The Venetian Poker Room officially opened on Sunday evening with a star studded Invitational Grand Opening Tournament. 284 players took their seats for an opportunity to drive home in a new dazzling yellow Lotus.
Expecting about 200 players and having closer to 300 show up proved to be no problem for this inaugural event. The shuffle up and deal command went out a little after 9:00 PM and 7 hours later Beatric Stranzixger scooped the remainder of Carlos Mortensen's chips to claim the keys to the exotic sports car.
This crowd of players included some of the top names in professional poker gathering for the upcoming major tournaments. Beatric outlasted a blue ribbon field to lay claim to the first ever tournament at the Venetian's new poker room. Carlos Mortensen finished in second place after the two went heads up and traded chips. Beatric overcame almost going out when she had four chips left and was all-in. She won the pot and then went on an unanswered run to amass enough checks to become a contender, eliminating two players in one hand after eliminating another final table player on the hand before. Two hands dealt three players headed for the door. Carlos went into the heads up match with an approximate 3-1 chip lead, then dominated table and collected the blinds when Beatric folded hand after hand to his raise. The momentum turned when Beatric moved all-in and doubled through Carlos, then a few hands later she doubled through again to pull almost even. A few hands later Beatric moved into the lead after Carlos folded hands to her raises. Carlos didn't go down without a good fight forcing Beatric to win the chips.
Robin Leach opens the new multimillion dollar room in typical fashion with a champagne toast.
I noticed both Carlos and Beatric often intently studying each other when the final table of ten players was first seated. Both would scrutinize the other even when they were not in the hand, as if they were collecting data for the heads-up duel to come. Maybe Beatric got a read on Carlos and that provided the winning edge but it doesn't take anything away from the win. Beatric played a tough, aggressive game and she had to beat a former WSOP world champion to claim the title. Congratulations on the victory and here's hoping you drive as well as you play, a Lotus can be two or three handfuls of power and speed.
Carlos studying Beatric during a hand.
The Grand Opening was a great success from the moment Robin Leach declared the poker room officially open following a champagne toast by hundreds of fans and players. The crowds for the opening day events were massive and most stayed throughout the night. Even at 3 o'clock on a Monday morning the fans were crowded on the rail until the final river card was dealt and Carlos shoved all of his chips to Beatric. The Venetian Poker Room staff did a superb job of handling the unknowns of an opening day and our highest congratulations are in order. Director of Poker Operations, Kathy Redman, and her entire staff made this one fun party for everyone. Watching the room come to life from behind the scenes was a great experience. I will post some observations, thoughts and additional opening day photos later today. Stop by the new room for a great playing experience. Photos are in the Proker Prof's Gallery for the Venetian Grand Opening.
Beatric watching Carlos during during the action.
A part of the crowd on hand to toast the opening of Venetian Resort's Poker Room.