Poker roguelike sensation Balatro sells more than 500,000 copies in just 10 days

Balatro - Small Blind: Score at least 500,000
(Image credit: LocalThunk)

It's not easy being a non-Balatro player amidst a horde of committed fans. People say things like, "A joker duplicating the joker that gives you x4 for playing the same hand, and one that did x4 for four of a kind," or, "If you wanna scale that kind of build you basically then need red seals on all your face cards so it all repeats again," and all you can do is sit there quietly wondering what the hell is going on. It's a lonely feeling sometimes.

For the record, yes, I am talking about myself versus the rest of the PC Gamer team, which is deeply enamored with Balatro, the poker-themed roguelike deckbuilder that encourages cheating at a level that would get your fingers broken at any respectable casino. And they are not alone: Publisher PlayStack announced yesterday that more than 500,000 copies of the game have been sold across all platforms in just 10 days.

(Image credit: Playstack (Twitter))

That's an awfully big number for such a small game: Balatro was made by a solo developer who goes by the name LocalThunk, who doesn't even play poker at all. Technically, it's not even really a poker-based game: LocalThunk recently told us that Balatro is actually based on a game called Big Two, which uses poker hands but is played very differently.

Making the accomplishment even more remarkable, Balatro was pulled from digital storefronts in some countries after its PEGI rating jumped from 3 to 18+ because of the presence of "gambling imagery." I would imagine that didn't have a huge impact on the total sales number—Balatro sold 250,000 copies just a few days after release, after all—but every little bit helps, or hinders as the case may be.

500,000 sales isn't the only big milestone Balatro has achieved recently—on his own Twitter account, LocalThunk said players have already poured a collective 1,114 years into the game. People sure do like their Balatro.

(Image credit: LocalThunk (Twitter))

Balatro, for the record, is available with an 18 age rating on the Xbox and PlayStation stores in the UK and Europe, but remains delisted on the Nintendo eShop outside of North America. (It's still rated E10+ by the ESRB in North America.) Playstack said earlier this week that it's working the problem.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.