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It was two years in the making, but the poker marketers at Caesars Entertainment have finally got their record bad beat jackpot — and then some.
By Wednesday, the Caesars combined jackpot was sitting at better than $712,000, easily outdistancing the old record of $672,000 set at the Taj Mahal in June 2010.
The question now is how high can it go?
For the moment, Caesars is hoping it can go a lot higher without hitting. After all, whenever it hits they’ll have the new record and in the meantime they’re packing them in at their four poker rooms.
“This record Atlantic City Bad Beat Jackpot has generated a buzz like nothing else in our Caesars Entertainment poker rooms,” said Don Marrandino, Eastern Division President for Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City in a press release. “Players are lining up each and every day for a chance at this life changing amount.”
Actually, the jackpot isn’t as life changing as it could be, but more on that later. Suffice to say that the eventual winner (the loser of the bad beat) will get more than $210,000, which is nothing to sneeze at.
This is, of course, exactly what Caesars hoped for two years ago when they revamped their bad beat jackpot to combine all four of their poker rooms — Harrah’s Resort, Caesars, Showboat and Bally’s.
The move came just two months after the Taj Mahal poker room had been packed for weeks when the old record was set and Caesars Entertainment never forgot the action they had seen in January 2010 when the jackpot climbed to a then record of about $554,000 at Caesars Atlantic City.
So they created the combined jackpot, set the minimum hand to be beaten pretty high (so the jackpot could build) and waited for some bad beat mania to sweep across all their rooms.
Except the thing kept hitting.
In fact, right out of the shoot it hit. When Caesars first created the jackpot, they combined the existing four bad beat jackpot pools at their casinos and started at $524,000. With the initial minimum at quad queens (it goes down a notch each week it doesn’t hit), they seemed sure to get a record right away.
Then the thing hit 51 hours later. That’s right, just over two days later when two straight flushes foiled the quad queens minimum.
Over the last two years the jackpot has never really been able to make a run at the record again until now. Like all bad beat jackpots, they get streaky, and at times the combined jackpot seemed to hit every couple of weeks.
But to set a record, you need a dry spell. The last time the Caesars jackpot hit was March 1 for $281,000. Five months without a hit and you get a $700K jackpot.
Adding to the excitement is the unique payout system Caesars created. Unlike most bad beat jackpots, which only pay the player’s at the table that sees the hit, Caesars added the twist of paying all the players in its four rooms when it hits. That means players at Showboat get paid even if the hit comes at Harrah’s.
That should mean all four poker rooms will see a bump in play while bad beat mania takes hold. And frankly, all four rooms could use a bump.
But it also means that the payout for the eventual winning hand won’t be as high as it would if this hit came at the other casinos that offer a bad beat jackpot.
The Caesars jackpot pays 30 percent to the bad beat winner, 20 percent to the actual winner of the hand and then splits the remaining 50 percent among all the players in its rooms.
By comparison, the Borgata pays the bad beat winner 40 percent and the Taj pays about 50 percent.