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.
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.
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.
At one point in poker history, there was no jackpot drop. Now the industry standard in Las Vegas is $2. I don't see the ceiling for this as long as giveaways increase. Eventually poker will become BINGO, where players sit and wait to win random drawings for money.
— Abe Mobley (@hightenapparel) February 28, 2020
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.