- 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.
- to achieve a sensational success; have sudden luck: The firm has hit the jackpot with its new line of computers.
- to win a jackpot.
Origin of jackpot
- 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
- to win a jackpot
- informalto achieve great success, esp through luck
Word Origin and History for 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."]
Idioms and Phrases with hit the jackpot
hit the jackpot
Be highly successful, especially unexpectedly; win, especially a lot of money. For example, She hit the jackpot at the auction; that platter turned out to be genuine Meissen. This term comes from a form of poker in which a hand can be opened only if one holds at least a pair of jacks (or higher). Often a number of hands must be dealt before anyone can open, and since players must put in money for each round, the jackpot, or total amount held, is apt to be quite large. [Early 1900s]
see hit the jackpot.