On the cusp of liquidity sharing with the Nevada and Delaware markets, the network awarded the single biggest lottery sit and go prize pool in legal US online poker history.
The amount: $150,000, spread across four lucky players, each of whom ponied up a mere $15.
What is BLAST?
For the uninitiated, BLAST Poker is WSOP’s lottery sit and go variant.
Like other LSNGs, BLAST is part hyper-turbo sit and go, part slot machine. Yet compared to most games of this variant on the market — notably Spin & Go’s on PokerStars — BLAST leans far more heavily on its slot machine gimmick than its poker component.
As for the particulars:
- Players choose their buy-in level ($0.10, $1, $5, $15, or $30)
- Once four players are seated the match begins.
- At the onset a prize pool multiplier is determined randomly, with possible outcomes ranging anywhere from 2x a player’s buy-in (most common) to 10,000x (least common).
- Then, the four contestants play through between 3 – 6 two minute blind levels. The exact number of levels is dependent upon the multiplier.
- If a winner is not determined at the end of the blind period, the match becomes an all-in shootout, effectively stripping away all player decisions and leaving the final outcome entirely up to chance.
Payout percentages are as follows:
- 2x multiplier: 1st gets 100%
- 5x multiplier: 70% goes to 1st, 30% to second
- 10x – 100x multiplier: 60% to 1st, 25% to second, 15% to third
- 1000x+ multiplier: 60% to 1st, 20% to second, and 10% each to third and fourth
If this sounds more like a multiplayer gambling game then a game of poker, that’s because it is. Make no mistake: BLAST is primarily a game of luck, geared specifically at casino players. Factor in the 6.67% – 10% rake (higher buy-ins feature lower rake) and it becomes apparent that this isn’t a game for those in the business of making consistent money playing cards.
But for someone looking for a chance at a once in a lifetime score, it occasionally comes through, as we recently saw.
Not quite one in a million…but close
To put a number on the rarity of hitting the top 10,000x multiplier, the chances are 100,000 to 1. On Wednesday night at 9:07 pm EST, four players defied these long odds in learning that they were about to play for $150,000.
At the 10,000x multiplier level, there are six blind levels of two minutes each, leaving at least a little more wiggle room for actual poker than usual. Players start with 1,500 chips each and the blinds start at 25/50 with a 5 ante, scaling up to 150/300/30 at level six.
Clearly, players nursed their extremely short stacks, as the match lasted a full 12 minutes. Simple math reveals that the outcome was therefore determined right around the time the match transitioned into an all-in shootout.
In the end it was a player named ‘Reptar317′ who took down the top prize of $90,000. ‘Mesrop’ came in second, good for a consolation prize of $30,000, while third place finisher ‘DaBuzzzz’ and fourth place ‘cigar63′ each received 1,000x ($15,000) for their less than extraordinary efforts.
The top two payouts went to 888 players. 888 shares liquidity with WSOP in New Jersey for most games and formats, including BLAST.
Why is this important?
Beyond the life changing money distributed to the four lucky players, this event is significant for a couple of reasons.
First and foremost, it was the biggest lottery sit and go jackpot won since PokerStars NJ first introduced the format to the NJ market in March 2016. The previous record was set in February 2017, when a $10 Spin & Go hit for 12,000x as part of a special $100k Special Edition Spin & Go promo on PokerStars NJ.
The first place winner of that match, James ‘VaderWolf’ Piccolo, pocketed $10k more than Reptar317, but second and third place only received $10,000 each, making for a $120,000 total prize pool.
Secondly, the timing of the $150,000 match couldn’t have been better, at least from WSOP’s vantage point. Since BLAST Poker was first introduced in July 2016 it appears to have had little positive impact on the operator’s revenue. Whether it be do to declining interest in LSNGs, or something to do with BLAST Poker in particular, the format just doesn’t seem to be resonating with players.
A BLAST Poker leaderboard promotion on WSOP NJ has helped the cause, but it’s still not the revenue boon WSOP/888 may have hoped for.
Now the spotlight is squarely back on BLAST Poker, and just in time for Nevada and Delaware players to get in on the action. BLAST had previously only been available in New Jersey, but with shared liquidity set to go live on Tuesday, all three markets will have access to the game.
Whether we’ll see a blast-off in LSNG action on WSOP starting this week remains something of an open question, but last week’s big hit certainly didn’t damage the format’s long-term prospects.
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