Where there is sporting action to be seen, there is always food to be served, and money to be made, whether it’s the concession stand at your child’s Little League game, or the hotdog vendor at Madison Square Garden. PokerStars is tapping into that same concept with the introduction of the All-In Kitchen, and UKIPT contenders are more than happy to take advantage of the exceptional “Play to Eat” discounts on tap.
It’s a rather ingenious system really, cultivated in collaboration with the celebrated proprietors of Dalston’s elegant Jones & Sons diner. PokerStars first launched the unique ‘Play to Eat’ diner in Hackney on Monday, January 19th, coinciding with the upcoming start of the UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) at London’s Hippodrome Casino on January 20th. The pop-up style All-In Kitchen was only supposed to open for three days (Jan 19-21), but due to the exceptional response, it will be serving up poker-themed meals on the 26th and 27th of the month as well.
The All-In Kitchen is like no dining experience you’ve ever had before, and reservations seem to be absolutely required. In fact, it was a completely filled booking of the diner prior to its grand opening that encouraged PokerStars and Jones & Sons to extend the restaurant’s availability into next week. And the menu is just as unique as the experience itself, where hungry patrons can play poker to get a substantial discount, if not a free meal altogether.
Here’s how it works. You make a reservation, and be sure to arrive 15 minutes ahead of time to place your order for a three-course meal (including cocktail). You will be seated at a poker table where, at the precise time booked, the poker game begins. Everyone starts with 10,000 chips, and the price of your meal will be determined by how many chips you have left after three full hands of play.
Playing poker isn’t a requirement to eat at the PokerStars All-In Kitchen, but unless you have money growing out of your ears, it is highly recommended. The standard price tag for any three course meal is £50, but playing a free game of poker will guarantee a maximum cost of just £10.
If you happen to end the game with over 10,000 chips, your meal is free. Finish with 5,000-9,999 chips and the cost is only £5. If your luck goes sour and you fall below 5,000 chips, you’ll still be happy knowing your full meal deal will only set you back £10.
The PokerStars All-In Kitchen menu is divided into segments for appetizers, main courses, desserts, etc., just like any other fine dining experience, but at this Play to Eat diner, they are referred to as things like “Small Blinds” (appetizers), “The Flop”, “The Turn” and “The River” (desserts). A typical order consist of things like The Royal Flush, a Split Pot and The All Nighter, which translates to King Crab Thermidor with straw fries, mixed seasonal vegetables and an espresso martini.
Already, the innovative pop-up diner has gotten rave reviews from critiques. Oliver Pickup of The Telegraph had the pleasure of testing out the service prior to the grand opening, after which he wrote: “The UK’s first pay-by-poker restaurant has landed, and I’m pleased to report it is ace!”