A Poker Insider’s Guide to Las Vegas
They come for the World Series, and stay for the food
If there’s one sport that feels like a nearly impenetrable club, it’s poker. Before skeptics raise the inevitable question (“Is poker really a sport?”), let me reassure you that if ESPN dedicates as many hours as they do to it, it is indeed a sport. Also, they have a World Series (going on now).
Now that that’s taken care of, poker not only boasts a whole range of colorful characters, but the game also harbors a mecca to which they all pay allegiance — Las Vegas. There’s old Las Vegas, new Las Vegas, and a Las Vegas that only exists during the WSOP. And when the poker faces fall, cards aren’t lucky, and hunger strikes… there’s delicious Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy of iStock/P_Wei)
Poker players know the ins and outs of eating in Las Vegas better than any set of fraternity brothers. So while you’re sitting at the wrong breakfast buffet trying to catch a glimpse of your favorite player, we got the real scoop about where they sustain themselves.
Poker players know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We’re not saying that the legendary Doyle Brunson always orders the French toast, but we do know that non-touristy, off-the-Strip favorite Jamms Restaurant serves the breakfast of poker champions. But when poker players like Johnny Chan do decide to break the fast on the Strip, it’s undoubtedly at the Society Café at the Encore. Apparently they serve delicious coffee, too, but who needs coffee when there are Bloody Marys?
Ben Lamb may have made it to this year’s final table, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be brushing up on his non-WSOP game while he’s in the city of sin. Like most other serious poker players, he plays amongst commoners at the Bellagio’s poker room — the exclusive hub of poker outside of the WSOP games at the RIO. And when hunger strikes, there is no better solution than the no-name snack bar right next door to the poker room.
Phil Hellmuth is a noted fan of the City Center, having dined (and tweeted about it!) at Social House on Japanese cuisine and enjoyed cocktails in the bar at the Aria. Then, players like Katie Dozier have been sampling José Andrés’ fare at Jaleo, likely tucking into Spanish fare like Jamon Iberico, garlicky shrimp, and chorizo with potato purée. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Muy Yum)
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