Shuffle up for the UKIPT All-In Kitchen
Food, or poker? Depending on what time of day it is, and maybe the size of your stack, it's sometimes hard to work out which is the more pleasurable. So we're happy to announce we've discovered a way to bypass this universal quandary, with an innovative pop-up restaurant.
This week PokerStars and Jones & Sons teamed up to celebrate the new season of the UK and Ireland Poker Tour. Uniting poker with gourmet food, the "All-In Kitchen" was created, the world's first pay-by-poker restaurant.
It sounds like something out of a daydream between hands, but it's exactly as it sounds -- you play poker to determine how much you pay for your meal.
The first All-In Kitchen proved a huge success this week, and there are now plans to roll out the experience nationwide across all the UKIPT stops this season.
Here's how you put your money* where your mouth is, whether you're a poker rookie, or regularly frequent the world of Super High Rollers (free stuff is free stuff after all).
First you play three hands of poker. Then, what you pay is based on how many chips you have at the end of those three hands. That could be £10, £5 or absolutely nothing, all complements of PokerStars.
And the thing is, even if you bust out in the first hand with a gloriously ill-considered hero call, you're still only paying £10 for a great three course meal, normally worth about £50 a head, with a cocktail to wash it down with of course.
As Andy Jones, Founder of Jones & Sons, put it: "I love food and never shy away from the tables when I get the chance, so having the opportunity to create a menu that combines two of my favourite things was something I jumped at. Embracing Poker within the dishes was a lot of fun and some of the dishes that hit the cutting room floor were a bit out there, but I can't wait to see the results and serve up some Aces."
One look at the menu, curated by Jones & Sons, and you get an immediately idea why, when it comes to the All-In Kitchen, you can't really lose.
The gourmet offering will feature a 'Royal Flush of King Crab Thermidor', 'Queen Scallops accompanied by Salt Baked Swede and Bacon Marmalade, '4 Of A Kind of Lamb Chops, Rump, Kidney and Shoulder With A Rosemary Jus' and even a '2 Pair of Pear Tarte Tatin, Pear Caramel and Ice Cream'.
So let's see: £10 at most for a £50 three course gourmet meal? That's £40 added to the prize pool right there.
The All-In Kitchen has already packed up its London operation but plans are already afoot for it to re-appear at future stops. Watch out for details of how you can book a seat as the Tour continues.
For now, shuffle up and eat.
* The event is meant for customers to have fun. Poker at this event is optional and no money is wagered during the poker element of the experience. You can rock up and soak up the atmosphere and pay full price for you meal, or you have the option of playing a few hands and winning your meal for less or completely FREE.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.