It was up to $120,000 when the Station Casinos Jumbo Hold ‘Em Poker Progressive Jackpot was hit at the property in July. Normally, the player who’s straight flush was beaten by a bigger one would have collected half that money. The player with the winning hand would have been entitled to a quarter of it. Plus, a percentage of the progressive jackpot would have been paid to any players sitting it at games in all five Station Casinos poker rooms around Las Vegas.
Only this time that didn’t happen. After the river card was dealt, but before the final round of betting, one player prematurely exposed his cards.
Red Rock bad beat invalidated
Red Rock staff decided this was tantamount to a discussion of the hands during play. Ultimately, the poker room manager invalidated the jackpot and refused to pay.
The players claimed the fact the cards were revealed early didn’t really change the outcome. They asked the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) to investigate. An NGCB investigator took a look and ruled in the players’ favor. He said that while exposing the cards was clearly bad poker etiquette, it really didn’t change the outcome one bit. Red Rock still refused to pay. Instead, it asked the NGCB to hold a hearing.
That hearing went down last week. A report with recommendations is expected to be released and discussed at the next NGCB meeting in January. Even if the NGCB rules in the players favor, Red Rock could appeal the decision in the courts.
However, the casino might want to just give these players what really is their money. Unless it wants the hit its reputation is taking to get even worse.
The players’ money
The truth is, the fact that bad bead jackpot money is actually the players’ money is the one thing lost in this whole kerfuffle.
Station Casinos poker rooms, including the one at Red Rock, take a small percentage of every pot played to fund the jackpot. It’s not the casino’s cash. They’re just holding it for the players until it hits.
Without rules governing how a bad beat jackpot works there would be chaos and rampant collusion. No one wants that.
However, Red Rock might want to consider changing how it handles the administration of its rules. Instead of standing in the way of players and their money, they should really be looking for ways to give it to them. Stop acting like a gatekeeper and start being a conduit to all that cash.
After all, the players’ money funds more than just the bead beat jackpot. Its really what’s keeping the entire room afloat.
Two bad beats in two days
As an aside, the whole thing reminds me of the first and second time I hit a Royal Flush. Ultimately, it led to being involved in two bad beats in two days.
I was driving through Oregon in December 2005 and suddenly ran into a blinding snowstorm while crossing over a mountain pass. On the other side of that pass was the Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Pendleton.
It took me an hour and a half to drive what would usually take about 15 minutes. By the time I got to the casino I was sure the weather meant no game was running. I was wrong. There was a $4/$8 Limit Hold’em game going. It was populated by the resort golf pro, two off-shift security guards, and a couple of their buddies. They were all either locals or property staff. I was the mark.
After about an hour, I turned the queen-jack of spades into a Royal Flush. The river paired the ace of spades on board. Then, I got into one of those infamous heads-up Limit Hold’em raising wars that didn’t end until we ran out of money.
When it came time to turn over the cards, he showed aces full of kings. He then started jumping up and down like he’d won the lottery. Before I could get through explaining that they had named the nuts after my hand, he pointed to sign on the wall that read “$10,000 Bad Beat Jackpot.”
$2,500 and a t-shirt
He got $5,000. I got $2,500 and the rest of the table shared the same. The next few hours included the loosest and most fun $4/$8 Limit game I’ve ever played in. I became an honorary Pendleton local and Wildhorse employee.
I drove across the border and into Vancouver, Canada the next day. By midnight, I had found another $4/$8 game in the River Rock Casino Resort. Somehow I made another Royal Flush. They gave me a t-shirt.