In the competitive world of Las Vegas poker, even the biggest rooms are looking for ways to attract new players and keep the ones they have.
The Venetian just remodeled its poker room, renaming it the Sands Poker Room at the Venetian. It has 59 permanent tables, which will be enough to handle special events without having to bring in temporary tables.
One of the ways the Venetian welcomed back players to its new room in September was to offer a house-funded bad-beat jackpot for tournament play. The Venetian will be giving away $30K for this promotion. No prize money had been given out when the promotion was put on hold for the duration of the Deep Stack Extravaganza IV, which ran Oct. 25-Nov. 18. The promotion resumed Nov. 19 with the jackpot at $8,000 (quad sevens was the qualifier). Check Venetian’s Facebook page for the current status of the jackpot.
Also, the Venetian will host the inaugural Jewish Poker Championship on Dec. 24-25, though the event is open to players of all skill levels and religious affiliations.
Visit playjewishpoker.com for details, buy-in and accommodations.
• Station Casinos, the popular locals casino chain, is offering bad-beat tournament jackpots at some of its properties. Santa Fe Station and Red Rock have the bad-beat jackpot in their daily no-limit hold’em tournaments. They do take $3 out of the prize pool per entry to fund the jackpot.
Also, Station Casinos is running the 12/12/12 promotion that pays players $12,012 for flopping four queens on Dec. 12. If you turn or river four queens you’ll make $1,212. This promotion is good only on Dec. 12.
Speaking of Station Casinos, effective Nov. 1, Aliante Station in North Las Vegas separated from the Station chain and became an independent casino, and without a poker room. One of the first actions new management took on its first day was to close the poker room “indefinitely” and lay off the poker room staff.
• The Bellagio just completed its Festa al Lago special event Oct. 26. In the $10,300 championship, 131 entries vied for a $1.27 million pool. The final two battled for more than four hours and in the end, New Jersey’s Hyon “Skip” Kim bested Florida’s Matt Waxman for $423,935, which includes a $25,500 seat in the WPT Championship in May. Waxman took home $273,944.
The Bellagio’s Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic runs through Dec. 9. The $10,300 main event begins Dec. 4, with the final table being televised and live-streamed Dec. 9.
• Caesars Palace completed its sixth annual Caesars Palace Poker Classic on Oct. 27. The $1,080 main event saw Randolph Lanosga of Colorado outlast a field of 239 players to claim the first prize of $47,525. Stephen Graner of Las Vegas took home the $35,586 for second. Lanosga started the heads-up match with a 3-to-1 chip lead, but saw Graner take the lead on a big hand before eventually coming back and claiming the title.
A popular Italian site, People’s Poker, sent more than 20 people to the event at Caesars, with two of them, Roberto Sunna and Walter Ferrero, making the final table, which was televised in Italy.
Caesars’ next event will be the Winter Poker Classic (Jan. 4-17).
• The Wynn poker room completed its Wynn Fall Classic on Oct. 31. The four-day championship went to James Hoeppner of Las Vegas, outlasting nearly 270 entrants in the $1,590 event for $77,760. Osmin Dardon of California took the runner-up prize of $66,055. The prize pool was $389,940.
• Cantor Gaming, which owns a number of sports books in Vegas, including those at the Venetian and the M Resort, entered the poker scene in May by taking over the poker room at the Palms. Longtime poker veteran Bobby Griffith has been running the room, which is part of the new sports book at the Palms.
Cantor must be pleased with its first entry in the poker world, as it has announced it will be reopening the poker room at the Silverton, a locals casino at the south end of Las Vegas. The Silverton closed its poker room in January but was scheduled to reopen as part of the sports book in late November, after press time. Cantor has tabbed Griffith to run the new poker room, while continuing to run the room at the Palms.
Poker players at the Palms and the Silverton can take advantage of playing in a poker room that is part of the sports book by betting on sports events right from the poker table on Cantor’s cell phone app. While watching the game live from their poker seat, players can make bets on the game they’re watching in real time.
They can make new bets on the game as the line changes throughout the course of the game, or on things such as first downs, free throws, runs in an inning, etc., all while enjoying the poker game. Griffith said this doesn’t slow the poker game to any significant degree.
• Penn National Gaming, which owns the locals casino M Resort at the south end of Las Vegas, announced its own poker tour, the Hollywood Poker Open (hollywoodpokeropen.com). The final event of this tour will be at the M Resort in late June. Regional events will be at various Hollywood properties around the country leading up to the championship event.
The M Resort will host a regional event Jan. 25-27. The three events will have guarantees of $10,000 (entry fee $125), $20,000 ($225) and $40,000 ($335), respectively. The top two finishers at the $40K guarantee event will be awarded seats to the championship event in June.
— Rob Solomon is Ante Up’s Las Vegas Ambassador. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Robvegaspoker and read his blog at robvegaspoker.blogspot.com.