Northern California ripe with promotions

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With all of the cardroom competition in Northern California, we’re faced with a multitude of promotions. As a Bay Area poker player, I truly enjoy the clubs fighting for my patronage by offering some extras. Bad-beat jackpots are the most common. The requirements may be different at each club, but typically it requires aces full of 10s or jacks beaten by four of a kind or better, with both players using both of their hole cards. Here is a rundown of some of the extras for the clubs:

• Artichoke Joe’s in San Bruno has a $100,000 bad-beat jackpot and a $500 royal-flush bonus. As is the case with all clubs, both hole cards must play to be eligible.

• Lucky Chances in Colma has a bad beat exceeding $100K, which is doubled on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday (6-8 p.m.) and on Friday and Saturday (9 a.m.-noon). It also has aces cracked daily (6-9 a.m. and 10-11 p.m.) In this promotion, the player receives a rack of the standard denomination chip for that game if their rockets get snapped.

• In Livermore, the Lucky Buck (a.k.a. Casino 580) gives each player in the first game of the day $20 with two hours of play. Players who buy in at noon and play until 2 p.m. also get $20 from the house. The deal is not restrictive, so if you’d like to come in at 10 and stay until 2, you get $40.

The “Buck” also has a raffle every two hours, where the lucky ticket-holder gets to spin a prize wheel. Royal flushes pay $200 and the bad beat is more than $50K.

• At the Jackson Rancheria, the bad beat is $25K. If you make aces full you get $100 and high hand of the day gets $100, too. Royal flush progressives cap out at $500.

• Thunder Valley Casino, just outside of Sacramento, has a Monday night special during football season with $1,000 drawings and a grand prize awarded in December where one lucky player will get to take a friend to see the Super Bowl. The prize package covers airfare, hotel and spending money.

Most clubs have some kind of promotion going on, and they often change. The only exception would be the two cardrooms in San Jose, which are not allowed to offer enticements based on a strict interpretation of the city’s gaming ordinance. Be sure to check our Where to Play pages for promotions and websites.

Recently, I was playing a $2-6 spread limit hold’em game at Boomtown in Verdi, Nev., and had my raffle number drawn to spin the prize wheel. I watched the numbers click by, $10, $15, $20 … the wheel stopped on HOT DOG. I laughed. Someone at my table said, “You know, it also comes with chips and a drink!”

Wherever you play, take a look around the room to see what bonuses or promotions are available. You may end up with a piece of $100,000. … or a hot dog.

— Bret Miller is the Ante Up Ambassador for Northern California. Email him at anteupbret@gmail.com.