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Full Tilt Poker Launches Jackpot Sit & Go’s

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so over the last several years, Full Tilt Poker must have been blushing constantly (we’ll just ignore the whole Black Friday/frozen funds things for today). When the once powerful online poker room introduced Rush Poker in 2010, it was a huge hit, prompting copycat games throughout the industry. Now it is time for Full Tilt Poker to return the favor. PokerStars little sister has launched its Jackpot Sit & Go tournaments, allowing players to play in single table tourneys for low buy-ins with the chance to score very big.

In short, Jackpot Sit & Go’s are three-handed, super turbo tournaments with buy-ins of $1, $2, $5, or $10. The prize pool is randomly determined and is only announced once the tournament starts. It will usually be just twice the buy-in, but could be as much as 2,000 times the buy-in. That’s it. Pretty simple.  Full Tilt Poker Jackpot Sit & Go

The originator of this type of tournament was French poker room Winamax.fr, which dubbed it Expresso Poker. The basics are exactly the same: three-handed tournaments with equivalent buy-ins (except in Euros instead of U.S. dollars), winner take all. The possible Expresso Poker prize pools with their respective probabilities are as follows:

2x buy-in – 75,929 out of 100,000 (75.93 percent)
4x buy-in – 15,123 out of 100,000 (15.12 percent)
6x buy-in – 8,000 out of 100,000 (8.00 percent)
10x buy-in – 800 out of 100,000 (0.80 percent)
20x buy-in – 100 out of 100,000 (0.10 percent)
50x buy-in – 25 out of 100,000 (0.03 percent)
100x buy-in – 12 out of 100,000 (0.01 percent)
200x buy-in – 6 out of 100,000 (0.01 percent)
1,000x buy-in – 5 out of 100,000 (0.01 percent)

In January, the iPoker Network launched an Expresso Poker clone called Twister Poker with the same buy-ins, same possible prize pools, and just slightly different odds (and I mean verrrryy slightly different).

Full Tilt has adjusted things a bit to put its own stamp on Jackpot Sit & Go’s. They have eliminated the 50x buy-in prize pool, and increased the 200x and 1,000x to 500x and 2,000x, respectively, thus making the top end of the jackpot range more lucrative. Here is what the breakdown looks like:

2x buy-in – 72,500 out of 100,000 (72.50 percent)
4x buy-in – 22,500 out of 100,000 (22.50 percent)
6x buy-in – 3,900 out of 100,000 (3.90 percent)
10x buy-in – 710 out of 100,000 (0.71 percent)
20x buy-in – 350 out of 100,000 (0.35 percent)
100x buy-in – 30 out of 100,000 (0.03 percent)
500x buy-in – 7 out of 100,000 (0.007 percent)
2,000x buy-in – 3 out of 100,000 (0.003 percent)

So, as you can see, the chances of getting a prize pool that is greater than 2x the buy-in are a little better than at Winamax, but the chances of grabbing the top prize pools are slightly worse.

The other change Full Tilt made was for the 2,000x, 500x, and 100x prize pools, it is not a winner take all tournament. Instead, all three players will win something: 75 percent of the prize pool to first place, 15 percent to second place, and 10 percent to third place.

These Jackpot Sit & Go’s are appropriately named, as the word “jackpot” conjures up images of gambling and luck. That’s really all they are: lottery tickets. With only a 500 chip starting stack and super hyper crazy turbo blind levels, there isn’t much skill involved in this type of single table tournament. But that is no accident. Most online poker sites are gearing themselves towards the casual player nowadays and that is exactly what is going on here with these Jackpot Sit & Go’s. They cater to the recreational player who just wants to gamble it up, do it quickly, and have a shot at a big score. Done, done, and done. There’s no time to get bored with a Jackpot Sit & Go and you don’t have to be a good poker player to win them (it would help, but if you’re not in all-in or fold mode right away, you will be pretty quickly).

That’s not to say that they won’t be fun and for most of us, poker is about having fun.

It will be interesting to see what effect Jackpot Sit & Go’s have on Full Tilt Poker’s traffic. PokerScout.com reported that when Winamax launched Expresso Poker in July 2013, cash game traffic took a gigantic hit, falling 15 to 20 percent for a number of weeks. It took until September for cash games to rebound back to pre-Expresso levels.

It certainly seems like in the new Amaya Gaming family, Full Tilt Poker will be the brand that will cater more to casual players, while PokerStars will remain the site for more serious grinders (obviously, this isn’t a cut and dry comparison). With casino games, Rush Poker, Adrenaline Rush Poker, and now Jackpot Sit & Go’s, Full Tilt Poker is turning into quite the gambler’s paradise.


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