Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

Pokerstars SNG Updates, Some Amendments + Some Alternatives

It seems like Pokerstars are listening, and making some adjustments to their recent SNG structure / buy-in changes related to feedback from players. I’ll cover this + a (quick) look at some of the alternatives here – then hopefully close this subject for the time being.Multi-Table SNG structures were the hardest hit by the new 3 minute / 6 minute blind times introduced last week.

While the extra levels smoothed things out for the shorter games, the quicker increases made the later portion of MTT SNGs (including the 180 SNGs) terrible… these have now been changed back. Time banks were the other big change, returning to 15 seconds for the Turbos instead o the daft 45 seconds. I think both are good, and I also credit Pokerstars with listening to feedback. There may well be some more tweaks coming up which I'll keep you posted on.

Too Much Feedback From To Small A Group Of Players?

What worries me is that too much of the feedback is coming from too ‘hardcore’ a group of players – via 2+2 – and that the ‘recreational guy on the street’ is not getting their say. 80% of players will never read a poker forum or strategy book, and even of those that do only a tiny proportion become regular posters… yeah, in theory anyone could come in and give an opinion in those huge Stars threads – yet they would only have to read that forum for 2 minutes to make the (perfectly rational) decision that it would not be worth the hassle. Sure, the grinders need to be listened to… all I’m saying is that there is a balance out there and a the clamor to go back is coming from a very very small percentage of players (who do rake a lot to be fair). This is a big part of the reason I have taken the stance I have so far (see my Part #1 and Part #2 for this).

What Are The Alternatives – Where Else Can You Grind SNGs?

For recreational players there is a huge choice of sites where the games are considerably softer than at Pokerstars… see my Fish-o-Meter Widget for some ideas. For grinders the choices are very limited, basically iPoker, Party, Full Tilt or (maybe) a combination of smaller sites ( playing OnGame + Microgaming together… nah, too much like hard work!!). I’ll list the pros and cons – trying not to sound too salesy!!

Grinder Site #1 – Full Tilt: An obvious choice, a lot of the regs here were US-based which means there is a (probably temporary) softening of the tables. Seems that they are much happier to give non-rakeback players the ongoing 27% bonus these days too. Decent promos, people can and do make a living at the $11+$1 and $22+2, 16 tables max at Full Tilt. Read my Full Tilt Poker Review for more.

Grinder Site #2 – Party Poker: Possible if you focus on the evenings, the rake is too high below the $10’s and so the micros need to be avoided. You’ll have to adjust to the structure, and to looser calling ranges! Decent VIP club and lots of reloads, would not be my first choice, though the games are certainly soft enough to make some $$. My Party Poker Review is here.

Grinder Site #3 – iPoker: I have been an iPoker fan for many years now, sure the cash games have nitted up over the years, the SNGs have not. Ugly software, fishy opponents, I think a decent player could do well in these games, though the volume is only there in the afternoons / evenings. There are some nice VIP deals available, at around 30% equivalent… I can not name the site here, if you would like more info and my links then shoot me a mail to . That’s all really, OnGame is soft as hell, I’d recommend this for recreational type players simply because so many of the grinders scorn it! (see my Red Kings Poker Review for more on this network).

Everest is another possibility, along with Microgaming Network – I just don’t see a ‘half your set from each site’ routine working. Anyway, I’d like to close this subject for the time being. Has been an interesting debate out there… happy to see so many people venting their feelings without getting personal about it – you can not beat a good, tough, gentlemanly debate! G

l at the tables, Mark

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