Students win big prizes at ASI Casino Night

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The Cesar Chavez Student Center may lack the glitz and glamour of the Vegas Strip but on Friday, Nov. 8, the Associated Student, Inc.’s Casino Night brought some of the excitement of Sin City to the SF State campus.

The event gave students with a valid identification card a voucher worth 250 credits to use at five casino games including blackjack, craps, roulette and two types of poker.

“When Student Life was a pilot back three to four years ago, we would all come together and we were trying to figure out different events to have and they were like ‘Oh, let’s have some dances’ and we threw out ‘Hey, let’s do casino night,'” said Horace Montgomery, director of programs and services for ASI. “It was a huge success so we continued to do it. We pretty much do it twice a year, and its been pretty popular so we continue to do it.”

Sarah Pishney, special events assistant for ASI, celebrates after getting 21 during a round of blackjack at Casino Night, as ASI sponsored event, held in the bottom of the Cesar Chavez Student Center at SF State on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Photo by Virginia Tieman / Xpress

Sarah Pishney, special events assistant for ASI, celebrates after getting 21 during a round of blackjack at Casino Night, as ASI sponsored event, held in the bottom of the Cesar Chavez Student Center at SF State on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Photo by Virginia Tieman / Xpress

The event, which was a departure from ASI’s more traditional dances and movie nights, was designed to give students an entertaining and lighthearted way to kick off Veteran’s Day weekend.

It was then up to the student’s skill with the card games, and a little bit of luck, to win enough chips to purchase one of the many gifts ASI provided or a raffle ticket for some of the larger prizes of the night. Prizes included items such as a 32-inch television set or an iHome.

For the first time, ASI held the event in the Recreation and Dining level of CCSC. A total of 10 gambling tables were strewn across the room, each packed with players who let out an occasional bellow of joy that could be heard over the mixture of both contemporary artists, and more classic Vegas-themed tunes blaring across the room. 

Although the event was hosted by ASI, it was Custom Casino Events who chose the games, provided the tables, decorations and professional dealers who helped give students a legitimate casino experience. And though the dealers were professionals, as they handled their duties at the tables they taught the students the games to help them win.

“They’re really knowledgeable. They’re the type of people that pick it up so quick once I show them,” said Steven Boyer, a dealer for Custom Casino Events, about the students at SF State. “I love the college setting. It’s fun.”

The combination of using free, fictional money and real dealers, provided students with an on-campus alternative for their late Friday night.

“I’ve only ever played with my friends, like ‘Hey let’s play a card game, I wanna learn how to play blackjack,’ that kind of thing.” said Tamika Miller, a first year sociology major who won a plush blanket in SF State colors. “It’s very fun, and it’s a good way to have fun without doing anything dangerous.”

At around 12:45 a.m. the last cards were laid on the table and students made their way to the prize table to either purchase prizes or enter the raffle for larger prizes. In the midst of a crowd-generated drumroll, Cristina Dominguez was announced as the first winner, taking home the grand prize of a 32-inch Vizio television.

Luck was certainly a lady that night, as Dominguez won the fourth pick of the raffle as well, netting her an Under Armour SF State sweatshirt.

“It was fun. I get a free TV, how did I not love it? And a sweater, can’t forget the sweater,” said Dominguez, a first-time gambler who earned enough money to enter five tickets into the raffle by playing roulette all night. ” It was really awesome, because I’ve never won anything before in my life, so my luck was overdue.”

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