Venetian had established itself as the single best place to go to for low-stakes Open Face Chinese action – and given that the nosebleed games are likely to die out after the series is over, the Venetian had the absolute lock on the market that is far for more able to provide a consistent source of business for the room.
However, I am sad to report that Venetian essentially told the Open Face community to GTFO. For various reasons, some legitimate and some not, Venetian raised their rake from the fair and reasonable $5 per 1/2 hour for both the $2 and $5 per point games to $15+$5 forced dealer tip per 1/2 hour.
The following is a bit lengthy, and is mostly personal opinions. The take-away from Venetian’s change in rake is that the $5/pt game is dead, and 1 $2/pt game runs almost daily but under an unbeatable rake. Stay away from the Venetian, and consider the room to be persona non grata with the Open Face Chinese Community. Thankfully, there are two new rooms that appear to be wiling to fill in the void that the Venetian left by kicking the OFC game to the curb: The Palms, and MGM Grand. I will be doing room reviews on the two rooms soon.
As for the Venetian, due to the fact that I want to see Open Face Chinese continue to grow, and Venetian offered a perfect spot to grow the game without screwing over a room by taking a table away from a 1-2 NLHE game, I do feel compelled to elaborate on why I feel it’s beyond ridiculous that the Venetian did this, and either reflects a delusional view of their own ability to fill 59 tables consistently or is an over-reaction to dealer complaints of a lack of tips (a fair complaint about Open Face Chinese games).
Now, let me clarify that I absolutely support the forced dealer tip. I think a $5+$5 per 1/2 hour rake is absolutely reasonable. The simple fact is that when you combine honest forgetfulness by the players who normally tip generously since they aren’t being “pushed” a pot, not playing a lot of hands leading to less opportunites for such players to tip, and complete jackassery by miserly local regs who absolutely detest tipping and don’t realize that their Scrooge-like behaviors cause more problems that the dollar or two they save, you get dealers who get screwed if they have to deal Open Face because the difference in tips from dealing OFC vs. NLHE can be rather significant in the absence of a forced tip. And the lack of tips (and subsequent dealer complaints) was clearly one of the reasons why Venetian wanted to up the rake. I understand the rationale for the forced tip, and I support the +$5 forced tip part.
However, to change from $5 per 1/2 hour to $15 per 1/2 hour is absolutely absurd. I understand that the Venetian does not want to have to run an OFC game when they could run a 1/2 NLHE or a 4-8 limit Omaha game (both which completely dominate OFC in terms of overall rake for the house), but the Venetian views this as an either/or proposition, believing that they will consistently fill their 59-table room. Yes, during the WSOP they sometimes did, but let’s be honest, from July to May, the number of days they come anywhere close to filling the room is quite low. There will be empty tables, and a $5/pt OFC game with $5 per 1/2 hour (and $5 dealer tip) is better than NO game, which is what happened the instant they switched – the $5/pt game is now dead at Venetian.
What is frustrating is that the Venetian came out of nowhere with this decision and then basically told any players who tried to discuss the issue that they need not bother. A lot of the players, myself included, were perfectly willing to accept the fact that if every table was filled or if they were short dealers, that Open Face was not an option that day. We were willing to accept that Open Face Chinese will only be spread when there is an empty table and a free dealer, and even accept having to stop playing if another full-rake game needed to run. We just wanted a place that would run an OFC game if there was an empty table and a dealer, and run it for a fair rake for the game – accepting that such a rake is far less than other games, so those games get preference. Since Venetian has a 59-table room that is almost never filled, they have the perfect spot for Open Face Chinese, but management apparently suffers from the delusion that their room will be filled to capactiy all the time, as opposed to just during the WSOP. Such delusions are simply sad, because they caused a great Open Face Game to be killed.
Perhaps the most ridiculousness thing, however, is that they only jacked the $2/pt game’s rake up to $10+$5; this is still unbeatable, but it shows that they somehow want to have some sort of minor accomodation to the Open Face Games as a whole – essentially throwing a small bone to the crowd. The problem is that they chose to do this for the WORSE of the two games in terms of the problems that Venetian had with Open Face – specifically, the $2/pt game was filled with the very miserly old regs that never tip that I previously described, whereas the $5/pt game had very few of such players. Further, the $2/pt game had players who constantly complained about the rake and tried to find ways around it or argue they did not have to pay it, to a far higher degree than the $5/pt game players would (I won’t stand here and say the 5/pt game was perfect, but relatively speaking, the $5/pt game was a dream game compared to the $2/pt game). It’s beyond lunacy to give a minor accommodation to the $2/pt game and not the $5/pt game.
Sure enough, as of today, the $2/pt game has still been running fairly consistently, in large part because the regs who still play it somehow have yet to figure out that the game is not beatable at the rake of $10+$5, whereas the $5/pt game has died precisely because the players saw the new rake and instantly realized the game was effectively dead.
So in conclusion – it is with true sadness and frustration that I retract the positive things I wrote about Venetian earlier this summer – the room is no longer a good place for low stakes Open Face, and should not be viewed as a place to try to get a game running. If you want Open Face Chinese action, stay away from the Venetian – instead, go to one of the other rooms that I will be reviewing soon – namely, Palms or MGM Grand.