The Venetian’s Deep Stack II: Poker’s Little Engine that Could

by Lou on June 22, 2007

Attendance comparisons between the World Series of Poker, the Bellagio Cup III, and the Venetian’s (pictured left) Deep Stack II event are quite interesting, to say the least.

For the first ten events on their schedule, the Bellagio Cup III has averaged 91 players per event. Their largest event was their first, which attracted 145 players. The low-water mark was 37. Half of their first ten events failed to attract even 100 players.

The Venetian’s Deep Stack II series is averaging 426 players per event for their first ten tournaments. Their low point was 270, while they reached their high-water mark of 590 the very next day.

To no one’s surprise, the World Series of Poker is still the Big Kahuna, averaging 881 players for ten events over the same time period as the first ten events at the Bellagio and the Venetian.

If someone had asked me to make attendance predictions before these events began, I would have said that the Bellagio event would have been in second place. In fact, I would have thought that the Venetian’s results and those of the Bellagio would be flip-flopped.

I never have guessed that Deep Stack II would be attracting nearly five players for every one showing up to play at the Bellagio Cup III.

This is obviously a marketing coup for the Venetian, which found a niche in the marketplace when they decided not to compete directly with the WSOP, and decided instead to complement their efforts by offering something different: very large starting stacks, low blinds, and a lot of play for the customer’s money.

World Cup III, which is all hold’em events, is just not offering anything unique. Despite the confusion during the first days of the WSOP and the player inconveniences that resulted from long lines, new-look cards that had to be pulled in favor of traditional pasteboards, the World Cup III has yet to gain any traction whatsoever in this marketing skirmish.

Perhaps their main event, which is a World Poker Tour tournament, will produce better results. But for now, the WSOP seems to be going strong—just as everyone would have expected— but the Venetian’s Deep Stack II tournament is this year’s edition of poker’s Little Engine that Could. It just keeps chugging, has gained a lot of ground, and seems bound and determined to rack up a major victory in Las Vegas’ summer poker wars.

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