The Pair of Jacks needed to open the pot

There are many words in the English language that are used everyday where the origins are a complete mystery.  Most of the time people never stop to wonder where a word came from and just accept its use.  “Jackpot” is one of those words.  Its typically used to denote a collection of something desirable (usually money).  The use of jackpot originates back to the early 1800’s in the United States and to the game of cards.  Before the player with the buck would deal the cards everyone would add an equal amount to the pot then upon receiving their hands no player could open the betting until he had two jacks or better.  If no one had such a hand then the round would begin again with more money being added to the pot before the cards are dealt.  Because the pool of money couldn’t be accessed until someone in the group started with two jacks, the collected money in the pot became known as the “jack pot”.

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