Venetian Las Vegas cancels last two poker tournaments and $1.1 million in guarantees

Posted on: September 19, 2022, 07:06h.

Last update on: September 19, 2022, 7:19 a.m.

The Venetian Las Vegas canceled the final two events of its PokerGo “Stairway to Millions” series this weekend – midway through the tournament – rather than risk missing out on posted guarantees. The series has pledged $2.15 million in prize money across 12 events. But that only lasted 10 days, leaving $1.1 million in collateral on the poker table.

Venetian poker room
The Venetian canceled the last two tournaments in a PokerGo series and $1.1 million in guarantees this weekend. One event was canceled 20 hours before the scheduled start, the other 48 hours before. (Picture: Twitter)

According, 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 in Monday’s $51,000 buy-in event, which had a guaranteed $600,000. (The series used a unique format in which all players finishing in the money automatically advance to the next event.)

But both events were bent, reported, even after a few players won free entries to Sunday’s tournament.

According to the poker site, the first eight events all exceeded their guarantees. Last Friday, however, a guaranteed $200,000 tournament with a buy-in of $10,400 drew only 18 players, so the guarantee ran out by $20,800. Then Saturday’s $300,000 guaranteed event ran out by more than $30,000. So when Paul Zappulla beat Stephen Song one-on-one for $124,000 that night, it was the series finale.

Complaints on Twitter go all-in

After 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 last two events have been cancelled.” This launched a wave of bitterness on Twitter.

“Voiding a guarantee at a tournament in which you have already won a satellite is unacceptable,” tweeted Adam Hendrix, who finished second in event #9 for $37,000.

“That’s why you do it right,” Terrance Reid tweeted. “@LodgePokerClub is still getting great press months later while @VenetianPoker (expletive) on their tournament players yet again.”

Neither the first nor the last time

Although canceling a guaranteed event in the middle of a tournament series is considered bad form, it is not uncommon. In August 2022, Hustler Casino in Los Angeles canceled a $250,000 guaranteed tournament with four days of play remaining. Casino general manager Shaun Yaple explained on Twitter that a “bigger club stepped on us after our schedule was released” and that it would be “better to band together and plan for the future (than) to rush”.

In June 2022, Orleans Casino in Las Vegas canceled the three remaining multi-steal events of its Summer Open poker series, including one with a $250,000 guarantee. And in December 2021, poker champion Johnny Chan’s 88 Social Club in Houston canceled a tournament scheduled before the club went out of business due to financial mismanagement and insolvency issues. (Prime Social stepped in and hosted their Enchanted Xmas series on the same dates.) did not receive a response to its request for comment from The Venetian at the time of publication.

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