Venetian Las Vegas Cancels Final Two Poker Tourneys and .1M in Guarantees
The Venetian Las Vegas canceled the final two events in its PokerGo “Stairway to Millions” series this weekend — in the middle of the tournament — rather than risk missing published guarantees. The series promised $2.15M in prize money over 12 events. But it only lasted 10, leaving $1.1 million in guarantees on the poker table.
According to Pokernews.com, a $25.5K buy-in tournament with $500K guaranteed in the pot was scheduled for Sunday. Players who finished in the money were to receive a seat at Monday’s $51K buy-in event, which had a $600K guarantee. (The series used a unique format in which all players finishing in the money automatically advance to the next event.)
But both events were folded, Pokernews.com reported, even after a few players won free entries into the Sunday tournament.
According to the poker website, the first eight events all surpassed their guarantees. Last Friday, however, a $200K-guaranteed tournament with a $10.4K buy-in attracted only 18 players, so the guarantee fell $20.8K short. Then Saturday’s $300K-guaranteed event fell more than $30K short. So, when Paul Zappulla defeated Stephen Song heads-up for $124K that night, it was the series finale.
Twitter Complaints Go All-in
Following Saturday’s event, PokerGO wrote on its website: “The Stairway To Millions originally had 12 events on the schedule, but due to decisions made by The Venetian Resort Poker Room, the final two events were canceled.” This launched a flurry of Twitter bitterness.
“Canceling a guarantee to a tournament you won a satellite into already is unacceptable,” tweeted Adam Hendrix, who finished as runner up in Event No. 9 for $37K.
“This is why you do things right,” tweeted Terrance Reid. “@LodgePokerClub still getting good press months later while @VenetianPoker (expletive) over their tournament players yet again.”
Neither the First Nor Last Time
Though canceling a guaranteed events in the middle of a tournament series is considered bad form, it is not uncommon. In August 2022, the Hustler Casino in L.A. canceled a $250K-guarantee tournament with four days of play remaining. Casino general manager Shaun Yaple explained on Twitter that a “bigger club stepped on us after we released our schedule,” and that it would be “better to regroup and plan for the future (than) head off a cliff.”
In June 2022, the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas canceled the three remaining multi-flight events in its Summer Open poker series, including one with a $250K guarantee. And in December 2021, poker champ Johnny Chan’s 88 Social Club in Houston canceled a planned tournament before the club ceased operations amid financial mismanagement and insolvency concerns. (Prime Social stepped in and held its Enchanted Xmas Series on the same dates.)
Casino.org received no reply to its request for a comment from the Venetian at the time of publication.
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