For better or worse, lottery-style sit-n-gos have become an integral part of today’s online poker landscape. The tournaments, which can randomly pump up prize pools above and beyond what they would normally be, were popularized by PokerStars, after the site introduced its Spin & Go games in 2014. Since then, nearly every major poker site has developed its own lottery SNG offering, each of which features its own unique variations.
How it works
The rules of Sit & Go 2.0 are no different than those of a standard nine-handed No Limit Hold‘em sit-n-go. The difference comes before players’ hands are even dealt, and only affects the prize pool amount and number of places paid.
Before the tournament begins, each player receives one card face down. The player to the immediate left of the button then turns over his or her card, revealing it to be either red or black. A red card puts a stop to the pregame action and means that the prize pool will remain the same as it was outlined during registration. In that case, the total prize pool will be equal to 7X the buy-in, with only the top two players getting paid. When a red card is revealed, the cards are shuffled and a standard sit-n-go is played out.
If the first player turns over a black card, however, the prize pool is increased to a factor of 9X the buy-in, and will guarantee payment to the top three finishers. The action then falls on the next player to the left, and continues until a red card is revealed. Each time a black card is turned over, the prize pool increases, creating a potential pool of up to 51.3X the buy-in, with six places being paid.
The likelihood of all nine players receiving black cards is very low, of course, and happens around once every 1,180 trials. Roughly 75% of the time, the pregame action will end immediately with a red card or with just one player producing a black card. In the table below, you can see the payout structures and probabilities for a Sit-n-Go 2.0 game with $10 buy-in.
|# Black Card||Probability||# out of 1,180||Multiplier||Prizepool|
|9 Black Cards||0.08492759%||1.00||51.3||$510.00|
|8 Black Cards||0.12267318%||1.45||40||$400.00|
|7 Black Cards||0.28408527%||3.35||30||$300.00|
|6 Black Cards||0.63919185%||7.54||20||$200.00|
|5 Black Cards||1.40013452%||16.52||17||$170.00|
|4 Black Cards||2.99119648%||35.30||15||$150.00|
|3 Black Cards||6.24249700%||73.66||13||$130.00|
|2 Black Cards||12.74509804%||150.39||11||$110.00|
|1 Black Card||25.49019608%||300.78||9||$90.00|
|No Black Cards||50.00000000%||590.00||7||$70.00|
Punta Cana Poker Classic debut
The game is set to make a big splash at the upcoming Punta Cana Poker Classic, which runs October 25-30 in the Dominican Republic, when it makes its debut. To help promote the game, Collin Moshman, who holds a theoretical mathematics honors degree from the California Institute of Technology, along with his wife Katie Dozier, a poker coach at DragtheBar.com, plan to release a Sit-n-Go 2.0 specific e-book on Amazon.com on October 17 – a week before the debut. The couple have already written several books on poker strategy.
“We are so happy to have been brought on board in order to promote this exciting new format,” said Dozier. “My husband and I had a blast writing the book and thinking about the many ways in which the different payout structures within the format will change the optimal strategy.”
Indeed, with so many recreational players leaving standard cash games and flocking to lottery SNGs, poker pros will no doubt be eager to learn how they can maximize their profits at Sit-n-Go 2.0 tables. In an excerpt from his upcoming book, Moshman explains the importance of learning the new variant.
“The creation of jackpots created an opportunity,” he wrote. “Good poker players have a lot of strengths, but change is not one of them. Instead, they stick with their current format until they have no choice but to follow the recreational money.”
Dozier will be playing Sit-n-Go 2.0 live on her new Twitch.tv channel, while interacting with poker players on social media who may have questions about the new format.