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Richmond-native Chelsea D. had been looking forward to this day for months. The 23-year-old sociology major from VCU has been a Washington Capitals fan for years. Her father Greg — a huge hockey fan himself– takes his daughter to five to ten Caps games a year. On New Year’s Eve, he asked Chelsea if she wanted to try something different this time. Something a little more fanatical.

“You interested in going to Casino Night? It’s in March. Mom doesn’t want to go.” Greg said. “I promise I won’t embarrass you much.”

In disbelief, Chelsea replied, “I’ll definitely go! But yes, please don’t embarrass me.”

Life threw the family a curve ball a few weeks later. Greg had to get knee replacement surgery at the end of January, then a few days before Casino Night, there was a death in the family. Greg, already hobbling as it was, had to go out to Las Vegas.

Chelsea wasn’t sure she’d still go without her dad. Unsure what to do, she asked her boyfriend Evan if he would come along. Evan, a Caps fan himself, obliged.

And then, despite all the trouble following them around lately, a special moment – that could have happened to anyone – found their family.

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Photos: Chris Gordon

The Capitals held their annual Casino Night on Wednesday, where fans dropped serious cash on live and silent auctions. Caps players couldn’t participate in those auctions, but they were given a bunch of raffle tickets.

One of the items up for grabs: a chance to meet Alex Ovechkin. “It is my dream!” Dmitry Orlov joked as he looked over the raffle items.

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Gambling with Play Money: Caps Casino Night in Photos

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Yep. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

Wednesday night, the Washington Capitals held their fourth annual Casino Night at the Pentagon City Sheraton. Fans had the opportunity blow fake money gambling with their favorite players, as well as dishing out real money on a live auction featuring big-ticket experiences, a silent auction on equipment and memorabilia, and a raffle. The money made from Casino Night will benefit the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. The team has raised nearly $1 million on past Casino Nights, and the live auction this year took in over $40,000.

“We did a got of research on craps,” Karl Alzner, who was there with his wife Mandy as well as her mom and grandparents, told me. “The correct throw and the technique and all that.”

“Even though it’s play money it’s still a lot of fun,” Alzner added. “We get to dress up.”

When I talked to Tom Wilson about the night, he had one main takeaway.

“Ovi’s pretty risky,” Wilson said.

Below, take a look at some of my photos from the night.

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Photos: Third Annual Caps Care Casino Night

Papa Ovi and GMGM pose for what can only be described as the greatest photo ever.

The Caps hosted their annual Casino Night Friday evening, raising just under $300,000 for Washington Capitals Charities and providing a fun personal experience for fans that got to sit down and smoke their favorite players at blackjack for one night. (See! They’re human! Even Ovechkin!)

All of the Caps were in attendance, even Dmitry Orlov with a taped-up nose, and Joe B. emceed for the night, though it’s possible his most important contribution was wearing these shoes. Brooks Laich broke the collective hearts of the metro area when he showed up with a date, but as far as we know nobody tried to get Nicklas Backstrom to headbang, so we’re declaring this year’s Casino Night a success.

I was there, and shot it all, so check out the photos after the jump!

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