Party Poker Offering Bad Beat JackpotFree Sports Picks

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Following the lead of many brick and mortar cardrooms, PartyPoker is now offering a progressive bad beat jackpot. The jackpot stood at nearly $87,000 on Wednesday evening and typically increases at a rate of nearly $1,000 per hour, according to PartyPoker.

To win the jackpot a player must first find a seat at one of the bad beat jackpot tables, which are all real money Texas Holdem games. Limits range from $2-$4 to $15-$30. At these tables, each time a hand with a pot size large enough to trigger the rake is dealt, an extra 50 cents is added to the jackpot. To qualify for the jackpot at least 4 players must be dealt in the hand and the jackpot contribution must be taken from the pot.

Hitting the jackpot is no easy task. A minimum of quad eights must be beaten and both hole cards from the winner’s and loser’s hands must play. Each time the jackpot hits, 70% is distributed, 20% is used as seed money for the next jackpot and the remaining 10% is kept by PartyPoker as an administrative fee. As is usual in jackpot hands elsewhere, the loser of the hand wins 50% of the prize, the winner 25% and the rest of the players dealt in the hand split the other 25%.

Players finding themselves in a potential jackpot hand at PartyPoker must be sure to remain quiet. Any action which compromises the independence of one’s play, such as telling an opponent how to act or revealing your hand, will disqualify the hand for the jackpot.

The WSOP Circuit will be five events, including the World Series and Free Sports Picks. Oddly enough, all the events will be held at Harrah’s properties in different locations across the United States. Besides the prize money, players will earn points for playing the tournaments in the circuit that count towards entry into the big money freeroll at the end; the top 100 players will square off in the Tournament of Champions at the end of the Main Event.

Here are where the clouds start to rumble. While more tournaments are great and the additional money fantastic, where will the players go? Will the players who have made their name with the WPT, such as Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen and Erik Lindgren, stay and play those tournaments, only to miss out on the chance to compete in the WSOP Circuit? Will the legends of the game, such as Doyle Brunson, T. J. Cloutier and Dan Harrington, exclusively play on the WSOP Circuit and take their drawing power from the WPT? Furthermore, can both organizations exist without one taking away from the other, in players, prize pools, sponsorships and television time?

This does not even begin to look at the additional impact of the World Poker Players Association (WPPA) or the Professional Poker Tour (PPT). How will these organizations find their way into the mix? Rather than beat each other to death and eliminate each other, maybe there can be a way to incorporate these organizations together and make a year-long tour, much like the PGA or the USGA does. It may be the first step towards a nationwide or international poker organization, something that has been talked about for years. It would be good for all to remember what happened in Indianapolis not a decade ago.

Mary Farris