Rivers Casino Pittsburgh just had a colossal moment in its poker room. On Aug. 28 at around 4:15 p.m., the record bad beat jackpot hit for $1,226,765.80 when four aces lost to a Royal Flush in a game of $1/$3 No-Limit Hold’em.
Benjamin Flanagan of Huttonsville, West Virginia held the quad aces, losing the pot but earning $490,708 as the jackpot winner. Wexford’s Raymond Brodersen won $368,029 (plus the pot) with his Royal Flush of spades, and all remaining players at the table earned $61,338 apiece.
The jackpot had been accruing since April 2021 and was just the second time to hit since launching in March 2021. It reached $1 million earlier this year and surpassed the previous record of $1.07 million, won in 2018 at Motor City Casino in Detroit at the beginning of June.
Record bad beat jackpot hits at Rivers Pittsburgh
Eight players were dealt into the hand that triggered the jackpot. Brodersen’s king-ten of spades flopped a gutshot Royal Flush draw as two other spades, the ace and jack, came on the flop. He filled up as the queen of spades came on the turn.
Meanwhile, Flanagan had flopped top set with pocket aces, and any trepidation from a scary turn dissolved after the final ace in the deck came on the river to give him four of a kind.
At that point, he couldn’t lose.
He had the second nuts, meaning he beat every possible combination of cards other than the king-ten of spades. If Brodersen didn’t have the Royal Flush, Flanagan would win the pot. And if Brodersen did have the goods, he would be more than happy to trade losing the hand for winning the jackpot.
Of course, the best-case scenario played out for all at the table. The other six players were from Pittsburgh, Pa.; McKees Rocks, Pa.; Morrisdale, Pa. and Morgantown, W.Va. They took home $61,338 apiece.
Andre Barnabei, assistant general manager of Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, commented to PlayPennsylvania:
“Our poker room has been buzzing with excitement for weeks with locals plus visitors from far and wide. Everyone was thrilled to be in the room when it hit Thursday afternoon, especially the eight players at the winning table.
Luckily for all players in the room, Rivers Pittsburgh’s bad beat jackpot is two-tiered.
The mini jackpot, still plenty hard enough to qualify for (a full house, aces full of kings must be the losing hand), has struck five times in the same timeframe. The largest was on December 1, 2021, for $431,648, and the mini jackpot sits at 319,747.77 as of August 26.
Meanwhile, the main jackpot has reset and is now a hair over $3K. Promptly watching that hit again would be the worst bad beat a player could now suffer there.
Accomplishing the goal of a record bad beat
When PlayPennsylvania spoke with Rivers Casino Pittsburgh Poker Room Manager Leslie Brittain after setting the record in June 2021, she talked about structuring the jackpot to create an opportunity for “life-changing money.”
The room did this by having the main jackpot require a minimum qualifying (losing) hand of quad tens, with both players using both of their hole cards. Brittain and her team figured that making the jackpot harder to obtain would bring about more enormous jackpots in the long run.
Six weeks after launching, the main jackpot hit for $149K. From there, it reset and embarked on an ascent that ended more than 16 months later.
“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.”
It also awarded life-changing money to eight players, with two getting six-figure paydays from a $1-$3 game. Mission accomplished.