The live tournament poker scene shut down around the world due in March of 2020 to the COVID-19 outbreak, with many poker rooms staying closed for months. While cash games have resumed at many poker rooms globally, the return of big multi-table tournament series has been a slower process. The Venetian® Resort Las Vegas reopened on June 5, with the Venetian Poker Room initially offering cash game action, but no tournaments. Just over three months after the room reopened, it is set to host Las Vegas’ first live poker tournament series since the shutdown began. The DeepStack Showdown Poker Series will run from September 7-27, with more than $400,000 in guaranteed prize pools across the 32 scheduled events.
The Venetian Poker Room began the process of hosting tournament-style play with single-table sit-n-gos in early June, and then became the first poker room in Las Vegas to offer a multi-table tournament with a series of shootout events held later that month. Next, the room began running single-day tournaments on July 24.
“Since we resumed hosting OneDay poker tournaments, we have seen tremendous support from the poker tournament community; therefore, we wanted to work toward putting together one of our most popular series, the DeepStack Showdown Poker Series. We’re excited to be able to provide this event to our players in an adjusted setting with health and safety in mind,” said Tommy LaRosa, poker tournament director at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas.
“Our priority from the start was making sure we could provide a safe avenue for our players to play poker,” LaRosa told Card Player when asked about the process of building back up to hosting multi-table tournaments. “There was no set tournament participation requirement before progressing. By beginning with single-table tournaments and then moving to multi-table tournaments, the process has allowed us to refine our protocols. We recently installed plexiglass dividers at each table, allowing for eight-handed play, and we continue with the Venetian Clean Commitment we reopened with – sanitizing tables, chairs, chips, dividers, etc. All patrons must wear masks regardless of the plexiglass dividers being installed.”
As previously mentioned, this series features over $400,000 in guaranteed prize pools. The largest guaranteed event of the series will be the $100,000 guaranteed $400 buy-in MonsterStack no-limit hold’em event set to run from Sept. 23-27. When asked about setting guarantees for the first tournament series since reopening, LaRosa shared the following:
“For this initial series, our guarantees are 50% of the events prior to March and the shutdown. But our OneDay poker tournaments also resumed with lower guarantees and the participation and prize pools have seen tremendous support. We evaluate each DeepStack Poker Series once complete and make adjustments as participation dictates.”
Upon re-opening, the Venetian Resort Las Vegas announced the ‘Venetian Clean Commitment’ in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which features approximately 800 safety initiatives.
“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. 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,” said LaRosa. “We look forward to hosting players back for one of our DeepStack Poker Series when the time is right for them. Players can continue to expect the experience they have always known and loved at The Venetian Poker Room, with the added Venetian Clean Commitment, which is a resort-wide initiative for all of our guests and team members.”
Check out the full schedule below (click the image to see a larger version):