First big Vegas series since COVID was a success

Jon Pill
Posted on: October 19, 2020 12:38 PDT

The Venetian DeepStack series is a year-round favorite in Vegas. Three series of low budget, big stack fun for the poker everyman.

These series are especially beloved by Vegas locals who don't have the bankroll required for four or five figure events. They get to enjoy the deeper stacks and slower blinds of a high stakes tourney without cracking open their piggybanks.

Not many other casinos will give up the floor space and put on the dealers for a $125 buy-in Knock Out event with 150 big blind starting stacks. Or a $200 event with 30-minute blinds.

But like everything in the rest of Nevada poker, the DeepStack series got shut down by COVID. It returned on October 5 of 2020 with the DeepStack Showdown series and finished over the weekend. So we can take a look as see how it went. Maybe get us a handle on exactly how half-empty this glass is.

Did poker die of COVID?

This event marked the first return of a major poker festival to the strip. A lot of interested parties were looking on, viewing this as a litmus test for the COVID recovery market.

And also as a test of the new sanitary measures like plexiglass dividers and ostentatious disinfectant spray that make up the " Venetian Clean" initiative.

This includes temperature checks at the entrance, eight-handed tables, complimentary and mandatory facemasks. This all served to reassure the populace enough to make the tourneys into successes. The guarantees totaled over $400,000 but most of the events still managed to comfortably beat their guarantees.

This is not bad going for a series that ran eighteen events long. All of which had low buy-ins (the most expensive was $600) and which were crammed into two weeks.

It looks like live poker might just pull through this pandemic, recession, and apocalyptic political campaign.


The biggest of the events was the DeepStack Showdown Event #13 $400 No Limit Holdem MonsterStack $150K guaranteed. This finished on October 18, 2020.

The Venetian's Twitter account congratulated the winner of their big event. They wrote: "Congratulations to Aaron Massey of Las Vegas, NV who was the winner via a four way [...] Aaron takes home the silver DeepStack Showdown Champion coin, the trophy, and $58,742."

The other big event of the series was the DeepStack Showdown Event #8 $600 NLH aka the UltimateStack. It also surpassed its $100k guarantee putting almost $60k up top for first.

After a four-way chop, play continued. Eventually, a winner was crowned in a spectacular fashion. Ryan Hunsinger, a Nevada native, took the Ultimate Stack down with seven-deuce in the hole.

The Venetian tweeted, "Congratulations to Ryan Hunsinger of Boulder City, NV who was the winner via a four way chop [...] Ryan takes home the silver DeepStack Showdown Champion coin, the trophy, and $59,453."

Get ready for the future

Given the success of the series, it is clear that the Venetian will be continuing with its other, much bigger, DeepStack series as advertised.

The DeepStack Extravaganza will follow soon. That series begins on October 26, 2020. It will run until November 29.

The other DeepStack series, the DeepStack Championship remains on ice for the moment. Though we can probably expect an announcement on that any day now.

Featured image source: Twitter