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Bad beat jackpots that casinos could consider offering


3 Mar 2018

Did you know that your odds of being struck by lightning are in the ballpark of 3000/1?

Spare a thought then for former US park ranger Roy Sullivan, who suffered this exact ordeal on no fewer than seven different occasions.

Yet despite losing a big toe nail and his eyebrows, having his hair set on fire, suffering chest burns and having his shoulder and legs seared, Sullivan survived all seven nightmares.

For such a traumatic run of bad luck, it could be concluded that the Virginia native deserved a reward far greater than an appearance in the Guinness World Records.

Speak to some casino visitors and they will deem that they have endured equally harrowing and painful days when playing at the tables.

Wouldn’t it be nice then that if in the biggest hard-luck scenarios, some sort of structure was in place to soften the blow?

Here are some situations where such a bad-beat jackpot or bonus would seemingly be justified.

Texas Hold’em Poker

Regular poker players will be no strangers to losing all-in hands when they were clear favourites to take the pot once all their chips were pushed into play.

Among the more famous came in the latter stages of the 2010 World Series of Poker, when eventual winner Jonathan Duhamel got involved with Matt Affleck in a hand where whoever won would establish a significant chip lead.

Affleck had pocket aces and Duhamel two jacks. After lots of bets, by the turn Duhamel had an up-and down straight draw needing an eight or king on the river.

But after calling an all-in, he had 10 outs heading to the river, if Affleck’s aces held firm, he would take the chip lead with $41m. Instead, the eight of diamonds arrived and the rest is history.

Should the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Paradise, Nevada have offered a bad-beat jackpot, Affleck would likely have received a top up on the $500,000 he scooped for finishing in 15th place.

Head east from Nevada to Detroit in Michigan and a progressive bad-beat jackpot can be won. In fact, earlier this year, one player was over $427,000 better off because of it.

He was awarded the sum after losing a hand with four-of-a-kind threes, only to watch an opponent reveal four queens.

This jackpot remains available to be won again at the MotorCity Casino, but could easily be adapted elsewhere to make a poker room more in demand.


Sit down for a session of blackjack and there are bound to be occasions where every iota of luck goes in the direction of the dealer.

Common examples will include never completing a blackjack when dealt an ace first card or continuously watching the dealer flip a five when they have to hit for another card on 16.

Yet any of the following two occurrences would potentially be most deserving of a bad beat jackpot.

Roughly speaking, a player can expect to be dealt blackjack once every 21 hands. The obvious perk is the increased payout, which could be 3/2 or 6/5 depending on the house rules of a casino.

How frustrating for a player should they be robbed of their payday by the dealer dealing themselves a blackjack in the same hand. This would result in a push, with the tied hand causing the initial bet to be returned to the player.

The probability of both a player and dealer having blackjack simultaneously is 0.0017.

Another possible blackjack bad beat could relate to a player who incessantly finds their hand total of 20 gazumped by a dealer landing a 21.

If this happened in four or five hands in succession, with luck of this nature the losing player may as well call an early end to their session.


Whereas skill and knowledge can help to obtain better results in both poker and blackjack, winning at roulette is purely reliant on chance.

That doesn’t mean players will not suffer runs of bad results from time to time.

What about those players who simply like to win and so stick an equal amount of chips on both red and black, only to see the ball come to rest on zero?

Casinos gain their house edge from any green numbers on the wheel, whether it be the single zero or 00 if playing on an American Roulette wheel.

On an American wheel, the probability of the ball landing on any individual number is 1/38. This remains the same for the next spin, regardless of the previous result.

Even so, watching the ball land on the 00 for five successive spins may be enough for many players to call time on their game. The odds on such an eventuality is 79,235,168/1.

Should this happen, a casino could offer a bad-beat bonus to those players constantly losing by staking on any of the even-money bets.

The Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino went one stage further as one of its roulette wheels previously witnessed seven successive spins land on the number 19.

Professional poker player Jeff Romano tweeted an image of the extraordinary occurrence in 2012, with the image also showing that after the sequence was ended by a number 15, another 19 landed on the very next spin.