As a followup to my poker story about the $430,000 bad beat jackpot, Vito Casucci writes,

A side note to the bad beat in St. Louis. I was the manager at Ameristar and we had a jackpot that would get up to $30k or so before being hit. When Harrah’s opened their poker room, they asked me to come over and run it. I decided to make the bad beat qualifying hand harder to hit than I had at Ameristar.

There were two theories: 1) make the bad beat easy to hit so it happened frequently, and 2) make it hard to hit so the jackpot gets to be “life changing numbers,” as we used to call it. Winning $10k is great, but winning $100k+ is totally different.

Not everyone agrees with the “life changing money” theory. They don’t like that it holds hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the poker community, but we needed to attract players to Harrah’s.

That’s what he did. As I recall, the bad beat hand had to be aces-full-of-jacks (or better) at Ameristar, but Vito made it four-of-a-kind (or better) at Harrah’s. That happens a lot less frequently, and the strategy worked — boosting the jackpot, attracting more players, and launching the new room with a bang. Although Vito is no longer in St. Louis, and Harrah’s was sold and is now a Hollywood casino, it still has the dominant poker room in the area, with the most tables and the most games.