Everyone who will play poker online or live has a bad beat story and knows the pain you feel when a strong hand gets cracked. Luckily, there’s something called a bad beat jackpot that you can win which may soften the blow. You get it when you lose with a hand that, in almost any other situation, would scoop the pot.
What is a Bad Beat Jackpot in Poker?
A bad beat is when your awesome poker hand loses to a better hand. In practice, that means quads could lose to better quads, a full house can lose to quads, or a straight flush can lose to a royal flush. If that happens, the person who received the bad beat wins the lion’s share of the jackpot. The player that wins the hand also gets a cut of the prize pool, as do any other active players at the table.
Both live and online poker rooms can have bad beat jackpots. A progressive jackpot that continually increases in size and is created through communal contributions. Basically, everyone playing at the table pays slightly more rake than at a standard table. This extra rake goes into the communal prize pool jackpot, which grows until someone wins it.
Typically the jackpot payout is divided as follows:
- 50% to the player who LOST the bad beat hand.
- 25% to the player who WON the bad beat hand.
- 25% divided equally among the remaining players at the table dealt into the hand.
Although every room chooses its own rules for its bad beat jackpot, most stick to this:
- Live poker bad beat - Full house, aces full of tens upwards beaten by quads or better.
- Online poker bad beat - Quad eights (or better) beaten by a better hand
Obviously, the odds of winning the jackpot are much better live, with the more relaxed qualifications.
Poker Sites with Bad Beat Jackpots
Online bad beat jackpots are less common than they used to be. partypoker and Americas Cardroom both had a reputation for offering excellent ones in the past but discontinued them.
GGPoker has a bad beat prize (see below for detail).
GGCare Bad Beats Promo - GGPoker
GGPoker’s promo team loves to innovate and that’s exactly what they did in January 2021. Taking the fundamental concept of bad beats but tweaking the definition and rewriting the script, the promo team came up with GGCare.
The name is apt because it’s a demonstration of just how much GGPoker cares about its players. The main premise is similar in that if you get unlucky, you win a prize. However, unlike standard bad beat jackpots where you have to lose with quads, anyone can get something through GGCare.
The definition of a “bad beat” is determined by GGPoker’s promo team. Basically, they’ll review your recent hand history and, if they spot something that seems unlucky or unfair, they’ll give you a prize. That prize is a ticket for a GGCare Flipout freeroll. So, if you’ve been coolered in a cash game or rivered in a tournament, GGCare could be there to help.
Flipout tournaments are great because you don’t have to do anything. Everyone goes all-in every hand until one player remains. Add to this the fact prize pools are worth up to $50,000 and it can actually pay to be unlucky at GGPoker.
Odds of a Bad Beat Jackpot
Let’s look at the quad tens vs. quad aces bad beat from above. In this hand, the flop ran out A 10 10 . At this point, pocket tens had a 95.56% chance of winning by the river. The odds shifted to 97.73% by the turn.
Based on this example, you can see that it’s highly unlikely you’re going to lose with quad tens on the river. However, looking at the showdown percentages doesn’t tell the whole story. To fully appreciate the odds of winning a bad beat poker jackpot, you need to run millions of trials and consider many different variables.
For example, the odds of winning a poker bad beat jackpot will be shorter if the minimum hand is quad deuces compared to a situation where the minimum hand is quad eights. Add to this the odds of being dealt certain hands and actions such as players folding, and it becomes a minefield of numbers. However, as a general guide, the chances of losing with quads at a ten-handed table are 1 in 2,112,609.
Is it Worth it - Statistically?
Casinos take $1 from every pot to go toward the bad beat jackpot (this is on top of any rake). So, if your table is dealt exactly 42,391 hands, everyone will have collectively paid a total of $42,391 to the jackpot. Assuming every player paid an equal $4,231 to the jackpot total. The win/loss for the players are as follows:
- Player who lost the bad beat hand: won $21,195.50 - net gain $16,964.50
- Player who won the bad beat hand: won $10,597.75 - net gain $6,366.75
- Remaining 8 players: each won $1,324.71 for a net loss of $2,906.28
Two players made money, eight players lost money. This doesn't take into account the casino taking a cut of the bad beat drop. Not only that, even if you sit for 42,391 hands, and don't get dealt a bad beat after 42,390 hands, you still only have a 0.00002359% chance at hitting it on the next hand. (If that seems strange to you, read about the Gamblers Fallacy.)
Largest Bad Beat Jackpot in US History
Although the odds of losing with quads are long, there are so many hands of poker being dealt around the world, someone is always getting unlucky. With that being said, here are some of the biggest bad beat jackpots in history:
Motor City Casino: $1,068,590
A player called Scott from Michigan had quad threes beaten by quad queens at Motor City Casino in 2018. Thanks to a bad beat poker jackpot of more than $1 million, Scott took home $427,452, while the winner of the hand, Kenneth, banked $213,712. The other four players at the table each won $106,856, even though they folded!
Are Bad Beat Jackpots Bad?
Before you throw up your hands, remember one aspect to bad beat jackpots - when they’re large, the room is likely full of unskilled players hoping to get lucky. These are the players you want at your poker table. At these times, the money you make from these hopeful players should greatly outweigh the money you lose to the jackpot drop. Look at the bad beat jackpot as the cost of bait. You have to buy bait if you want to catch fish.
Take the Guaranteed Money Over the Jackpot
A better solution is to play at tables without an additional bad beat rake. This is easier when you play online. Not only do many sites not even offer a bad beat jackpot, the ones that do offer you the choice of playing a jackpot table or a non-jackpot table.
Instead of hoping for a jackpot, take advantage of sign-up poker bonusesand poker promotions online. Not only will you receive a bonus shortly after you start playing, almost all online rooms also periodically offer reload bonuses to loyal players. If you want to roll the dice on a jackpot, the general sign-up bonus will make up for all the money you donate to the jackpot pool along the way. After all, even a long shot's not a gamble if it's free.
Top Rooms Without Bad Beat Rake
Poker Bad Beat Jackpots FAQs
What is a bad beat jackpot in poker?A prize that’s paid out when a strong hand, usual quads or a straight flush, is beaten by a stronger hand. If this happens to more than one player in a hand (rare), the prize is shared.
What are the odds of hitting a bad beat jackpot in poker?The odds of hitting a bad beat jackpot in poker are greater than 2,000,000:1 depending on the poker room's rules.
How do you hit a bad beat jackpot?Usually when a player at the table loses with quads or a straight flush, they get 50% of the jackpot. The player who wins that hand gets 25%, and any other player in that hand gets 25%.
How much is a bad beat jackpot worth?The biggest ones can be worth over $1 million if they're progressives. However, this is usually distributed and doesn't go to one player.
What was the biggest bad beat jackpot given lately?One of the biggest bad beat jackpots paid out in recent times occurred in Michigan. A player by the name of Scott triggered a jackpot worth $1 million at Motor City Casino in 2018.
What is GGCare?GGCare is an innovative bad beat promotion from GGPoker where players receive tickets to special automatic Flipout freerolls when they get unlucky in a hand.
How does GGCare work?The GGCare promo gives you tickets to lucrative freerolls if you lose in a sick bad beat or cooler. Your hand gets reviewed and if it’s worthy, you’ll win a ticket to a Flipout freeroll with a prize pool worth up to $50,000.
Can anyone break down probability at say 6 max vs 9 max tables?
Is it equally hard odds wise to beat QQQJJ as AAAKK?
Shows how little you actually know about poker…rake is extremely important over the long term.
Probably the room in question didn’t have the “must use both cards” rule.
My first thought was that it’d act as his kicker, but then I realised no, one of the Ks from the table would.
A donkey would post this.
BadBeats attract more donkeys like myself. Plus if you hit it you’re stoked. Turds that are worried about an extra buck being taken off of a 1 / 2 NL or 2/4 Limit game? Really?
Oops AAAAK vs KKKKA
Both hold cards donot have to play aaa vs kkk
I saw a jackpot go out the other day and still can’t figure it out..
AJ vs KK, the flop was AKA-KA…
Can someone tell me how the J played so both hole cards played???
QUESTION – In live poker where one can choose no limit or limit with a $1-$2 table etc etc. – which table has the best stats for hitting a bad beat jackpot? thx!
matthew: Bad beat jackpots are used to bring traffic to the room or site, the bigger the jackpot the more draw it has. If an online room’s jackpot is $8,000 no one will really care, when it’s $800,000, it will create a big stir.
Online rooms simply deal out hundreds of thousands more hands every month than even the biggest card rooms. Especially with all the micro stakes tables, the bad beat would simply get won too often online if they used the B&M formula.
Arthur: Thank you Sir!
NIce piece Sean. I was going to do a column on them but you beat me to it. And it’s better than what I was planning.
FWIW, I HATE bad beat jackpots. You’re right in that there’s a subtle edge in low limit games because of the players who treat poker like Bingo, but at anything over $1-$2, they are horrific. If you play full time they will cost you something of the order of $6,000 a year. Yuk!
why is there a difference between B&M and online formula?
I play small stakes limit jackpot tables on Absolute Poker, and the reason is almost solely the money to be made.
The thought of a miniscule chance at a big payday is a nice sweetener, but its the loose play from people who will see the flop with ANY suited connector ( even a suited 3 gap) because of the SF BB opportunity who make it profitable.