The Venetian removes disabled player from poker tourney

Jon Pill
Posted on: September 25, 2020 11:05 PDT

This week a 2+2 user going by the name “Videopro” reported that he was involved with a sticky situation at the Venetian.

“I am a caregiver for a man who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy,” Videopro’s story began. “We came to Vegas to play in a tournament, which he got his new player card and bought into. After playing multiple hands, The Venetian management is currently telling him he can no longer play because of his disability and not being able to hold his cards himself. This is discrimination against people with disabilities and it is illegal.”

Naturally, this caused a flurry of outrage.

Public relations

Players were quick to condemn the Venetian’s handling of a clearly sensitive issue. The stakes went up further when it transpired that the unnamed player and Videopro had flown in from Illinois. A long way for one to travel, only to booted out of the game when they arrive.

Many players pointed out that a more professional way to handle the issue was to tell the disabled player about the restrictions before he bought in. Not partway through the tourney. 2+2 user “OneCrazyDuck” quipped that “the lawsuit winnings could be much bigger than the tournament winnings.”

The situation seemed to be getting worse. Videopro updated the thread from the Venetian's floor, allowing readers to get updates in real-time.

“**second update!!” he wrote. “Still sitting here hours later being told "the legal team will be here shortly" Cullen has a catheter and I just had to empty it in a room full of players.”

Things were looking worse and worse for the poker room.


After everyone had calmed down a bit, it became evident that the problem was not the player's disability per se. Instead, with both the player and caregiver squeezed in at the table, the caregiver was not able to get behind the cough-catching plexiglass screens.

This violates Nevada’s COVID-19 regulations, and the floor manager wanted to check with the compliance department before letting something potentially illegal happen.

One witness, @jsmith84poker on Twitter, said: “The[y] realized after that with a card holder, one of them was outside of the plexiglass, which is against the regulations that they were provided. They told him with more notice they would rig up more plexiglass so that he could play.”

Always be prepared

The Venetian, realizing that the situation was going viral, finally got its social media department to tweet a statement on the matter.

The Poker Room was configured to COVID-19 requirements by the Nevada Gaming Control Board," they said in a three-part tweet. A"n additional guest at the table would make the tournament non-compliant with these government-imposed requirements. Therefore, we put a hold on the guest’s tournament participation [...] We have found a solution that allows for play while we remain compliant with governmental requirements.”

This seems like a semi-satisfying conclusion to an unfortunate story. We hope the player was comped a nice meal and a show for his trouble.

Featured image: Twitter