If you're playing Balatro on Xbox — here's why you should stop

(Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Balatro is about to get it's first major update in patch 1.0.1c, with huge improvements to the game.
  • The patch is available to play on Steam right now, but it's worth waiting until it hits Xbox if you want to complete some of the games challenges.
  • Improvements have been made to Jokers, rewards for skipping blinds, and scaling on more difficult to play hands.
  • I've been playing the experiemental build on Steam, and it's so much better than current Balatro I've abandoned my Xbox game until the patch is rolled out. 

I'm officially addicted to the rogue-like poker deck builder Balatro. I've clocked in 90 hours in the game since its launch across Xbox and Steam, but for now, I'm completely shelving my Xbox playthrough. Why? The experimental build on Steam lets you play the upcoming patch 1.0.1c, which plays like a completely different game. An even better Balatro, and now I can't go back. If you're playing on Xbox right now, it would be a great time to take a break and wait for the patch to officially roll out on all platforms "in a about a week". It's THAT good, and it will be a whole lot easier to get that Completionist++ achievement if you're an achievement hunter.

Balatro patch 1.0.1c is full of balancing buffs to nerfs,  overall making a much better game

I've already enjoyed my Balatro 'v1' time enough to have put so many god-forsaken hours into it, but there's no question that the changes in the upcoming patch would have made my first wins a lot easier to come by. Balatro is made by one developer, the anonymous LocalThunk, and despite it being a huge achievement and success, it's not been without its bugs. For example, relying on pure RNG means coming up against bosses that disable all of your cards until you sell a joker, you can encounter this boss on a 'Jokerless' challenge. Many other pain points have been fixed and you can read the full patch notes on Reddit, but I've summarized them here in an order that makes for easier reading: 

(Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

Free jokers for skipping blinds, bump to financial rewards.

  • Changed Uncommon tag: Now makes the Uncommon Joker free
  • Changed Rare tag:  Now makes the Rare Joker free
  • Negative, Polychrome, Holo, Foil tags all make their respective Joker free
  • Changed Investment to give $25 instead of $15

Changes to Planet cards, making more difficult hands easier to scale

  • Saturn - now gives +3 mult instead of +2 mult for Straights
  • Neptune - now gives +4 mult instead of +3 mult for Straight Flush
  • Eris - now gives +50 chips instead of +40 chips for Flush Five
  • Ceres - now gives +4 mult instead of +3 mult for Flush House

Joker changes, mostly buffs, but some nerfs to overpowered cards like Vampire

  • 8 Ball - scrapped old effect, new effect -> 1 in 4 chance to spawn a tarot when any played 8 is scored
  • Mad and Clever Joker - scrapped 'contains 4 of a kind' effect, now applies instead to any hand that contains a 'Two Pair'
  • Yorick - new effect -> gains X1 mult every 23 cards discarded (starts at X1)
  • Midas Mask - now only applies Gold enhancement to scoring face cards, costs $7 was $6
  • Vampire now only removes enhancement from scoring cards, gives X0.1 mult per enhancement instead of X0.2 mult, Rare instead of Uncommon
  • Madness - now only applies on small/big blinds, not on boss blind selection
  • To Do list - poker hand no longer changes on payout, always changes at end of round (won't get stuck on Straight Flush)
  • Changed description of Shortcut to include a more apt example (10 8 6 5 3)
  • Ancient Joker - the selected suit is no longer able to repeat between rounds
  • Swashbuckler - Now adds sell value of all other Jokers to Mult, not just the Jokers to the left
  • Hanging Chad - Now retriggers the first played card 2 times instead of once
  • Flower Pot - Now includes the base suit of debuffed cards when determining if it will trigger
  • Bootstraps to include current mult bonus in description
  • Sinful Jokers (one for each suit) - they now each give +3 mult per suit instead of +4 mult
  • Banner - now gives +30 chips per remaining discard instead of +40 chips
  • Fibonacci - costs $8 instead of $7, because Fibonacci
  • Steel Joker - Now gives X0.2 mult per Steel card in full deck instead of X0.25 mult
  • Odd Todd - Now gives +31 chips per odd ranked card instead of +30 chips (my favorite change, Odd Todd is now actually odd) 
  • Sixth Sense - Now uncommon and $6, was rare
  • Hiker - Now gives +5 chips to every scoring card played instead of +4 chips
  • Gros Michel - Now has a 1 in 6 chance to go extinct instead of 1 in 4
  • Seance - Now uncommon and $6, was rare and $7
  • Riff-Raff - Now $6, was $4
  • Vagabond, applies when you have $4 or less, was $3 or less
  • Cloud 9 - Now $7, was $6
  • Mail-In Rebate - Now $5 was $3
  • Reserved Parking - Now common, was uncommon
  • Lucky Cat - Now gains X0.25 per lucky proc, was X0.2
  • Trading card - Now costs $6, was $5
  • Campfire - Now gains X0.25 per card sold, was X0.5
  • Smiley Face - Now give +5 mult per face card, was +4 mult
  • Golden Ticket - Now payes out $4 per gold card played, was $3
  • Bloodstone - Now has a 1 in 2 chance to proc, was 1 in 3
  • Onyx Agate - Now gives +7 mult per club card, was +8 mult
  • Glass Joker - Now gives X0.75 mult per glass card destroyed, was X0.5 mult
  • Stuntman - Now gives +250 Chips, was +300
  • Invisible Joker - Now requires 2 rounds and costs $8, was 3 rounds and $10
  • Burnt Joker - Now is rare, was uncommon
  • Changed wording on most scaling jokers to refer to 'this joker'
  • Fixed bug where the card generated by 'Certificate' was not being debuffed by the boss

Tarot card and seal changes

Blue seals no longer award a random Planet card, you'll get one for your last played hand (Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)
  • Changed Magician Tarot - now applies lucky to 2 cards instead of 1
  • Changed default fallback tarot from Fool to Strength (when all tarots are on screen)
  • Blue Seal - now creates the planet card of the final poker hand played during the round

Ante scaling changes making higher stakes less brutal

  • White stake
    - Ante 3: 2800 -> 2000
    - Ante 4: 6000 -> 5000
  • Green stake
    - Ante 2: 1000 -> 900
    - Ante 3: 3200 -> 2400
    - Ante 4: 9000 -> 7000
  • Purple stake
    - Ante 2: 1200 -> 1000
    - Ante 3: 3600 -> 3000
    - Ante 4: 10000 -> 8000
    - Ante 5: 25000 -> 22000
  • Orange stake
    - Scrapped increasing pack cost.
    - Added new 'Perishable' mechanic
    - Jokers have a 30% chance to have a 'Perishable' sticker, disabling them after 5 rounds
  • Gold stake
    - Scrapped -1 hand size
    - Added new 'Rental' mechanic; Jokers have a 30% chance to have a 'Rental' sticker (stacks with eternal/perishable), making them cost $1 upfront and $3 every round.
    - Changed eternal to apply to Jokers in Buffoon pack

More notable changes 

  • Changed Gold Stake random seeds - now ensure that the first Legendary Joker on that seed is a Joker that you have not won with on Gold Stake (For Completionist++ achievement)
  • Changed the first shop in every run to always include a normal Buffoon pack as one of the pack options
  • Upcoming blinds/tags can now be seen in the shop immediately after defeating a boss blind/cashing out
  • Some Blinds are now banned on challenge runs. Banned Crimson Heart, Verdant Leaf and Amber Acorn on 'Jokerless'. Banned Verdant Leaf on 'Typecast'. Banned Verdant Leaf on 'Non-Perishable'. Banned The Plant on 'Mad World'
  • An updated version of Love2D has fixed an issue on Windows and Steam Deck causing poor/stuttery performance for some players
  • Added toggle for 'Reduced Motion,' removing the swirly background and gyrating card motion

How to play the new Balatro patch 1.0.1c on Steam

You can access Balatro patch 1.0.1c on Steam (Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

If you're playing on Steam either on PC or your Steam Deck, you can test out the new patch now. I've been playing 1.0.1c and unlocked a bunch of new cards in my game, and reached higher difficulties much easier than before. These changes to my game will stay intact when the patch rolls out officially in around a weeks time. Here's how you can give it a try:

  1. Click on the gear icon in the library entry for Balatro
  2. Click Properties
  3. Click Betas
  4. Beta Participation
  5. Select public_experimental

When will patch 1.0.1c roll out to Xbox?

The experimental build went live on Steam a couple of days ago, on 7 April. with the developer LocalThunk stating they hope the patch to roll out "within a week". So hopefully we won't be waiting too long for those easier Xbox achievements!

Balatro | $17.89now $11.29 at CD Keys  |  $13.49 at Fanatical | $13.49 at GMG

Balatro | was $17.89 now $11.29 at CD Keys  |  $13.49 at Fanatical | $13.49 at GMG

Bolatro is a poker-inspired rogue-lite deck builder. Balatro challenges players to create powerful synergies and win big by playing illegal poker hands with unique Joker cards and arcanas. It's currently reviewed at 97% overwhelmingly positive on Steam for its addictive gameplay and psychedelic visuals. 

Jennifer Young

Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.