Everything you need to know about poker bad-beat jackpots – mechanics, triggers, qualifying hands – and where to play for $100,000+ jackpots!
How does a poker bad-beat jackpot work?
A Poker Bad-Beat jackpot (BBJ) is a promotion which may be offered by a live or online poker room which will reward a player (or players involved in the hand, or at the table when the hand is dealt) when a very strong hand loses to another very strong hand.
Bad beat jackpots can run up to hundreds of thousands of dollars – truly jaw-dropping and life-changing amounts of money are at stake.
Texas Hold’em is a 5 card poker game – where your hand is comprised of a combination of 5 cards (generally one or both of your hole cards – and 3 or 4 cards on the flop).
Making “big hands” in Hold’em is difficult, due to the huge number of possible card combinations in the game, and getting to showdown with two “monster strength hands” is also quite rare. We can see from the hand frequency table below that the odds of making four of a kind with your hand is just 0.0240%. The odds that another player will also make four of a kind or better are similarly slim.
Frequency of 5-card poker hands in Hold’Em
649,739 : 1
Straight flush (excluding royal flush)
72,192 1/3 : 1
Four of a kind
4,165 : 1
693.17 : 1
Flush (excluding royal flush and straight flush)
508.8 : 1
Straight (excluding royal flush and straight flush)
253.8 : 1
Three of a kind
46.33 : 1
20.0 : 1
1.366 : 1
No pair / High card
0.995 : 1
0 : 1
The Bad Beat Jackpot Prizepool
The poker running the promotion room builds the bad-beat jackpot prize-pool by taking a tiny fee from cash-game pots (known as “rake”). The tables are usually marked ‘bad-beat jackpot tables’ – as a little more rake is taken by the house on these tables compared to regular cash-game tables.
How does a BBJ Get Triggered ?
Firstly the poker room sets the ‘minimum hand‘ – that is the lowest hand can be beaten to release the jackpot.
For example, if the minimum hand for a bad-beat jackpot promotion is Four of a kind sevens or better – the jackpot would be triggered by that hand getting beaten by quad eights or better, a straight flush or a Royal Flush – a “bad beat”, due to how statistically improbable it is for your opponents to beat your strong, and very rare hand!.
If both strong hands make it to showdown, the bad beat jackpot will be triggered, and the money released to the players in the hand (sometimes a bad beat jackpot rewards players not in the hand, but sitting on the table – and in some cases a a small portion of the bad-beat jackpot will be shared with all players on bad-beat jackpot tables. Make sure you read the promotional Terms and conditions so you understand how much you stand to pocket if you win or share in the jackpot.
What is an example bad-beat jackpot triggering scenario?
BBJ Trigger: Quad 7’s or better
Player Card Holdings:
Pre-flop: Hero raises by 3 big-blinds, villain re-raises to 12 big blinds and Hero decides to just call, hoping to not see any aces or Kings on the Flop before proceeding.
The Flop is Dealt: QQK – Hero has flopped Four of a kind Queens. Villain has Flopped Kings Full of Queens (A Full House). Both Players Check.
The Turn is Dealt: QQK K – A King on the turn gives Villain Four of a Kind Kings. The chips go flying “all in” and the meaningless river card is dealt (neither player can improve their hand, and no split pot is possible.)
The River is Dealt: QQK K A – An ace on the river.
Showdown: Hero’s Quad Queens lost to Villain’s Quad Kings. Brutal – BUT – as the quad queens are higher than our trigger of Quad 7’s, so the bad beat jackpot is released, and shared among the players in the hand (and quite often the other players at the table – different poker rooms offer different payouts for bad beat jackpots and have different winning / losing hand requirements)
Which sites offer the Biggest Poker Bad-Beat Jackpots?
Betonline Poker has made a name for itself by offering lucrative promotions for players (bad-beat jackpots, rake races, bitcoin bonuses) and great customer service, as well as being a U.S poker-friendly destination.
Recent Bad Beat Jackpot Winners at BetOnline
July 5th, 2020
May 10th, 2020
April 20th, 2020
April 18th, 2020
April 12th, 2020
The BetOnline $100,000 Bad Beat Jackpot
US-friendly poker site BetOnline Poker is famous for their huge bad beat jackpot. The higher the jackpot gets, the lower the trigger requirement is set to. The bat beat trigger is currently Four of a Kind Deuces (2222)* (last updated September 2020).
How to win the BetOnline Bad-Beat Jackpot:
The BBJ tables on the site are designated with a yellow star. Play on one or more of these tables, and if your Quad Deuces (2222) or better gets trumped by a better hand, you and all others playing at Bad Beat Jackpot tables will share in the jackpot as follows:
20% player with Bad Beat
15% winner of the hand
12, 5% players at the table
12, 5% players at other BBJ tables
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