888 Poker Introduce Blast Poker – The Best Lottery SNG Game Yet
It is hard to get an old hand like me excited about a new poker game… I have seen a lot of them come (and many go) over 10 years in the industry. Last night I had my first extended session of 888’s new game ‘Blast Poker’ – mostly at the $5 and $1 levels. Wow, this game is a lot of fun, and with opponents who seemed super-keen to hand over their chips it turned out to be very profitable too! Prize pools go up to 10,000x your buy-in, that means you could be playing for $10k for a $1 buy-in, $50k for a $5 buy-in or a staggering $300,000 for a $30 buy-in.
This page describes what you can expect from these lottery Sit N Go variants – and the closes with my thoughts on strategy (which is a little more involved than with some other similar games).
If you are outside of the US and have not yet discovered the super-fishy games at 888, then a quick note on the intro offer. Brand new players now get up to $88 in free play (comes in increments of $8) with no deposit or credit card info needed. You can find out the details now over at www.888poker.com
How Blast Poker Works
This is a 4 handed Sit N Go game, with a super-turbo structure and a timer.
The differences between Blast Poker and other lottery Sit N Goes are as follows:
- The games last 6 minutes (8 minutes for the bigger prizes 10x and up), with a big red count down timer shown in the top left corner of each table. After 6 minutes you’ll see an electricity effect, and everyone is all-in on every hand until the winners are determined. Note that there are some strategy considerations with this.
- Prize pools are random, and up to 10,000 times your buy-in. If you buy in for $1, you could be competing for anything from $2 through to $10,000 at random.
- Importantly (for strategy) this game is not always winner-takes-all. Some prizes give you 2 places paid, some 3 and the smallest ones simply award the prize to the winner. This brings ICM / prize pool equity strategies into play.
You do not get to see your opponents before you play. You click on one of the 4 levels (10c, $1, $5 or $30) and then choose the number of games below this and click the green ‘register’ button. The games then take only a few seconds to get started.
Update! 888 just added a $15 level. My personal thought is that $10 would have been better - though at least this bridges the gap between $5 and $30.
Blast Poker – Initial Observations
While these games are new they are a serious goldmine… crazy plays at the $5 level where I played most games. I’m talking about limping / folding as much as crazy aggression (though I did see some horrible calls on the ‘bubble’).
There are a lot of all-in first hand plays going on. Though relatively few players doing it every hand. Bubble strategy (when you do get multiple prize pools) seems to be understood by around 30% of players only. Most players are calling too light and pushing too tight when there are multiple paying spots.
We have been here before when Rush was new and when the first Lottery Jackpot SNGs were introduced by iPoker. For the next few weeks there will be queues of recreational players giving away their chips in these games… eventually a set of grinders (including developing world / eastern players at the micro levels) will settle in. I expect these games to be profitable for a while to come, though the ‘gold rush’ is on right now.
Grab your share of the gold over at www.888poker.com!
Planet Mark’s Basic Strategy for Blast Poker
These are more strategy considerations than a ‘how to’ guide. If you are not familiar with Sit N Goes already then grab my free course, the SNG Blueprint, for a primer on how to beat these games.
You will not have a huge amount of room for post flop play. The blinds are 2 minutes and start at 50 (chip stacks 1500), then 100, then 200… after 2 minutes at 200 the ‘Blast’ kicks in and everyone remaining is all in.
As the timer comes down to its last minute, you can consider slowing things down. The main reason to do this is to protect your chip lead / equity. For example if you stall with a 2-to1 chip lead, you’ll win the all-in part of the game 2/3rds of the time (in the long run).
If you feel you have an edge on your opponent then there is obviously no need to do this. When your opponent’s aggression is making you uncomfortable, or you feel that they have an edge on you (maybe heads-up poker is not your strongest point) then feel free to stall – it might just make you more money in the long run.
ICM / Prize Pool Equity in Blast Poker
If the smaller prizes come up, then all the cash goes to the winner. In this case the Independent Chip Model / advanced bubble strategy does not apply (chips do not change value during the game).
With some bigger prizes, the prize pool is split. I played a $5 game with a $50 prize pool. The split was $30 for first (60%), $12.50c for 2nd (25%) and $7.50 for 3rd (15%). Here there are prize pool equity considerations at the bubble.
I’m not going to go into the math in this article (check this article if this concept is new to you).
The main take-away is that chips you win are less valuable than chips you lose at the bubble. Instead of ‘I have a better hand’, you need to think in terms of ‘my hand is good enough that it beats my opponent’s range by enough of a margin to make up for the fact that I am risking more long term equity than I stand to gain’.
If you believe your opponent understands this, their calling range will be tighter and their all-in range at the bubble will be wider. If your opponent does not understand this concept, they will generally push all-in with a smaller range, though be more inclined to call with ‘suicidal’ hands like ace-x.
More thoughts that came from last night’s session… Many opponents seemed to have very standard patterns. An obvious example is instantly min-raising every small blind when folded to, or another guy who clicked the half pot cBet every time. With stacks so shallow, these behaviours are easy to exploit with a big (committing, all-in later) 3-bet or check-raise all-in. Sure, you’ll get trapped on occasion, though in an 8-minute game aces are hard to come by!
Blast Poker – A Gold Mine Paying Out Right Now!
Seriously, opportunities this good just do not come around in poker very often.
There are players logging on to 888 today, seeing ‘Blast’ as a new option in the menu, and donking off their chips to SNG Planet readers. If you’d like to grow your poker bankroll, then right now is the time to do it.
Check out Blast Poker and get that bankroll filled up at www.888poker.com now (and please write to let me know if you hit a 10,000x game!).