WQS Casino Night Transforms Commons into Gatsby’s Mansion

Oliver Budiman ’20 won 20,000 dollars in chips in a high-stakes hand of Texas Hold ’Em. He bet all of his chips, worth around 4,000 dollars, in the pot. Budiman, dressed in an all-black suit and metal chain, anxiously looked as the cards turned over.

“When the dealer flipped over the fourth card and it wasn’t a five, I instantly got more nervous. My heart started beating faster, and I got really anxious for the next card. In my favor, it was indeed a five. With that two-pair, I got a pot of about 20,000 dollars,” said Budiman.
This showcase of great luck took place at Paresky Commons on Saturday night during this year’s Casino Night, which was organized and run by West Quad South (WQS). The event cost five dollars to watch and ten dollars to play. Games available at Casino Night included poker, blackjack, and roulette. This year, a new company was hired to run the event, which was a major change and improvement, according to Isabelle Bicks ’18, WQS Cluster Co-President.

“[The new company] did things differently. They had a lot of experience putting on events like this at other high schools and other colleges. I think that new company was definitely a success. They made setting up a lot easier and handing out chips a lot easier, since that can get pretty chaotic right at the start,” said Bicks.

The theme for the night was “The Great Gatsby.”

Liam Arce ’20 said, “It was a great theme that kept to what everyone loves in a casino theme plus some little bonuses that fans of the “Great Gatsby” movie will appreciate. For example, I liked how the main colors of the characters were incorporated into the decorations of the event.”
Bicks said, “I think my favorite part was definitely seeing everyone’s outfits… I was sitting out in the front table for a lot of the night, and seeing everyone come in with their “Gatsby”-themed or just casino-themed outfits was really funny. It was great to see the people that took it very serious.”

All proceeds from the night were donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, a non-profit organization based out of New York City. According to Emily Jackson ’19, a WQS Social Functions Head, the foundation works toward preventing and curing breast cancer.

“Spreading awareness for and donating money to breast cancer research is an amazing choice. We collectively decided on choosing the foundation, agreeing that the fight against breast cancer has been prominent for quite some time now. Breast cancer affects so many people, and it feels good to be able to donate to a cure,” said Jackson.

During the event, there were some challenges, like a shortage of decks of cards for poker.

Kai Marcos ’18, WQS Cluster Co-President, wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “During the event itself, people in the beginning were unhappy that there weren’t enough poker games, so Ms. [Stephanie] Cormier, [Student Program Coordinator], from Student Activities helped us out by running down to CVS to buy ten additional decks of cards. Mr. [Christopher] Capano, [Director of Student Activities], was kind enough to deal one of the games, as well as Sebastian Frankel [’20 and] Romulus Sottile [’19].”

Editor’s Note: Romulus Sottile is an Arts Editor for The Phillipian.