THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2006-01-29, by Ozone, TwoGun
A previous Weekly Shuffle article reviewed the multi-table tournaments offered by five popular online cardrooms. There is a second form of tournament poker played online known as a Sit-'N'-Go (SNG). Instead of starting at a scheduled time, SNG tournaments begin play immediately after a certain number of players have registered for the tournament.
The most popular form of SNG tournament is the single-table tournament. These tournaments begin play after 9 or 10 players have registered, depending on the site. Typically the top 3 finishers win money for their efforts. There are several other forms of SNG tournaments including short handed tournaments (4-6 players), heads-up tournaments (2 players), and multi table tournaments (more than 10 players). These diverse types of SNGs are offered at various buy-ins that start as low as pennies and range up into the thousands.
Sit and Go tournaments have become wildly popular and are therefore offered by every major online cardroom. Below are reviews of the SNG tournaments offered by five of the more popular online cardrooms:
Party Poker SNG Review
Party Poker is the internet's largest cardroom. With this comes the benefit of never having to wait long to begin a SNG tournament. Each single-table tournament on Party Poker seats 10 players and rarely takes longer than 60 seconds to fill up. This is a major competitive advantage Party has that no other cardroom can currently match. For players seeking immediate single-table tournament action, Party Poker is by far the best choice.
A single-table tournament on Party Poker typically takes about 45 minutes from start to finish. The blinds increase every 10 hands. The structure is a perfect balance between too fast and too slow. Party Poker's single-table tournaments feature buy-ins that range from $6 up to $215. These single-table tournaments are the bar from which every other online poker room should compare themselves. At any given time, there are likely to be more than 1,000 single table tournaments in action on Party Poker.
Party Poker offers other various forms of SNG tournaments. Their somewhat complex "Steps" tournaments give players a unique chance to turn $12 into $4,500 through a series of five tournaments that test one's abilities at various levels. Standard multi-table SNGs are also offered at Party Poker. These tournaments feature various buy-ins and begin play after 20 or 30 players have registered. Party Poker does not offer heads-up or short-handed SNGs.
PokerStars SNG Review
Many consider PokerStars the best place online to play scheduled multi-table tournaments. Their Sit and Gos may not receive as much attention as their scheduled tournaments, but they are still quite good.. Because PokerStars is the second largest online cardroom, wait times for SNGs are often quite short.
Single-table SNGs on PokerStars seat 9 players and start as affordable as $3.40 but go all the way up to $1,030. The structure for these tournaments allows for a lot of playing, which may not always a good thing. Blinds increase every 10 minutes which results in these tournaments lasting around an hour and a half at times. This may seem too long to those wishing to kill a half hour playing a tournament or those wishing to play several tournaments in a short period of time. However, for players who enjoy time consuming SNGs, PokerStars is the best choice.
Rarely is one unable to find a SNG on PokerStars that caters to their wishes. Everything from heads-up tournaments, turbo tournaments, short-handed tournaments, and multi-table tournaments are offered in Sit and Go form on this network. For the high rollers out there, PokerStars offers $5,100 heads-up SNGs which can often be fun to watch.
Poker Room SNG Review
Poker Room has some of the fastest poker software on the internet. Combine this with great tournament structure as well as relatively weak competition and the result is a great online cardroom for SNG action.
The structure used for SNG tournaments on Poker Room feature the best qualities of the two largest online cardrooms, Party Poker and PokerStars. Like PokerStars, the blinds increase on a time interval. However, Poker Room is more similar to Party Poker in that the tournaments do not take dreadfully long. Blinds increase every 8 minutes on Poker Room and a typical 10-player SNG takes about one hour to complete.
Poker Room offers a wide range of SNG tournaments. Players may choose from heads-up, short-handed (five to a table), or full-table SNGs. Poker Room also offers multi-table SNGs featuring 20 or 30 entrants. Over half of the SNGs played on Poker Room are $5+$0.50 tournaments. The $10+$1 and $20+$2 SNGs are also quite popular and do not entail long wait times. For those interested in larger SNGs, about every 30 minutes a $200+$15 tournament will draw the needed 10 entrants.
Skilled poker players thrive on having opportunities to exploit weak players out of their chips. These opportunities are in no shortage on Poker Room due to the lightning fast software. In the long run, a skilled SNG player should expect to have a relatively high return on investment from Poker Room's tournaments. Poker Room is no doubt one of the most underrated cardrooms on the internet, especially for sit and go tournaments. For value oriented SNG players, Poker Room is the best option.
Noble Poker SNG Review
Noble Poker is a short-handed SNG fan's delight. At any given time, it is likely that more than 80% of the SNGs being played on Noble Poker are short-handed tournaments that seat only 6 players. Ten-handed SNG tournaments are offered on this network, but for whatever reason, players flock to the short-handed tables.
Another unique aspect of Noble Poker's SNG tournaments is the number of micro buy-in games being played. Nearly half of the SNGs played on Noble are either $1+$0.10 or $2+$0.20 turbo tournaments. The structure for Noble's SNGs, even the turbo tournaments, is quite good. The six-player $2.20 turbo tournaments typically take a half hour to complete, which indicates that it requires some patience to win. Occasionally a $100+$9 SNG will launch on Noble Poker, but clearly this is a site best suited for players who enjoy small buy-in tournaments.
Noble Poker also has these somewhat ridiculous "Jackpot SNGs" in which if players win a certain number of tournaments in a row, they win a large cash prize. For example, anyone who wins 4 twelve-player $2+$0.40 SNGs in a row on Noble Poker will have $2,000 credited to their account. It is important to note the fact that the entry fee being charged for these tournaments is larger than that of the non-Jackpot SNGs. This is a system set up for Noble Poker to make more money off of the players as it is nearly impossible to flat-out win four of these tournaments in a row no matter how good you are.
Paradise Poker SNG Review
Paradise Poker's single-table SNGs are often frustrating due to the slow speed of the software. Each hand seems to drag on into eternity, and frequently these tournaments reach a level where the big blind costs 20% of the chips at the whole table. For anyone serious about poker, this is not a good place to play a SNG. The mediocre tournament structure creates a more level playing field by increasing the influence of luck on the outcome of the tournament. However, this does make Paradise Poker a wise choice for any new players who lack confidence in their ability to battle tough opponents.
Paradise Poker offers single-table tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $6 up to $325. One of the popular features of the SNGs on this site are the "5 max" tournaments where only 5 players battle it out for the money. Paradise Poker also offers one-on-one tournaments.
This is a fine room to choose for any new players looking to get their feet wet. Serious players should note poor structure and somewhat lengthy wait times (especially during slow hours) as reasons not to play SNGs on Paradise Poker.
The Weekly Shuffle is our Sunday column with our observations and commentary on the poker world. Have an idea for an article? Leave a suggestion on the feedback page.
|How To Create A Great Atmosphere For Your Home Poker Game|
|27 Questions to Ask Yourself During a Poker Hand|
|The Pros Are Jumping on Twitch: Get In On the Ground Floor|