Casino events

Rivers Casino’s $1 Million Bad Beat Jackpot Becomes Poker Draw

It’s not usual for poker players to travel hundreds of miles to Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino to play $1-$3 Texas Hold’em cash games, but its 30-table poker room recently received calls from as far away as Canada from people wanting to be sure the trip was worth it.

The reason: a $1 million “bad beat” jackpot that has the potential to become the biggest jackpot in US casino history this month.

Before coming, the Canadians and many others – whether it’s a five-minute or five-hour drive from Pittsburgh – check to see if two incredibly lucky players (and their incredibly lucky cohorts watching a hand play out at the same table, who would also be rewarded) may have already hit the casino’s main bad beat for the first time since April 14, 2021. It would take a losing hand in a showdown to be quad 10 or better.

The jackpot increases by a few thousand dollars each day from a share of the poker rake of each hand. As of noon Thursday, with matches on 13 of Rivers’ tables, it stood at $1,014,549.99. This sum is more than double what the poker room has ever awarded for a bad beat before – $480,574 on November 28, 2017.

The biggest bad beat jackpot ever in a US casino poker room was $1,068,590 split between six players at the Motor City Casino in Detroit on January 16, 2018. At its current rate of growth, the Rivers price could surpass it within two to three weeks if it does not touch.

In April 2018, $1.375 million was reportedly earned at Playground Poker Cluba tribal property near Montreal where poker is promoted more than other games and a bad beat (quad 7’s or better, in his case) worth $1,730,774 is currently advertised.

A new price started after the return of poker

As with other live poker rooms across Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, Rivers Casino’s was closed for many months due to COVID-19 precautions. It reopened in March 2021, but with many changes from the pre-COVID days.

For one spell, there were plexiglass dividers between players, which have since been removed. It has reduced the maximum number of seated players from the previous nine, with seven the current limit. And he eliminated his daily tournaments, which returned to one per month.

And another change – the subject of this article – was not necessarily COVID-related: prior to the pandemic shutdown, the poker room had discontinued any version of a bad beat jackpot, as there are no requirement that they be provided, and many casinos do not offer them.

Poker rooms have options for all sorts of promotions, and Rivers, like many others, offers special rewards for royal flushes and hour or half hour “high hands”. These prizes are one of the advantages of playing live compared to the online version of poker available in Pennsylvania, where operators generally do not offer such promotions.

When Leslie Brittain took over as manager of Rivers Poker Room when it reopened last year, she also wanted to bring home a bad beat jackpot – one that could potentially be a “life-changing event”.

She and Andre Barnabei, senior vice president of gaming for Rivers Casino, explained in an interview with penn paris that the idea of ​​a massive bad beat jackpot can be a big draw for the average player imagining themselves lucky enough to be part of the hand – or even just sitting at the table – when it hits.

Casinos each have their own criteria for determining what constitutes a bad beat worthy of a prize, as well as their own determination as to how the jackpot is split. The quad 10 minimum at Rivers is among the toughest in qualifying. The jackpot split is 40% for the “losing” hand (currently at least $400,000), 30% for the winning hand ($300,000) and 30% shared equally by the other people sitting at the table (60,000). $ each currently, if a table is populated).

For those who may not be familiar, Texas Hold’em involves each player being dealt two hole cards and then sharing five community cards on the board. The bad beat forces the players involved to use their two hole cards, so if a board shows 7-AA-10-10, someone with 10-10 as their hole cards would be the loser of the bad beat (and the winner of the first prize ) for someone holding AA (or in some bad beats a straight flush would be involved).

Better odds than Powerball, but…

As many variables are involved, no precise odds are known on the likelihood of Rivers’ bad beat being hit, nor have casino officials researched them. But they are long – not long Powerballs, but very long.

Consider that at a normal live poker table, 30-35 hands are played in an hour. Rivers’ 30 tables are rarely all used, but often at least half are, especially on weekends or in the evening. It’s safe to say that over a million hands have been played in the 13 months since the last hit of the bad beat, and possibly over 2 million.

And even …

“You can’t say he’ll never be hit,” Barnabei pointed out, “because he hit a month after he started. … History has shown us that it’s achievable.

That’s right: The current bad beat criteria began March 1, 2021 and reached April 14, resulting in a payout of $149,417. A player with quadruple kings was beaten by a player with a royal flush.

It’s just that nothing like it has happened since then. There were five “mini bad beats”, however, in which the losing hand must be, at minimum, a full house of aces, with the losing player holding AA as their hole cards. The current mini bad beat jackpot is $104,506.

It’s something to talk about, really

Poker players often joke around at their tables, and as one can imagine, with the main bad beat at its current level – it crossed the $1 million threshold on Saturday – it’s a common topic of joking discussion in the Rivers room. This applies not only to the players, but also to the dealers, who may receive more tips than they ever imagined if they offer players the jackpot hand.

The price has risen more than Brittain said she ever imagined.

“I thought about $500,000 was what it would be, and it would go up about once a year,” she said. “It’s a good thing because poker players are always looking for that big score, that life-changing money. … It’s unbelievable that he got to that million-dollar level. It’s not impossible, but for some reason it just keeps growing.

A check through the Bravo poker app of other Pennsylvania poker rooms reveals that the only other casino using the same minimum quad 10 qualifier for a bad beat is Rivers Philadelphia, the Pittsburgh property’s sister casino which is also owned at Rush Street Gaming. However, it only pays out a set of $50,000, rather than increasing the jackpot daily.

Other potential bad beat payouts currently advertised in Pennsylvania range from $35,717 at Hollywood Casino at the Meadows to $319,307 at Wind Creek Bethlehem, with poker rooms all using different criteria to determine which hands should be played.

Brittain and Barnabei said the Rivers poker room is definitely busier than it otherwise would be as news of the lucrative promotion has spread, although it can be hard to pinpoint just how busier it is. .

“There are so many other noises involved over the past 24 months, coming out of COVID,” Barnabei said. “So how much goes to people wanting to get back to normal, and how much to things like bad beats or other promotions? That said, the poker room is doing better now than it has in a very long time. There is a lot more interest, a lot more people who come regularly.

That’s not to say every player in the room is in love with the promotion. More savvy poker players who understand the long odds involved might roll their eyes at the type of competitor that is attracted to the bad beat – although, understandably, they would be happy to try to take advantage of such a player.

“There are some who don’t like it,” Brittain admitted. “But that guy who might not like it, the day he wins it, he’s going to love it.”