Largest Bad Beat Jackpot In US History Of $1.2 Million Has Been Won!

By Ian John
September 1, 2022

Let’s make one thing clear; bad beats suck.

That is unless your poker misfortune happens to earn you the majority share of a national record Bad Beat Jackpot as was the case at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh PA last week.

Well for Benjamin Flanagan of Huttonsville in West Virginia, he may well have been the happiest person in the U.S. to have ever lost a hand while holding quad aces completed on the river, after his opponent had landed his Royal Flush a card earlier when he landed the card he needed to complete the Royal Flush on the turn.  

Given the community cards opened up the possibility of pairs, full houses, trips, flushes and straights, Royal Flush holder Mr Broderson, who lives in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, would have expected to have earned a decent amount from holding the nuts, even in a $1/3 game.

However, his hopes of landing maybe a hundred or a couple of hundred bucks from his good fortune turned into something else entirely when Flanagan revealed he had lost the showdown while holding quad aces.

That meant that the Rivers Bad Beat Jackpot, which had not been won since April 14th 2021, had been triggered and with $1.2 million in the prize pool, the eight players at the table were going to go home with considerably more money than they expected when they started the game.

‘Loser’ Wins $490k

As the ‘loser’ of the hand, Mr Flanagan picked up the majority share of the jackpot prize, earning $490,708 in defeat.

Mr Broderson also got more than he bargained for, when he took home a check for $368,029 on top of his winnings from the hand, while the other six players that were playing at Table 27 of the casino would each take home $61,338.

The $1,226,765.80 total win is the largest ever BBJ payout that has been confirmed in the United States in live poker.

The Assistant General Manager at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, Andre Barnabei, commented:

“It’s absolutely thrilling and potentially life-changing for a poker game to pay out at this level.

“When we launch a bad beat jackpot, we have no idea when it will hit or how bit it will get. It’s almost as exciting for us as it is for the winners.”

The amount won was comfortably the largest ever win at the River in Pittsburgh with the next biggest Bad Beat Jackpot win being one of $480k back in 2017.

Why Did The Jackpot Grow So High?

One of the reasons why the BBJ at River grew so high is that in order to qualify for the jackpot, the qualifying losing hand had to be of pocket 10s or better.

The Casino seeded the jackpot initially with a donation of $2,500, and since then every game at the 30-table casino has contributed a dollar or more towards the fund from every pot played at the table.

BBJ Jackpot Payout Records

However, while this win is the largest BBJ prize ever won in live poker in the United States, it is not the biggest BBJ ever landed in the world.

That honour goes to the Playground Poker Club, located outside of Montreal in Canada. It seeds its Bad Beat Jackpot with a cool $100,000 and within three months, the popular poker room had seen the prize grow to over $2,000,000.

Then on June 21 this year, the jackpot was won by a group of players with Gerry Roussel the ‘unfortunate loser’ of the Bad Beat Jackpot, earning $846,802, while Eric Lemay, who won the hand, pocketed $423,401 and the other players at the table shared $60,486 apiece.

The Canadian casino has also seen a big win of $1,375,265 back in 2018 at the MILLIONS North America Festival, the moment at which the jackpot was triggered was captured in a YouTube video.

The Pittsburgh River Casino win sets a new US domestic record, surpassing the Bad Beat Jackpot of just over a million won at the Motor City Casino in Detroit back in January 2018.

Although commonly used in online and real world casinos, Bad Beat Jackpot prizes seldom reach over half a million dollars in prize money, so wins of this size are rare.

That said, GGPoker saw a $600,000 jackpot shared between six players back in January this year.

Each casino has its own rules on what hands qualify as a bad beat jackpot and they can vary from casino to casino.

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