Poker bad beat jackpots are not the typical article topic on this here website, but this is going to be the third one in the span of what, about a month? On Tuesday, January 16th, what was reportedly the largest bad beat jackpot in United States history was hit at Detroit’s Motor City Casino poker room.

We recently wrote about a bad beat jackpot hit on the Chico Network for nearly a million dollars. The one this week, though, at a brick-and-mortar casino, beat that: $1,068,590.80.

According to Edward Pevos of, a player named Scott from Oxford, Michigan had the losing hand, quad Threes, topped by a player named Kenneth, who had quad Queens. As the loser of the hand, Scott received the largest portion of the bad beat jackpot, $427,452.52, while Kenneth got $213,712.76. There were four other players at the table, each receiving $106,856.28 just for folding (this was a ten-max table, too, so they were fortunate the table wasn’t full).

The Motor City Casino’s bad beat jackpot works slightly differently than most. Usually, a casino or online poker room has a minimum strength for the losing hand; it could be quads, maybe quad Jacks or higher, or even a straight flush. But no matter the minimum strength, the bad beat jackpot is typically hit as long as that hand is beaten by a stronger one. At this specific bad beat jackpot table, the jackpot is only triggered if a four-of-a-kind is defeated by a stronger four-of-a-kind. A straight flush beating a four-of-a-kind does not count, nor does a straight flush beating a straight flush. Has to be quads over quads.

There is a different bad beat jackpot table that is more traditional, where the losing hand must be Aces full of Kings or better and can be beaten by anything. The jackpot there, though, is much smaller.

As is always the case with bad beat jackpots, the hand must reach showdown and both the winning and losing hands must include both hole cards. At Motor City, at least four players need to be dealt into the hand and the pot has to reach at least $20.

We are not sure what the drop is at the bad beat jackpot tables, but some of it must go to seeding the next jackpot. We say this for two reasons. First, the jackpot is already around half a million dollars, according to the casino’s website, so there must have been a lot of money set aside to start a new jackpot. And second, all of the bad beat jackpot’s money is distributed when it is hit: 40 percent goes to the winner, 20 percent goes to the loser, and 40 percent is split evenly among the other players dealt into the hand.

According to, Motor City’s bad beat jackpot “generates mild buzz” when it gets to $200,000, so the poker room must have been a powder keg as it reached a million bucks.

“There are winners every day on the floor, but it’s not every day that a jackpot that big hits,” said Phil Trofibio, Senior Vice President of Casino Operations.

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