It wasn’t a great year in 2020. That’s why PokerStars’ Blowout Series gained traction quickly among experienced and novice poker players alike. This massive series was designed to usher poker players out of one of the toughest periods in history. The Blowout Series started on December 27th and ran through to January 19th. In total, the series consisted of 268 tournaments and a whopping $60 million in guarantees.
Needless to say, poker lovers had a lot of high expectations for the inaugural Blowout Series. PokerStars strived to assemble a comprehensive range of tournaments that would cater to participants of all bankroll sizes. Even though most things went according to plan, PokerStars did have to cancel one event as a result of technical difficulties.
Overall, the tournament was deemed a success with $92,358,073 in prize money paid out to victors. $11,087,793 was paid out to first place participants, $1,989,849 of which was KO bounties. In total, the Blowout Series received interest from 2,091,423 poker players.
Rather than the Blowout Series culminating into a final Main Event, PokerStars opted to go with a different format for this event. Instead, it gave participants options to take part in 4 highlighted events that were held every Sunday. The buy-ins for each of the series did rise but the guarantee stayed constant at $5M.
Other than the Big Blowout, which was ultimately the highlight of the series, the smaller series drew a lot of interest. For instance, the New Year’s Bash, which boasted a mere $11 buy-in tournament with a $2M guarantee, recorded the largest prize pool. The New Year’s Bash attracted more than 219,967 entries and a final prize of $2,155,677.
12 tournaments in the Blowout Series managed to pay out more than $100K to their corresponding winners. Some of the largest prizes paid out to individual players were awarded to Big Blow out winners. Some of the huge prizes awarded include:
- $739,976 was awarded on the Big Blowout held on 17th January
- $721,692 was awarded on the Big Blowout held on 10th January
- $456,346 was awarded on the Big Blowout held on 3rd January
- $381,174 was awarded on the Big Blowout held on 27th December
As for the large tournament fields, the New Year’s Bash took the cake. No other tournament saw as many participants totaling 219,967 players. The tournament saw entries from poker players all over the world. Another popular event was the $22 NLHE PKO Mini Saturday KO Special Edition that saw more than 65,000 sign up.
The non-hold’em events in this series were the least popular of the bunch. For instance, the $1,050 HORSE drew only 58 entries while the $5,200 PLO 6-Max High Roller only 75 entries. The $1,050 6+ Hold’em, on the other hand, gathered 86 entries while the 1,050 8-Game only managed a paltry 99 entries.
The last Big Blowout! The tournament of the Blowout Series ended epically with Lithuanian platyer Viana emerging victorious. Arbaarba” of Lithuania, qualified for the final table through a $109 satellite that allowed him to walk away with an impressive return on investment of $739,976 for an exceptional ROI.
So was the PokerStars Blowout Series a success? The numbers speak for themselves. The prize pools, which were guaranteed initially at $65 million consequently grew to almost $100 million. Generally, the series attracted more than 2 million entries across the 265 tournaments, and this doesn’t even include the entries from the 3 events that were canceled or the various side events that were held.
What can NJ Poker players expect in 2021?
The online poker market in the country will keep growing this year now that numerous states need to fill the gaping financial hole that’s been left as a result of the contagion. As more states continue to contemplate the legalization of online gaming, New Jersey will want to do its best to remain at the top of the leaderboard.
This shouldn’t be too difficult to do because New Jersey has the highest number of operators in the market. As the home of sports betting and iGaming, the other states will do everything possible to replicate New Jersey’s success. Indeed, no other state beats the might of New Jersey as it regards iGaming.
Don’t believe it? You better believe it! Online poker and table games performed consistently throughout 2020 and this year is expected to be no different. In total, internet gaming revenue in New Jersey totaled $99.4 million; $3 million of which was all online poker games. Online slots and table games such as blackjack and roulette have been having a great moment and will continue to gain popularity among NJ players.
For most of the pandemic, iGaming has stood tall. When most other verticals brought in little to no revenue, iGaming generated millions of dollars that went to state coffers. Sports betting has also been a big win for New Jersey, and as the sports betting industry keeps growing, the benefits should naturally trickle down to iGaming.
In 2021, retail poker should perform much better than last year. That’s because this year, the outlook is generally less dreadful, which will produce positive results for brick and mortar poker rooms as it regards casino closures. As the vaccine continues to become more distributed the authorities in the Garden state will slowly – but surely – ease the limitations that currently exist on physical casinos.
Even though this might result in an unavoidable online poker slump, the good news is that there are plenty of online poker tournaments available to keep NJ poker players happy. Furthermore, the multistate online poker network is in the works this year, which will result in more online poker revenue for any states that agree to sign the interstate liquidity agreement.