Many people know that the worst beat you can take in limit hold 'em (starting from after the flop...it should be pointed out that all "bad beats" need a relative starting point. Pocket aces can bad beat 32o, if you start the action after a flop of 332) is basically about a 1000 : 1 shot (actually 989 : 1), where in your opponent has 2 cards to improve in the entire deck and needs to hit both of them. Bravos took this beat once (although not technically, because I believe in his hand the opponent had a back door gut gut straight draw). It is rare and brutal, but it happens and when it does you really just lose about a rack of chips that should have been yours. WTK sorta did this to me once, making quads 3s on a flop of A52 or something when I had AA. To this day if you talk to the man about that hand he'll have a conniption over how few bets I gave him on the river. He swears he's the one who took the bad beat! That's the other thing about bad beats; they are relative. A $500 bad beat in a 20/40 game is pretty bad. A $500,000 bad beat on high stakes poker is another matter entirely. Yesterday at Commerce I was told the worst bad beat story I have ever heard, which was confirmed by several sources.
At the Commerce Casino there is a bad beat jackpot, which basically means if you have the "misfortune" of losing with a big enough hand, your table wins a bunch of money. The losing hand keeps 60%, the winning hand gets 20%, and the rest of the table split the remaining 20% in what is known as a table share. There are two forms of jackpot. I don't know their actual names, but let's call them grande and regular. The regular jackpot requires that aces full of tens lose to four of a kind or better. The most common way for this to happen is for AK to run into something like QQ and for three aces to show up on the board. In fact anytime two aces show up on the board the whole table starts murmuring "one more ace" and "one time" and the like. The regular jackpot starts at $20,000 and goes up from their like a progressive slot machine, which means that the "losing" hand gets at $12,000, which is nothing to sneeze at. The grande jackpot works the same way, except it requires that four of kind lose the hand, and the payout is always $100,000. That's $60K to the loser. That's a down payment, or an entire college fund. That's life changing money for most of the people in the casino. The catch for the jackpot is that both hole cards from both players hands must be used to make the qualifying hands. In the regular jackpot example above, if the board ran out AAA98 and someone held TT and the other player A5 there would be no jackpot. The A5 hand is only playing one card. So, on to our story, which is pretty short since I don't know the action. The game is live 8/16, and the players in question hold the following hands:
A5 of diamonds
The flop is:
That's right. 3s full of 2s, quad deuces, and a gut shot draw at the steel wheel (a five high straight flush). Some betting probably happens, although it's possibly that only the flush draw was willing to put in any action, with the other two players making expert slow plays.
They hit the jackpot! Poor pocket 3s is going to get eviscerated and only a table share for his efforts, but he's really only going to lose like $200 and $20K/7 players is obviously a lot more than that, so it's OK. The quad deuces stands to win $60K. A jackpot already hit on the turn is almost unheard of. But wait for it.....
Catastrophe strikes! The A5 of diamonds still has a straight flush, but the Ace in his hand no longer plays! He has "improved" to a 6-high straight flush, but lost the jackpot. In an 8/16 game the guy with pocket 2s was fading two cards (the fourth 3 would have relegated him to table share, which still would have been almost $3K which would be a fair consolation prize) to win $60K. And he couldn't do it. All he got for his efforts was a grade A, almost untoppable, bad beat story.