Station Casinos Pays Disputed BBJ Winners, Promptly Cancels BBJ
Nearly a year after the excitement of hitting a bad-beat jackpot, poker players at Red Rock Station and other Station Casinos in the Las Vegas area are finally getting paid. Unfortunately, they will have no further chances to get lucky in a bad beat jackpot at one of those properties, as Station Casinos is ending the promotion.
The whole saga goes back to July 7th of last year, when Len Schreter topped Avi Shamir in an unlikely hand where a straight flush triumphed over a lower straight flush. As they were playing a table that took an extra drop for the then-$120,000 bad-beat jackpot, signs illuminated at every Station Casino in the area, indicating the jackpot had been hit.
Shamir, as the loser of the hand, was due about $60,000, Schreter stood to win $30,000, and everyone else who was playing at bad-beat jackpot tables not just at Red Rock, but at all Station Casinos at that moment, would get to split the rest ($565 each). Pop the champagne!
Not so fast, my friend, as the great Lee Corso would say. Schreter, the winner of the hand, had gotten so excited about what was transpiring on the river that he accidentally revealed his cards out of turn. As such, Red Rock management determined that he violated the rules of the bad-beat jackpot promotion, namely the part that reads, “discussion of hands during the play by players, at the discretion of management, may void a Jumbo Hold ‘Em Jackpot,” and refused to award the prizes.
Schreter, Shamir, and two other players filed a complaint with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), which resulted in an investigator agreeing with the players, ruling that Schreter’s inadvertent action did not affect the hand. Station Casinos appealed, so the case was returned to an NGCB examiner once again to collect more information. After another decision from an investigator and a hearing, the NGCB ruled in may that no jackpot rules were violated and the players should be paid. (Schreter, incidentally, had dropped out of the complaint by then, mainly because he felt so bad about possibly losing Shamir so much money.)
Station Casinos had the option to appeal to the Clark County District Court, but finally relented and paid the players. The real question, though, is why in the world did the company put up such a fight? It was apparent to everyone that Schreter’s out-of-turn card reveal didn’t influence the outcome of the hand and the jackpot is funded by an extra drop from each hand, so Station wasn’t out any money; the jackpot was entirely funded by players.
The commonly held belief is that being able to advertise a six-figure bad-beat jackpot helped Station Casinos attract more customers than a reset jackpot would, which is probably true. It is just brow-furrowing that Station could think that the bad press and loss of goodwill from not paying up would be worth it.
And then, on top of all that, Station Casinos has decided to eliminate its bad-beat jackpot altogether. Again, we’re not exactly sure why. Did they think it would be a daily reminder of their stupidity? Is it an ill-conceived punishment to their loyal customers (I know many think BBJ’s and their associated extra rake are dumb, but clearly people enjoy them)?
Rochelle Linder, one of the players who filed the complaint to the NGCB, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “The position that Station took during the nine months they held back payment surely made a negative impact on the number of players going to Station casinos.”
It sounds like Station is trying to claim that the bad-beat jackpot just wasn’t worth it for players (it probably wasn’t, considering how infrequently it hit) and that getting rid of it was a customer-friendly decision.
Lori Nelson, a Station spokesperson, told the Review-Journal, “….our current promotions are equally and in some cases richer than was Bad Beat.”
Linder told the newspaper that she will not return to Station Casinos. Michael Bluestein, one of the complainants, said that he still goes, but not as much as he once did, and he knows other people who won’t go back. The Review-Journal reports that “frequent players” at Station properties say poker traffic has declined a bit. To be fair, we don’t know if that is because of the bad-beat jackpot dickery or possibly because the promotion is gone completely.
If there are lessons to be learned here, they are a) stand up for yourself if you feel you’ve been wronged, and b) don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.