Dealers offer tips, tricks for making the best bet at Casino Night fundraiser in Steamboat |

Dealers offer tips, tricks for making the best bet at Casino Night fundraiser in Steamboat

Longtime volunteer for the Family Development Center's annual Casino Night Fundraiser, Scott Havener runs the blackjack Vegas-style table at the event.
If uou go: What: Casino Night fundraiser for the Family Development Center When: 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 24 Where: The Steamboat Grand ballroom, 2300 Mount Werner Circle Tickets: $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Available at All That, The Space Station, Christy Sports in Central Park Plaza and through Discovery Learning Center parents.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With 16 blackjack tables, four Texas hold ‘em tables, two craps tables and two roulette tables, the Family Development Center’s annual Casino Night fundraiser at The Steamboat Grand could feel overwhelming for the novice gambler.

“First off, don’t worry,” said Jason Lacy, a volunteer dealer for the event, which will take place at 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. “Whether you’re an expert or don’t have any idea what you’re doing, don’t feel intimidated — it’s a great night and for a good cause.”

Gaming will be from 7 to 10 p.m. as a benefit for the Discovery Learning Center, Newborn Network and the Childcare Network programs.

The event will feature Vegas-style games with the Denver-based ACES Casino Equipment company on hand to provide a realistic experience. From 7 to 9 p.m., there will be a silent auction, featuring vacation getaways, massages, dining certificates, artwork, boat rentals and dog sledding adventures.

For tips and tricks of making the best bet and enjoying Casino Night, Explore Steamboat asked local dealers for their advice.

Jason Lacy

Volunteer dealer since the inaugural event

Specialty: Blackjack and Texas hold’em poker

Tips for first timers

“If you don’t know what you’re doing or you’re confused, ask the dealer,” Lacy said. “Also, it helps to watch the other players, see what they do to get a feel for how the game works.”

Poker tips

When comparing poker to blackjack, players are not going against the dealer but rather other table players.

“Really, it’s more of a game about what you think the other person has,” Lacy said. “To me, it’s more about knowing your opponent than knowing what they have.”

For example, a player who is more bold and bluffs a lot is considered a “loose poker player.”

“If you have a good hand, you can slowly play it to catch the loose poker player off-guard,” Lacy said. “As you continue to play your good hand, they keep betting.”

On the other end of the spectrum, a player who rarely bets and is more reserved is considered a “tight poker player.”

“With tight poker players, you know when they make a move that they have a good hand because they wouldn’t typically make a move without one,” Lacy said.

Tips on bluffing

If a player plans on bluffing, Lacy said the best strategy is to portray a sense of calm.

“The best thing to remember about bluffing is to not look nervous,” Lacy said. “Don’t be tapping your fingers or making any nervous movements. Portray you’re strong, calm and relaxed then talk it up with people and dare them to call your bet.

“I think poker has a way of telling you a lot about a person,” Lacy added. “How someone plays tells you a lot about how they live their life. A loose player could be considered a much bigger risk taker, and a tight player is a lot more conservative individual.”

Scott Havener

Volunteer dealer for past six years

(Note: he will be the one wearing the flashing lights on his hat.)

Specialty: Blackjack – object is for the player to draw cards totaling closest to 21, without going over. Best is to get a two-card 21 or a “blackjack.”


“Know the face values of the cards first and foremost — aces are worth 11 or one,” Havener said. “Blackjack is a fairly easy game to play because you don’t have to worry as much about the odds like in poker.”

It also helps to know when to “hit” or “stand.”

“For example, if you have a 12 then you can draw a card,” Havener said. “But if your cards add up to more than 14 or 15, and your dealer has a 9, 10 or 8, you don’t want to draw again because the odds are against you.”

In blackjack, the player is betting against the house (i.e. the dealer), explained Havener.

“If the house goes above 21, they go bust, and everyone who hasn’t gone bust will get paid,” Havenar said. “It’s a two-to-one ratio.”

Tickets are $30 at the door or $25 in advance at All That, The Space Station, Christy Sports in Central Park Plaza and through Discovery Learning Center parents. Tickets also will give players $300 worth of chips to “gamble” with throughout the night.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

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