But how much did you lose?

Nobody likes losing a poker hand. It is even worse when you have a hand like four-of-a-kind and likely got all your money in the pot. Who expects to lose with quads? If you are West Virginia’s Benjamin Flanagan, though, losing with quad aces at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh last week is the best thing that could have ever happened to you at the poker table, as it triggered the largest bad beat jackpot in United States poker history.

It is fun to imagine what Flanagan and his opponent, local player Raymond Broderson, might have been thinking as the hand played out. We don’t know the exact play-by-play, but Flanagan flopped his quads when the flop came down A-Q♠-A♠, so he was obviously silently excited. Broderson had K-T, so he was likely optimistic, as he had the nut flush draw, a gutshot straight draw, and, of course, the royal flush draw.

The 9 on the turn was a nothingburger, but the J♠ on the river was the magic card. So now Broderson knows he has the stone cold nuts with the royal flush and is hoping Flanagan had an ace, a full house, or even a queen or worse flush. Something to extract some cash from him.

In the meantime, Flanagan now knows he is in an almost perfect position. His quads are still probably good, so if that river card gave Broderson something, he was about to win a big pot. But because of the massive, $1.226 million bad beat jackpot, the first thing he was probably thinking was that the royal flush was in play and please, please, please, let Broderson have it. Either way, Flanagan was going to be a winner.

I’m sure both players ended up all in, and assuming that was the case, Flanagan might have had an even better feeling that the impossible had happened in those seconds before he saw his opponent’s hand.

When losing is winning

And sure enough, the royal flush beat quads, triggering the jackpot and causing the table to erupt in joy. Flanagan received the biggest payday of $490,708, or 40% of the jackpot, for losing the hand. Broderson got 30% for producing the winning hand, $368,029. And the other six players who were dealt into the hand split the remaining 30% for $61,338. Must be fun to fold pre-flop and win over $60,000.

The casino’s previous bad beat jackpot record was over $480,000, hit in 2017. The last time the jackpot had been hit at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh before last week was in April 2021, when it was at $149,417.

“It’s absolutely thrilling and potentially life-changing for a poker game to pay out at this level,” said Andre Barnabei, assistant general manager at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, in a press release. “When we launch a bad beat jackpot, we have no idea when it will hit or how big it will get. It’s almost as exciting for us, as it is for the winners. Congrats also to our Rivers Pittsburgh Poker Room Team Members for a great job.”

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