News / I would like a million dollars please

I would like a million dollars please Samedi, 3 mai 2014

The norm in Québec for poker rooms is to offer players the opportunity to win a lot of money, through Bad Beat Jackpots (BBJ). This kind of promo has been around for a long time, and has been discussed for almost as long.

Of course, knowing this magical hand could be worth a few hundred thousand dollars generates excitement for the room. Players will thus be more likely to go play there instead of elsewhere for the duration of this huge BBJ. When it reaches about $250 000, more players will choose this room over the others. On the other hand, for the long period while the amount grows, the role of this promotion is largely diminished.

I have never heard a player say he was going to a poker room to "help grow the BBJ". If it's worth around $80 000, curiously it doesn't change our playing habits and no one migrates. Of course, a few weeks each year, every poker room attracts players from competing poker rooms for a certain time, and this makes them very happy.

Nonetheless, in reality, what's the real impact of such a promo? Allow me to shed a different light on this situation. I have played in every poker room in this province, and 57 in the United States. I have seen every kind of promotion possible, from the standard ones to the weird ones.

Last week, I was in New Jersey for business, thanks to a special invite from Caesars Entertainment. I enjoyed it thoroughly and had a lot of fun, but I also played a lot of poker. It got me to think back to our local promos. Currently, every local poker room offers a BBJ; that's their only major promo, as their other are a lot less important. in order to put this in play, they rake a dollar per pot on every hand played. An additional rake, taken from the players, then returned back to players. The room makes no profit on this, it just creates excitement.

In a weird way, this only benefits regular players. Since it cannot be advertised publicly, only sites like those of the Prince Network, notably PrincePoker and PrinceofPoker, talk about it. Thus, this formula rewards regular players, without helping to advertise their product.

Of course, people read about it. They read us. Our articles on RDS.ca helps newcomers learn about them. They read about this promo when it goes up to a certain, newsworthy amount. So it does reach a vast and varied public. But mostly, it speaks mainly to the regulars and the casual players.

Yet, in the last 6 months, over one million dollars has disappeared from our poker economy! Unfortunately, this is the dark side of BBJs. First, $300 000 at the Lac Leamy Casino, then a little more at the Playground Poker Club, then a few weeks ago over $400 000 at the Montreal Casino. 6 players altogether really took advantage of this fallout of money: the 3 hand winners and the 3 "losers". The 6 of them received over three quarter of the whole sum! A nice amount, especially considering this is tax-free.

You think these players will put that money back into the ecosystem? NEVER! For those of you unfamiliar with the way it works, here's how it does:

Whenever a player gets beaten with a real premium hand ( usually quads or more beaten), as a loser of the hand he receives 50% of whatever the BBJ is up to. The winner of the hand gets 25% . The other 25% is divided either to the other players at the table or to all the players in the poker room. The last BBJ at the Montreal casino was worth $13 000 to each of the other 8 players at the table!

Of course, if I ever win more than $100 000 in such a hand, I will do the same thing. I will use this money from heaven for all kinds of things.....anything except to play poker. This money thus disappears from the poker scene forever in almost every case. With all the $1 I gave to build these jackpots, I would have preferred to have a more realistic chance of getting some of it back!

Caesars in Atlantic City has a promo that I like a lot. Since they operate 3 poker rooms in A.C., it pools the 3 rooms in an hourly $500 high hand promo. 12 hours per day on weekdays (11AM to 11PM), the player with the highest hand receives $500. Every hour, $500! With this amount, no one worries about this money coming back of course!

While the promo runs 60 hours/week during "low" periods, the $1 raked to pay for it is taken 24/7. This is because they also offer a BBJ. The only difference is the way they divide the raked dollar.

While offering various promotions , the local tendency in Québec uses most of the raked dollar towards building a huge Bad Beat Jackpot. A much smaller percentage of it goes towards standard and fun common promos, like a bonus for some specific hands (quads, Royal flushes, cracked Aces, etc.)

In my humble opinion, we should make a special effort to send a bigger portion of the dollar towards a promotion that raises interest in the players and also keeps a major part of the money in the poker ecosystem. This would create less rich players trough a lucky hand and would add hope to all players.

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