Casino managers need to make their clients happy, and the Pascua Yaqui tribe’s Casino Del Sol team thinks they’ve done so by introducing The Hot Poker Spot, an optional side bet wager for live Texas Hold ’Em games.
“This is groundbreaking,” Casino Del Sol’s poker manager Rick Chaurette, told ICTMN in an exclusive interview. “To my knowledge, we are the first casino, Indian or otherwise, to have a licensed and approved poker side bet. While blackjack has been doing this for years now, to the point where half of all blackjack wagers are side bets, there is no other active poker side bet right now and our introduction will pave the way.”
Perseverance was the key for Chaurette, who got tipped off a year ago by an industry representative that poker side bets would be the wave of the future. “We were concerned such an option might be a violation of our gaming compact signed in 2003, but while the compact was written for blackjack, it wasn’t considered for poker. I got the Arizona Department of Gaming to take a look, and we found a way around any gray areas in the compact with official approval given three weeks ago. We have a 13 table poker room and every table will now allow a side bet option.”
The concept has become a fast-track reality with dealers already trained, and the program already implemented where a one dollar side bet could bring up to a one thousand dollar return. “This new side bet option in poker is one of the most innovative updates to the game in decades, and we’re the only one offering it,” said Steve Neely, chief marketing officer for Casino Del Sol Resort.
According to Chaurette, here’s how it works: You get two cards with five on the board. Basically, you end up playing five of the seven cards to make the best five card hand you can. You need to use the two cards you’re holding and three of the five on the board in trying for a straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, or a straight or royal flush.
A straight brings $10 for a $1 bet, a flush returns $15, a full house $25, while four of a kind bring back $100, a straight flush earns $200, and the royal flush brings a grand in the form of a bill with a photo of President Grover Cleveland on it.
“People play side bets in blackjack like crazy because they bring extra excitement,” Chaurette said. “Poker needs to become more exciting, and the Hot Poker Spot will bring that anticipation of not only a win, but a bigger win. Side bets will be a part of the poker industry from now on.”