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December 1989

Anthony Curtis reported that Sahara in Las Vegas was dealing baccarat without a commission! This was a promotion for December only, and ran Monday through Thursday from 7 Pm to 2 AM. The minimum bet was $20 and the maximum was $100. Your edge betting on the bank was 1.36%. Your expectation was to win $1000 per evening. No skill was required - in baccarat the cards play themselves. The problem in this game was getting a seat; enough of the locals knew about it to fill up the table.

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Bad Beat Jackpots
Many cardrooms have bad-beat jackpots, awarded when a specified very strong hand or better gets beaten. A typical distribution is 50 percent to the player who lost the big hand (he gets the biggest share because he suffered the loss~, 25 percent to the winning hand, and 25 percent divided among the remaining players at the table. Usually in hold'em, aces full or better must be beaten and both hole cards must play in both hands. The requirements are higher for stud and Omaha. In lowball, a 6-4 must be beaten.

Although the phrase "bad beat" is most often used to describe a particularly unlucky last card defeat, in the jackpot realm, it refers simply to the bad luck involved in losing with a very strong hand. For example, if Andy starts a hold'em hand with 6-6, and Bob starts with J -J, and the final board is 6-J-6-J-7, the betting will be quite spirited, because Andy has four sixes and Bob four jacks. Andy, in losing the hand, wins the lion's share of the bad-beat jackpot.
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