Kelli Makenna Kuttruff
The Campus Activities Board organized a Casino Night in the third-floor Campus Center Ballrooms on Tuesday night. Students were encouraged to go all in with formal outfits, and were given the opportunity to learn to play games such as poker, blackjack and roulette.
Trained card dealers sat at tables across the room ready to teach students how to place their bets, without any risk of losing money. All in attendance were also given raffle tickets to try their hand at winning Beats Studio Pro headphones, Airpods or a JBL Charge 5 Speaker. There was an array of food available, and even balloon artists to add to the festivities.
About 150 people attended, many dressed in elegant evening attire which added to the casino ambience. Covering the room were ten blackjack, two poker and two roulette tables filled with students eager to learn from the best. Frequent cheers and hollers could be heard across the room from students who were learning when to call, fold or raise.
Junior political science and rhetoric and communications major and organizer of the Casino Night, Drew Ruiz, took over two months to organize this multifaceted event as the CAB Film and Games chair. The “games” part of his title was recently added, and Casino Night was the first event to fall into that category.
A Casino Night appealed to Ruiz because Las Vegas casinos are always idealized in movies, and this would give students a unique opportunity to try their hand at poker games with nothing at stake. This event was the first time this year that CAB tried to enforce a dress code, and they even posted a mood board to give students inspiration for looks that emulated the atmosphere of an actual casino.
Ruiz believes that his chair position now including games allows him to create more interactive and personal events for students.
“A game event makes people have fun in their own way because they’re not watching somebody, they’re playing themselves,” Ruiz said.
“I think the interactional aspect of it is what’s made it unique, and made it seem more fun to people”
CAB co-chairs Kennadie Gonzalez and Mia Valdez supervise cabbies and support them with their events. Gonzalez has noticed that students tend to enjoy going to events that are interactive, and thinks that Casino Night is unique because they have never organized an event like it before. She thinks that students attending events and getting involved is important because students never know who they will meet, and events such as Casino Night give students a chance to do something new on campus.
“I think people like new and fresh ideas, and I don’t think this campus has ever seen a Casino Night,” Gonzalez said.
Valdez believes that students should try to go to at least two events each semester to get the full campus experience.
Casino night was “an opportunity to come, dress your best and feel your best, and even have a chance to win a really cool prize and meet new people,” Valdez said.
Junior biology major Mia Alvarez attended Casino Night after hearing about the event on the CAB Instagram page. She has been attending CAB events more frequently and trying to enjoy her time on campus more. For each CAB event, she has noticed the elaborate decorations and that they go above and beyond with their themes.
She believes that Casino Night was a fun and unique way to learn poker games students may not have had a chance to yet.
“Most of us are 18 and we can’t do anything until we’re 21, so it’s a fun way to kind of learn,” Alvarez said.
“When we are 21, we can just hit the slots straight away!”
Also attending was sophomore computer science major, Katelyn Teixeira, who heard about Casino Night from her friend. They have both been trying to go to more on campus events together, and this one stood out to her because it seemed more interactive and like there was more to do. What stood out to her initially were the decorations, balloon artists and the genuine fun that exuded from everyone playing games.
“Things can get a lot more stressful around finals and the whole school/life balance can get a little thrown off, so providing students with an opportunity to have some fun and come onto campus for something other than school is really beneficial for students,” Teixeira said.
She believes that it can be really difficult for students to balance their school and the rest of their life, as it is normal to get caught up in homework and due dates. She feels that this event was the perfect way for students to unwind, have fun, and get the opportunity to learn something new.
“I hope to make a bunch of fun memories and play some fun games,” Teixeira said.
“Hopefully I can figure out how to get some strategy for casinos so that when I turn 21… we’re going to Vegas!”
Kelli Makenna Kuttruff can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelli Makenna Kuttruff is a senior communications major with an emphasis in public relations. She is the arts editor of the Campus Times, and is in her second semester as a staff writer.