Bad Beat Jackpots

If you are interested in receiving a large payout by cashing in on the long-shot without having to spend a day or two grinding out a poker tournament, you may enjoy playing in cash games that feature a bad beat jackpot (BBJ). It works by you paying extra money to the house as they take an extra $1 out of every pot they rake, and put it in the Bad Beat Jackpot. For this jackpot to hit, two missiles have to collide.
The BBJ is seen in Hold’em games, and usually are offered only in smaller time poker rooms. On the internet, most sites do not have a BBJ. The ones that do, also offer rooms to play in where the BBJ is not in play. There are plenty of players out there that have no interest in playing a game that has it as they do not think it is worth it.


A Bad Beat will typically feature two players, where both players have to be using both of their hole cards. Each poker room then decides what is constituted as a bad beat. Some may let it start with Aces full of Tens or better getting beat. Or it could be that someone with Quads (4 of a kind) lost to someone with bigger quads. In the first example, your starting hand must be A-A. If you have quad 2s and lose to quad 8s, your hole cards must be 2-2, and your opponent’s 8-8. The same goes when making a straight flush. If the board has 3 4 5 6 of hearts on it and you have the lone 7 of hearts, your hand could not qualify for the BBJ. You must use both of your hole cards.


The hand that was beat is usually the one who collects the largest share, followed by the hand that won the pot. The remains are then equally divided by every other player that was dealt into the hand. One example would be a payout of 40-30-30. That means if the Bad Beat hit at a 9 handed game for $100,000, the player who held the losing hand receives $40,000. The winner gets $30,000. And the other 7 divide the last $30,000 leaving each of them with $4,285.
Of course if the BBJ is $100,000 that’s not what it really is. The house you can figure will keep some of that for themselves for the work they have to do to organize the BBJ. Plus they’ll probably intend to hold onto some of that money so that the next BBJ does not start with literally $0 in it.

Is it worth it?

It is not a simple answer. Technically, no, it isn’t worth it. Very few people come out ahead in these. Of course anything can happen, but this is undoubtedly a losing proposition. If you do not get astronomically lucky enough to hit it for the maximum when the jackpot is really big, you are going to end up dropping a lot more dollars in the rake than you are putting in your pocket. Or will you? If you are a professional poker player, or at least a solid winning player, you still may profit from this – indirectly.
A lot of very weak players desperately looking to hit the jackpot are the ones that show up to play for it. With really soft competition out there, you can make a lot of money just from playing poker with these people, regardless of what the jackpot delivers. If it wasn’t for the jackpot, you would not have the weak players. The jackpot can serve as a simple business cost. You have to spend a few extra dollars (but no more than anyone else) to get the right company in there, then you get all of that back plus plenty more.

High Hand Variation

Some places may not offer the gigantic bad beat jackpot, but there may be a high hand bonus. Posted somewhere in the poker room there will be a board with a list of that day’s high hands. It may look something like this:
– Royal Flush $500
– Four Aces $400
– Four Kings $300
– Four Queens $200
– Four Jacks $100
If you make any of these hands using both of your hole cards, you obviously must show them to declare the bonus. That makes it pretty important to be aware of what is offered in any poker room. It would be pretty tilting to make one of those hands, have your opponent fold, and you opt not to show your hand and miss out on the bonus all because you were unaware.
You may also see something like a high hand bonus awarded to whoever has made the strongest hand in the last 30 minutes. For example, at 9:00 the countdown begins. 5 minutes into it someone makes four jacks. That will be shown as tops on the leader board. If 15 minutes later someone on another table makes an 8 high straight flush, then that will be the new hand in line to collect the bonus. The poker room will already be listing what dollar bonus figure they are paying out at the end of each half hour.