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Betcoin Poker Backpedals on Bad Beat Jackpot Payment

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Toward the end of December 2017, Betcoin.ag announced that it had been acquired by new owners and was closing its Bitcoin-denominated poker room while continuing to provide other betting services. Questions were raised about what would happen to the more than 43 bitcoins (greater than $500K at current prices) contained in the Bad Beat Jackpot pool, and the company assured customers that it would be calculating player contributions to the fund and disbursing the money to users in proportion to how much BBJ rake they had paid. However, the latest news on this topic, posted by Betcoin on Jan. 17, 2018, indicates that this money will not be paid out directly to customers. Instead, Betcoin Poker will be reopening with a lower Bad Beat Jackpot qualifying hand strength.

Details of the Announcement

The text explaining the recent decision is accessible from Betcoin's website. It reads in part:

In our attempt to calculate and repay Bad Beat Jackpot contributions precisely to those players that contributed them it was determined that each contribution cannot be determined with 100% accuracy. Without this 100% transparency and accuracy we believe the redistribution was unacceptable…We are modifying the rules of the BBJP in order to make sure they are crystal clear and we expect a posted update to the rules by Monday, 22, January 2018 and we expect poker to resume in full the week of the 26, January 2018.

Betcoin site pro “plo8monster” added that the company was going to be accepting players from the United States again after they had been blocked on Jan. 3.

Background

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Ever since Dec. 18, 2017, when Betcoin informed the player community of the impending closure of its poker division, many wondered what would happen to the Bad Beat Jackpot cash. Initially, the organization kept mum on its intentions, leading many to conclude that it was going to retain the money for itself. An outcry emerged on forums like Twoplustwo and Bitcointalk.org. On Dec. 28, the company revealed that it would perform detailed calculations to figure out how much each individual contributed to the Bad Beat Jackpot over the years. This sum would then be deposited to their accounts. The process was slated to be completed “by the second week in January.”

On Jan. 12, Betcoin stated that they were still going through the “extensive data.” In fact, the calculations were so complex that the firm brought back several former employees to help out. The Betcoin rep said that there would be an update “early next week.” This deadline came and went without any further illumination from Betcoin.ag. Finally on Jan. 17, management reversed course and explained that it wouldn't be paying out the Bad Beat pool at all but that the shuttered poker room would instead be reopened for business.

Player Reaction

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The fact that Betcoin came under new management inspired hope among many observers who believed that the brand had a new chance to mend its errant ways. You see, Betcoin had a reputation for lying to players, suddenly changing course, explaining its decisions poorly, and generally failing to take proper care of its customers. Unfortunately, this latest about-face by the company seemingly shows that Betcoin isn't turning over a new leaf but instead continuing along the same dismal path as before.

Several people responded harshly to the statement by Betcoin:

Comment by michigan1

Comment by PokeHerStars

Comment by OHYEAH

Remaining Questions

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Even if Betcoin is as good as its word (an unlikely occurrence given its track record), there are still several questions that remain about the form in which the Bad Beat Jackpot will return. The tone of Betcoin's recent notice and the fact that the requirements will be less stringent makes it seem like the BBJ will only be active until it is hit a single time. It will then vanish for good. This implies a complete, 100% payout whenever that fateful day occurs. The previous method of allowing lower-stakes tables to only claim fractional Bad Beat payments would thus be inapplicable to the present case. However, distributing all of the funds to a lucky low-stakes table when the Jackpot is next hit wouldn't be fair to the higher-stakes grinders who have paid into the fund at a proportionately higher rate. It's also not clear whether an extra Bad Beat Jackpot rake will be collected or whether the present prize amount will stay constant until it's won. We'll have to see what Betcoin says on Jan. 22 assuming it adheres to its stated timeframes.

EDITOR'S NOTE (Jan. 31, 2018): Betcoin has, once again, failed to live up to its commitments, and poker has not yet returned despite assurances that it would be live the week of Jan. 26. See the comments section below for all the details.

Internal Disagreements?

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One of the more puzzling elements of Betcoin's recent proclamation is: “As a result of this change in direction, some Staff members will be leaving the company and will be replaced.” It would be unusual if any debate regarding the Bad Beat Jackpot, no matter how heated, would have reached the point that employees would resign in anger. A possible key to this mystery lies in the fact that the organization will begin allowing Americans to play again. The previous rationale for banning U.S. residents was that Betcoin was pursuing international licensure, which would have been jeopardized by operating in a “gray” market like the United States. The renewed focus on the U.S.A. market implies that the corporation has undergone a major shift in philosophy, which would be sufficient to cause the departure of personnel who felt differently.

Too Much Drama for You?

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Whether you're an existing user in Betcoin's database or someone who has never played there before, the continuing conflict surrounding the Bad Beat Jackpot may leave you less than thrilled. There are a number of other Bitcoin-friendly poker rooms that happily take U.S. customers and are a great deal more respected than Betcoin.ag. You can learn more about them in our guide to the best Bitcoin online poker rooms. If you're more interested in depositing dollars directly without using digital currency, then our list of the top online poker sites that serve Americans is a resource that you might find valuable.

Comments

Betcoin.ag has failed to meet its deadline of Jan. 22 for announcing the new Bad Beat Jackpot rules. Furthermore, the poker room, which was slated to return “the week of the 26, January,” has not opened up as of Jan. 31. The latest word is that poker is “very very very close to launch.”

<insert shocked face>

Given the company's previous track record, we don't know how seriously we can take this claim.

The Betcoin representative has stated that the new poker room will feature a Bad Beat Jackpot and that all poker bonuses will be transferred over, but players remain skeptical. There have even been calls for Betcoin to sign a message on the Bitcoin blockchain with the address holding the BBJ funds (43+ BTC) to prove that this money has not disappeared. Thus far, the firm has not responded to these requests.

We'll have to wait and see what happens, but we're pretty sure that Betcoin will figure out a way to disappoint its players as it has done so many times in the past.