Bad beats happen in poker all the time: A player is dealt a good starting hand, only to be busted out on the river.
The term is often used loosely by casual players to describe any time a superior preflop hand loses, but a true bad beat is when two strong hands end in a showdown on the river. The good news? There are casinos that offer bad beat jackpots as a promotion to dull the sting of losing.
What are bad beat jackpots?
A bad beat jackpot is awarded when two of the highest hands in poker — like a royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind or full house — draw out in the same hand.
In a traditional live casino, bad beat jackpots are progressively taking a rake of each hand to funnel into the pool. However, bad beat payouts at online casinos have evolved. This evolution is due to a couple of major issues: Large payouts presented payment processing issues in the United States — and in cases like Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker, players were not paid because the websites turned out to be fraudulent.
The problems with progressive jackpots mean that online casinos are adopting new strategies. The rules of bad beat jackpots are not universal and each casino has their own set of rules to win a bad beat jackpot.
Bad beat jackpots at online casinos
Ignition Casino offers 100 times the big blind up to $1,000 bad beat jackpot where the player receives house money.
Ignition requires that at least three players are dealt into the hand and both hole cards must be used in a cash game. Players must also go to a showdown and not collude or soft roll their opponent to take the hand to completion.
New approaches to offer bad beat jackpots is beneficial to the player because they aren’t contributing a rake every hand they play into the jackpot. House money doesn’t have the luster of the six-figure payouts, but it is more manageable for the casino to handle the funds and ensure the players are compensated.
The odds on hitting a bad beat jackpot vary by individual hands and how many players are on the table, but still have a low probability. For example: Another hand only has a .00000934% chance of winning against quad sixes in a 10-person game where no one folds.
Bad beat jackpots can be an attractive promotion for a user, but online casinos are adjusting how they handle them to fit their platform. Payouts are smaller but require no financial contribution from the user to fund a jackpot with such low probability. If a player deems that winning house money more attractive, then new online platforms could be a good fit for them.