What is a Bad Beat in Poker?

A bad beat in poker is when you are holding a hand like four of a kind 9’s. You are confident that you have this hand on lock down and now all you have to do is figure out how to get all of your opponent’s chips in the middle. You are looking at their stack, counting their chips and spending the money before the hand is over. After you go all in and your opponent quickly calls, you triumphantly throw your cards on the table and show your monster hand.

When you look up to see the despair on your opponents face, you instead see a smirk as they show a straight flush. You walk away a dejected and sorrowed person who swears they will never play poker again. That is a real bad beat.

What is a bad beat jackpot?

A bad beat jackpot rewards you with money for getting yourself in a position that no one can avoid, holding a premium hand, only to get beat by a superior hand. In most cases a jackpot is awarded if player is holding mid four of a kind such as 7’s and is beat by a better hand.

Some jackpots in land based casinos will be as low as a full house Aces over Jacks (AAAJJ). If you are going to get a beating like this, you better be sitting at a bad beat jackpot table. Some online bad beat jackpots have been hit for over $1 Million.

How do bad beat jackpots work?

If a player with a qualifying hand is beat by a better hand, then those hands are considered for the bad beat jackpot. There are typically some other requirements involved such as both player must use both cards, no player collusion and so on. Typically, the ‘loosing’ hand is awarded 35% of the jackpot, 17.5% is awarded to the ‘winning’ hand, and the rest is split among the other players at the table and some goes to the house. Every site is different so it is best to check the requirements before playing.

The best part about bad beat jackpots is that you can win part of the jackpot just by sitting at the table where it is hit. At Absolutepoker, you can even win a part of the jackpot if you are playing at the same game type and stakes as the table that wins the bad beat.

How big are some of the jackpots?

Widespread bad beat jackpots are fairly new to online poker, but even with short amount of time that they have been around online, there has already been a jackpot hit on the Carbon Poker network for $1.2 Million. The average jackpot really depends on the room that you play at. Some jackpots get hit faster than others depending on the requirements and player traffic.

Written by Matt White