Thursday, January 26, 2017

No, it Wasn't Close to a Jackpot

This post is sort of a follow up to the post from last week, here, where I discussed, among other things, some confusion over a potential bad beat jackpot hand.  Once again on Saturday, I went to PC Ventura and played some poker, and the bad beat jackpot was a prominent topic of conversation.

In case you didn’t read the comment section on the post I just linked, I should mention that my pal Dave solved the mystery for me of what the guy was talking about. To recap, with pocket Queens, the flop came Ace-Ace-Queen.  When I bet, the guy folded and was mad, implying that if I had a “big Ace” I should have checked and tried for the bad beat jackpot.  I couldn’t figure out how that would work, but Dave explained.  If I had Ace-King or Ace-Queen, and he had pocket Kings or pocket Jacks (no other hand would work), and the case Ace hit the board on the turn or the river, I would have quad Aces and he would have Aces full of either Kings or Jacks. The minimum qualifying losing hand is Aces full of Jacks.  And it has to be beaten by quads or better.  A bigger full house won’t do.  The reason I would need a Queen or a King in addition to the Ace is that both cards must play.  If I had quads with three Aces on the board, my other card must me at least as good as the highest non-Ace card on the board.  Since the flop had a Queen, I’d have to match or beat that.

Anyway, during the most recent session, the BBJ did indeed hit.  But not at my table, no, of course not.  It was on the other side of the room.  A huge cheer went up, the kind of cheer you hear coming from the Sports Book in Vegas when a team scores a huge touchdown late in the game.  I looked around at the TV screens and nothing was happening.  It was the jackpot being hit.  It was a cool $42K, and the distribution was as follows: 50% for the losing hand, 25% for the winning hand, the rest divvied up to the other players at the table as a table share.  I never heard what the hand was, but I did hear that the losing (and thus, winning) hand was held by a guy playing only his second hand at the table.  It was a 1/2 game, and the guy was just sitting there waiting for a seat at the 3/5 game. Apparently he was a reg, but no one had ever seen the guy with the winning hand before.  And he had no knowledge of the bad beat jackpot at all, they had to explain to him what happened after they hit it.

So our table (and all the others, no doubt) were all abuzz about the jackpot being hit, and it being reset at $20K.  All the regs at the table knew that it had been quite awhile since it had been hit.  The dealer said what usually happens when it takes a while to be hit, it gets hit again very soon.  I suppose if someone hit it again the same day, that might be considered a form of a bad beat itself, since it would be a much bigger payoff if it hadn’t just been hit earlier in the day.  But I’m sure no one would be all that upset about winning their share of $20K.

Anyway, our table had barely finished talking about it when this hand happened.  I wasn’t involved (of course).  But there was some preflop action (a three-bet, I’m pretty sure) and a few players saw a flop.  It had two Aces on it and a low card.  I think all the money got in at that point and after the shove and the call it was heads up.

So the turn card was another Ace, putting three Aces on the board.  And the dealer immediately shouted out, as loud as he possibly could, “three on board!”  Ok, I guess they’re supposed to do that when there are three Aces on board and thus a possibility of a BBJ.  But they don’t shout anything when the board double pairs and there’s a possibility of quads over quads.  Nor do they do it when the board pairs and there’s a straight flush possible too.  And it struck me as weird that they would actually want the dealer to call attention to the possibility of a jackpot since, if any player talked about the possibility during the hand, it would void the jackpot.

In other words, if in the hand I was in from the week before, the guy said to me, before I bet the flop, “I’ve got pocket Jacks, if you’ve got Ace-King or Ace-Queen, don’t bet me out of the hand, if an Ace falls we’ve hit the jackpot,” that would totally kill the jackpot.  Talking about the jackpot, talking about what you have in that situation, voids the jackpot.

But anyway, the guy yelled that there were three Aces on the board.  I think that’s when the players exposed their hands.  One had pocket Kings, and the other had pocket Jacks.  The guy with the Jacks was deflated until he saw the river card—a Jack!  He thought he had sucked out for the win, and so, for a second, did the dealer.  The dealer actually started to push the pot to the guy with the Jacks, but was stopped almost immediately by a player or two (including the guy with the Kings) that the winning hand was Aces full of Kings, not Jacks full of Aces.  The dealer realized that almost immediately and honestly, I think he would have caught himself anyway if no one had said anything.

But then one of the players said, “Is that a jackpot hand?  That’s a jackpot hand!”  The other guy agreed and the dealer corrected them right away.  Yes, Aces full of Jacks was the losing hand, but it has to be beaten by quads or better, not a better full house (as I said at the beginning of the post).

Well that should have been the end of it, but one of the players involved, maybe both of them, began pressing the dealer to find out what it would have taken to be a jackpot hand.  One of them said, “If one of us had an Ace, it would be a jackpot, right?”  The dealer had already moved on mentally and he said, “Yes…well, no, unless the other card played.” But, if either one of them had had an Ace, they would have had a totally different hand than what they actually had, since this was hold’em and players only have two hole cards.  No one could have two Kings and an Ace, could they?  But these guys kept insisting that they came really close to getting the jackpot.

They were interrupted from this bizarre fantasy by a guy at the other end of the table, who said, “I knew neither of you had an Ace, I threw an Ace away.”  Oh, so maybe he threw away a jackpot?  He was asked what his other card was….it was a 9.  And he wasn’t about to see the flop with Ace-9 in a pot that was three-bet preflop.  So for a second, everyone thought he threw away a jackpot hand, until someone realized that his hand wouldn’t qualify, because his 9 wouldn’t have played as the river card was a Jack.  It was good until then.  So no jackpot then?  Nope, he wouldn’t have gotten the table the jackpot.  But he would have won the pot with quad Aces.  He’d be the only one happy at the table.  Everyone else would have been really pissed at the Jack on the river.

Well, I that part of the discussion being over, the other two guys went back to bonding over how close they had come to hitting the jackpot.  Yeah, as long as you consider the fact that one of them would have had to have had a completely different hand than the one they actually had to have hit it.  And since we’d by now established that the case Ace was dealt to someone else, it’s just as well one of them didn’t have the fifth Ace in the deck.  Pretty sure a deck with five Aces in it voids the jackpot, too.

I didn’t say a word, I just let them blather on because it seemed like they were enjoying the fantasy.  Especially the guy with the Jacks who had just lost all his chips and was surprisingly cheery about having to rebuy.  But here’s the thing.  With their two starting hands, the only possible way for them to have hit the jackpot would be for both of them get quads.  That would work, quad Jacks losing to quad Kings would have qualified.  But essentially, once the board had two Aces on it (and that happened on the flop), there was no chance for a BBJ between their two hands. I should have told them that, but I didn’t want to burst their bubble.  I’ll bet that eventually they figured out that they didn’t come close, but at the time, I did hear their final comments about it: (Edited to add, there actually is another way to hit the BBJ with their starting hands, see the first comment, from Cokeboy, below.  I always mess up these damn BBJ posts!)

“Man, we came really, really close.”

“Yeah, we were right there weren’t we?”

Umm, not so much.

As for my session, not much to say.  I was totally card dead.  In three hours, I got exactly one pocket pair.  It was deuces and on that hand, it folded to me in the small blind, so we chopped the blinds.

The one hand I’ll mention was when I had Ace-King of spades.  I raised to $15 and had two callers.  The flop had the Queen of spades and a couple of low cards, rainbow, I think.  I made a $20 c-bet and had one call.  The Jack of spades on the turn gave me a Royal Flush draw.  This time I checked because, in all honesty, I wanted to see if I could hit the Royal—I’ve still never had one.  He checked too.  The river was the King of clubs, I bet $35 and he mucked.

I ended up down a few bucks.  I didn’t get enough good cards to lose much.  But at least I almost saw the bad beat jackpot hit.

Well, not really.

You know what else I didn’t see that day?  A woman walking a dog in her underwear.  But here’s what that looks like:


  1. They could have hit the BBJ if the board ran out AAAJJ, no? Aces full ok kings for the guy with KK and quad Jack's for the other guy?

    Just curious.


    1. Damn....I gotta stop doing posts on BBJ because I always forget something. Thanks, Nick, I believe that would work.

      I'll update the post.

    2. Could have been the other way too....Two Kings on the bard with the three Aces....Aces full of Jacks losing to quad Kings.

    3. Two kings on board won't work because JJ plays the board.

      However they were close assuming if the guy with the Ace would play with a bigger kicker, say AK, AQ or AJ. Following this train of thought, there are 7 cards left in the deck that may have caused him to play preflop, so 7/42 chance or 16.66%.

    4. Damn I'm a bad at're right Pokerdogg, thanks. It's only JJ on the board that would work. I can only assume, considering how often I get this wrong, that I've actually hit the BBJ multiple times over the years and just neglected to show cuz I didn't realize it.

      Not following the second part of your comment at all. But remember, in the actual hand, neither player had an Ace.

    5. I meant the player that folded an Ace. If he had AK/AQ/AJ he might have played. Once he sees the flop he would not fold.

    6. Right of course, sorry. Yeah, Ace-9 is not strong enough to play in a 3 bet hand. Even Ace-Jack or Ace-Queen is iffy. Maybe if he's one of those guys who is always thinking about the jackpot, he stays in with AQ or AJ.