Student Program Board presents ‘Casino Night’

Picture a room lined with blackjack tables manned by dealers with painted faces and masquerade masks. The house band the Swing Kings play to a crowd of people eating catfish fingers and coconut shrimp and standing in front of Tomb Raider slot machines.

A man walking on stilts weaves through a throng of people while colored lights flash across the walls.

This was the scene not at a casino in New Orleans, but at the Oakland Center on Saturday.

Students gathered for a Mardi Gras-themed casino night in the OC’s banquet hall. The event was put on by Student Program Board and the Residence Halls. Jermaine Conaway, Chair of Golden Events at SPB, said all the dealers were regular OU students recruited through Facebook.

“[Casino Night] has been a pretty big tradition here, but this year we decided to do a Mardi Gras thing,” Conaway said.

Each student was given ten black chips as they went into the casino. After they finished gaming, each black chip could be redeemed for a raffle ticket towards a number of prizes, including a LCD TV, a digital camera, a 64 gigabyte iPod, a Garmin 225w, and Xbox 360, and a Blu-ray player. Though anyone could participate in casino night, only OU students could redeem prizes.

Before the event, a line of people waiting to get in snaked from the stairs by the banquet hall to the bathrooms in the cafeteria. Students of differing skill levels waited to play craps, blackjack, poker, roulette, and slots.

Integrative studies student Drew Spencer said he plays cards pretty regularly, so he felt confident going in. But he joked that casino night would be best if they had Rock Paper Scissors inside as well.

Jieun Choi, a political science major, said that although she doesn’t normally play card games, she saw the event advertised on Facebook and decided to go because her friends were going as well.

She said it would be great if she could win one of the TVs as a raffle prize, but she really just wanted to have fun with her friends.

The oddest attraction at casino night was likely the giant inflatable slot machine, which patrons could enter and try to grab fake money blown around by a fan. More casino chips were awarded to those who grabbed enough of the dollars, although only every 25th entry into the casino was able to enter the slot machine.

Students that has run out of chips retired to eat New Orleans-style food and in some small part enjoy the sights and sounds of Mardi Gras.

Casino night was a part of OU’s Homecoming celebration, which concludes on Sunday.