A Pennsylvanian on a visit to Las Vegas won big after playing poker for only an hour, sparking renewed interest in the game. The pot was over $500,000 and he won it by getting a royal flush – one of the rarest poker hands possible. The Pennsylvania resident Scott Long was playing a game of Ultimate Texas Hold’em, a poker variation that grants additional rewards based on how good the winning hand is.
An Unexpected Victory
At the beginning of November, Scott Long and a group of friends decided to travel to Las Vegas for a poker tournament at Planet Hollywood. After sitting at a table for an hour, he won the Mega Progressive Jackpot with a royal flush.
This alone wouldn’t have been newsworthy if it wasn’t for the fact that he was playing Ultimate Texas Hold’em, a poker variation that pays additional bonuses depending on how good the hand is.
Obtaining the best possible hand in the game meant that Long won $544,904 in total. This particular amount put him up there with the type of pots the greatest poker players of all time have won during their illustrious careers. Phil Ivey, one of the most successful players in the world, was able to earn $827,960 from a single round back in 2009.
Ultimate Texas Hold’em
Poker is a mixture of chance and strategy. The game has multiple variants, but if there’s one version of poker where it’s particularly hard to hide a good hand, it’s Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
In traditional Texas Hold’em, how good a player’s hand is determined by the pair given to them, and the five community cards that follow. The player with the best hand wins. The Ultimate version changes things a bit, with the player only needing to beat the dealer, and getting an additional payout depending on how good their hand is.
The royal flush is the rarest hand in poker, requiring players to get a ten, jack, queen, king and ace, from the same suit. Players have a 0.00015% probability of getting a royal flush. Any player with that hand would beat any hand the dealer may have, as well as win an incredible payout of 500 to 1.
Playing Poker in Pennsylvania
Long, who has played Texas Hold’em for years, lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s casinos were hit hard by the decreased capacity limits at the beginning of the pandemic, but these restrictions have started to be lifted.
Casinos are now seeing players return. Slot machines and table games revenue alone have now increased by more than 50% compared to the early days of the pandemic. Gambling in general, including fantasy sports, and online gambling, is showing very promising numbers. Last August, the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission reported the highest monthly revenue ever registered, reaching $423,657,956.
Going back to Long for a minute – he was no doubt stunned by his incredible victory. The royal flush is a hand rarely seen in poker, even by the most successful players. But it has certainly put Pennsylvania back on the gaming map. Professionals may make millions of dollars in a tournament, but getting the highest hand possible and making $500,000 in the same hour is a feat not many are able to reach in tournament play.