Bonuses for bad beats can help soften blow

Bonuses for bad beats can help soften blow

January 30, 2018 3:00 AM

Many casinos offer a special bonus during designated hours in low/middle limit Texas hold’em games. If you hold A-A in the hole (pocket Aces), and get beat out, you are awarded a bonus of $100. That’s a pretty good deal, assuming the pot itself is much less than $100. It’s also called Aces Cracked.

Being dealt pocket Aces is quite rare; the odds are 220-to-1 against it. But it does happen. In fact, you might expect pocket Aces in the hole about once a session of about seven hours.

Doesn’t it feel great when it does happen to you, as you look down on A-A as your two hole cards? Euphoria! Now ask yourself: What is the best way to play this hand? You cannot lose. If you’re beat out by an opponent, there’s $100 to fill another rack of chips. It’s so much fun to watch your chips grow and grow. And, if no one can beat your A-A, you take the pot. Either way, you’re a winner!

With those two alternatives in mind, you are wise to start out playing very tight. Your objective is to keep as many opponents as possible in the hand. The more there are, the better chance someone will crack your A-A in the hole. Avoid betting out; just call other players’ bets. Don’t raise. Just call all of your opponents’ bets/raises. At this point, the less you invest, the higher your profit potential – all the better for you.

But there is a caveat: There must be a minimum of $20 in the pot after the casino drop. If it’s not quite there, make a minimum bet if you possibly can do so without forcing everyone out.

Of course, you realize you have no control over the cards; nor does the dealer. It’s just a matter of chance. All you can do is hope an opponent catches a hand better than yours so you can earn the Bad-Beat-Aces bonus from the casino.

The odds are against it, but a third Ace could fall on the flop. It’s about an 8-to-1 longshot; but it does happen. You now have a set of Aces! At that point, based on the board, assuming it’s practically impossible for an opponent to catch a straight or flush or better, for all practical purposes, you are certain you hold the winning hand. Now is the time to reconsider your tactics.

If you are bound to win this pot, then make it as big as possible. An early-position bets out and is called by two others. From your late position, make the raise. They all call; and the pot grows. On the turn, if anyone bets before you, raise it up again. It’s a value bet intended to build that pot. On the river, chances are the remaining opponents will check to you; bet again for value. Hesitate a bit and peek at your hole cards to make your opponents suspect you might be bluffing – and hope you get called.

With your Bad Beat Aces, you cannot lose; either you win the $100 bonus when your pocket Aces are cracked or you win the pot with the best hand. If it’s the bonus, try to keep the pot as small as possible; invest as few chips as necessary to get to the showdown. If it becomes almost certain you will win the pot when your A-A improves, then reverse your tactics in order to build “your” pot as big as possible.