The smiling dealer looks with interest at the two remaining students clutching their cards tightly as he mechanically shuffles the rest of the deck. The first student throws down his two pairs, eights and twos, with confidence. All eyes now turn towards the second student, who looks at his cards one more time before revealing his four fives with a swift flourish. The people around them give a congratulatory smile as his father gives a proud pat on the back to his excited son gathering the chips.

For eleven years, scenes and moments like this one have played out at Jesuit during the Father-Son Casino Night. Whether it was to hang out with friends, bond with family, or to just play poker, over 750 families came to take part in the popular gathering to kick off their extended weekend. First-time participant Jason Davis ’21 said that “It was so entertaining that I stayed playing at the same table for a couple hours with a few short breaks.” The night was so successful that it maintains a streak of having its tickets sold out within a day of release, despite the admission increase of 200 people.

The hundreds of families spent their gambling money in the Texas Hold’em tournament, Craps, Blackjack, and regular poker to compete for the 20+ prizes given away each year. The sought-after treasures often include sports tickets, iPhones, movie passes, Visa gift cards, and even a yearlong supply of Chick-fil-a gift cards (my personal favorite). To top it all off, snacks and drinks were also provided.

However, prizes were not the only reason people attended. Event Coordinator Pat Sayers thinks the specialty of the event is “the fun bonding experience for the fathers and sons.” She explains, “I think the guys all have a good time. You guys like to be here with your friends, and it is kind of fun to be with your dad too. I think they enjoy it.”

Graham Lancaster ’21 even mentions that “It was fun … I’ve never seen my dad play like that, I saw a new side of him.”

Originally created by two mothers to replace the resource-intensive theme parties throughout the year, the Casino Night is now a major event at Jesuit that remains in the memory of students and alumni for many years. The proceeds of the hugely successful night go hand in hand with other events such as the Auction Gala and Ladies Bingo to help fund endowments and scholarships. The money raised, estimated around $30,000, helps students have a better opportunity and access to the wonderful Jesuit education and community.

With the size and scale of the Casino night currently being at max capacity and the event’s history of selling out the first day, remember to purchase your tickets to this one-of-a-kind experience as soon as you hear about it. I know I will.