels, pizza bagels, and pigs in blankets. Bust out your martini glasses for a fancy, on-theme way to serve nut mixes, small candies or even shrimp cocktail. 

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

Set up a serve-yourself martini bar with shakers and garnishes, or keep it simple with a signature old school cocktail in a beverage dispenser. Try my Peachy Keen Whiskey Sours for an easy crowd pleaser. Be sure to offer plenty of water too so your friends don't feel like extras from "The Hangover" the next day!

For the final touches, throw on a Sinatra mix and loop Vegas-themed movies on TV (The Gambler, Casino Royale, Casino, or almost any Rat Pack movie) and let the party begin! Make the call ahead of time on whether you’ll be playing for cash or bragging rights. For any non-gamers, throw a “house of cards” building contest. Then send everyone home with a stack of Baby Grand candy bars wrapped in a gold ribbon. Everyone wins on Casino Night!

What’s your card game of choice?