The inaugural Blowout Series on PokerStars wrapped in the early hours of Wednesday morning, ending a series of 265 tournaments and some huge prize pools. For all the results, you can look at the results page, and read all of our daily reports from the front line.

The core numbers from the Blowout Series make very pleasant reading. Despite not enjoying the status of a ‘COOP, this was a huge series with prize pools pushing towards $100 million and comfortably surpassing the $65.885 million guaranteed. (Three tournaments were cancelled owing to unavoidable tech issues).

Events: 265
Entries: 2,091,423 (inc. 333,813 re-entries)
Prize pools: $92,358,073
First prizes: $11,087,793 (inc. $1,989,849 in bounties)

Here are some other figures of note:

Biggest prize pools

The Blowout Series was structured around four huge Sunday tournaments, known as the Big Blowout! The unique twist was that although the buy-ins started relatively low and increased through each weekend, the guarantee was always the same — an enormous $5 million. These tournaments were always likely to produce not only the biggest prize pools, but also the biggest first prizes. And so it proved. They were the four biggest prize pools of the series:

$6,922,000 – Big Blowout! (Jan 17): $1,050 NLHE, 8-Max
$6,469,000 – Big Blowout! (Jan 10): $530 NLHE, 8-Max
$6,371,000 – Big Blowout! (Jan 3): $215 NLHE, 8-Max
$5,000,000 – Big Blowout! (Dec 27): $109 NLHE, 8-Max

Biggest prize pools (exc. Big Blowout!s):

If we take out the Big Blowout!s, here are the five next biggest prize pools from the series:

$2,155,677 – Event #17-L: $11 NLHE, 8-Max, New Year’s Bash
$1,397,000 – Event #86-H: $1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Progressive KO, Series Saver
$1,300,000 – Event #21-L: $22 NLHE, 8-Max, Progressive KO, Mini Saturday KO SE
$1,190,000 – Event #54-H: $10,300 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller
$1,085,000 – Event #54-H: $10,300 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller

Biggest first prizes

All four of the Big Blowout! tournaments ended in a chop, and who can blame them? These were massive events with huge pay-jumps, while players had surely earned each other’s respect by the time they got to the end. Nevertheless, these four tournaments also provided the biggest first-place prizes of the series, as follows:

$739,976 – Big Blowout! (Jan 17): $1,050 NLHE, 8-Max
Won by “arbaarba” (Lithuania) after three-way deal
Note: Fernando “fviana” Viana officially finished second, but won $771,416, which was the biggest prize of the Blowout Series

$721,692 – Big Blowout! (Jan 10): $530 NLHE, 8-Max
Won by “Gwolde” (Netherlands) after heads-up deal

$456,346 – Big Blowout! (Jan 3): $215 NLHE, 8-Max
Won by “UnHuman3” (Romania) after a six-way deal

$381,174 – Big Blowout! (Dec 27): $109 NLHE, 8-Max
Won by “pilaa” after a five-way deal

Teun “tinnoemulder” Mulder: Another major triumph in Blowout Series

Including the Big Blowout!s, there were 12 tournaments where first place paid more than $100,000, including bounties. The next five biggest first-prize payouts were as follows:

$260,831 – Event #54-H: $10,300 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller
Won by Sami “Lrslzk” Kelopuro (Finland)

$211,740 – Event #02-H: $5,200 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller
Won by Teun “tinnoemulder” Mulder (Netherlands)

$167,591 – Event #26-H: $5,200 NLHE, 8-Max, Progressive KO, High Roller
Won by Timothy “Tim0thee” Adams (Canada) and including $96,836 in bounties

$145,027 – Event #86-H: $1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Progressive KO, Series Saver
Won by “paxantho” (Greece) and including $52,804 in bounties

$123,068 – Event #36-H: $5,200 NLHE, 6-Max, High Roller
Won by Joao “Naza114” Vieira

Biggest fields…

The Blowout Series played out as 2020 gave way to 2021, and the series marked the beginning of the New Year with what was always certain to be its largest tournament. When did you last hear of an event costing $11 to enter having a guarantee of $2 million. After 219,967 entries were collected (including 35,240 re-entries), the guarantee was broken. No other tournament got anywhere near that number of runners, though. Here are the top five:

219,967 (inc. 35,240 re-entries): Event #17-L: $11 NLHE, 8-Max, New Year’s Bash
65,000 (inc. 10,808 re-entries): Event #21-L: $22 NLHE, 8-Max, PKO, Mini Saturday KO SE
51,835 (inc. 16,602 re-entries): Event #29-L: $5.50 NLHE, PKO
45,842 (freezeout): Event #16-L: $5.50 NLHE, PKO
37,673 (inc. 12,168 re-entries): Big Blowout!: $109 NLHE, 8-Max

…and the smallest

The Blowout Series was dominated by no limit hold’em, perhaps even more so than any regular tournament series. The reason for that is quite plain: people like hold’em, and if we look at the tournaments with the smallest fields this time around, the top four are all of non-hold’em variants.

58 – Event #69-H: $1,050 HORSE
75 – Event #50-H: $5,200 PLO, 6-Max, High Roller
86 – Event #79-H: $1,050 6+ Hold’em, 8-Max, $75K Gtd
99 – Event #62-H: $1,050 8-Game
103 – Event #36-H: $5,200 NLHE, 6-Max, High Roller

The ROI sensations

All the talk as the final of the last Big Blowout! took place on Tuesday night was of the two satellite qualifiers to the event. The chip-leader and eventual champion “arbaarba” entered a $109 satellite to book his seat, giving him a payout of $739,976 — ie., a return on investment of 6,789%. However, “Mr Havener”, who finished sixth, had an even better ROI. He had freerolled in and picked up $167,361, with absolutely no investment at all.

As remarkable as that sounds, arbaarba’s success is not even in the top five ROI fairytales from this Blowout Series. Here are the players who topped the ROI charts:

Gwolde (Netherlands) won $721,691.75 for first in $530 Big Blowout!
Satellite entry: $22 | ROI: 32,803%

manutp96 (Uruguay) won $11,107.84 for third in Event #-74-L
Satellite entry: $1 | ROI: 10,097%

anderball (Russia) won $5,043.14 for fifth in Event #49-L
Satellite entry: $0.55 | ROI: 9,168%

cram66 (Germany) won $89,418.00 for sixth in $109 Big Blowout!
Satellite entry: $11 | ROI: 8,127%

The Borsh (Russia) won $41,643.03 for first in Event #6-M
Satellite entry: $5.50 | ROI: 7,570%

Freerollers:

Mr.Havener (Brazil) — won $167,360.80 for sixth in $1,050 Big Blowout!
Marianex.BJ (Argentina) — won $1,707.81 for 726th in $530 Big Blowout!
avderevo (Russia) — won $1,295.09 for 1,222 in $530 Big Blowout!

Multiple titles

Aa ever during a major series like this one, several players managed to win multiple titles. By the end of it, we saw 11 double champions. Although some of them had good opportunities to win even more than that, nobody managed to win a third. That sweat went right down to the final day when Lonnie “thx4urm0n3y” Hallett, already a two-time winner, was in the final three in the $1,050 Big Blowout! but could only finish third after a three-way deal.

Two titles for Lena900

Here’s the complete list of double champions:

Juanki “B4NKR0LL3R” Vecino (UK)
Event #37-H: $2,100 NLHE, 8-Max, Progressive KO
Event #75-H: $530 NLHE, 4-Max, Turbo

Gwolde (Netherlands)
Event #20-M: $109 NLHE, Deep Stacks
Big Blowout!: $530 NLHE, 8-Max

Jamil “Jamil11” Wakil (Canada)
Event #84-H: $215 NLHE, 8-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO, Sunday Cooldown SE
Event #49-H: $1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Progressive KO, HRC Saturday KO SE

Niklas “Lena900” Astedt (Sweden)
Event #39-H: $530 NLHE, 8-Max
Event #09-H: $1,050 NLO8, 8-Max

PIPON777 (Latvia)
Event #65-H: $530 PLO8, 8-Max
Event #14-H: $530 NLHE, Turbo

Serebity_p (Romania)
Event #36-M: $530 NLHE, 6-Max
Event #13-H: $1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO

Stiffler8818 (Germany)
Event #03-H: $215 NLHE, 8-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO, Sunday Cooldown SE
Event #04-H: $530 NLHE, 8-Max

Ole “wizowizo” Schemion won two and was heads-up for a third

Lonnie “thx4urm0n3y” Hallett (Canada)
Blowout Series 12-H: $215 PLO 6-Max
Blowout Series 71-H: $530 NLHE 8-Max, Hyper-Turbo, HRC Daily Supersonic SE

Tr!pleeeee (Poland)
Event #56-H: $530 NLHE, 8-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO, HRC Sunday Cooldown SE
Event #17-H: $1,050 NLHE, 8-Max

vanEs2k11 (Netherlands)
Event #85-H: $530 NLHE, 6-Max, Hyper-Turbo, HRC Sunday Supersonic SE
Event #06-H: $215 NLHE, Turbo

Ole “wizowizo” Schemion (Austria)
Event #82-H: $2,100 NLHE, Progressive KO
Event #53-M: $215 NLHE, 6-Max

Special mention to Wakil, Astedt, PIPON777 and Schemion who were also heads-up in a third event.

Always the bridesmaid…

Germany’s “nilsef” has a solid record in major PokerStars events and was the first player ever to win two WCOOP titles in a single night in 2018. During the inaugural Blowout Series, nilsef set another record: he or she finished second in three tournaments without ever going all the way to the top spot.

Five other players finished runner up twice during Blowout Series, though two of them, Rui “RuiNF” Ferreira and “Witalijuz” also won a title. The others were simply always the bridesmaid.

Multiple runner-up finishes:

Three

nilsef
Event #13-H: $1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO
Event #65-M: $55 PLO8, 8-Max
Event #73-H: $215 NLHE, 8-Max, Progressive KO

Two each

FouEnculePL
Event #16-H: $530 NLHE, Progressive KO
Event #18-H: $2,100 NLHE, 6-Max, Progressive KO

hirocky0226
Event #50-L: $55 PLO, 6-Max
Event #87-H: $215 NLHE, Turbo

RuiNF
Event #54-H: $10,300 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller
Event #62-H: $1,050 8-Game

Witalijuz
Event #14-M: $55 NLHE, Turbo
Event #15-H: $215 NLHE, 6-Max, Hyper-Turbo, Progressive KO

zufo16
Event #74-H: $1,050 NLHE
Event #82-H: $2,100 NLHE, Progressive KO

Winners who also finished second:

Anjeyyy
clidberg
Ognjan “cocojamb0” Dimov
daltonhb
great dant
Jamil “Jamil11” Wakil (two titles; one runner-up)
Niklas “Lena900” Astedt (two titles; one runner-up)
matt86ck
Patrick “pads1161” Leonard
PIPON777 (two titles; one runner-up)
Andras “probirs” Nemeth
Sintoras
Spider91_PL
TiltMeHarder
Ole “wizowizo” Schemion

Smashing the guarantee…or not

Guarantees get put on poker tournaments with the profound hope across the board that they are broken. And if not merely broken, obliterated. Of course it doesn’t always happen, and the $109 buy-in Big Blowout! stands as an example of how things can sometimes go awry: the official prize pool from the tournament’s 37,673 entries would have been only $3,767,300 if it hadn’t had the $5 million guarantee. The $5m promise was honoured, of course, so players did not miss out.

In all, 20 tournaments did not reach their guarantee in the Blowout Series, but all of the rest did. And, yes, there was some obliteration along the way. Here are the top five guarantee smashers, listed first by the tournaments that beat the guarantee by the most in gross terms, then by how many times over the guarantee was beaten:

Beat guarantee by…

$1,922,000 – Big Blowout!: $1,050 NLHE, 8-Max
$1,469,000 – Big Blowout!: $530 NLHE, 8-Max
$1,371,000 – Big Blowout!: $215 NLHE, 8-Max
$1,000,000 – Event #21-L: $22 NLHE, 8-Max, PKO, Mini Saturday KO SE
$581,000 – Event #82-M: $215 NLHE, PKO, Sunday Warm-Up SE

Beat guarantee by…

4.49 times – $50K GTD; $224,626 actual prize pool
Event #16-L: $5.50 NLHE, PKO

4.33 times – $300K GTD; $1.3 million actual prize pool
Event #21-L: $22 NLHE, 8-Max, PKO, Mini Saturday KO SE

4.10 times – $75K GTD; $307,546 actual prize pool
Event #23-M: $22 NLHE, 6-Max, Hyper-Turbo

4.08 times – $30K GTD; $122,500 actual prize pool
Event #14-L: $5.50 NLHE, Turbo

3.99 times – $20K GTD; $79,708 actual prize pool
Event #22-L: $5.50 8-Game

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