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

The State of Double or Nothing Sit N Goes

Around 4 years ago, Double or Nothing Sit N Goes were causing quite a stir. These games were the latest idea, and recreational players were flocking to them. The quicker format and unique strategy (almost never call on the bubble, especially when there is a small stack around) was fresh and entertaining… Well, that was 4 years ago – and a lot has changed since then…

This post looks at the current status of Double or Nothing Sit N Goes on the different poker sites. First below are my thoughts on the 3 factors which have come into play to bring about the changes. After that some notes on which sites have dropped these games, which have seen a drop off in the games – and which sites have lowered their fees to try and keep them going.

A quick note that PokerStars switched over to their Fifty50 format some time ago… there are differences in your approach to those (and tons more pros than any other site). I’ll treat them as the standard Double or Nothing Sit N Goes for this post – to keep things simple.

Double or Nothing Sit N Goes – The 3 Key Influences

#1 – Grinders: These games are very easy to grind. Once you learn the math (calling / shoving ranges at the bubble) and grasp the concept that chips lost early are disproportionately valuable, then you’ll have a massive edge over anyone who does not know this. The strategy is simple (fold a lot) making them ideal for multi-tabling. Who can blame the grinders for jumping in? Of course, over time this made the games tougher, with ever more grinders chasing fish who would play a few of them, lose and wander away wondering what happened…

#2 – Lottery Sit N Goes: There are only so many players looking for an entertaining poker variant at any one time. Double-ups were that fresh new thing for a while, then lottery jackpot Sit N Goes came along. These are faster, more entertaining and have that lure of a big prize if you get lucky… compared to reg-filled DoNs – no contest! As a side note there are now grinders targeting these games too!

#3 – Boredom: This is included in the 2 factors above, though there is one separate thought too. After the first 50 of these games, they do get a bit dull… you do not get to play too many hands or face too many unique or interesting decisions.

Double or Nothing Sit N Goes – What is Happening at the Poker Sites?

There are still a lot of options to play these games – though the volume has noticeably gone down. What I did find when looking through the sites is that those sites which used to have the standard (10% ish) SNG fees for these games have now moved to lower fee structures. It seems they cannot get away with having higher fees than competing sites these days – which has to be a good thing!

DoNs at US Sites

Note: I am no longer allowed to cover the poker games at Bo***a at the request of the site.

There are basically 2 choices left at the US offshore sites. Carbon Poker and Intertops.

Carbon have the biggest selection of games and sizes, though their traffic is in decline. After payment issues (which appear to have now been resolved) and closure of their affiliate program earlier this year, traffic is around half of what it used to be. On the positive side, the software is excellent and you’ll see PLO, Turbo and different sized Double-ups…

Intertops make a more interesting choice. These are standard NL Holdem Double or Nothings, and the traffic is somewhat lower than Carbon. What I like about this site is that the traffic is growing (Intertops just came back to the US after a break of a few years, giving the Revolution Network a big boost). The Double-ups are all 6-max, they are either Turbo or Hyper Turbo – with low fees. For example the $10 6-max Hyper Turbo is $9.60+40c.

I have a feeling that the Revolution Network are moving in the right direction at the moment, and tip them to overtake both Merge and Equity in 2016. See for more info.

DoN’s at Non-US sites

Volume appears to be down at PokerStars, though this is only my impression (I was not previously counting). Those games that are running have 5 or 6 of the same players in each waiting… a sure sign that they are all filled with regulars / pro-grinders. I’m recommending you avoid these games (at least until Stars fully ban HUDs at some point next year!).

Both Party and iPoker are softer, though the Double-ups above the micros are no longer running at either site. Whether this was lack of demand, or a deliberate move to get the recreational money over to the lottery Sit N Goes (on iPoker) I do not know. Titan, my favourite iPoker site, are strangely running 6-max turbos in Dollars… when the rest of their games are in Euros. Personally, I am not convinced either site can be recommended just for double-ups at this point in time.

888 provided my one positive experience of this informal survey! Their fees are lower than before (pretty standard for these games, for example the $20 standard speed DoNs are $19.10+90c). What really hit me is that these games are now all 8-handed… there are plenty of 10 handed tables out there, so this must have been a deliberate choice. You will also find PLO8 Double or Nothings here. These games are not marked as Turbos – though you’ll find you get a 500 chip starting stack and 2 minute blinds.


Summing up the State of Double or Nothing Sit N Goes

My final thoughts in 3 bullets:

  • These games are definitely in decline, though this is not surprising when you consider the general evolution of poker games.
  • US players do not have very good choices, Intertops may come through in 2016 to provide more of these games, though at the moment they are a small (though very soft!) room.
  • Outside of the US, 888 have stepped up to become the best option, while Party / Titan have trimmed the games back to the micros, and PokerStars has too many pro grinders.

New players at 888 get $88 in tokens (£20 for UK players) to try the games with no deposit or credit card needed. Check out the refreshingly recreational for yourself now!

You can find out more about Double or Nothing games around the different sites, including a comparison table of the fees charged for them in this Best Site for Double or Nothing Sit N Goes article. 


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