Canadians Take 20 Titles in PokerStars Blowout Series

PokerStars decided to launch a new online poker series in December, one that would aggressively usher out 2020 and lucratively welcome 2021. The inaugural Blowout Series ran from December 27 through January 19, and the final numbers are in.

Overall Series Success

PokerStars had high expectations for its first Blowout Series. The organizers put together a comprehensive set of tournaments to satisfy players of many bankroll sizes. There were 268 tournaments on the schedule and more than $60 million original prize pool guarantees.

Ultimately, the series ended up with 265 tournaments playing out, as technical difficulties prompted the cancellation of one event and its three different buy-in levels.

There were some rough points for PokerStars. One of the big tournaments with a $109 buy-in and $5M guarantee missed the mark by more than $1.2M. But PokerStars rallied back, with many other tournaments far exceeding their guarantees. The final numbers for the series were:

  • 265 tournaments
  • $92,358,073 in prize money paid ($65,885,000 guaranteed)
  • $11,087,793 in first-place prize money paid (including $1,989,849 in KO bounties)
  • 2,091,423 total entries (including 333,813 reentries)

Instead of a Main Event, the Blowout Series did something very different. It offered four highlighted events, one on each Sunday of the series. The guarantee stayed at $5M for each one but the buy-ins escalated.

  • 27 December: $109 Big Blowout ($5M GTD) = $5M prize pool ($1,232,700 overlay)
  • 3 January: $215 Big Blowout ($5M GTD) = $6,371,000 actual prize pool
  • 10 January: $530 Big Blowout ($5M GTD) = $6,469,000 actual prize pool
  • 17 January: $1,050 Big Blowout ($5M GTD) = $6,922,000 actual prize pool

Blowout Series Highlights

Thanks to PokerStars, there are some interesting statistics and fun facts from the inaugural Blowout Series.

The largest prize pool outside of the Big Blowout events was the New Year’s Bash, a $11 buy-in tournament with a $2M guarantee. That one drew 219,967 entries and a prize of $2,155,677.

There were 12 tournaments that paid more than $100K to their respective winners. The biggest prizes paid to individual players went to Big Blowout winners (and one runner-up):

  • 17 January Big Blowout: arbaarba won $739,976 but a chop gave runner-up fviana $771,416
  • 10 January Big Blowout: Gwolde won $721,692
  • 3 January Big Blowout: UnHuman3: $456,346
  • 27 December Big Blowout: pilaa won $381,174

As for largest tournament fields, the aforementioned New Year’s Bash topped the list, but next three on the list were all NLHE PKO events. Event 21 was a $22 buy-in Mini Saturday KO that drew 65,000 entries, Event 29 was a $5.50 PKO with 51,835 entries, and Event 16 was a $5.50 PKO with 45,842 entries.

On the other end of the spectrum, the smallest fields belonged to non-hold’em events. The $1,050 HORSE brought in only 58 entries, $5,200 PLO 6-Max High Roller only 75 entries, $1,050 6+ Hold’em only 86, and the $1,050 8-Game Mix drew only 99 entries.

Standout Performances

Online poker sites always boast of players turning small satellite wins into big payouts, but that message really hits home when they provide specific examples. PokerStars did that in this tournament recap.

The most outstanding return-on-investment (ROI) for any player was Gwolde, the player from the Netherlands who won $731,691 in the Big Blowout. That player satellites into the $530 buy-in tournament after winning a satellite that cost $22 to enter.

Manutp96 turned a $1 satellite win into $11,107 for third place in Event 74-L. Anderball started with a $0.55 satellite win and turned that into $5,043 for fifth place in Event 49-L.

There were also players who turned their freeroll wins into big payouts. The most prominent example was Mr.Havener of Brazil, who took home $167,360 for sixth place in the $1,050 Big Blowout…after winning the entry through a freeroll tournament.

There were quite a few players who won two titles in this series, including the aforementioned Gwolde, Niklas “Lena900” Astedt, and Ole “wizowizo” Schemion. Lonnie “thx4urm0n3y” Hallett of Canada also accomplished that feat by winning Events 12-H and 71-H, and Jamil “Jamil11” Wakil of Canada took down Events 49-H and 84-H.

Speaking of Canadian Winners

As mentioned, two players from Canada won two titles each in the Blowout Series. Let’s look at all of the Canadian players who won events:

  • 777luckyalex won Event 10 ($5.50 NLHE Heads-Up Zoom PTKO) for $3,072
  • thx4urm0n3y won Event 12 ($215 PLO 6-Max) for $18,408
  • Verre86 won Event 14 ($5.50 NLHE Turbo) for $12,478
  • I.V.777 won Event 16 ($5.50 NLHE PKO) for $12,908
  • patty009 won Event 16 ($530 NLHE PKO) for $42,038
  • SH3IK3 won Event 21 ($22 NLHE PKO Mini Saturday KO) for $62,014
  • SirWatts won Event 25 ($1,050 NLHE HRC Sunday Warm-Up) for $75,462
  • Tim0thee won Event 26 ($5,200 NLHE PKO High Roller) for $167,591
  • Jami11 won Event 49 ($1,050 NLHE PKO HRC Saturday KO) for $62,660
  • checkrais86 won Event 57 ($11 NLHE PKO) for $11,987
  • Kappustahead won Event 61 ($215 NLHE Mini Super Tuesday) for $47,630
  • OLD TIME GIN won Event 61 ($2,100 NLHE Super Tuesday) for $74,625
  • CayJay1802 won Event 68 ($11 NLHE PKO) for $11,283
  • Camilancefieldg won Event 69 ($109 HORSE) for $9,487
  • thx4urm0n3y won Event 71 ($530 NLHE Hyper-Turbo HRC Daily Supersonic) for $34,928
  • UhhMee won Event 73 ($215 NLHE PKO) for $24,740
  • G’s zee won Event 79 ($109 6+ Hold’em) for $9,105
  • Prince Pablo won Event 84 ($22 NLHE Turbo PKO Mini Sunday Cooldown) for $19,707
  • Jami11 won Event 84 ($215 NLHE Turbo PKO Sunday Cooldown) for $72,653
  • Jlep5 won Event 87 ($2.20 NLHE Turbo) for $3,398


Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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