If you have ever had so much as a fleeting interest in casino-style gambling, then you know that when it comes to table games, blackjack is king. It gets played at a fast pace, features easy to grasp rules, and is a game that is rich in history. Over centuries it has gone through multiple iterations, and in some corners of the globe, it bears a different name. However, what is a constant concerning this relatively simple gambling game is that, everywhere, it gets associated with the glitz and glamour of the casino lifestyle. That means chic evening gowns, black tuxes, crystal chandeliers, and naturally, fancy foods.
So, if you want to add a dose of excitement to a gathering at your place, perhaps a blackjack party is an idea worth considering. It is the perfect excuse for everyone to look elegant while socializing and enjoying some of the thrills that only classic table action can provide. All you need is a deck of cards and a stable table. You do not have to play for real money, but you do have to serve food that will set this evening apart from all the rest as you attempt to capture that distinct casino feel. Below we list some blackjack party ideas that will set the stage for a night to remember.
Now, you must start things off on the right foot. Despite popular North American belief and vernacular, an entrée is not the main course. It is a dish served before it. Thus, it helps set the tone for things to come as it lubricates one’s palette.
It is up to you to decide the type of evening you will be hosting, a casual blackjack party or a super-sophisticated one? Opting for the latter entails a higher budget. However, you do not have to break the bank, as many finger-licking snacks do not cost a ton but have an air of refinement to them.
If you know that your guests love seafood, a grilled platter is always an excellent choice. Some prawns, clams, and scampi are served next to bowls of avocado cream and a seafood sauce. If you know that your friends are more into the meat, then mini-burgers always make great party fare. Turkey sliders with slaw are popular these days, and they only take like 30 minutes to prep. You can serve them with dill pickles, green oak leaf lettuce leaves, and honey-mustard dressing.
Bruschetta with mushrooms and crisp ham is another popular option. If you want to have defined grill marks on your bread slices, place some tin foil and a heavy pan over them when chargrilling. You can also find vincotto and Serrano ham at some delis and selected supermarkets. If possible, make a trip to attain these as they make a massive flavor difference.
If you are short on time, you can try some antipasto garlic bread with finely chopped Kalamata olives. Alternatively, you can purchase frozen pizza ravioli bites, pizza sliders, or some tortilla chips with guacamole and other dips. Everyone loves that. It is a low-budget option that is a guaranteed hit.
As mentioned, the drinks you will be serving depend on your food spread. If you are going to incorporate seafood of any sort, then white wine is a must. It adds splashes of sweetness to that briny seafood taste. A light Chardonnay, some Sauvignon blanc, or a little Riesling should do the trick.
While movies most associate hard liquors, such as whiskey, vodka, and brandy, with men at card tables, there is no doubt that whisky cocktails are an indivisible element of the casino experience. James Bond, one of cinema’s most iconic characters, known for his fondness of baccarat and roulette, loved sipping on a vodka martini at casino tables. In the books, he also enjoys gin martinis and scotch, and soda.
That said, the most common drinks you can see on a casino floor are Bloody Maries, Pina Coladas, Screwdrivers, Mojitos, Gin and Tonics, and Bailey’s on the Rocks. However, those are a bit boring. If you want to spruce things up a bit, try Peruvian Love. It is the signature drink of the Palazzo Casino and aptly reflects the elegance of this venue. Its content includes Mango-infused La Diablada pisco with Cointreau, lime and cranberry juice, lavender bitters, and rock-candy syrup. You may not have all those things around, and it may be out of your price range, but it sure is an impressive beverage to feature.
On the other side of the spectrum, a simple favorite is the Last Chance cocktail. It only demands that you combine two parts of vodka, one part triple sec, and four measures of orange juice. It is the ideal drink when it comes time to call it quits. Casino-themed jello shots are also an established option that most seem to enjoy. They get extra points for their nostalgia-inducing appeal, as they take a lot of people back to their days spent on college campuses.
We do not know if you are aware, but prime rib is the overlord of all casino dining. It rode high on every Vegas menu for decades because it was quick to serve and generally inexpensive. In the 1940s, Vegas’ Last Frontier Casino offered a $2 prime rib (about $30 in today’s money), knowing that it was a loss-leader to attract gamblers. Their plan worked to perfection, as dozens of copycats soon followed suit. Prime ribs popularity dwindled at the tail end of the 1990s, but it has since made a comeback. Nowadays, high-end Sin City restaurants offer a $60-$80 version of this meal. So, if you can afford to spend the time required to cook it, do so. It may not be everyone’s favorite, but it is a casino classic for sure.
Despite their gambling floors, casinos are also famous for their impressive buffets. While these provide everything that your stomach can desire, lasagna is always a well-received option. A massive positive of this meal is that you can prep a grounded beef lasagna and a vegetarian one for your non-meat-eating friends at the same time. The terrific thing about the latter is that you can adjust the incorporated vegetables to suit what you have in your pantry. A useful tip is to use cottage cheese instead of ricotta, as it has more flavor and protein. You can find dozens of innovative recipes online that you can try. You can even prepare a gluten-free and vegan option for those with unique dietary habits.
The dessert is the final meal of the evening, so you want to finish on a high note, and the best way to achieve this is by layering in a bit of humor to your blackjack party. Add a touch of lightheartedness to lift everyone’s spirits. The simplest way to achieve this is to order out a blackjack cake that features a twenty-one-inspired fondant, a green cloth table, an ace-king combo, or a similar motif. You can never go wrong with a New York baked cheesecake or a chocolate coconut one. These are light and delicious.
Alternatively, you can try to bake some playing card-style cookies, or brownies with card suit glazing over them, if you are that skilled. If you want to keep things simple and classy, a lemon meringue pie is a viable option, as are frozen caramel slices and rice pudding.
If you do not want to cook, store-bought desserts you can pass off as yours are Junior’s Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake, Pepperidge Farm Coconut 3-Layer Cake, Edwards Key Lime Pie, and David’s Cookies Original New York Style Cheesecake.
Need to Learn How to Play Blackjack?
We’ve been so busy discussing all the food possibilities that you may feature at your blackjack party that we neglected the game itself. What if you and your friends do not know how to play it? In such a case, there is no need to worry, as its rules are super-simple. It is a dealer vs. player game where the goal is to get the best possible hand without going over twenty-one. At the start of each round, everyone at the table receives two cards. Based on the strength of their hand, they decide to hit or stand. In other words, to ask for another card or not. If you go over twenty-one, you bust and lose. In a nutshell, that is about it.
If you are still struggling to comprehend how this game works, you can practice playing blackjack online. Most internet casinos have a demo-play option that lets you test games without depositing funds or even registering. All you have to do is navigate to the game selection page and locate a blackjack software version. They will give you dummy chips, and you can play as long as you want until you grasp all the nuances of blackjack. You can also watch YouTube guides to get familiar with the game. However, nothing beats a first-hand experience. Know that online casinos allow real money players to face-off against live dealers, but there is no demo-play option for those tables. For practice-play, you will have to contend with going up against software. Once you feel confident, you may navigate over to the money side of things and try and beat a croupier.
About the Author
Shelly Schiff is an online table game expert currently employed by OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos.com, the internet’s premium iGaming info hub. Shelly has over a decade’s worth of experience in the online gambling industry, and even though she mainly writes about slots, blackjack is the game that is near and dear to her heart. In her free time, Shelly enjoys cooking and spending time with her dog, Garry.