BACK IN BUSINESS: Venetian Launches First Major Las Vegas Live Tournament Series Since Casino Shutdowns

August 18, 2020
BACK IN BUSINESS: Venetian Launches First Major Las Vegas Live Tournament Series Since Casino Shutdowns

Online poker has boomed since major tournament series shut down earlier this year because of the Coronavirus pandemic. At least one Las Vegas property is dipping its toes back in the tournament pool.

The Venetian announced this week that it would be running its DeepStack Showdown from Sept. 7-27. The series features 32 events with a total guarantee of $400,000.

Another step for live poker in Las Vegas post-pandemic shutdown

The Venetian reopened its poker room on June 5 and shifted to eight-handed play in August. Players must still wear masks and Plexiglass dividers are placed between players.

 The property has been running daily tournaments in recent weeks. However, the DeepStack Showdown becomes the first major Las Vegas tournament series since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The series comes at a time when some casinos haven’t reopened poker rooms at all. Venetian tournament director Tommy LaRosa says players can expect a safe poker environment.

The property has put in place the Venetian Clean” commitment in response to the pandemic. The program includes 800 initiatives to enhance safety and minimize risk for our guests and employees.

“In the poker room, we require all players to sanitize their hands before sitting down at a table, so players will find hand sanitizer stations throughout the room,” LaRosa says.

“In addition, we are frequently wiping down the tables, chairs, plexiglass dividers, hard surfaces, and sanitizing the chips and cards. We continue to make changes that enhance our protocols to insure compliance and accountability.”

Part of the new protocols includes the temporary elimination of food service in the poker room. Tours like the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour remain on hiatus and many will be watching to see how things turn out at the Venetian.

What does the Venetian have planned during the Showdown?

The Venetian is taking a measured approach to the latest series. Guarantees are about 50% less than events prior to March and the shutdown.

Despite that, the room has seen nice action since reopening. Poker room organizers are interested to see how the Showdown performs.

“Our one-day poker tournaments have seen tremendous support even with lower guarantees since we resumed on July 24,” LaRosa says. “We evaluate each DeepStack poker series and make adjustments as participation dictates.

“Players can expect the value, comfort, prize pools, experienced staff, and safety they have always known and experienced at The Venetian. We strive to provide guests and players with the experience they know and love, and we are encouraged by the excitement of our players.”

Players heading to the Venetian will find two daily events during the week that’s beefed up to three on Sundays. Buy-ins range from $125 to $400 with guarantees from $2,000 to $100,000.

Most events are No Limit Hold’em with a few Omaha tournaments mixed in. The $400 MonsterStack highlights the series and comes with a $100,000 guarantee.

That event kicks off the first of four starting flights on Sept. 23. For a complete schedule, click here.

Casino pays out huge bad beat jackpot

The Venetian already made some news recently with a massive bad beat jackpot awarded at the poker room.

On a board of 6♥78, poker players Adam Lister and Yusuke Sawauchi got into a huge pot. The game was $1/3 No Limit Hold’em and both players put it all in after the river.

Lister noted on Twitter that it took a bit to realize what had actually happened.


Lister ended up losing the pot with 45 to Yusuke’s 910. However, the unlikely straight flush over straight flush saw Lister take home $166,000.

His opponent added $83,000 to his bankroll. Six other players at the table received $13,834 – not a bad payday all around.

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