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Last Saturday I felt like playing some poker and watching college basketball. I saw that Santa Fe Station was having a tournament with a guaranteed $10,000 prize pool.

Living in Henderson, I had never been to the Santa Fe all the way across town. I got the bright idea to head over, thinking with the guaranteed prize pool there is a good chance this might be an overlay tournament. Who is going to travel all the way out there when they can just play any of the many tournaments available on a Saturday on the Strip?

I guess everyone had the same idea because instead of them not reaching the goal they actually had more people show up than they could seat. So they took alternates for three hours. Well, we will cut to the chase and get to the food part.

After playing for 9½ hours and getting through 171 players, there were only five of us left when we decided to chop the tournament five ways. So my trip all the way across the valley was well worth it. Now I’m hungry having  just put in a full day’s work, so it was time to check out The Charcoal Room at Santa Fe.

No better way to celebrate a big cash in a tournament than with a big juicy steak. I sat down and started my meal with a Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail. After that I decided to go with the Onion Soup. I have to say, their onion soup is one of the best I’ve had in town.

For my entrée I was faced with some tough decisions. What I liked was their N.Y. Strip and Ribeye steaks – offered both on the bone and boneless. With me it will always be with the bone as your steak will have more flavor, but it’s nice you have the choice as to which way you want your steak.

I really wasn’t sure what kind of steak I was in the mood for. When that happens, I always choose the Porterhouse. This way it’s like getting two steaks in one. You get a N.Y. Strip and a filet. My steak was cooked to perfection – very tender and flavorful.

I have to say this steak would have been almost double the price at a Strip hotel. It had that great Mesquite flavor as they cook all of their steaks over an 800-degree charcoal broiler. Thus you have the name – The Charcoal Room.

There was an excellent selection of fresh seafood, which included Alaskan Halibut, Atlantic Salmon, Scallops, Swordfish, Alaskan King Crab Legs and, of course, Lobster. This was a perfect ending to a winning day.

If you’re in the area of Santa Fe Station this is a must place to dine. If you’re not in the area it’s worth the drive. Santa Fe is just off the 95 at 4952 N. Rancho Dr. I give The Charcoal Room 3.50 Forks!

Marco D’Angelo is the senior handicapper at He co-hosts FIRST PREVIEW every Thursday night at 11 pm on ESPN 1100 AM/98.9 FM. Follow him on twitter: @MarcoInVegas. Contact him at [email protected].

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