PokerStars Awards Over $92M in Inaugural Blowout Series

It didn’t start as well as they hoped.

PokerStars planned its new Blowout Series as a massive series to take players out of a rocky (to put it mildly) year and into 2021 with great online poker opportunities. The series ran from December 27 to January 19, offering 268 tournaments and $60 million in guarantees.

Instead of a Main Event for the series, as is normal, PokerStars established four standout tournaments in the series. They were called the Big Blowout tournaments, one for every Sunday of the series. Each one offered a $5 million guarantee, while the buy-ins escalated over the course of the series. For example, the first one on December 27 offered the $5 million guarantee for a $109 buy-in, and the buy-in increased the following Sunday to $215. The next was $530, and the finale on January 17 was a $1,050 buy-in affair.

Pokerfuse reported on the numbers for that tournament, which were dismal. With only 37,673 entries (25,505 players and 12,168 reentries), the prize pool fell far short of the $5 million. To meet the guarantee, PokerStars had to toss in $1,232,700.

That also set a new record for the biggest online tournament overlay in poker history.


But enter 2021 and everything got better. The prize pools for the next three Big Blowout tournaments were $6,371,000 on January 3, $6,469,000 on January 10, and $6,922,000 on January 17.

Much better.

Stats from Stars

PokerStars offered up quite a few more statistics from the series, which wrapped earlier this week. Most important were the overall numbers. Taking out three of the tournaments that were cancelled due to technical problems, these were the final stats:

–Events: 265

–Total entries: 2,091,423, out of which 333,813 were reentries

–Total prize pools awarded: $92,358,073

–Total first prizes: $11,087,793, out of which $1,989,849 were bounties

In addition to the Big Blowout tournaments, another highlight of the series was the New Year’s Bash. It required an $11 buy-in for a $2 million guarantee. That tournament exceeded expectations and delivered a prize pool of $2,155,677 from 219,967 entries, of which 184,727 were original players and 35,240 were reentries.

PokerStars owned up to the miscalculation of the first Big Blowout, the one that paid the biggest overlay – not a bad deal for the players. The operator also admitted to a total of 20 tournaments not reaching their guarantees. On the other hand, though, the final Big Blowout bested its guarantee by $1.922 million.

Twelve of the tournaments paid first-place prizes worth more than $100K each. The top prizes went to Big Blowout winners:

–December 27: $109 buy-in / pilaa won $381,174

–January 3: $215 buy-in / UnHuman3 won $456,346

–January 10: $530 buy-in / Gwolde won $721,692

–January 17: $1,050 buy-in / arbaarba won $739,976

–January 17: $1,050 buy-in / fviana won $771,416 for second place due to a three-way deal

The aforementioned New Year’s Bash was the tournament with the largest number of entries. No other tournament came close to its 219,967 entries, as the next most well-attended event was a $22 NLHE PKO Mini Saturday KO Special Edition with 65,000 entries.

Interestingly, for all of the players that want diversity in their online poker tournament series, the numbers for those non-hold’em events in this series were the lowest. The $1,050 HORSE drew only 58 entries, the $5,200 PLO 6-Max High Roller only 75 entries, a $1,050 6+ Hold’em garnered 86 entries, and the $1,050 8-Game only 99 entries.

Finally, there were 11 players who each won two titles in the series. That list included Ole “wizowizo” Schemion and Niklas “Leno900” Astedt.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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