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Gary Trask

Gary  Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's Editor in Chief and has worked as a writer and editor more than 25 years. The Boston native was a member of the Poker Hall of Fame's inaugural Media Committee.

Contact Gary at and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

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Caesars Entertainment brings the thrill of progressive jackpots to table games

11 Mar 2019

By Gary Trask
With more than two decades of experience working with casino table games, Jay Bean fully admits that he's long been envious of the mega-jackpots that his slot machine brethren are constantly able to boast about.

"Table games have always been a pretty simple product, with the felt, the cards or dice, and the chips," explained the Vice President of Caesars Enterprise Table Games. "That's pretty much been the extent of it. We've never been able to offer the chance at a life-changing event to happen at the table."

In recent months, however, Caesars has made an effort to change all of that in big way. Over the last year, the casino giant has introduced progressive jackpots — a concept most commonly associated with slot machines — to table games. After unveiling a Fortune Pai Gow Poker Progressive Jackpot across Nevada in early 2018, Caesars did the same at select blackjack and poker derivative tables throughout the region beginning in November.

Today, the three games have more than 270 total tables (over 140 poker derivative, nearly 90 blackjack and just over 40 pai gow) on progressive jackpots in 12 properties throughout the state, making them the largest linked table network in the U.S.

The jackpots are available at Caesars’ nine Las Vegas resorts (Caesars Palace, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Harrah's Las Vegas Casino & Hotel, Paris Las Vegas, Bally's - Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Flamingo Las Vegas, The Cromwell and The LINQ Hotel & Casino) as well as Harrah's Reno, Harrah's Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino, and Harrah's Laughlin Casino & Hotel.

"Players love it and we really enjoy offering it because it allows us to leverage our footprint and create jackpots that really can't be matched by our competitors," Bean said. "And there's a huge benefit for our smaller operations in places like Laughlin and Reno. It would take years for them to build a $2 million progressive jackpot on their own. But since they're part of the network, players at those properties have just as a good chance at hitting the mega jackpot as those who are in Las Vegas."

Since the launch of the linked progressive, there have been three major jackpots of over $1 million hit, including one lucky guest that cashed in for $1,428,739.11 at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on 30 June. An instant millionaire was also minted at Paris Las Vegas on 15 November when Miami resident Elhara Shai was dealt three seven of diamonds while playing Blazing 7’s Blackjack, which resulted in a $1,013,733.71 payday.

Two more jackpots of between $500,000 and $1 million have been won, and 17 jackpots of between $100,000 and $500,000 have also been hit. In addition, there have been 94 winners of between $10,000 and $100,000, while 1,800 players have cashed in for jackpots of under $10,000. In total, there has been $15 million paid out.

Of course, giving yourself a chance to bring home one these progressives comes at a cost. Players must place the optional $5 side bet in addition to the amount they are playing on their hand.

Casino City Gaming Guru Frank Scoblete warns that while progressive betting can win you more money than merely flat betting, it does not reduce the house edge one bit.

"You will have far more losing sessions than winning sessions betting this way," Scoblete wrote in an article titled " Truth and untruths of table games." "In short, you are throwing more money into the house edge . . . Side bets come with a large house edge, but the edge for a progressive side bet is minimized as the amount of the jackpot grows."

As of late last week, the poker derivative major jackpot was at $720,000, pai gow was up over $600,000 and the blackjack was at $250,000.

The Mega jackpot for Fortune Pai Gow is hit with a seven-card straight flush, the Major jackpot is won with five aces and the Minor jackpot is won with a royal flush. For blackjack, the player needs three seven of diamonds for the Mega jackpot and a royal flush does the trick for poker derivative games.

"It’s definitely brought some excitement because it's not like we're asking our players to try and hit a one billion to one shot," Bean added. "These aren't impossible to hit. You've seen or heard about a royal flush at a poker table game. It happens. Except now when it happens, it can be a life-changing event for someone. That's a game changer."
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