Venetian: the never-ending poker tournament series

Kat Martin Author Photo
Kat Martin
Posted on: August 02, 2021 07:46 PDT

The latest DeepStack Championship Poker Series (DCPS) at the Venetian in Las Vegas finally wound up yesterday. Beginning on May 3rd, the series ran so long it saw the casino mask mandate dropped, then reinstated again.

Spanning a total of 121 events and a headline-grabbing $15 million in guaranteed prize pools, the series included two multi-day MSPT (Mid-Stakes Poker Tour) events, as well as a couple of high-profile World Poker Tour tournaments. The LIPS (Ladies International Poker Series) also managed to find a slot on the packed schedule.

The final multi-day event was the $400 MonsterStack, which paid out $66k to the winner:

“Congratulations to Mehdi Anooshahr of Los Angeles, who, via a three-way chop, was the winner of DCPS Event #118 $400 NLH MonsterStack $250K Guarantee on 8-1-21," said the Venetian Poker Room via tweet:

One might assume that after such a marathon series, tournament staff and players alike would put their feet up for a couple of weeks to recharge. Not at the Venetian. Their next series is already underway:

“DeepStack Showdown kicks off tomorrow Monday August 2," VPT tweeted.

The DeepStack Showdown is a month-long affair, winding up on August 29th. At that point, the 2021 DeepStack Extravaganza III takes over, running from August 30th through September 26th.

In recent years, the Venetian has slyly mirrored the World Series Of Poker held at the Rio, running a parallel series that exceeds the WSOP by a few days at each end. Given that the 2021 WSOP is scheduled for September 30th to November 23rd, it seems reasonable to suppose that the next Venetian DCPS will start as soon as DSE III ends, and run into December.

When Tommy LaRosa became Venetian poker tournament director in 2006, the room was known primarily as an expansive cash-game destination, with little tournament presence. Starting with the first DeepStacks Extravaganza in 2007 — a modest affair by today's standards, with 19 events — LaRosa has established the Venetian as the queen of Las Vegas poker tournaments.

Poker.org reached out to LaRosa to ask if the 2021 schedule was a sign the Venetian would be running wall-to-wall tournaments for the foreseeable future. He graciously thanked us for our interest in the room, and forwarded our inquiry to the PR department, where it apparently still languishes.

Based on last-year's Venetian schedule, we can anticipate a month-long series spanning the New Year. Indeed, LaRosa has already announced that the MSPT will be back at the Venetian during that period:

"You can make plans now for another @msptpoker @VenetianPoker during our New Year's Extravaganza," LaRosa Tweeted.

This announcement makes it at least plausible that the Venetian poker tournament area at the Encore will be in constant use from May 3rd of this year well into 2022.

While this permanent tournament series condition obviates the need to break down the tables and stick them in storage, it does raise a couple of questions. First, in what sense are we dealing with individual series at all? One can give them different names and delineate them with start and end dates, but with a continuous "series of series" these distinctions become mostly semantic.

Second, does the current situation diminish the appeal of these series? In the late 2000s, for example, a DSE at the Venetian would be marked on poker players' calendars. Tournament pros outside Las Vegas would fly in to participate. The whole affair generated the kind of buzz previously produced only by the annual WSOP.

It's hard to imagine how that kind of buzz can be maintained with a series that never ends.

Featured image source: Twitter