A jackpot is the large prize won in a game of chance, especially one that grows until it is won. The term comes from a poker game popular in the late 1800s called Jacks or Better, in which betting may only be begun by a player who holds a hand with at least a pair of jacks in it. A jack is the knave playing card. If none of the players holds a hand with at least a pair of jacks in it, then play ends and a new round is dealt. If betting proceeds, to win the jackpot one must have a hand which contains at least three of a kind. If no one can present a hand with at least three of a kind in it, then the play ends and the jackpot stays intact for the next round. With these rules, jackpots grow very large, very quickly. Jackpot is now used to describe the cash prize in all types of games of chance, including lotteries and slot machines. Jackpot is also used figuratively to describe a windfall of any type.
The SuperLotto Plus pot may well be the largest unclaimed lottery jackpot ever if the August winner fails to show up by 5 p.m. local time. (The New York Daily News)
Slots ended up being her name – her owners have figuratively fed one of those damned machines and hit the jackpot straight away considering first prize is $105,000 on Saturday – and Marshall has been riding high ever since as he meddles with a small team while running an agistment property for a Sydney-based construction manager. (The Sydney Morning Herald)
It claims that because of a lottery-fixing scandal just months before Dawson’s win, the jackpot should have been almost three times bigger. (Fortune Magazine)
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Daughter Apple Really Hit the Genetic Jackpot (Teen Vogue Magazine)