Royal River Casino Refuses To Pay $100k Bad Beat Poker Jackpot, Claims Collusion

Two years after the Royal River Casino in Flandreau refused to pay ten players a $96,000 “bad beat” jackpot at their poker room, the group haven’t given up on their fight to have the casino cough up the money.
The incident took place on 2nd February 2008, when the ten players in question were playing a game of Texas hold ’em at a Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe casino.
The main protagonists in the hand were Williams, holding pocket A’s and, Brian Piearson  with pocket Q’s. With the Ac-Qd-x being dealt on the flop, both players had made a set, but a Qs on the turn handed Piearson four of a kind to his opponent’s full house.
The Royal River jackpot states that its bad beat is paid when a full house of aces over 10s or better is beaten by four of a kind or a straight flush, and after the betting started escalating, the other players at the table seemed aware that they could be in for a share of the casino’s whopping $96,000 “bad beat” jackpot.
At that point the loser of the hand would have received $48,000, the winner $24,000,and the other eight players about $3,000 each; that is until another player at the table allegedly uttered the words, “bad beat” on the turn, in violation of the casino’s collusion rules, and the dealer subsequently disqualified the hand from the bonus.
Explaining the emotions he felt as his exaltation turned to disappointment, Williams said; “It was a thrill. It’s the biggest rush you’re ever going to get to hit something like that. Then to have it denied is a screw job.”
The players even stayed at the table late into the evening expecting the casino to change its decision, and extra security guards even had to be called in at one stage.
Despite taking their case to the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe’s gaming commission, then through tribal court and tribal appellate court, the group have found the casino’s decision upheld, and as Sherry Kriescher, the general manager at Royal River at the time of the incident explains:
“Everything was properly in place. That’s why they won that case. I think there would be a different outcome if things were not in place…these guys were regular players. They know the rules. I understand his frustration, I totally do. But we’ve got rules to follow.”
Williams has vowed to continue his fight to have the Royal River jackpot reinstated, and has recently asked the American Civil Liberties Union to look into the case.
In the meantime, spare a though for Oth Pathammauong, the player who allegedly mumbled the words “bad beat.” As he explains:
“On the night I was playing poker, I was drinking pretty heavily and falling asleep and mumbling to myself. The dealer jump on me about a bad beat. I wasn’t saying anything. I was mumbling to myself, before you know it everyone was blaming me. One guy said he’ll kill me.”

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