PokerStars replaces Double or Nothing SNGS for March


Since arriving on the PokerStars scene a few years ago, there has been debate among players about Double or Nothing Sit and Gos.  It didn’t take long for groups of dishonest players to find that a little collusion could go a long way to pad the pockets, especially if you are playing higher levels and multiple tables at the same time.  On the flip side of the coin, some honest players loved the games as any basic solid Sit and Go strategy and the patience to grind pretty much guaranteed a positive ROI on the games.  What more experienced players were quick to point out however, was that the rake on these games, especially at the micro-stakes typically made them a bad investment.

At $1.00+15 a player who made the money would only be returned $2.00, essentially only getting .85 to 1 odds, in many minds mathematically incorrect according to most poker concepts. While moving up buy-in levels considerably lowers the 15% found at the lowest levels, this single table pay-out format never offered 1-1 odds or better and when suspected collusion rings started to surface, for the most part, in the forum poker community the debate only headed in a negative direction.  This created new headaches as far as site security and integrity, any complaints from a player suspecting collusion would need to be investigated, whether valid or just a bad day on the virtual felts.  This has been speculated by many as part of the reason that PokerStars, a leader in the online industry, stepped up and made the decision to discontinue the Double or Nothing games as of February 28th, 2011.  What has been offered in their place already looks to be a great alternative and players seem to be giving their stamp of approval.

The New “Fifty50” single table tournaments still pay half the field, but the biggest change for the better is reserving half the prize-pool to be paid out on conclusion based on, for lack of a better applicable poker term, ICM or an Independent Chip Model.  A flat rate of dollars per 100 chips is assigned and half of the prize pool is paid according to the percentage of chips they hold when only half the staring field remains.  The other half of the prize pool is divided equally amongst the remaining players.  To give an example, in a $5.00+.30 SNG, a player making the money gets paid $5.00 plus an additional 16 cents per 100 chips in his or her stack.   For those looking for the true math to make their decision, making the money gets you: (initial buy-in)-(rake) + (ending chip count)/(total chips in play) x (1/2 x total prize pool).

Lower entry fees or rake is also said to be a perk of the new format, which appears to be true, a quick peak at the $1 micros show varying rates from 8% to 11% as compared to the previous 15%.  There is also however, turbo formats and other slight differences from game to game that make consistency in these lower rake rates very hard to determine at a glance.  Collusion should also be significantly reduced as now, rather than just need to force the other players to bust or blind out for a guaranteed amount, chip counts matter when the bubble bursts, so it would be very hard for players participating in these types of shenanigans to be sure they would get their fair share for doing the dirty work.  It also means that having better than average chips means a monetary reward of better than 1-1. This keeps it “easier” for newer players and those that play volume to cash than a standard  Sit and Go, in theory  a winning strategy should make decent profits by only outlasting 50% of the field instead of 66%, provided the player is still playing to accumulate as many chips as possible.  The new Fifty50 games are playing on PokerStars.   For those die hard double or nothing fans, they are still offered elsewhere.

What are your thoughts on this?  We would love to hear them in our forums!

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Jon Harnish
35 year old recreational player, husband and father of three from Calgary, Alberta. Enjoy lower stakes cash games including PLO and limit Omaha 8. Any of the micro-stakes HORSE games will play online MTTS and SNGs. Live, Tournaments and Satellites up to $550. I love the game but am far to social to take it seriously and sometimes give up a little to much information at the table because I enjoy discussing the game, so decided it was safest for my bankroll to take up writing about the game. That way I still get to meet the cool people and opinions on the game, but with a little less risk. Writing wise, currently a regular contributor to Poker Pro Canada, like to write profiles, previews and recaps the most. formally wrote for Canadian Poker Player Canada. My Poker Blogs have been featured on CardPlayer Social and SpadeClub as "Recommended" or in newsletters on several occasions and Pokerweblogs as "Blog of the Month". Past projects included organizing and promoting major events with the Canadian Poker Tour, introducing Big Slick Poker Tour to Southern Alberta and directing events and finals.


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