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America’s Card Room To Phase Out Bad-Beat Jackpot

americas-card-room-logoMajor online-poker bad beat jackpots continue to wane in popularity, with America’s Card Room, the largest US-facing site on the Winning Poker Network, the latest to pull the plug on the concept.

Bad-beat jackpots, long a staple of live poker rooms, were once seen as a way to generate traffic and rake for online sites.  However, the concept has in fact worked similarly to lottery-ticket sales for most sites, inching along without being cracked for long periods until the jackpot finally grows large, then receiving a lot of action all at once when that magic and somewhat indefinable threshold of jackpot size is reached.  Once cracked, it’s been a wash/rinse/repeat affair until the next large jackpot is built.

All such bad-beat jackpots carry a hidden cost, a mandatory extra rake percentage which is contributed to the jackpot from participating tables.  Since once a jackpot is cracked, a percentage of the jackpot goes to the house, it’s been a modest extra revenue source, but the whole concept has always been all or nothing — in order to build a jackpot large enough to generate publicity, a site or room also has to set the qualifying standards so high as to assure it’ll almost never be cracked.

Which doesn’t mean there haven’t been some huge online bad-beat jackpots.  The largest of all time was awarded in July of 2011, when the Boss Media / International Poker Network BBJ was hit for €1,265,583 (a bit over $1.8m), in a mega-cooler hand where pocket aces were up against pocket kings and the board made quads for both players.  That beat the previous record, over on the Merge Network (Carbon Poker), where a $1.2 million BBJ had been awarded.

One additional factor in online bad-beat jackpots’ waning popularity is… cashout limits.  Many intermediate-sized networks now limit cashouts to a set amount over a period of time, such as at Merge, where the limit is $2,500 month.  That’s part of why Merge did away with its own BBJ a couple of years back; there was virtually no incentive for players to chase a giant jackpot when it could take a winning player a decade of small monthly cashouts to get the winnings off the site.

ACR’s decision to pull its BBJ and focus on other promotions, such as its ongoing “Beast” offerings, has to be due in part to the fact that the concept of cracking a big BBJ just isn’t as juicy as it once was.  According to ACR’s page announcing the discontinuation, the pot will be frozen at about $175,000, with all cash tables now eligible to win the remaining jackpot

Here’s the meat of the blurb:

Americas Cardroom will be giving you that golden opportunity starting September.

As of September 1st, Americas Cardroom will no longer be collecting jackpot fees to feed the Bad Beat Jackpot. As a result, we’ll be freezing the counter on the BBJ and leaving the accumulated jackpot up there to be won….by anyone!

That’s right! Whether or not you’ve ever contributed a penny to the jackpot you’ll still be eligible to win the BBJ just by playing at any of the jackpot tables. The best part is, you won’t have to pay into the BBJ for your chance to win.

Americas Cardroom will be leaving the current jackpot up until it’s all gone so come and sit down at our jackpot tables and try your luck, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!

ACR also pumped out an advertorial at pokerfuse announcing the discontinuation, which at last check still contained this erroneous line: “Effective September 1st, Americas Cardroom is phasing out the online poker contest that paid players for losing a hand with a pair of eights or better.”  Someone might want to fix that, and mention that it’s actually quad eights or better, with pocket eights as the losing player’s hole cards.

Bad-beat jackpots might still be a staple of live poker rooms — where contributions to said jackpots can be made mandatory — but online, it’s a different, more selective story.  A few major networks still offer a BBJ, but it’s a concept in steady decline, and ACR’s discontinuation is just another step in the process.


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