Bad Beat Jackpots

Bad Beat Jackpots
by Chad Holloway of

Bad beat jackpots are a common fixture in both online and live poker cash games. A bad beat jackpot is a prize awarded when a specific hand (usually a whopper) is defeated by an even better hand. The exact hand requirements to qualify for a bad beat jackpot can vary, but usually entail a scenario like four-of-a-kind beaten by a straight flush or better.

Most poker variations will have a bad beat jackpot associated with them, but none more common than Texas Hold’em. In that game, there is usually an extra requirement that both hole cards play in all the hands involved. Although some bad beat jackpots are a fixed amount, most are progressive, constantly building as a small rake is taken out of each pot (in addition to the regular rake). The payout of the jackpot varies from cardroom to cardroom, but often consists of the losing hand taking the largest portion, the winning hand the second highest, and the remaining players at the table splitting the rest.

An example of a bad beat jackpot in a live casino is the one located at Harrah’s New Orleans. That casino holds separate bad beat jackpots for 7-Card Stud, Omaha, and Hold’em, with hold’em always the largest. In this particular cardroom, a hand aces-full-of-tens needs to be beaten by four-of-a-kind or better, with both hole cards in play, for the bad beat to qualify. Once the jackpot is hit, the losing player receives 50% of the pot, the losing hand 25%, and the rest of the table (only those players who had been dealt in the hand) splits the remaining 25%. Most live cardrooms that offer a bad beat jackpot fund the pot through an extra $1 rake out of each hand, which is mandatorily collected from each table since each table qualifies for the bad beat.

Online bad beat jackpots are common as well but different than those in live cardrooms. For instance, PartyPoker offers a bad beat jackpot that is indicative of most online bad beat jackpots. As their site states:

“We collect 50 cents from the pot of every raked hand played on our Bad Beat Jackpot tables, so the jackpot grows the more you play. With more than 100 tables, the jackpot typically increases by $1,000 every hour. Win on our Bad Beat Jackpot tables if you lose with a hand of Four of a Kind, 8s, or better.

Fund distribution
Every time the jackpot is hit, 70% of the jackpot will be distributed and 20% will be used as a seed for the next jackpot. We will retain 10% as an administrative fee.
Of the distributed amount, 50% will go to the loser of the hand (the Bad Beat), 25% will go to the winner, and the remaining 25% will be split between the other seated players who took part in the hand. Players who sat out of the hand will not receive a portion of the jackpot.

To qualify for the Progressive Bad Beat Jackpot
– The Bad Beat Jackpot is only available on specially designated tables available under the ‘Cash Game’ tab
– Four or more players must be dealt into the hand
– Players sitting out do not qualify for the jackpot
– The losing hand must contain Four of a Kind, 8s, or better to qualify
– Best hand for both the winner and the loser must include their two hole cards, and the hand must go to a showdown
– The hand must be raked and the jackpot contribution must be collected in order for the hand to qualify for a Bad Beat Jackpot
– The two highest hands will be considered for the jackpot if there are two or more hands that qualify for the jackpot, with the highest hand being the winning hand (the winner) and the second highest hand winning the jackpot (the loser of the hand)
– The hand that started first (based on our system clock) will be awarded the jackpot if two qualifying jackpot hands are hit at exactly the same time
– Players must play their hands independently and cannot tell opponents how to act or reveal their hand to other players. Violations will disqualify the hand from the Progressive Bad Beat Jackpot

Other Conditions
– The jackpot contribution will only be collected if the hand is dealt on a jackpot table to four or more players and a rake is collected from the hand
– The jackpot contribution is collected from the pot as soon as the first rake is collected in the hand
– The jackpot contribution of 50 cents is collected only once during the hand
– The jackpot contribution collected on any jackpot table is displayed to the right-hand side of the dealer
– These contributions are added to the jackpot until it is hit”

Other online sites that offer bad beat jackpot tables include TBA. Just make sure that if you want to qualify for a bad beat jackpot, you are playing at one of the designated tables.

Although there exists mixed feelings in the poker world regarding bad beat jackpots and the extra rake associated with them, there is no doubt that there is some comfort of winning a large amount of money when the poker gods deal you a devastating blow. Not only this, when bad beat jackpots are in play, the game tends to be faster and more aggressive, which is entertaining to most players! Sign-up today and go for that bad beat jackpot simply by clicking on the online cardroom icons posted here on!