Memorial Hall became a would be Caesar's Palace-on-the-Charles Friday night, as 150 high-rolling students turned out for the Undergraduate Council's recently renamed "Lucky Night."
When Friday night's formally attired crowd entered the hall, they received envelopes containing a possible prize and $50,000 play money which they exchanged for red, white, and blue chips at different game tables.
They were free to gamble the chips at games operated by student croupiers, including Blackjack, Clap's Rouet, poker and The Wheel of Fortune. A caricature artist, a D.J. and Bonaparte the Magician also entertained the "gamblers."
The event, now in its second year, used to be called "Casino Night," but the name was changed in response to demands by Cambridge city authorities. The city Licensing Commission forced the name change and said the event could award only random door prizes, not rewards based on chance, since gambling is not allowed in the city.
But that didn't stop students from enjoying their "winnings."
"I'm up $100,000 and having a blast, I might say," said Josh Bloom '96.
Fred G. Kochak '96 had advice to offer the amateur gambler. "Black-jack has the best odds," he said. "You have the most control. Roulette is terrible because the little ball goes anywhere it damn pleases."
Those who lost at the gambling tables could still luck out with one of the door prizes, randomly inserted in the envelopes of take money, which included tickets to the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra Waltz, free admission to Lucky Night, tickets to see comedian Adam Sandler (March 25), a romantic brunch for two at Cappucino's in Porter Square and gift certificates to HMV.
Victor Chiu '94 '95 and Teresa F. Loong '94, the event's organizers, said they wished the turnout for Lucky Night was greater but were still pleased with the event.
"It was too bad that more people couldn't have come," said Chiu. "Everyone who was there seemed to have a good time. I think a lot of people who actually had tickets didn't show up because of the weather."
It is unclear how much the council raised from the event, since it has not yet collected money from the Holyoke Ticket Office.