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Are Live Jackpot Poker Promotions Ruining The Game?

Live jackpot poker promotions are being evaluated on the TwoPlusTwo NVG boards. See what poker players are saying about the effect live casino “jackpot poker” rake will have in 2019 and beyond.

Are live jackpot poker games “destroying” poker?

That was the question being directly addressed in a December 31st original post by forum contributor RedOak upon creating a News, Views & Gossip thread to express an opinion on how live poker cash game jackpots could be “destroying” the game.

Jackpot Poker Games
DISCUSS NOW: (TwoPlusTwo NVG Forum — Dec 31, 2018)

Hourly expenses incurred from “jackpot” or “high hand” promotions could further put a damper on the aims of for-profit poker players who frequent live games in Sin City, according to numerous posters in the thread.

Those fears have been further corroborated on the boards, as forum “Top Dog” Mason Malmuth posted a reply to the thread starter’s contribution shortly after it was published. According to Malmuth, high hand or bad beat jackpots would traditionally “occur when a very strong hand got beat, and that’s still the case. But what’s happening now is that it’s becoming ‘promotion poker.’

Live Jackpot Poker Games Debate (from TwoPlusTwo NVG)

The center of the jackpot poker debate seems to revolve around the implied importance placed on the pursuits of “winning” poker players, many of whom rely on the income derived from live poker games to earn a living.

Do jackpot poker promotions drive casual, less experienced poker players into live poker rooms in droves? Therefore guaranteeing the attendance of professional players who will compete regardless of rake increases? Or do pros provide a critical service to live games by their mere presence and perennial rake-churning? Through ensuring a larger variety of game selection for recreational players to choose from?

Veteran live and online poker player Jimmy Fricke (aka ‘Gobboboy’) entered the debate shortly after it began, opining that “not making jackpots standard across Las Vegas is one of the biggest mistakes management made during the poker boom.

Longtime forum contributor madlex argues that he does agree with most of what RedOak laid out in the original post. However, madlex also believes that “in lots of places, jackpots don’t destroy poker but keep the poker room alive,” and that casual players typically seek out the lowest stakes games available.

Jackpots also attract players that want to get lucky and hit it,” according to new poster Metaly, who believes jackpot poker formats generate action that is beneficial to for-profit players. “They’ll play the hands that qualify for the jackpot without paying attention to position and the fact that limp/calling raises OOP is -EV for them in the long run.

TwoPlusTwo forum member PTLou suggests that the amount of real money being extracted for bad beat or high hand promotions shouldn’t adversely affect professional players’ income to an extreme. “Even at $2 jackpot, that takes about $60/hour off a table. That’s only 1/3ish buyin. Thus the question is does jackpot bring more than 1/3 buyin per hour into the game from increased overall buyins? I’d say almost assuredly it does.

If you are not beating the game at 8-10 bigs per hour you are not really optimized at whatever stakes you are playing,” added PardoG. “The amount of money coming off the table isn’t even close to like half a buy in at even the lowest stakes at 1/3.

It isn’t really accurate to equate many of these promotions with rake or describe them as taking money off the table,” agreed NickMPKThis is especially true with most typical high hand promotions, where the winners are paid in chips, and usually players put these chip right back into their stack.”

Live Jackpot Poker Games – Analysis

* All analysis belongs solely to the author.

Regardless of any adverse effects that jackpot poker promotions may have on the expected income of pros, it does appear that such games are here to stay… as long as they remain popular with casual, less experienced players.

As referenced several times within the ongoing 2+2 discussion, such promos tend to return a large portion (if not all — this may vary per casino and/or jurisdiction) of the “dropped” funds to those competing in the actual games. Therefore, it does not seem to have the same catastrophic effect on the “professional poker dream” that higher rake, better competition, or ring-fenced online markets might have.

The thread has evolved into a discussion primarily related to tipping in recent weeks, and how players refusing to award dealer gratuity may be at least a temporary solution to the ever-increasing pressure being placed on poker players who make their living competing at the tables.

Such decisions are generally treated by the community as a “player’s choice,” and are unlikely to have a lasting impact on the spreading of jackpot poker games regardless, in this author’s opinion.

SOCIAL MEDIA CONSIDERATION (TWITTER): @twoplustwoforum

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