Microgaming Poker Network’s Alex Scott Announces SNG Revamping

Its time for tidying up the guest suites over at the Microgaming Poker Network, where the forward-looking network and its Head of Poker, Alex Scott, have announced a comprehensive updating of the network’s sit-‘n-go (SNG) offerings that’s scheduled to go into effect at the end of the month.

MPN LogoThe single-word gestalt for the cross-network overhaul? Standardization. (Or standardisation, depending upon which side of the pond one resides.) As Scott readily admitted, the MPN’s SNG and tourney offerings have been a mite scattershot, with definitions and formats loosely defined, if at all. It wasn’t that long ago that MPN took the first step in addressing that online spaghetti bowl, cleaning up its tournament offerings. Here’s how Scott described that initial phase:


We have a large variety of different tournament types on the MPN, which can be confusing, particularly for new players. In the past, it was far worse. A few years ago, tournament names meant little – register for a ‘Super Turbo’ tournament for example, and that tournament could have had 500 starting chips or 2,000, and blind levels that were 3 minutes long or 10 minutes long. There was very little consistency.

In 2014 we went through an exercise to standardise the scheduled tournament offering so that it was easier to understand. Now, if you play a Super Turbo scheduled tournament without a guarantee on the MPN, you know that you’ll get 500 starting chips, 3 minute levels and 18 seconds to act. If you play a guarantee tournament, you know you’ll get 50% more chips than a non-guaranteed tournament. And so on.


Yet that would only be a part of the process. MPN’s SNG offerings remained a mess, and now its their turn for some customer-friendly love. Said Scott, in his recent blog post on the overhaul, “SNGs weren’t updated, and they are currently inconsistent with scheduled tournaments. We are changing them, so that they have the same set-up as scheduled tournaments. This means that if you play a ‘Super Turbo’ tournament, you will know what to expect whether it’s a Sit & Go or Scheduled Tournament.”

Here’s the specs for the new, standardised SNG offerings:


Regular and Turbo SNGs will now have 2,000 starting chips (was 1,500). Super Turbo SNGs will still have 500 starting chips.

In Turbo tournaments:
• You will now have 18 seconds to act instead of 15
• You will get 30 seconds time bank instead of 15
• Levels will be 6 minutes long instead of 5

In Super Turbo tournaments:
• You will now have 18 seconds to act instead of 15
• You will get 15 seconds time bank instead of 10
• Levels will be 3 minutes long instead of 2


Scott and the MPN have also announced a general lowering of the network’s rake on SNGs according to the following visual table. The reductions will correct what Scott admitted were overly high rake rates for most of the network’s prior SNGs, and which you can view in their entirety in Scott’s original MPN blog update, or via the image below:


It’s when Scott shifts to the topic of “Double of Nothing” SNGs, however, where his and MPN’s disdain for and willingness to do away the format is explained, that the post offers some true insight into how the business side of the poker world thinks and acts. First, double-or-nothings have long been a sore on online poker, industry wide, rife with collusion and misleading to newer players in terms of how the format works. Market giant PokerStars was beset several years ago by a China-based ring of colluding DON players, and eventually refund more than $2 million to over 4,000 affected players. Other online networks suffered similar but smaller hits.

Even if collusion wasn’t a big problem with DONs, however, Scott has gone public with the fact that DONS are actually bad for the company’s long-term line, because new MPN players who stumble into those games lose at a higher rate and are much less likely to redeposit. Said Scott, “But in actual fact, new players have shorter lifetimes in Double Up SNGs than in any other kind of SNG. A brand new player actually lasts longer if they jump straight into Omaha Hi/Lo! This is not the kind of experience we want new players to have.”

Remember a few months aga when PokerStars began the immense task of getting rid of its own HU games? The corporate argument was exactly the same: These formats are bad for business because they dramatically increase the player-base churn rate.

That’s part of why Scott and MPN plan to phase out all MPNs, and the first step in that is to keep charging the 10% rake on the format. It’s being termed as “phase-out pricing,” and MPN has even added a lobby message to notify players that DONs will soon be going away.

What we’re seeing here is that networks are more and more willing to walk away from short-term rake numbers in the interest of longer-term network health. That’s nothing new for Microgaming, which oftenn has been at the forefront of such changes. In truth, both DONs and HU tourney formats have proven to be far more trouble trouble to providers than they’re actually worth.


Leave a Comment



filter by

Dan Katz

29th February 2020 // Uncategorised

Is the Coronavirus a Threat to the 2020 WSOP?

This has been one hell of a week. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is picking up steam globally. World financial markets have...

Dan Katz

26th February 2020 // Uncategorised

Side Bets Available at PokerStars Poker Tables

Poker is gambling. We like to say that it is a game of skill – and it is – but it is also gambling. And that’s...

Dan Katz

17th February 2020 // News, Online Poker Action, Poker Tournaments

World Series of Poker Expands Online Bracelet Schedule to 14 Events

On Thursday, the World Series of Poker released the schedule for this summer’s online bracelet events, to be hosted...

Dan Katz

8th February 2020 // Gossip, News, Online Poker Action

Phil Galfond Down €750,000 to VeniVidi1993 in Galfond Challenge

Look, I don’t typically make a habit of feeling bad when people of means lose money, but oh man, I am starting to get...

Dan Katz

2nd February 2020 // News, Online Poker Action

PokerStars, partypoker Launching Dueling Bounty Tourney Series on Super Bowl Sunday

The year 2020 is already one-twelfth gone. It seems like just yesterday that Larry David was arguing that it was too...

Haley Hintze

31st January 2020 // Misc, News, Poker Tournaments

Coronavirus Outbreak Forces Postponement of Triton Jeju Series

The Triton Super High Roller Series scheduled for mid-Februry in Jeju, South Korea has become the first poker event...