US casino record $1.23 million bad-beat jackpot hit at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: August 27, 2022 05:34 PDT

A new record for a bad-beat jackpot at a United States-based casino was set this week at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, where eight lucky players divvied up a $1,226,765.80 payout. The biggest share of the jackpot went to Huttonsville, West Virginia's Benjamin Flanagan, who collected $490,708 when his flopped quad aces were bested on the river by Wexford, Pennsylvania's Raymond Brodersen, who filled a royal flush.

Brodersen collected $368,029 as the winner of the actual hand that produced the jackpot, in addition to whatever the actual pot was in the $1/$3 no-limit hold'em game, which Rivers Casino did not mention in its presser. Six other players at the table split another $368,029, or $61,338 each. Five of the six remaining players were from Pittsburgh or elsewhere in western Pennsylvania, while the sixth was from Morgantown, West Virginia.

The $1.23 million jackpot cracked the former US casino record of $1,068,590.80, which was set in January 2018 at Detroit's Motor City Casino. The big hit at Rivers Casino is also, in real terms, the largest ever paid live in North America. In April 2018, a $1.375 million bad-beat jackpot was paid out at Montreal, Quebec's Playground Poker Room. However, the Canadian dollar was worth about 80 percent of the US dollar at the time, meaning its value in US dollars was about $1.1 million.

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh's BBJ was designed to produce high-amount winners

The bad-beat jackpot at Rivers Casino hadn't been hit since April of 2021, when it was cracked for a little over $149,000. The previous record at the casino had been a jackpot of more than $480,000, which was paid out in 2017. The new U.S. casino mark was assured in June, when Rivers' bad-beat amount climbed past the 2018 Motor City Casino record.

The primary factor in producing the record jackpot was the high threshold for cracking the jackpot, which required the loser's hand to be at least quad tens, with both hole cards for both showdown players also involved in determining the hand. That quad-tens mark is far higher than a typical bad-beat jackpot, which more normally might require any quads or a top full house such as aces full of jacks to qualify. How the jackpot is distributed can vary as well; in this instance, 40% of the total went to Flanagan, whose quads suffered the bad beat. Another 30 percent went to Brodersen and his rivered royal flush, while the remaining 30 percent was split among the table's other active players.

Earlier this year, when the new record was guaranteed, Rivers Casino Poker Room Manager Leslie Brittain told a Pennsylvania-targeted outlet that the bad-beat jackpot's goal was to pay out “life-changing money,” The room also offers a "mini" bad-beat jackpot, which is currently over $316,000.

"It's absolutely thrilling and potentially life-changing for a poker game to payout at this level," said Andre Barnabei, the assistant general manager at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. "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."

Featured image source: Rivers Casino Pittsburgh