Fox Report #4 – Cake and The Main Event

7 min read

The main event is a monster this year. A record breaker. And I thought I was going to miss the whole thing. My wife got Covid a week ago, and even though I felt fine and was testing negative every day, I didn’t want to play if I thought there was a real risk that I would get people sick, or get sick myself and not be able to play. Can you imagine making day four or five and then getting sick as a dog? Ugh. 

Fox and wife in the tag team event at the wsop
With said wife in the money at the tag team event this year. (Photo: Charis Wallace/CardsChat)

I watched some of the live broadcast last night with my wife. She’s feeling better, and she likes to watch poker while I analyze the plays and talk about strategy. And seeing how weak much of the play was, and watching people having fun, I was jealous. I haven’t missed the Main Event since 2013. 

Then she reminded me that I could buy in directly to day two. I did the math in my head. 75 big blinds to start day two? How could I not. I resolved to take one more Covid test in the morning and if I was still negative I would take the gamble. If at any point I test positive, I will bow out, but it doesn’t seem likely at this point. 

So I did something I thought I would never do. I bought in direct to day two of a big tournament. I always thought the idea was silly. Why miss out on all those soft players on day one? And while I still generally feel that way, I would have played day 1B if I felt like it was safe, I’m very happy to be playing. I had some serious FOMO missing the main. 

There is some discussion about whether people should be allowed to buy in to day two, but honestly the structure is so good that it’s the equivalent to buying in before the dinner break in most other events. I don’t have a problem with people buying into day three if they wanted to. Juice up that prize pool! 

Cake Vending Machine at the WSOP Vegas
I know, I don’t look like I need any more cake… (Photo: Chris Wallace/CardsChat)

I finally tried the cake vending machine at the WSOP

I know, I promised this weeks ago. But the World Series is a very busy time for me. I can’t just be eating cake all day. Still, I wanted to get it done because there have been some questions about the quality of cake that the vending machine might produce. 

I had five options – chocolate, red velvet, rainbow, black and white, and vanilla confetti. Tough decisions. I almost bought the rainbow slice, just to trigger the haters, but decided that the most fair test would be simple chocolate. 

The cake comes in a sealed package, and I actually waited an entire day to open it. I was afraid that might degrade the quality of said cake, but it is so well sealed that I think you could leave it sit for quite some time. I guess if it’s going to sit in the vending machine for a while they have to make sure it will last. 

I didn’t go in with high expectations. I expected waxy cake, filled with preservatives. I mean, cake from a vending machine in a casino hallway? How good could it be? 

The answer? Absolutely delicious. I was shocked. This is high quality cake. It’s moist and sweet and melts in your mouth. Really, I was shocked. I can’t say that I’ll be back often. The last thing I need is a big slice of cake for lunch every day, but if you are looking for a slice of cake at 4 am, now you know where to get it. The hallway that runs between Paris and Horseshoe, on the east side near the massage room. You won’t be disappointed. 

Jack Binion’s Steak House

Speaking of low expectations, I also recently ate at Jack Binion’s Steak House. I used to really like the steakhouse, BLT, that was in that space and was disappointed when it was replaced. I went in expecting a very average steakhouse. Why? 

Because since I have been coming to Vegas and playing poker, Binion’s casino has been a dump. I know it was a hell of a place back in the day, but that was back before my day. For the last twenty years Binion’s has been a smoky dump where they never vacuum the floors and haven’t changed the carpet since Joe Biden was “Little Joey”.  

So the name Binion’s might carry a lot of weight with the old-timers, to us “internet kids” (I’m pushing fifty now) it just means dirty, old, and unkempt. Imagine my surprise when I walked into a nice modern steakhouse. Of course, I was still very suspicious. 

The menu is not cheap. In fact the prices were high enough that I thought there was no chance they could live up to that pricing. They are nearly the same as places like The Golden Steer and Delmonico. The prices are more than twice as high as my current favorite Herbs And Rye. How was a new steakhouse, named after a dump downtown, going to give me a steak that I was happy to pay $80 for? 

And then the food arrived and it was brilliant. The brussels sprouts were fantastic. The steak was perfect. I was actually impressed. Would I choose it over Herbs And Rye or Delmonico? Maybe not, but those places aren’t right outside the WSOP. And they really did a great job. Kudos Jack Binion’s Steak House, good for you for exceeding my expectations and bringing some pride back to the Binion’s name. 

Less Photography This Year

You may have noticed that I’m doing less photography this year. The new media rules at the WSOP make it less interesting for a serious photographer to spend the day shooting. I only have five minutes at the top of every half hour to be inside the ropes, and the rest of the time I’m on the rail hoping to get whatever I can. 

I am, at heart, a wildlife photographer. I took this shot of a pair of Harris Hawks earlier this year in Phoenix. So I applied some of those skills to the WSOP. I left my full frame monster at home and brought my wildlife camera and it’s long lens and high frame rate with me so I could shoot from the rail and still get close ups of nearly everyone. In fact, most of the shots I’ve put up here on CardsChat this year, including the ladies event gallery, were shot from at least fifty feet away. 

Poker is actually easier than wildlife. It doesn’t matter which way the wind is blowing, or where the sun is, and my quarry doesn’t run away or hide behind bushes. At 30 frames a second, I may have to weed through a lot of photos, but I’m bound to get a good one in there somewhere. 

Paying Cash

While the Bravo system, and it’s FasTrac machines, are very convenient, they carry a significant convenience fee. If you’re not use to spending time in casinos, this may surprise you, but everything that is even remotely convenient is intended to help you gamble faster or bigger, or comes with a fee. And these days the casinos are doubling up and even charging fees on things that help you gamble, like the FasTrac machines. 

So I bought in old school, with a pile of cash. I didn’t play that many events this year, way less than my full time schedules a few years ago, but I still saved about $800 in fees by paying cash.

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