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Bad Beat on the Bad Beat Jackpot: Straight Flush over Quads over Quads

Bad Beat
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  • R.J. Bergman slow-played quad nines into third place, missing out on the big share of the bad beat jackpot.

It was an odds-defying hand most players will never see in their entire lives. R.J. Bergman, 37, lived it first-hand Tuesday afternoon – a gigantic cooler that cost him a bad beat jackpot.

He was at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, mixing it up in some $1-$2 no-limit hold’em cash game. Bergman is a recreational player, visiting the local casinos a few times a year, and playing cash games about twice a month with friends.

Married for nine years, he has a 7-year-old son and has worked at the local YMCA as a program director for 14 years – a job he loves. Along with his local games, Bergman visits Las Vegas about four or five times a year.

“I love playing out there,” he says.

“Yes, bad beat! Quads!”

Bad Beat Set-Up

Almost no amount of table time could quite prepare him for the hand that played out Tuesday afternoon at the Del Sol. He had been playing for about an hour after buying into the game for $200. A bit card dead, he had about $165 in chips in front of him.

As the hand began, Bergman peeled back {9-Hearts}{9-Spades} in the small blind. The player under-the-gun raised the action to $8. The player in the hijack position had about $75 in front of him and called. A player on the button with $280 also made the call, as did Bergman.

Amazingly, the flop brought {10-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}{9-Clubs} for quad 9s and he looked to be in great shape. There were a couple of things to consider. He wanted to win a big pot and reel in both players for as much as he could. There was also a bad beat jackpot of $18,000 to consider.

He decided to slow-play his quads and checked. The initial raiser then continued for $15 with all three players calling behind.

R.J. Bergman
R.J. Bergman

The turn brought the {J-Diamonds} and Bergman checked again. The player under-the-gun bet again, this time $25. The hijack player called. However, this time, the player on the button raised to $50. Still feeling fantastic about his prospects, Bergman just called with his quads.

The next player folded and the player in the hijack called. Now with three players remaining, the river card was the {10-Diamonds}. Things looked great for his hand, and Bergman shoved all in for his last $105. If someone caught a full house or flush, he’d get maximum value for his massive hand.

He was wrong.

The player in the hijack called for his last $30 or so. The player on the button called both players’ all-ins and instantly announced: “Quads!”

The button's {10-Hearts}{10-Spades} was a horrible cooler for Bergman, but he recognized how big a situation it was.

“Yes, bad beat! Quads!” he said after tabling his pocket nines, thinking he had just won the biggest part of the bad beat jackpot, which would be $9,000.

The player on the button, however, flipped his cards too, and they all looked down at {K-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds}.

“I then look over and see the straight flush and my mouth just drops,” Bergman says. “Understandably, everyone at the table was shocked and excited, and started to do the $18,000 math.”

Astonishingly, the straight flush moved Bergman’s hand to third place. Players at the table waited about an hour and a half to get paid for the bad beat jackpot. The player with the quad tens took home $9,000. The player with the straight flush took home $4,500.

Then each of the other seven players, including Bergman, took home $665 each. It was a decent score, but $8,335 less than what he had thought he had won. Bergman was left with a sick feeling.

"From now until I fold my cards of life, I will look at pocket nines and smile, and then never slow-play quads again."

“The dealer said that he had never seen a jackpot hand with three qualifying hands and that he felt awful for me,” he says.

The hand was still a big frustration even a day later and still leaves him amazed. He posted the crazy tale on Reddit and it received 191 comments by Wednesday afternoon.

“When looking back, all I can do shake my head because the tens were actually drawing dead on the turn,” he says, noting that the only 10 left in the deck, the {10-Diamonds}, gave the other player a straight flush. “They ended up being the bad beat winners, not me who was like a 98 percent favorite. The {K-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds} was something like .08 percent to go runner-runner. From now until I fold my cards of life, I will look at pocket nines and smile, and then never slow-play quads again.”

Bergman has plans to commemorate the hand by getting the picture of the cards printed on canvas. He wants to hang it in his poker room to remind him “that poker is a funny game and even when it does something like that, you can't wait to play your next hand.”

No doubt Bergman will back at the table soon.

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Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions. He is also the host of the True Gambling Stories podcast, available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn Radio, Spotify, Stitcher, PokerNews.com, HoldemRadio.com, and TrueGamblingStories.com.

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