Venetian Runs First Live MTT Since Casinos Reopened

The Veneitan ran the fist live MTT in Las Vegas since casinos reopened in Sin City

The Venetian is the first Las Vegas casino to run a live multi-table tournament since casinos reopened in Sin City. Several casinos opened their doors to the public last week, albeit at a reduced capacity. Several strict guidelines are also in place.

Las Vegas casinos remained closed for more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The green light for casinos reopen was given on June 4 but only four poker rooms opened. The Orleans, South Point, Golden Nugget, and The Venetian are the quartet of poker room available.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board said poker tables could only be four-max. They have since gone back on this, if only slightly, as poker rooms struggled to attract players. Five-handed tables cash game tables are now in place.

July 19 saw the first tournament take place in Las Vegas since the lockdown. Venetian hosted a $250 buy-in Shootout with an 80-player hard cap.

Shootout tournaments are a series of single table tournaments that play down to one or two players on each table. Those who survive from each table meet on new tables and the process is repeated.

How Did The Venetian Shootout Work?

The shootout at the Venetian cost $250 with $25 being the tournament fee and $15 reserved for staff. That’s the equivalent of 19% rake, which is massive if unsurprising from the Venetian who are known for shady tactics.

Eight-players bought in and were split across 16 tables with five seats at each. These tables played down to a single victor who then played across four four-handed tables. The winner of these tables progressed to the final table.

A $16,800 prize pool was created and shared by the top eight finishers. First-place weighed in at $4,856 but Venetian hasn’t released the names of those players who cashed.

Such a small prize pool is disappointing but it represents the largest pot in the U.S. since mid-March. To put it into context, Americas Cardroom ran a similarly-sized $265 tournament on June 19. Some 406 players bought in and the top 54 players shared $120,000. “Chick-fil-A” won the event for $23,028.

It is a start, however, but it will be a long time before we see seven-figure prize pools again.

Venetian Puts Online Poker Players in a Catch 22 Scenario

Venetian is an extremely popular Las Vegas when it comes to poker. It has cash games with different stakes across the board. Venetian’s tournament offering is also first-rate, especially during the summer when the WSOP is in town.

A $3,500 buy-in event last June saw a $2,047,500 prize pool created when 650 players bought in. The champion withheld their name, but we know they banked $419,731. Such luminaries as Dylan Linde, Mohsin Charania, and Elio Fox reached the final table.

The problem is Venetian owner Sheldon Adelson hates online poker with a passion. The miserable multi-billionaire spends tens of millions every year campaigning against online poker in the U.S. He even donated $25 million to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Rumors suggest he’s donating $200 million for the 2020 election cycle.

Adelson is 86-years-old now but his hatred of online poker and online gambling is as strong as ever.

In The Headlines For the Wrong Reasons

Venetian hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in October 2019 because of a new tournament concept. A $150,000 guaranteed tournament with a $250 buy-in ran and it was rake free. So why was there an outcry about it? Because part of the small print read:

“100% of all funds collected will go to meet the $150,000 Total Prize Pool. Any funds collected above and beyond the total prize pool will be the sole property of The Venetian Poker Room.”

This meant the prize pool remained the same regardless of having 600 entrants or 2,000! Six-hundred or fewer entrants resulted in the tournament being rake free. Anything over that figure resulted in Venetian pocketing the additional money.

Some 645 entries in the event meant $11,250 in rake was collected. This works out at approximately 7%, which is a good deal for poker players. It could have been far worse because it ran the same format in lower buy-in events. Some had 30% rake.

It’s likely Venetian will run a similar format again because players flocked to the casino on the final starting flight. The $150,000 event looked set to overlay by $30,000 but an influx of short-sighted players put paid to that. If only they’d stayed at home and not grabbed a little EV, Venetian would have had to scrap the ridiculous concept.

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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