Seemingly in order to avoid missing the stated guarantees, The Venetian Las Vegas canceled the final two games in its PokerGo “Stairway to Millions” series this past weekend.
Over 12 tournaments, the series promised $2.15 million in prize money. The ACTUAL guarantees totaled just $1.1 million.
On Sunday, a $25.5K tournament with a $500K guaranteed prize pool was planned. The $51K tournament on Monday, which featured a $600K guarantee, was open to anyone who placed in the money. All players who placed in the money at the end of the series automatically moved on to the following event.
Even after a few players received complimentary entries into the Sunday tournament, both events were abandoned.
The first eight events all surpassed their guarantees, according to the poker website. However, only 18 players showed up for a $200K guaranteed tournament with a $10.4K buy-in last Friday, leaving $20.8K out of the guarantee. Then, the $300K-guaranteed tournament on Saturday came up more than $30K short. It was the series finale that night when Paul Zappulla defeated Stephen Song in a head-to-head match for $124K.
Canceling guaranteed events in the middle of a tournament series is not unheard of. With four days of play left, LA’s Hustler Casino called off a $250K guarantee event in August 2022. A “larger club stepped on us after we revealed our calendar,” the casino’s general manager Shaun Yaple claimed on Twitter, so it would be “better to regroup and plan for the future (than) head off a cliff.”
Todd Witteles, Pro poker player and host of PokerFraudAlert Radio Tweeted about getting Nevada Gambling regulators involved:
I am considering attempting to set up a meeting with @NevadaGCB in October to discuss the reprehensible practice of Las Vegas poker rooms defrauding their customers via removal of guaranteed prizepools after announcing them. This would be a general complaint, aimed at change. 1/x
— Todd Witteles (@ToddWitteles) September 21, 2022