Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Eating and drinking in a Wynnter Wonderland

 I already wrote a blog covering the poker aspects of my recent trip to Vegas for the WPT World Championship for Vegas Slots Online so I won’t repeat myself here. Instead a few people asked me to write about where we (David Lappin and I) ate and drank and went.

First I have to say we were pretty lazy on that front. We were staying in the Wynn Encore. We ate the vast majority of our meals there, and rarely left the hotel. The farthest south we got was the Venetian (across the road) and the farthest North was Circus Circus a couple of blocks up the strip (where we went to film some content for the latest Lock In). Part laziness, part because Lappin moaned about his bad back every time I as much hinted about heading for an exit, part being very busy, but big part there’s so much choice in the Wynn there’s no real imperative to leave it. 

Siegel’s Bagelmania

This was where I had my first breakfast in Vegas this trip. Marc Brody picked us up from the Encore and brought us there for breakfast (after which we headed back to the Wynn sportsbook to watch Argentina versus Croatia).

The food is as good as American breakfast gets, and the portions are also very American (which is to say huge enough to feed a village in Europe). Marc ordered French toast and they killed an entire loaf for his breakfast.

Coffee is very good (a key consideration if you don’t want to be dealing with a sniffy grumpy Lappin), so much so that the second time we went there and there was a queue Lappin ordered the coffee immediately and got started on it before they sat us. 

I’d say first meal except that technically that was…


Vegas used to be a 24 hour town but no more. I got there so late the first day we couldn’t find anywhere in the Wynn that was open. We set off for the Venetian to the sound of Lappin complaining about his back. The only place we found open was Walgreens. There’s another about the same distance from the Wynn in the opposite direction we went a few times. Both are very good options if you just want a quick sandwich or a gallon of water for less than a small bottle costs in the hotels. 


This quickly became a favourite, probably because Lappin declared it the finest coffee he’d ever consumed in Vegas. An excellent breakfast menu meant we arranged to meet quite a few friends there. First up was new Irish Open ambassador Chris Dowling, at what Lappin dubbed the ambassadors breakfast. It almost didn’t happen because when we got there there was a longer queue (or line in American parlance) than normal. 

It’s something of a mystery to both of us how there seems to be a line for everything in America, and Americans just accept this. Lines in Ireland tend to be self limiting because if people see more than a couple of people ahead of them they just give up and go elsewhere, which we almost did after Lappin declared this was at least an hour long line. 

As he did so an American lady made the major mistake of stopping to ask if we had been told how long the line was, and choosing grumpy Lappin to direct the question to. Looking at her like she either had two heads, or zero heads, he waved at the line. 

“It’s that long”

“But in minutes…”

“Lines are not measured in minutes. Are you familiar with the differences between time, space and matter?”

Feeling sorry for how sorry she now looked to have asked the question I interjected we had been given no estimated time, and she wandered off to ponder the differences between time space and matter some more. 

We also brought Aidan Quinlan and Sam Dobbins there one dinner break, and Lappin brought along a table mate who wrote for South Park and Mike and Molly’s. Jamie Kerstetter also dropped by to tell us how she was going in the Ladies. 

We also spent our last afternoon in Vegas there with Vanessa Kade who is always good company and seems better equipped to deal with our Irish eccentricities than most North Americans. 


The Italian in the Wynn was another place I went more than once. The first occasion was a rushed dinner break catch up with Pokerbunny (Paulina Loeliger) and her boyfriend. The food was decent and more importantly prompt. Paulina is always enjoyable and thought provoking to spend time with: genuinely one of a kind. 

Second time was a more leisurely affair with Lappin and my buddy Kevin O’Donnell on our last night there. Lappin was less than impressed by the gluten free options declaring “no cooking was needed for my dinner: they just had to take stuff out of packaging” but Kevin and I were a lot happier. Lappin was less than impressed by the table on the edge of the restaurant, saying he felt like he was eating on the casino floor. 

SW Steakhouse 

This was probably the best meal we had in Vegas. The occasion was the WPT media dinner and I got a good seat draw beside the always charming and interesting Jennifer Newell. Team Chip Race loves steak, particularly free steak, and Lappin was in great form when the waiter didn’t blink at the request to make his blue. His mood darkened when they brought it and it was clear there was a gulf between what he and the chef thought blue was.

His mood darkened further when a “guess my age?” game broke out and Jen went very high for Lappin. Things soured further when several Americans made inflated claims for the quality of their steaks in comparison to other countries, something a gourmand as snobby as Lappin couldn’t let pass at the best of times, much less when his youthful looks and demeanour have just been impugned. 

Wynn Buffet

We had very fond memories of this from the Unibet Open there a few years ago so we went to breakfast one morning. The food was decent but not quite as good as I remembered, and we were less than impressed by the line we had to wait in. We were offered the opportunity to join a shorter line for 5 bucks, but we decided we’d prefer to keep the 5 bucks. Once we hit inside it was difficult to see why there was even a line, let alone two. There were enough empty seats inside to accommodate everyone in both lines several times over. Americans, please explain. 

We came for the food and didn’t come back because of the lines. 

VIP room

In truth this was probably the second best place we ate. WPT really know how to treat their qualifiers and you were guaranteed great company every time you went in. 

Lobby bar (Encore)

Only went there once, with our friend Soheb “payjump” Porbanderwala after he bust the main. Has a nice friendly feel to it and the waitress was very funny. Some random dudes tried to buy Lappin’s pants so they could get into a nightclub but ended up staying for a drink, and Robbie Strazynski and Dankness made cameo appearances. 

Deli at reception (Encore)

Don’t know the actual name of this place and was only there once for coffee with Smidge after we both bust the main. Lappin joined us when he busted shortly thereafter for a communal sulk as we glared angrily and enviously at people still in the tournament enjoying their break. 


I’d been here once before. Poker tourist Asif brought me there at the start of my WSOP 2015 campaign which he never fails to point out was my most successful. I brought Lappin there hoping for similar run good this time. He wasn’t that impressed but I was (a lot of things are easier and better when you can tolerate gluten). We’d definitely have gone back there had Urth not been a lot nearer. 


I have many fond memories of this Chinese beside the poker room in Encore. I was less impressed this time, and Lappin even less so. He was ok when we ate there on our last full day there, but he was in a lot worse mood the next day when we returned because it was one of the few places we could use our poker points for comps. Yes we may have won 5k between us the previous night in the team event but goddammit we're poker players and spending our comps is always a priority. His verdict this time: “I wouldn’t feed this to my dog”. All the more damning given the fact he doesn’t even have a dog, and never has as far as I know. 

PGA Grill House (airport)

By the time we got to the airport Lappin was in as bad a mood as I’ve ever seen. It didn’t improve when he was told he’d have to join a slow moving British Airways bag drop line which he was pointing out to BA staff is an oxymoron as I abandoned him to go with the already checked in Jack Hardcastle. 

Jack and I ended up here mostly due to a bewildering lack of alternatives in Terminal 3. No idea what the food is like as we stuck to the beer, regaled by Lappin telling us about the revolution he had fostered in the bag drop line when he eventually showed up.



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