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[jak-pot] /ˈdʒækˌpɒt/

the chief prize or the cumulative stakes in a game or contest, as in bingo, a quiz contest, or a slot machine.
Poker. a pot that accumulates until a player opens the betting with a pair of predetermined denomination, usually jacks or better.
an outstanding reward or success.
hit the jackpot, Informal.

any large prize, kitty, or accumulated stake that may be won in gambling, such as a pool in poker that accumulates until the betting is opened with a pair of jacks or higher
hit the jackpot


also jack-pot, “big prize,” 1944, from slot machine sense (1932), from obsolete poker sense (1881) of antes that begin when no player has a pair of jacks or better; from jack (n.) in the card-playing sense + pot (n.1). Earlier, in criminal slang, it meant “trouble,” especially “an arrest” (1902).

The regular Draw-Poker game is usually varied by occasional Jack-Pots, which are played once in so many deals, or when all have refused to play, or when the player deals who holds the buck, a marker placed in the pool with every jack-pot. In a jack-pot each player puts up an equal stake and receives a hand. The pot must then be opened by a player holding a hand of the value of a pair of knaves (jacks) or better. If no player holds so valuable a hand the deal passes and each player adds a small sum to the pot or pool. When the pot is opened the opener does so by putting up any sum he chooses, within the limit, and his companions must pay in the same amount or “drop.” They also possess the right to raise the opener. The new cards called for are then dealt and the opener starts the betting, the play proceeding as in the regular game. [“Encyclopaedia Britannica,” 11th ed., 1911, “Poker.” The article notes “Jack-Pots were introduced about 1870.”]


The largest win available in a slot machine

Related Terms

hit the jackpot

[1940s+ Gambling; fr the progressive jack pot in poker, which stipulates that if no player has a pair of jacks or better to open, then on the next hand, after anteing again, someone must have queens or better, and so on; thus the pot could become quite large; the poker use, ”a very large win,” is found by 1881]
see: hit the jackpot


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