Bad Beat Jackpot

What is ‘Bad Beat Jackpot’?

A ‘bad beat jackpot’ is a side pot, sometimes a progressive pot, which is awarded in poker to a player who has a very high hand, but who is beaten by an even better one. Some card rooms offer the consolation prize, which is usually split between the winner, the beaten player and the rest of the players at the table. The bad beat jackpot might be paid into by the players during each round and operated as a progressive jackpot, or built from the poker room’s cut and paid out as a bonus for a bad beat.

‘Bad Beat Jackpot’ Explained

In poker, a ‘bad beat’ is a very strong hand that is beaten in the showdown by an even better hand. For example, a player might hold four kings at the end of the game – but a four ace hand could steal the pot. The term is usually applied to hold’em games where community cards are shared, so two players can form similar high ranking hands but one can sneak a win over the other. A 9-10-J-Q-K straight flush beaten by a royal flush is another example of a bad beat.

Some casinos offer a jackpot prize for players who hit the bad beat in a game. The ‘bad beat jackpot’ is offered at the discretion of the operator, and might be a side bet with a progressive pot which the players are always eligible for, or a promotional device brought in by the card room to make a game more engaging. To trigger the jackpot, a player must have a ‘bad beat’ that ranks above the casinos limits: king quads or better is often the standard line.

In most cases, the beaten player picks up half of the jackpot and a quarter goes to the winner of the game pot. The remainder is usually distributed among the rest of the players at the table, making a ‘bad beat jackpot’ one of poker’s only community prizes.