Could Venetian’s $9 Rake Be Harbinger for Las Vegas Poker?

An increase in the per-hand drop to a maximum of $9 doesn’t seem to have slowed attendance at the Venetian poker room in Las Vegas.

packed Venetian poker room

The Venetian poker room is taking a $9 drop during March, but the promo that drop is helping support is keeping the room packed. (Image: CardsChat News)

High-Hand Promo Packs Venetian Poker Room

The room has been hopping in March due to a promotion that will award $1 million in high-hand prizes to players. But those bonuses come with a price: during bigger pots, the casino is raking $6 per hand and dropping another $3 for the promotion.

If a table dropped the maximum amount for 25 hands in an hour, that would result in $225 removed from the felt — about the size of many typical stacks in a typical $1-$2 No-Limit Hold’em cash game.

On March 1, the Venetian began offering a high-hand bonus awarding $1,000 to the best hand and $600 to the second-best hand every 30 minutes between noon and midnight.

That $3,200 in promo money awarded each hour has the room busy. The Venetian had 11, $1-$3 NLHE and three, $2-$5 NLHE games running at 2 pm Tuesday, while Bellagio only had eight total games running at that time, the second-most on the Strip.

The poker room also has a bad beat jackpot requiring that four jacks or better be beaten, which has grown above $212,000 and will be discontinued when its hit.

Jackpots Trending

The Venetian said it will reduce the drop back to a $5 rake and $2 promo drop beginning April 1, but the booming nature of the room during March has players worried this is a harbinger of more rake increases to come.

Twitter user Chad Alan questioned why the rake was increased to $6.

“That had nothing to do with the promo,” he wrote.

The drop has seen a sharp increase in recent years at the Venetian, which has experienced its share of controversies – from the stance of owner Sheldon Adelson against online poker driving some players away to a guaranteed prize pool tournament held there last fall.

The Venetian rake increased from $4 to $5 on Dec. 26, 2015, as poker players got a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings. Since then, The Venetian added the promo drop to appeal to a shifting market in which jackpots are becoming more commonplace.

When the rake shifts back to $5+$2 in April, it will match MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, and Mirage as the biggest drops on the Strip. For now, the Venetian stands alone.

Johnny Kampis
Written by
Johnny Kampis
Johnny Kampis -- the author of "The Essential Guide to Vegas during the World Series of Poker" and "Vegas or Bust: A Family Man Takes on the Poker Pros" -- has been making the summer trek to Las Vegas from Alabama since 2004. When not playing poker, he's a professional journalist who's written for American Spectator, Fox News, HuffPost, Watchdog.org, and many others. He currently writes for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance and serves on the FCC's media advisory panel.

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