Major poker tournament schedules always have as a disclaimer “We reserve the right to amend the schedule as deemed necessary.” The World Poker Tour is putting that disclaimer into effect, but in a good way. It was announced that the WPT will be adding a stop to their schedule, a tournament at the Venetian in Las Vegas that will mark the first time that the tour has stepped into that arena.
WPT Vegas Showdown Features $1 Million Guaranteed Prize Pool
The WPT Vegas Showdown will be held from March 22-26, 2019, at the Venetian, a part of a fortnight of poker that will be featured at the storied casino. It will be a part of the Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza series that runs from March 13-26, events that since their inception have drawn some of the best in the poker world for action. The WPT event is a $3500 buy-in tournament, but details haven’t been finalized as to whether it will be the traditional freezeout or if it will be a multi-day start with reentry potential.
Regardless of the finer points, the Venetian is pretty excited to get the WPT on their schedule. “Bringing the World Poker Tour to The Venetian is a great next chapter for our DeepStack Extravaganza series,” said Tommy LaRosa, tournament director for The Venetian Poker Room. “Partnering with an industry leader to bring a tour stop to our poker room, along with a $1 million guaranteed prize pool, is one of many ways we’re working to enhance our players’ experience.”
Taking the WPT into an arena it previously hadn’t been is quite the coup for Angelica Hael, the Vice President of Global Tour Management with the WPT. “The Venetian is a historic venue and the WPT is thrilled to add a Main Tour stop inside the famed Venetian Poker Room. The amenities at The Venetian Resort are second to none and the WPT looks forward to being another marquee partner at one of the world’s premier destinations.” Hael also indicated during the announcement of the Venetian stop that there still could be other changes to the Season XVII schedule.
Potential Issues with the Poker Community Regarding the Venetian?
While the WPT and the Venetian are quite happy with their new partnership, there remains some issues that could prove to be problematic for the stop.
Of particular issue for many, especially those who enjoy partaking of the online version of poker, is the continued stance by the owner of the Venetian, Las Vegas Sands Corporation Chief Executive Officer/Owner Sheldon Adelson regarding online gaming. Since “Black Friday” in 2011, Adelson has been at the forefront of the anti-online gaming coalition. Adelson’s opposition has gone as far as to create an “Astroturf” (an organization meant to look like it is supported by the people – the “grassroots” – but is in actuality is the front for a company) anti-online gambling organization, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.
The CSIG has spent millions of Adelson’s monies, traipsing across the country whenever there has been an opportunity for online gaming and poker to become regulated by any state. He has continued to fight against online gaming on the federal front also, with political lapdogs like South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Wisconsin Representative Jim Sensenbrenner both filing bills that would ban online gaming in the States of America. And Adelson continues to be at the forefront of the Republican Party, a party which has included a plank in their platform calling for the banning of online gaming (among other things). Adelson’s disapproval of online gaming allegedly runs so deep that he sold his Pennsylvania casino operation, the Sands Bethlehem, rather than compete against other companies who will be offering online gaming.
The work by Adelson has drawn the ire of literally hundreds of poker players who believe that Adelson is attempting to infringe on their freedoms. This ire, however, hasn’t translated into a substantial effort against Adelson or his LVSC properties, including the Venetian. As typical of poker players, they will go to where the best games are; the Venetian poker room is one of the best in Las Vegas and, with its player amenities, treatment and bonuses (including the long-running Venetian DeepStack series), draws in players despite the stance of the owner of the poker room against the online game.
What effect this ongoing battle will have on the WPT event isn’t known. But it is another feather in the cap for the WPT to bring another top-flight tournament under its umbrella, even after it was thought the schedule was already set.