The Palazzo/Venetian Resort Casino
First, I must couch this review within my general affection for the Venetian/Palazzo complex at large. My wife and I started our annual poker jaunts to Las Vegas three years ago. I was uncertain whether I would like Las Vegas at all. As much as I love poker, I do not necessarily groove to the full casino experience. An entire city of that environment might prove to be too much for me.
Choosing the Palazzo as our hotel was the critical and fortunate first step to loving Vegas. The rooms have a large, multi-level design complete with a desk, dinette set, square coffee table and huge wrap around couch. The bathroom is bigger than some hotel rooms I’ve rented in New York City! Our room at the Palazzo always feels more like a small, beautifully appointed apartment. Whenever I stay there, I never want to leave.
Although the room is certainly the star of my Palazzo/Venetian experience, the whole complex is wonderful. It is pleasant to walk through the faux canal area that connects the two casinos. There are great restaurants everywhere and good quick food options in the St. Mark’s square area. There seem to be nice shopping choices for those into such things. The gaming areas themselves are at the high end in terms of the look and feel among the major Las Vegas casinos. While not as expensive or elegant as the Wynn right next door, I realize the Palazzo charges higher than the median price for rooms on the strip. I promise you it is well worth it.
OK, enough of the general resort experience. Let’s get to the poker room.
The Venetian Poker Room
Heather and I have played tournaments at the Venetian Poker Room during each of our three annual visits. The Venetian poker room appears to have gone through a significant renovation from 2016 to 2017. They have lost several tables by shrinking the room space significantly. The room also seemed a bit dimmer than I remember, but that could just be my rapidly aging eyesight. Because they were a bit washed out, discerning chip denominations from one another across the table was a challenge. However, the tables remain nicely spread out with comfortable elbow room and comfortable chairs.
In April of this year, we played in a Sunday evening DeepStacks Extravaganza tournament. Special tournaments happen so regularly at the Venetian that they might as well be daily tournaments. This was a $200 rebuy tournament (15,000 chips, 20 minute blinds, antes start at level 4. Players were stronger overall than those we played against at Caesar’s the night before. Meanwhile, the Aria offered stiffer competition the following evening.The Venetian's highly skilled and efficient dealers kept good control of tableClick To Tweet
The Venetian’s highly skilled and efficient dealers kept good control of table, if not always consistent about announcing raises. The floors actively managed the action and no major issues developed. The tournament was professionally run (as you’d expect at a large Vegas cardroom). Service was prompt, although we did not order anything other than water. Wait times did not seem inordinately long for those around us.
Fifty-six players bought in (including rebuys) and the top prize was over $3,000 with an overall guarantee of $9,000. Heather chopped the top 5 spots for a $1,400 take. I had a top 6 equity chop in 2016 in a similar tournament format. Tipping was low stress and convenient, as you just put what you want in a box away from the table. There is a dealer hold out from your entry, so large tips are not expected.
Obviously, there are a lot of poker options in Las Vegas. We particularly enjoy the Aria poker room, as well. The Venetian poker room, however, is one of the best in terms aesthetics, comfort, and professionalism.
As I said earlier the Venetian/Palazzo complex is filled with great dining options. One of our favorites is Yardbird. Close to the Venetian poker room, Yardbird offers great Southern-style food featuring a fabulous fried chicken. Most plates are meant to be shared; the fried chicken is certainly enough for two as a main course. Side dishes of biscuits and grits with cheddar cheese are also very good.
- Tournament Structures
The Venetian offers a first-rate, Las Vegas professional poker experience. The surrounding Palazzo/Venetian complex is spectacular with large, unforgettable rooms. Vegas has a wide array of great poker options obviously, but the Venetian easily rates among top echelon rooms.