As a mobile DJ, you are always being bombarded with special requests and tasked with coming up with the “perfect” mix for whatever theme the host has in mind for the evening. “Great” DJs earn that title in reviews and recommendations more on their ability to make the music fit the occasion than for the size of their hard drive.
One of the fastest growing themes for parties is “the casino night.” The theme is by no means new, but it has been growing over the past few years for both private parties and corporate events. The reasons for this growth are fairly simple; more casinos have opened in the US and casino specials are a staple on The Travel Channel and other networks. The internet has also played a major part in the growth of casino themed parties. Casino games are one of fastest growing video game segments. This includes social network games and apps. Even the long established online poker site PokerStars has expanded to meet the demand in this area.
Casino games are perfect for social interaction; the players in many games form a bond due to the fact that the table often wins or loses as a whole. This dynamic is especially evident at the craps table, which is easily the most boisterous of any game in the casino when a shooter is on a hot streak. This makes casino themed parties the perfect vehicle to insure the guests are entertained and have an easy way to break the ice.
It is almost a prerequisite that a casino party has a DJ, and how you contribute to the evening can make a big difference to your reputation.
Too often, DJs for a casino theme party simply put together a list of “standards” including the old “Rat Pack” songs, Elvis tracks, and any song with the word “luck,” “Vegas,” “money,” or any casino games in the title.
Just because a song has a “gambling” word doesn’t make it a good choice.
Casinos are the ultimate fantasy and escape. Even someone that has never set foot in a real casino has an idea of what they are like. For a casino themed party to be successful, the event has to have a lot of energy and reflect the casino image. This is as much the job of the DJ as it is the game dealers.
You will likely set up an hour or so before the games and the party officially begins. Unless the host has a pre-gaming activity, like an awards presentation, consider putting together a very simple playlist that sets the mood. Ambient or up-tempo jazz works well. The Ultra-lounge discs are great for this as are artists like Art of Noise. Just start the list and walk away.
Songs and Genres
As hackneyed as it appears, you really can’t go wrong with Viva Las Vegas right as the games begin, and whether you use the Elvis or ZZ Top version is a matter of personal taste. However, bear in mind the Elvis version works even for parties where most of those attending weren’t even born when Elvis was king. It’s just that the lyrics sum up the Las Vegas experience really well.
“How I wish that there were more / Than the twenty-four hours in the day / Cos even if there were forty more I wouldn’t sleep a minute away / Oh, there’s black jack and poker and the roulette wheel / A fortune won and lost on every deal / All you need’s a strong heart and a nerve of steel / Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas.”
If you use the Elvis version, follow-up with The Elvis vs JLX version of A Little Less Conversation. This gives sets a modern tone and signals that you aren’t going to play the same old “Vegas” songs.
Dance and pop favorites are a must. The pop and dance superstars are staples of Vegas entertainment, so you can include all of them. It’s even ok to include Lady GaGa’s Poker Face, even though it’s not about poker. Britney Spears, Pussycat Dolls, and Rihanna all work well. Don’t be afraid to mix some of the old school artists like the B-52s, and Talking Heads.
The Vegas club scene is dominated by EDM. Mixing in Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris, Tiesto, and possibly Skrillex can work well.
The key is to remember you are setting a mood.
There are some “gambling” songs that do work that you might want to include in your playlist:
Winner Takes All – Abba Money, Money, Money – Abba Vegas – Clubstophobia Let’s Go to Vegas – Faith Hill Rambling Gambling Man – Bob Seger Waking Up in Vegas – Katy Perry Sin City – AC/DC Money Don’t Matter Tonight – Prince Poker- Electric Light Orchestra Ooh Las Vegas – Emmy Lou Harris That was a Crazy Game of Poker – OAR Luck be a Lady – Frank Sinatra (This one is easy to remix) Superstitious – Stevie Wonder (Stevie Ray Vaughan works too)
Filed Under: Performing, Sound
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