$120,000 Bad Beat Jackpot Refused to 83 year old Poker Player on a "technicality"

Three days ago the Nevada Gaming Control Board heard arguments for and against a casino paying out a $120,000 bad beat jackpot "won" back in July at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa by 83 year old poker player Avi Shamir.

On Friday 7th July Mr Shamir lost a pot with a straight flush and as such was entitled to take home half of the progressive bad beat jackpot, which at the time of the beat had reached $120,000. The rules of the bad beat jackpot at the Red Rock should also have meant a $30,000 payout to the winner of the hand, with the remaining $30,000 to be shared among the other players playing in any of Station Casinos five Las Vegas card rooms at the time of the beat.

Another of the casinos bad beat jackpot rules, however, stipulates that the casino can refuse to pay out the jackpot if the player involved in the pot exposes his or her cards to anyone else at the table prior to the conclusion of the hand.  Unfortunately for the players involved, the casino have ruled that video surveillance from the game clearly show Len Schreter, the winner of the hand, exposing his cards to other players at the table before the hand had been completed.

According to the Las Vegas Journal Review the surveillance shows that "Schreter clearly tossed his cards face up on the table after the river card was dealt, but before the dealer asked for a show of hands." This lead to poker room manager Forrest Caldwell invalidating the bad beat jackpot in accordance with the afroementioned rules. However, after the players asked the Gaming Control Board to investigate they determined that the players should be paid. Control Board investigator Bill Olliges indicated that although Schreter violated traditional poker etiquette by exposing his hand, his action didn’t change the game’s outcome.

Station Casinos then appealed, leading to the current hearing, from a which a decision is expected early next month after both sides presented their arguments to the board.

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Above: Players and Casino representatives state their cases in front of the Nevada Gaming Control Board for and against the payment of Red Rocks $120,000 bad beat jackpot which is currently being witheld on a technicality

It seems a strange case for Station to pursue, after all they would not be financially affected by paying out the jackpot as all progressive bad beat jackpot funds are accrued through rake played at the tables and at no time do they contribute towards the casino revenue or profit.

Furthermore, by not paying out recreational players (one of whom is an octagenarian) on such a technicality is not winning Station any favours among players or the public who are firmly of the opinion that they should honour the payments. As it seems so breathtakingly obvious that neither played would have ever folded their hand in that situation there can be no element of foul play suspected.

Finally as the "rule" states that, “discussion of hands during the play by players, at the discretion of management, may void a Jumbo Hold ‘Em Jackpot.”  then there is no imperative for the casino to withold the funds. As the ruling can be "at the discretion of management" then the casino would in no way be compromising their integrity by allowing the jackpot to be paid out. It seems all the casino are doing in this case is creating an unecessary wave of negative PR and a potentially expensive and arduous battle through the courts.

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