As We See It


Trying to get excited about the Mirage poker room’s high hand jackpot


I play 3-6 Limit Hold’em, a.k.a. “the church bingo of poker.” Old women drinking hot tea, WW2 vets in baseball caps, shaky hands and dry lips.

Young guns play the “no limit” game, where you can risk your whole bankroll and go “all in” at any given moment. Limit poker is for more cautious players, like octogenarians and me.

But last week I had a little bit of excitement at the Mirage 3-6 game: I got four nines, which means a bonus of $100, courtesy of the Mirage. Technically the money came courtesy of me in that the Mirage takes money from every pot and puts it in a “high hand jackpot” fund, which you only tap into if you get dealt a big hand. So getting excited about a $100 high hand payoff is like getting excited when the IRS sends you your tax refund.

But my bonus didn’t end there. The floor person told me I also had a shot at winning over $10,000. Now that’s something I could get excited about.

He led me to a single video poker machine. I was told to play a single hand.

Which hands pay?” I asked.

“Four nines,” came the reply.

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“You’re telling me that even if I get a royal flush I don’t get anything?”

“That’s right,” the floor person confirmed. “The only hand that pays is the same hand that you got at the table.”

Ha! Impossible! It took me six years of playing to get my first quad 9s. What are the odds that I’ll get them again the very next hand I play?

According to 1 in 54,145.

I know, I know … I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. But this is supposed to be a prize for winners, not some prize for random people on the street. I’d rather not deal with the machine at all—then I could at least get more excited about the $100 I’d already won.

Looks like I might get the wish. The floor person told me the Mirage is considering doing away with the machine.

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