Ho-Chunk Gaming introduced a bad-beat jackpot to its Wisconsin Dells and Nekoosa poker rooms this year. The former property, located in South Central Wisconsin about an hour north of Madison, is a 12-table room that regularly spreads limit and no-limit Texas Hold’em, pot-limit Omaha and Omaha/8; as well as a full slate of tournaments. Likewise, Nekoosa spreads all the same games, albeit in their cozier three-table room. Not surprisingly, both rooms have experienced a spike in traffic since the introduction of the BBJ.
Compared with other casinos around the country, Ho-Chunk’s BBJ is actually quite kind. Only eligible in hold’em games, Ho-Chunk’s BBJ is triggered whenever aces full of 10s (or better) are beaten by four of a kind (or better). Both players must use both of their hole cards, and cannot utilize community cards consisting of three aces. Finally, there must be a minimum of four players playing at the start of the hand to qualify.
Once hit, the BBJ is distributed not only to the loser (40 percent) and winner (20 percent) of the hand, but anyone playing in the rooms at the time (20 percent). This means you could be playing at a $2-$4 limit hold’em game in Nekoosa and still receive part of the BBJ when it’s hit in a $1-$2 no-limit game in Wisconsin Dells, and vice versa.
“The bad-beat jackpot at Ho-Chunk has been great,” local player Dan Almerli said. “The action seems to have picked up and it’s reassuring to know that if I take a horrendous beat, I stand to win a small fortune as opposed to losing a few hundred in the hand.”
Many BBJs in other casinos require quads to be beaten, so it was a shock to see Ho-Chunk’s BBJ take so long to hit. After last being hit in late May at a meek $20,472, Ho-Chunk’s BBJ wasn’t struck for another five months, swelling to a little more than $160K, until on Oct. 30.
Eric Barka’s pocket aces improved to aces full of queens only to run into the quad queens of Andrew Westrum. What’s more, there were only two tables in action, which meant everyone else in the room took home $4,420.95.
“It was nice seeing the bad-beat jackpot get so large, as it certainly brought in some new money,” Almerli said a few days after the BBJ was hit. “I just wish I would have been there when it hit.”
While he may have missed the big jackpot, Almerli was still eligible for the reserve, which started the BBJ anew at a healthy $60K (25 cents of every $1 dropped goes to the reserve BBJ). Needless to say, if you’re looking to play some poker, with the possibility of a nice payday, look no further than Ho-Chunk Wisconsin Dells and Nekoosa.
— Chad Holloway is Ante Up’s Wisconsin Ambassador. He’s also a senior writer for PokerNews.com and contributes to Phil Laak’s Unabomber Poker Blog. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ChadAHolloway.