GGPoker has proudly unveiled a new MTT sit ‘n’ go format called Dan Bilzerian’s Battle Royale. The format is an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the Battle Royale format made popular by Fortnite and PUBG.
One would like to question the trendsetters at GGPoker on whether a four-year-old video game format and a forty-year-old Instagram star are the most happening things right now. But this is where we are.
GGPoker‘s PR team described its new tourneys as offering a mix of various formats in one place.
“Battle Royale is a combination of all of the fun parts of the most popular tournaments,” the GGPoker site says. “Feel everything poker has to offer in an hour-long battle.”
In the Battle Royale video-game format, a group of players are dropped onto a map. The compete to be the last person standing, with the usual mechanics of a shooter game. The safe zone on the map grows smaller periodically. Players outside the safe zone receive damage until their avatar dies or they get back in the safe zone.
GGPoker’s format uses this as a jumping off point to create a three stage timed tourney in which players are successively eliminated in different ways.
Though it reached its apotheosis in Fortnite, the battle royale gaming format can be traced back through PUBG, to the movie version of The Hunger Games. This, in turn, was based on a book, which owed its format to the Japanese movie Battle Royale. Battle Royale was itself based on the manga of the same name released back in the mid-noughties. So endeth the generations.
How Dan Bilzerian’s Battle Royale format works
Dan Bilzerian’s Battle Royale tournaments currently come in four buy-in ranges, calculated to reflect Bilzerian’s real net worth. $0.25, $1, $3, and $10. When 100 players have joined the sit ‘n’ go, the first phase starts.
In the first phase, players have 15 minutes of 6-max “Fast-Fold” play. Fast-Fold is GGPoker’s version of Zoom tables. At the end of the 15 minutes, the bottom 50 players are eliminated from the tourney. The top 50 then go through to phase two.
Phase two is made up of ten 5-man shootout tables. Again there is a fifteen-minute clock. When the clock hits zero, the game switches up. At that point, every remaining player is forced to go all-in every hand until there is just one player left from each table. These ten players go on to phase three.
Everyone in phase three gets paid. This part of the game consists of a straightforward 10-player STT. First and second place make almost the same amount (21.13% and 21.12% respectively). Payouts decrease after that, all the way down to 10th place who will make their buy-in back with a little extra.
The Bilzerian connection
While the format bears his name, there doesn’t appear to be any actual connection with Blitz in practice.
Dan Bilzerian has done no promotion for these tourneys. In fact, it is hard to find him doing anything to earn his paycheck from GGPoker at all. His social media feeds have gone pretty quiet in general in the last few months.
This leaves GG in a difficult position. The company has a PR asset with an enormous audience who won’t do outreach for them. Meanwhile, Blitz has become a kind of reification of poker’s misogyny problem.
Slapping his name on a game format that mistakes change for innovation feels about right for GGPoker. It’s a move that doesn’t seem to have been fully thought through. If GGPoker keeps on failing upwards like this, Bilzerian’s going to end up as president after all. Probably with Kanye for VP.
Featured image source: Flickr by Whelsko