PERSEVERANCE PAYS OFF
By Kenneth R. Smith
Ken Smith hosts the popular website www.BlackjackInfo.com as well as the online tournament community at www.BlackjackTournaments.com. Considered one of the best tournament players in the country, he has appeared on TV in GSN's World Series of Blackjack 2004 and 2005, the Las Vegas Hilton Million Dollar Championship II finals, and is also featured in the upcoming Ultimate Blackjack Tour. You can subscribe to his free email newsletter athttp://www.blackjackinfo.com/news/.
In August, I scored my largest casino win ever, in a newly reopened casino in Mississippi. As you probably know, Hurricane Katrina utterly destroyed everything along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including the thriving casino business there. In the year since the storm, a lot has been accomplished with the storm cleanup and rebuilding process. On Thursday, August 17th, the Grand Casino Biloxi reopened, although the casino is still located in a temporary facility.
By Friday, less than 24 hours later, I had been informed of an interesting opportunity that was unfolding at the new Grand. The Caribbean Stud table game was once quite popular, but in recent years, it's run into stiff competition with newer games like Three Card Poker and several variations of Hold'em Poker becoming much more popular with casino patrons. As a result, the Grand had decided they would like to remove the game from their casino floor, to free up space for something else.
But, there's a catch. The game of Caribbean Stud features a progressive jackpot that is won when a player is dealt a Royal Flush. Each player optionally puts a dollar in the jackpot bet slot before the hand, and that qualifies the player to collect a bonus payout if his hand is a flush or better. A Royal Flush wins the entire jackpot. Along the way, the jackpot is funded by all those $1 bets, and the casino doesn't "own" that money. According to the Mississippi Gaming Commission regulations, before the Grand could remove the game, they must give away the jackpot to the players.
Waiting for a player to be dealt a royal flush is not a very effective way to get rid of the game, because the Royal appears on average only once every 649,740 hands. Instead, the Grand changed the rules allowing the entire jackpot to be awarded to the first player who got four-of-a-kind. As soon as I heard the news, I headed for the casino...
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