The Venetian, Las Vegas is back in poker players’ bad books after cancelling the final two events and $1,100,000 in tournament guarantees of their Stairway to Millions üpoker tournament series in a bid to avoid paying out a huge overlay…
So they canceled 1.1mil in GTDs of a series that had 2.15mil overall in guaranteed.
And did so less than 20 hours before 1 tourney, and less than 48 hours before the other.
— Ryan Laplante🏳️🌈 (@Protentialmn) September 18, 2022
The 12-tournament series was already 10 events in when the cardroom decided to simply cancel the final two tournaments, a $25,500 buy-in with $500k GTD, and a$51k buy-in, $600k GTD.
However, many players had already won their way through the “step” series to event 11, the whole idea behind the “Stairway to heaven” promotion the Venetian and PokerGO had dreamed up to attract players.
The PokerGO website explained the festival idea: “The inaugural 2022 Stairway To Millions is held from inside the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, from January 12-20 with eight events on the schedule and escalating buy-ins starting at $1,000 and finishing with the $100,000 Main Event.
“Everyone that cashes wins a seat into the following event while each event plays down to a winner where they’ll take home a PokerGO Trophy.”
That didn’t happen, as event 9 runner-up Adam Hendrix explained on Twitter…
That are being played Sunday and Monday respectively. So at this point 3 ppl won satellites to Sundays 25k and the ongoing 15k event I just busted out of registration is including 3 seats to 50k. Was offered rake free or cash for my seat.
— Adam Hendrix (@AdamHendrix10) September 18, 2022
Although numbers for the first eight tournaments were more than enough to cover the guarantees, the sliding scale of buy-ins saw the $10k and $15k both overlay, to the tune of $20k and $30k respectively.
With $1.1million promised over the final two events, the organisers – worried about having to cover a significant overlay on both events – took the easy way out. PokerGO stated: “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.”
Players were naturally clearly far from happy with this decision, many voicing their displeasure at what seems to be becoming the norm for cardrooms when faced with overlays…
Seems like a trend lately…list a guarantee and pull it if it looks like it will miss. Once 1 or 2 venues get away with it, it will become the norm, unfortunately. 😞
— Mitch M (@seemitch) September 18, 2022
The Hustler Casino was in the firing line a few months back for pulling a similar stunt, backtracking on a $250,000 tournament guarantee and angering Doug Polk, whose Lodge Poker Club covered $625k in overlays in May alone.
We were ambitious with our guarantees at @LodgePokerClub in our championship series this year and the result was we lost 625k in guarantees in May. But we honored our guarantees and sucked it up.
Hanging poker players out to dry like this is unacceptable. https://t.co/KfxOh68cGf
— Doug Polk (@DougPolkVids) August 3, 2022
The Venetian, owned by Sheldon Adelson until his death last year, had previously been called out for running a poker tournament in which any money raised above the guarantee automatically belongs to the house, rather than being paid out to winning players.
That was in 2019 when they ran the $250 buy-in, $150,000 GTD Lucky Shot Poker Series & Drawing tournament, which poker pro and YouTuber Jeff Boski explained could have been the richest rake ever seen…
With 6 days of flights and unlimited re entry for 8 levels, the Venetian needs
☑️ 600 Entries = break even
☑️ 750 Entries = normal $200+50 rake
☑️ 900 Entries = 33% rake
☑️ 1,200 Entries = 50% rake
— Jeff Boski (@ICuRaRook) September 12, 2019
Of course, the only way for poker players to really make their feelings known is by voting with their feet, so it will be interesting to see how future PokerGO Tour events at the Venetian do at the smaller buy-in levels.
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