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Aaron Todd

Aaron  Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

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A one-outer away from an $11,000 payday

6 Aug 2007

By Aaron Todd

It's pretty hard to take down over $11K in a $.50/$1 Limit Hold'em hand, especially when your cards end up in the muck.

But that's almost exactly what I did when I recently jumped onto one of Absolute Poker's Bad Beat Jackpot tables.

With a six-month old at home, I haven't been playing a whole lot of online poker lately, and when I have logged on, it's been at PokerStars. I'm a low-roller who likes to play a variety of games, and once I started having some success in the $3.40 Turbo HORSE SNGs at PokerStars, I chose to focus on those.

I had practically forgotten about my $50 AP balance. But then I got an e-mail informing me that the nice folks at AP had put $10 in my account, thus taking me to 300 big bets (a rule I take seriously) in the $.10/$.20 game.

In order to keep the extra cash, I had to play a bit. And while there were plenty of $.10/$.20 tables to choose from, AP's Bad Beat Jackpot tables were just too enticing. The tables, highlighted in red, offered a chance at a HUGE payday for stakes as low as $.50/$1.

The jackpot is awarded when a player loses with quad eights or better, as long as the winner and the loser use both hole cards to make their hands. When the jackpot is triggered, 65% of the jackpot is divided up between all the players at the table. Half of it goes to the "unfortunate" victim of the bad beat, one quarter goes to the winner of the hand, and the rest is divided up equally by the other players at the table. Twenty-five percent of the jackpot rolls over into the new jackpot, while the rest of the money (10%) goes to the house.

With the jackpot building to near record levels, I decided to throw the bankroll rules out the window and try my luck at a $.50/$1 Limit Hold'em Bad Beat Jackpot table.

And soon after I started playing, I had a 2.5 percent chance at becoming a big winner, even though I folded preflop.

One player hit set of Queens on the flop, another made a set of twos, and a third flopped an open ended straight flush draw. The straight flush hit on the turn, and if the final Queen had fallen on the river (a 1-in-40 chance), I would have taken home more than $11,000.

The large jackpot (it was over $416,000 as of 12:30 p.m. EST on Monday) is definitely enticing. It certainly attracted some characters who made some unorthodox plays, like calling down to the river with King high (I didn't realize that I was value-betting with my Ace high!).

When I'm in Vegas, I do my best to avoid poker rooms with High Hand/Bad Beat Jackpots. It's hard enough to beat the rake in the low-limit games that I play, and the jackpots just don't seem to be big enough to warrant throwing away a buck each time I win a hand. One guy at my table won $100 in a high hand jackpot for making quad aces at Caesar's Palace the last time I was there. I don't know about you, but I'd rather keep the extra dollar. Quad aces don't come around that often.

I have to admit, that's how I felt about the AP Bad Beat Jackpot until I sat down and played. The criteria for hitting the jackpot makes it pretty tough to hit (live bad beat jackpots are usually awarded when Aces full or better gets beat), but that's what helps build the jackpot to enormous levels. And while the extra rake -- $.50 goes to the Bad Beat Jackpot once the pot reaches $5 -- might be tough to beat on the lowest limit tables, there may just be enough bad players chasing the jackpot to make it worth sitting down for awhile.

If nothing else, I can say I sat down at a poker table where I had a 2.5 percent chance of cashing a check for more than $11,000. Now that's a first for a low-roller like me.

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