Six Poker Players at Detroit Casino Share Largest Bad Beat Jackpot in U.S. History

Six Poker Players at Detroit Casino Share Largest Bad Beat Jackpot in U.S. History

An old saying holds that success is written in the stars, so when Kenny Tallent watched the skies above Michigan set ablaze with an unfamiliar flash, he hoped the rare sight offered good fortune to come.

It was January 16 and the Battle Creek native found himself driving to nearby MotorCity Casino in Detroit to play poker. Suddenly, the night sky lit up with starlight as a meteor fell to Earth and burned up in spectacular fashion.

As he later told his hometown Battle Creek Enquirer, Tallent had a feeling that the meteor sighting was a good omen ahead of a night competing at the Texas Hold’em tables:

“I remember thinking, what are the odds of that. Maybe it would be good luck.”

A little while later – when Tallent’s pocket Queens connected for top full house on the Q-3-3 flop and improved to four of a kind on the turn – his premonition seemed to be prescient. His hand was unbeatable, so Tallent was guaranteed to win each and every chip his opponent happened to put in the pot.

But when the other player in the hand turned over his own four of a kind with 3-3 in the hole, Tallent took down his share of the largest poker jackpot in U.S. history.

The collision between two “quad” hands triggered the MotorCity Casino poker room’s bad beat jackpot, which requires four of a kind to be beaten by another four of a kind. As a result, Tallent pocketed $ 213,712 – or 20 percent of the massive bad beat jackpot that had been built up to $ 1,068,590.

The loser of the hand, who has been identified only as “Scott,” claimed 40 percent of the jackpot for a $ 427,452 score. And to cap the historic hand off, the other four players seated at the table were each awarded a 10 percent “table share” for $ 106,856.

MotorCity Casino’s senior vice president of operations Phil Trofibio issued a statement celebrating the largest bad beat jackpot ever paid by an American poker room:

“There are winners every day on the floor, but it’s not every day that a jackpot that big hits. Congratulations to all the players at the table.”

Most poker rooms offer a bad beat jackpot promotion, which removes a dollar or two from every pot of a certain size and adds the funds to a running jackpot kitty. These jackpots can be claimed by meeting certain hand requirements that qualify as a “bad beat,” meaning one extremely strong hand happens to lose against an even better holding.

In most cases, the requirement is Aces full of Kings beaten by four of a kind or better, or perhaps quads beaten by anything better. But with the strict “quads over quads” requirement used at MotorCity Casino, the jackpot became much harder to hit, allowing it to swell to over $ 1 million.

An aspiring poker pro, Tallent recognized the long odds against two players winding up with four of a kind during the same hand:

“That kind of bad beat, with the kind of jackpot they have at Motor City, is kind of rare.

I guess I hope it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime thing because I’d love to have it happen to me again, but it is rare.”

Asked about the moment that a bad beat could be brewing, Tallent clearly relished reliving the experience:

“It never even crossed my mind that he could have four of a kind.

But then I went all-in and when he called my all-in so quickly, I figured out he might also have four-of-a-kind. We then looked at each other and I said, ‘you got it?’ and he said, ‘you got it?’ and we both said yes.

We realized what had happened and we all just started jumping up and down. Everybody in the poker room figured out what had happened and gathered around, there was this buzz everywhere.

I guess the stars just aligned perfectly that night.”

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Golden Nugget NJ Becomes First iGaming Platform in U.S. to Offer Live Dealer Casino Hold’em

Golden Nugget NJ Becomes First iGaming Platform in U.S. to Offer Live Dealer Casino Hold’em

Online gaming enthusiasts in New Jersey received another gift from in the days before Christmas, when the site launched the first live dealer Casino Hold’em tables in the country.

Since rolling out live dealer Casino Hold’em on December 23, the primary iGaming platform operated by Golden Nugget Atlantic City has run the game on a daily basis between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. local time.

Live dealer games connect online casino players directly to a dedicated studio built within the Golden Nugget casino. From there, professional dealers operate genuine cards and other casino equipment while running real table games, including blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. Players at home are able to place bets and sweat the action in real time, without worrying about the integrity of unseen random number generators and other risk factors associated with traditional online gambling.

Casino Hold’em is a variant on classic Texas Hold’em, designed in 2000 by Stephen Au-Yeung to be played as a house-banked table game. Players begin by placing an ante bet in exchange for a two-card starting hand, while the dealer takes their own two-card holding. After three community cards, called the “flop,” have been dealt, the player may opt to fold and forfeit their ante bet, or place an additional bet of equal size to call.

Upon calling, two more community cards are dealt (the “turn” and “river”), at which point the player and the dealer expose their starting cards. Using any combination of those two cards and the community cards, players make their best possible five-card poker hand in hopes of beating the dealer for an even money payout. Additionally, players can win progressively larger prizes using the Ante-Win pay table by forming high hands (four of a kind, straight flush, etc).

Golden Nugget became the first legal and regulated iGaming operator in America to offer Casino Hold’em as a live dealer game.

In a public statement, Golden Nugget’s senior vice president and general manager of online gaming Thomas Winter celebrated the historic product launch:

“Being the first to offer a Live Dealer version of the world’s most popular poker game in America, Casino Hold’em, shows our commitment to delivering on an innovative and world-class product to our patrons.

Our patrons have asked, and we are happy to deliver, on this request using our unique live-dealer digital platform.”

The new Casino Hold’em tables are operated in conjunction with Ezugi, a company specializing in furnishing live dealer studios and products. In August of 2016, Ezugi partnered with the Golden Nugget Atlantic City to construct the first live dealer facility serving the regulated American iGaming market.

Kfir Kugler, who serves as chief executive officer for Ezugi New Jersey, offered his own statement on the addition of Casino Hold’em:

“We are again honored to partner with and Golden Nugget Atlantic City to bring the first ever online live dealer Casino Hold’em to America and New Jersey.

America is in love with poker, and by using the Live Dealer platform, the game retains its strong connection between the player and the dealer in a live environment.”

In July of 2016, the month before becoming the online live dealer provider in New Jersey, generated just over $ 3.7 million in monthly casino revenue – just ahead of larger and more well-established competitors like Borgata ($ 3.3 million) and Tropicana ($ 3.2 million).

By December of that year, with live dealer games proving especially popular with players, the site jumped to $ 4.7 million in monthly revenue while Borgata and Tropicana both dipped to $ 3 million.

At the time, Winter attributed the site’s dominant market share directly to the introduction of live dealer games.

Today, the Golden Nugget remains the lone provider of live dealer products in the state, both through and fellow licensee Betfair.

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Pennsylvania Adds Possibility iGaming Sportsman as Boyd Casual gaming Gains Valley Form Internet casino

Pennsylvania Adds Possibility iGaming Sportsman as Boyd Casual gaming Gains Valley Form Internet casino

As part of a series of acquisitions completed to close out 2017, Boyd Gaming Corporation has added Pennsylvania’s Valley Forge Casino Resort to the company’s burgeoning portfolio.

Per a press release issued on December 20, the Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming acquired the casino from Valley Forge Convention Center Partners for a purchase price of $ 280.5 million. As a result, Boyd Gaming makes its first entrance into the lucrative Pennsylvania market – which has been built into the second-largest statewide commercial gambling industry in the United States, trailing only Nevada.

Valley Forge Casino Resort is located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, a small township 20 miles northwest of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Despite its status as one of the state’s smaller casinos, Valley Forge is home to 600 slot machines and 50 table games spread throughout 35,000 square feet of gaming space.

With the addition, Boyd Gaming will operate 29 casino properties throughout 10 states. Of those, the majority are located in Las Vegas (Gold Coast, Orleans, Sam’s Town), with others in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio.

Boyd Gaming announced the terms of its Valley Forge deal just two days after another major acquisition moved forward. On December 18, the company agreed to pay $ 575 million to purchase four casino properties – Ameristar St. Charles (Missouri), Ameristar Kansas City (Missouri), Belterra Casino Resort (Indiana); and Belterra Park (Ohio) – from Penn National Gaming, which had only recently acquired them from Pinnacle Entertainment.

In a statement, Keith Smith – who serves as president and chief executive officer for Boyd Gaming – commented on the company’s casino shopping spree:

“With the successful completion of our acquisitions of Valley Forge and the Pinnacle assets, Boyd Gaming will gain direct access to four of the nation’s largest gaming markets – Philadelphia, St. Louis, Kansas City and Cincinnati – with a combined population of nearly 10 million adults.

We believe this expansion will help drive additional growth throughout our nationwide portfolio, as we market our destination properties to these new customers in the Midwest and Northeast.”

And while the Valley Forge deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, Boyd Gaming is already being mentioned as a potential player in Pennsylvania’s newly legalized online gambling industry.

In late October of last year, Governor Tom Wolf signed a comprehensive gambling expansion bill into law – regulating online casinos, poker rooms, slot parlors, daily fantasy sports (DFS) platforms, and lottery ticket sales in the process. As a result, Pennsylvania became the fourth state to legalize online gambling, joining Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.

The new law stipulates that any of Pennsylvania’s 12 brick and mortar casinos, Valley Forge included, can apply for an online gaming license.

As the former part-owner of the Borgata casino in Atlantic City – the license-holder behind several successful online casinos and poker rooms in New Jersey – Boyd Gaming has prior experience in the iGaming industry. The company sold off its share of the Borgata in 2016, but as Smith alluded to in his public comments on the Valley Forge deal, Pennsylvania’s recently passed legislation provides another entry point to an online presence:

“The acquisition of Valley Forge Casino Resort is another excellent opportunity to further grow and diversify our nationwide portfolio.

And thanks to Pennsylvania’s recent passage of gaming expansion legislation, there are new opportunities to drive incremental growth at Valley Forge through the expansion of the property’s slot capacity and the introduction of new forms of gaming.”

And back in 2014, while praising the Borgata’s newly launched iGaming properties, Smith set Boyd Gaming apart from fellow brick and mortar casino operators by refuting the “cannibalization” argument routinely used against iGaming expansion:

“Online gaming is growing our database creating a long-term opportunity to market Borgata to an entirely new group of customers.”

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is currently crafting a regulatory framework for iGaming in the state, and the industry is expected to launch in the second half of 2018.

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Penn National Gaming Acquires Pinnacle Entertainment in $2.8 Billion Deal to Expand Casino Empire

Penn National Gaming Acquires Pinnacle Entertainment in $2.8 Billion Deal to Expand Casino Empire

Penn National Gaming, the parent company behind the Hollywood Casino brand, has put the finishing touches on a $ 2.8 billion acquisition of fellow American casino conglomerate Pinnacle Entertainment.

The terms of the takeover bid were confirmed in a press release dated December 18, with Penn National Gaming absorbing 12 of Pinnacle Entertainment’s 16 casino properties.

Pinnacle Entertainment previously operated several well-known casino brands, including Ameristar, Belterra, and Boomtown. Under the terms of the deal, Penn National Gaming has already agreed to sell four casinos – Ameristar Kansas City (Missouri) Ameristar St. Charles (Missouri); Belterra Casino Resort (Indiana), and Belterra Park (Ohio) – to Boyd Gaming at an approximate cost of $ 575 million per property.

Shareholders of the former Pinnacle Entertainment are set to receive $ 20, along with 0.42 shares of Penn National Gaming common stock, per share owned. The implied total purchase price per share of Pinnacle Entertainment stands at $ 32.47, as based on the closing price of Penn National Gaming stock as of December 15.

As a result of the deal, Penn National Gaming shareholders will hold 78 percent of the new entity’s outstanding shares, while Pinnacle Entertainment shareholders will control the other 22 percent.

Timothy J. Wilmott, who serves as chief executive officer for Penn National Gaming, issued a statement addressing the major merger’s implications:

“By combining our highly complementary portfolios and similar operating philosophies, we will be able to leverage the strengths of both our companies and create an unparalleled experience for our regional gaming customers, while generating significant value for our shareholders and business partners.

“The combined company will benefit from enhanced scale, additional growth opportunities and best-in-class operations, creating a more efficient integrated gaming company.

Going forward, we will have the financial and operational flexibility to further execute on our strategic objectives, while maintaining our track record of industry-leading profit margins and generating significant cash flow to reduce leverage over time.”

Anthony Sanfilippo, his counterpart at Pinnacle Entertainment, praised Wilmott and the Penn National Gaming team as the perfect partners for an acquisition:

“Pinnacle is a terrific company whose success is due to the efforts of our more than 16,000 team members that focus every day on providing great service and memorable experiences for our guests.

Tim and the Penn National team lead a high-quality organization that, like Pinnacle, has a long track record of operational excellence and accretive growth.

We believe the combination will produce an even stronger gaming entertainment platform that builds on the individual accomplishments of both companies and benefits our collective team members, shareholders and guests.”

Per the press release, both companies expect the deal to close in the second half of 2018.

When it does, Penn National Gaming will oversee 41 casino venues covering 20 jurisdictions across North America, with more than 35,000 employees on the payroll.

Along with its Hollywood Casino brand, which includes venues in Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri, Penn National Gaming has acquired several additional properties in recent years.

In 2010, a $ 231 million debt transfer acquisition added the M Resort in Las Vegas to the Penn National Gaming portfolio. And in 2015, the company purchased the Tropicana on the Las Vegas Strip for $ 325 million.

In absorbing most of Pinnacle Entertainment’s properties, Penn National Gaming adds popular regional casinos like Boomtown New Orleans, River City Casino in St. Louis, and Ameristar Casino Resort in Black Hawk, Colorado.

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Online Casino Players in New Jersey Scoring Significant Slot Jackpots

Online Casino Players in New Jersey Scoring Significant Slot Jackpots

Per a report entitled “Atlantic City Jackpots $ 75,000 and Over,” which is released monthly by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), the Garden State’s online casino industry has become fertile ground for five-figure payouts and beyond.

The report revealed that New Jersey’s entire gambling industry – combining online and land-based casinos – paid out 124 jackpots totaling $ 19,076,307 from January 1 through November 30 of this year.

Of those, 23 jackpot winners claimed their prize through virtual slot machines or video poker games offered by one of New Jersey’s five licensed online casino operators. led the way by awarding seven jackpots of $ 75,000 or more, followed by and at six each.,,, and paid out a single jackpot apiece.

The largest online jackpot in New Jersey history was won through on August 24, when a player pocketed a massive $ 271,268 progressive jackpot. The player, who asked that only her first name of Susan be released, was playing the Divine Fortune slot game for $ 10 per spin when the reels aligned perfectly to produce the six-figure payout.

Divine Fortune is designed by iGaming software supplier NetEnt Gaming, which was formerly known as Net Entertainment. The game is centered around the theme of Greek mythology, and features a three-reel, five-row alignment with 20 paylines. Players have three progressive jackpots on the line – Minor, Major, and Mega – which offer average payouts of $ 5, $ 50, and $ 200,000, respectively.

The NJDGE data revealed Divine Fortune to rank among the most profitable online slot titles in the state, with more than a million dollars in jackpot payouts attributed to the game.

Through the first 11 months of 2017, Divine Fortune has dispensed $ 1,019,566 via jackpot alone.

Those wins took place across three different online casino platforms, as shown below:

  • November 1 on for $ 136,629
  • September 26 on for $ 146,418
  • September 17 on for $ 121,547
  • September 11 on for $ 91,681
  • August 24 on for $ 271,268
  • July 7 on for $ 132,396
  • May 18 on for $ 119,627

In each case, Divine Fortune players used a wager of just $ 1 or $ 2 to land the elusive jackpot.

Susan’s spectacular slot result surpassed the previous New Jersey record for online jackpots, which was set on June 25 by Kim Seib.

A native of Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Seib found herself killing time before work when she fired up the Wonderland slot – a five-reel, four-row progressive jackpot game with 100 paylines.

As she told the Tropicana Casino Blog after the life-changing spin, Seib was hunting specifically for sizable jackpots:

“I was about to log out, but I ultimately decided to play Wonderland after noticing how high the jackpot amount was up to. I thought to myself, ‘What the heck, I’ll give it one last shot!’

During my 15 minutes or so of playing Wonderland I got the Rose Garden Bonus and only completed painting about five roses before the Queen popped up. Then I got it again. I was clicking my laptop buttons and completed five, six, and seven.

All of a sudden, they were all completed… jackpot!  I sat there in total shock, thinking, ‘this can’t be. No way!’”

According to Seib, she’s been a regular online casino player for most of New Jersey’s regulated iGaming experiment:

“My husband and I love going to Tropicana Casino Atlantic City. But with our schedules, it makes it hard to visit like we want to.

So, I just decided to try Tropicana’s online casino, and here we are three years later.”

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New Jersey’s PlaySugarHouse Casino games Created Digital Sportsbetting for Real Money

New Jersey’s PlaySugarHouse Casino games Created Digital Sportsbetting for Real Money

When online gambling enthusiasts in New Jersey woke up on Wednesday of last week, they found a brand-new iGaming option known as virtual sports betting up and running for the first time., an online casino operated by Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive, launched its virtual sports betting products on November 24 through its primary website and mobile app.

Designed by London-based iGaming firm Inspired Gaming, the selection of virtual sports betting games currently on offer at includes Rush Horses, Rush Greyhounds, Rush Soccer, Rush Motorcycles, and Rush Cars.

When wagering on these virtual sports betting games, players assess odds on various races or matches as they would in a traditional sportsbook, before selecting a side to back. From there, a random number generator is used to dictate the results of a given race or match, while bettors sit back and watch the action unfold onscreen. At the conclusion, winning wagers are settled instantly, while losing bets are claimed by the house.

The racing-based games enable bettors to back “Win,” “Place,” and “Show” wagers, while the soccer game offers a full complement of options including simple match betting, exact score, total goals, Over / Under, first and last team to score, and the half-time result.

But according to Rush Street Interactive president Richard Schwartz – who recently spoke with the The Associated Press (AP) to announce the games’ approval by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) – virtual sports betting is only designed to simulate actual races or sporting events:

“It’s computer-generated, and not based on any current active live sports event, so it’s not legally considered sports betting.”

In comments made to the AP, Robert Moncrief – who serves as deputy chief of the Technical Services Bureau at the NJDGE – classified virtual sports betting along with slot machines, owing to their use of a random number generator to dispense results.

That distinction is especially important given the current federal ban on land-based sports betting, which has been prohibited by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992. Under the terms of PASPA, sportsbook operations and associated betting products are permitted in only four states (Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana), but New Jersey is currently pursuing several challenges to the law.

Voters there authorized a sports betting referendum in 2011, which was eventually passed by the legislature as the Sports Wagering Act. Governor Chris Christie signed the act into law, but a resulting spate of lawsuits filed by professional and collegiate sports leagues – collectively known as Christie vs. NCAA et al – has worked its way to the United States Supreme Court.

With the Court scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case on December 4, and most legal observers giving New Jersey an even money chance to secure its desired repeal or amendment of PASPA, Schwartz told the AP that virtual alternatives are an asset for casino operators preparing for a newly legalized brick and mortar sportsbook industry:

“You can acquire a database of people with an interest in sports betting.”

The NJDGE approval marked the first time that U.S. regulators signed off on virtual sports betting for online play, but Inspired Gaming products have been available in Nevada’s brick and mortar casinos since last year.

The virtual alternatives are also quite popular among European bettors, and per Schwartz, is optimistic that New Jersey’s gambling community will embrace them as well:

“We expect the same results in the New Jersey market.

Virtual sports betting is used effectively to fill in time between races and in time periods where there are no real-time sporting events.”

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Man Wins $500,000 on Three Card Poker Jackpot at Rivers Casino Schenectady

Man Wins $500,000 on Three Card Poker Jackpot at Rivers Casino Schenectady

Last week a lucky player struck gold at Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady, New York, when a $ 20 wager on the Three Card Poker table turned into a $ 497,152 jackpot.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, began the hand by placing a $ 5 minimum Ante bet, along with $ 10 on the Pair Plus side bet. But it was the extra $ 10 he plunked down on the Six Card Bonus side bet that worked wonders.

After the player was dealt Ace of spades, King of spades, and 10 of spades for his three-card hand, he continued by placing $ 5 more on the Play bet. At this point, his spade flush guaranteed a base game payout of $ 10, as he received even money on both the Ante and Play bets for beating the dealer’s hand.

The player also earned a $ 30 payout at 3 to 1 for making a flush, courtesy of the Pair Plus side bet.

And when the dealer revealed the Queen of spades and Jack of spades as part of their own three-card hand, the player landed a five-card royal flush to trigger the massive six-figure progressive jackpot.

Under the terms of the Six Card Bonus bet – a product of Scientific Games, parent company of Shuffle Entertainment and Bally Gaming – players combine their own three-card holding with the dealer’s hand to form the best possible five-card hand.

The odds of landing a five-card royal flush – which is formed by the 10-J-Q-K-A “Broadway” straight with all cards in the same suit – stand at 1 in 30,940, or 0.0009 percent.

For landing a longshot of that magnitude, the player earned the lion’s share of the Table Game Multi-Link Progressive jackpot offered by Rivers Casino & Resort.

The Multi Link Progressive side bet links all Mississippi Stud Poker, Let It Ride and Three Card Poker tables at the venue, with a small fraction of every wager placed contributing to three jackpot tiers: Mega, Major, and Minor.

Triggering the Mega jackpot requires a five-card royal flush, while the Major jackpot is won via straight flush, and the Minor jackpot by making four of a kind.

Mary Cheeks, who serves as general manager of Rivers Casino, issued a statement celebrating the player’s life-changing score:

“Having many ways to play means many ways to win, and at Rivers Casino we love a winner.

We have paid out nearly $ 20 million in jackpots alone since opening, and we look forward to celebrating even more winners.”

The big winner was joined by four other players at the table, each of whom won a $ 5,000 “Envy Bonus” by virtue of placing the same Six Card Bonus bet before the royal flush was made.

Since opening in February of this year, Rivers Casino Schenectady has paid out over $ 20 million in “jackpots,” which the venue describes as any payout of $ 1,200 or more. The casino bills itself as the only table game gambling destination in New York’s capital region, with 67 table game placements in total.

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