Bad-Beat Jackpot

$1 Million Bad Beat Jackpot Hit at Detroit’s MotorCity Casino

To begin a recent article, my esteemed colleague Haley Hintze wrote, “Remember when bad-beat jackpots were all the rage?”

This implied that bad beat jackpots were no longer the rage, but maybe they still are? I am sorry to bother you with another one, but what follows is yet another article about a bad beat jackpot. It is pretty interesting, though!

On Tuesday, January 16th, a bad beat jackpot totaling $1,068,590.80 was hit at the MotorCity Casino Hotel’s poker room in Detroit, Michigan. According to, which originally reported the happening, this is the largest bad beat jackpot ever hit at a land-based casino in the United States. I don’t doubt it, either.

The MotorCity Casino’s poker room has four different bad beat jackpots; the one that was awarded was, as you might expect, the most difficult one to hit. Whereas with most bad beat jackpots, some minimum, very strong hand must be defeated at showdown by any (obviously better) hand, the million dollar jackpot had a very specific requirement. For this one, both the winner and the loser of the hand must have four-of-a-kind. Both players must have pocket pairs for their hole cards, at least four players must be dealt into the hand, and the hand must go to showdown.

Those last few rules are fairly standard, but it is the quads over quads that is unusual. Even if the minimum qualifying losing hand for a bad beat jackpot is quads, the winning hand can be anything better at most casinos. At MotorCity, though, for this specific bad beat jackpot, the winning hand must ALSO be quads. Thus, a rare hand to have happen becomes even rarer.

Conveniently, the table at which the million dollar bad beat jackpot was won was six-handed. If it was full, it would have had ten players occupying seats, so the four players who did not end up with quads benefitted greatly.

The other interesting thing about MotorCity’s bad beat jackpot is that the entire jackpot is awarded to those involved. Nothing is held back for the house or to seed the next jackpot. 40 percent is given to the loser of the hand, 20 percent is awarded to the winner, and the remaining 40 percent is split between the other players who were dealt into the hand. Thus, the other four players each got 10 percent.

In Tuesday’s massive hand, a player named Scott had pocket Threes and ended up with quad Threes, while Kenneth turned his pocket Queens into quad Queens. Scott, as the loser, ended up to be the big winner, receiving $427,452.52. Kenneth was cut a $213,712.76 and the other four players each received $106,856.28.

The quads-over-quads bad beat jackpot is already back up to around $500,000 at MotorCity, so either the casino is putting its own money into it to attract players or a sizable portion of the drop ($1 in hands where the pot is at least $20) is going to seed the new jackpot since none of the jackpot is used to seed the next one. Or, I suppose, both?

As mentioned, there are multiple bad beat jackpots at MotorCity. One is a more traditional jackpot, requiring the losing hand to be Aces full of Kings or better, while the losing hand can be anything that beats it. That jackpot is at $36,000 right now. There is also an Omaha BBJ and any “any suit” jackpot.

While MotorCity’s bad beat jackpot was the highest in United States history, it was not the highest ever hit in North America. In August 2017, a ludicrous $1,210,989 bad beat jackpot was hit at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal. That poker room’s rules are somewhat unique, as well. The minimum losing hand starts at quad Aces, but if the jackpot isn’t hit in the first four weeks, the minimum qualifying hand goes down to quad Kings. The pattern continues like that every four weeks until it gets to quad Eights, which is where it stays until the jackpot is hit. The winning hand can be any better hand.

The Playground Poker Club also distributes the enter jackpot. 40 percent goes to the player with the losing hand, 20 percent goes to the player with the winning hand, 20 percent is split among the other players dealt into the hand, and 20 percent is split among all other cash game players on the floor.

In the $1.2 million hand, Elphege Delarosbil held two red Jacks and Shane Galle had Qs-8s on a board reading Jc-6h-9s-Js-Ts. Galle took the hand with the straight flush (that was one hell of a runner-runner), while Delarosbil won over $484,000 for having the “losing” hand. If you’re curious, the other cash game players not at the table won about $1,200 each. Pretty good for just showing up.


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