Poker players, however, didn’t need anything other than a seat at a Station poker table last week in order to grab a piece of Station Casino’s Jumbo Hold’em Bad Beat Poker Progressive that hit at Boulder Station.
When the dust settled, 265 Station poker players shared in the $418,870 progressive jackpot, which was the highest ever paid in the state of Nevada.
The player "suffering" the bad beat of losing the hand with a 5-high straight flush walked away with $36,373. The winner, who won with a 7-high straight flush, took home $21,373.
Moreover, everyone who was playing hold’em poker during the "bad beat" walked away a winner. A total of 263 players from Palace Station, Boulder Station, Texas Station, Sunset Station, Santa Fe Station and Green Valley Ranch won $1,373 each in consolation prize money for a total jackpot payout of $418,870.
As the jackpot neared $500,000 this holiday season, the poker rooms saw a Jumbo Poker frenzy as players flocked to the Station poker rooms to try their hand at winning the Jumbo, says Weldon Russell, director of ancillary games at Station Casinos.
"It’s been great and the excitement in the rooms has been electrifying," said Russell. "During peak times, every seat at every table was taken. Everyone was chasing the Jumbo."
Russell also credits the popularity of Jumbo Poker and the increased business he’s seen, at least partially fueled by televised high-stakes tournaments, in movies and online.
"When Jumbo Poker began in 2003, the poker frenzy was just beginning," Russell explains. "Back then when Jumbo Poker hit, we’d be happy to see a few dozen players splitting the pot. Now, even at 4 a.m. when today’s bad beat happened, there were over 250 players sitting in our rooms."
Russell and Station are betting the popularity of poker continues. The company has announced a poker room expansion at Santa Fe Station, is opening Red Rock Casino Resort Spa with a 15-table poker room this spring and is building an all new larger room at Green Valley Ranch, even though that property’s poker room has only been open since August.
"Almost immediately we knew there was a greater demand than we had the capacity to handle at Green Valley Ranch," said Russell. "So really as soon as we opened the room at Green Valley Ranch we went back to the drafting board to draw up plans for a bigger room."
Additionally, the company in the past year has made all but one of its poker rooms smoke-free. "My non-scientific theory is that the smoke-free environment has led to us seeing new guests who weren’t here before. The idea that poker games take place in secret in smoky back rooms might have intimidated some people. Now that poker is so widespread and accepted as a legitimate form of entertainment, more and more people are taking a seat."
The Jumbo jackpot normally starts at $100,000 and increases until won, but in the spirit of the holidays, Station management reset the Jumbo Poker jackpot at $200,000. The jackpot now stands at over $208,000.
The "Bad Beat" $100,000 poker progressive is awarded when four-10s or better is beaten by a higher 4-of-a-kind or better. If not won, the required winning hand decreases each week. When hit, the jackpot is shared by all qualified hold’em players at all Station Casinos.
The winner and loser of the "bad beat," in addition to their table stakes, also receive a player’s share of consolation money. The loser receives $35 thousand and the winner receives $20 thousand. Every qualified holdem’ player receives a guaranteed minimum of $200. The progressive jackpot is reset at $100,000, and increases every day until won.
Complete rules for playing Station Casinos Jumbo Hold’em Poker Progressive are available at the poker rooms of each Station Casino.