Sunday, February 8, 2009

When a bad beat isn't so bad

When I showed up at the Goldstrike Saturday night, there was a buzz in the air -- the bad beat jackpot had been hit for $158,000!!

For those who don't play often in a casino, let me explain. For every hand played, the casino takes out $1 and it goes into a bad beat drop box. To take the dollar, the pot has to have at least $20 in it. The so-called badbeat jackpot continues to build. To win it, you have to have a certain hand (which varies from casino to casino) that is beat by a better hand. Some casinos say quads have to be beaten. The Goldstrike has theirs higher than that. Quad 10s or better had to be beaten, and that is harder than it sounds. Because of that, the jackpot had built up to around $230,000 at one time.

They also have a mini-bad beat that is 10% of the regular jackpot. I believe it had to be a full-house of aces full of kings (or better) be beaten. When a bad beat or a mini-bad beat happens, the person who suffers the bad beat gets 40% of the jackpot, the person who beat him gets 20%, and the remaining 40% goes to everyone who is playing in the room at the time (not just at that particular table). There's one more thing. The are separate bad best jackpots for each game. That is, hold 'em has its own jackpot, Omaha has its own and stud (which they seldom spread anymore) has one, too.

One night I was there for a mini. One player had A-A, another had K-K. The flop was A-K-x, but the turn was another king. So one player had A-A-A-K-K and another had K-K-K-K-A. I forget what each of them got, but it was around $8,000 and $4,000 and my share (as was all the other persons playing hold 'em) was around $220. Because there had been several mini-bad beats, the main jackpot was down to "only" $158,000.

There are some qualifiers. Both cards in your hand have to play, and there has to be at least $20 in the pot. Also, you can't sit there and discuss it, or that may void the bad beat. After one of these bad beats, you have to wait. Security rolls back the tapes (they have the "eye in the ski" cameras that tape everything) and checks to see that there was no hanky panky. Then there are a million (or maybe even more) forms to be filled out. The time I got my players' share of a mini, they gave me a voucher, and I came back the next day to actually collect (it was late Sunday night and I had to work the next day, so I didn't want to wait around for all the red tape).

Clear as mud?

Anyway, MOJO got the details for all three of my readers about the following hand: It took place Saturday morning around 4 a.m. One guy involved was a part-time dealer, who was off duty and playing -- his name is Jody. I couldn't find out anything about the other guy. They were playing $1/2 no limit hold 'em. Jody had A-A and the other had J-J and they were all in before the flop. The flop was J-J-X, so the one guy had flopped his quads. Then the turn was an ace and the river was another ace for the bad beat.

The quad jacks guy, got $63,400. The quad aces (Jody) got half of that or around $31,700. Because it was late at night, there weren't that many other players, so they each got a nice, juicy $2,180 each. A lady named Robin dealt it and no one seemed to know how much she got tipped.

Why can't I get quad jacks and get them beat? If that happened, I promise I wouldn't whine about a bad beat for at least four weeks (okay, okay -- maybe three).

This was the band that played at the Goldstrike Saturday night:

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