MPN to Launch Fish Party Progressive Lottery S&G in July

Here is some news we haven’t heard before: an online poker network is introducing a new Lottery Sit-and-Go variant! No sarcasm in that sentence. No, none at all.

But really, earlier this week, the Microgaming Poker Network’s (MPN) Head of Poker Alex Scott sat down for two hours on Joe Ingram’s podcast to discuss MPN and his thoughts on the current state of poker. Just over an hour into the discussion, he said that MPN would be launching its own Lottery Sit-and-Go, Fish Party (yes, that’s right), in July. Fish Party’s differentiator is that it will have a progressive jackpot, rather than a maximum prize that is fixed.

A typical Lottery Sit-and-Go is three-handed with a hyper-turbo blind structure and tiny starting stacks. The idea is to get them over with quickly so that players don’t get bored. Professional players generally hate them, as the short stacks, short tables, and quickly escalating blinds mean that it is harder to play a truly skillful game of poker. Recreational players, though, have gravitated toward Lottery Sit-and-Go’s because of the action and the fact that they only last a few minutes. Players can get in and get out without committing too much time to a boring nit-fest.

fish partyOf course, the other reason Lottery Sit-and-Go’s are attractive is because they offer players a chance to win huge amounts of money for a small buy-in. The prize pool remains a secret to the players until everyone has been seated and the game is about to begin. At that point, the prize pool is presented, randomly determined based on pre-set probabilities. Most of the time, the prize pool will be just two or four times the buy-in, but on rare occasions, it can be thousands of times the big blind.

So this is where Fish Party will be different than other sites’ versions of this Sit-and-Go. Rather than the top prize, the jackpot, being a set number like 10,000 or 12,000 times the buy-in, it will start at a certain level and increase as long as the random number generator doesn’t spit it out.

The highest buy-in for Fish Party Sit-and-Go’s will be €50. Alex Scott projects that the jackpot for that buy-in level will routinely be at least €1 million. Lower buy-ins will have separate progressive jackpots that one would assume would generally be lower, as well, but one would also guess that it is possible for some lower buy-in Fish Party jackpots to eclipse the higher buy-in jackpots depending on how long the gap is between the jackpots being hit (Did I use the word jackpot enough there? Perhaps I should re-write that rather unwieldy sentence.).

Scott said that part of the idea behind Fish Party is to take advantage of MPN’s expertise in casino gaming.

“We’re taking everything we know about slots games, and building that into Fish Party Sit-and-Go’s,” he said during the interview.

The bit at the beginning of Jackpot [Lottery] Sit-and-Go’s has always annoyed me. Whenever you play anywhere else, that section of the game lasts a few seconds and it’s the most boring few seconds you can possibly imagine. You can win a million dollars and all it is is, ‘ding ding ding ding ding.’ That’s it.

We’re taking what we know about slot games, how to make slot games exciting, and we’ve got a real, online slot game there, which spins and you read the pay tables and find out what you win…and it’s really exciting.

Not coincidentally, Fish Party is also the name of one of MPN’s most popular online slot game. Scott explained that Fish Party Sit-and-Go’s have a pay table just like a slot machine would have. Just like slots have an “RTP” or “Return to Player” number, so do Fish Party Sit-and-Go’s. In this case, that RTP is 95 percent, meaning 95 percent of the money contributed by players goes back to them in the form of prizes, while 5 percent, the rake, goes to the poker room.

Scott says that 5 percent rake is significantly lower than the rake at any competitor’s similar offering.

Ingram asked why in a Lottery Sit-and-Go, the most common prize multiplier is two times rather than three times, since if it was a normal three-handed, winner-take-all Sit-and-Go, there would be three buy-ins going to the winner. Scott explained (and Ingram correctly reasoned this before the answer was given) that the extra buy-in that is not awarded goes to fund the larger prizes. It was at this point that he explained RTP.

“I think fun is the future of online poker,” Scott said when discussing how Lottery Sit-and-Go’s can be polarizing in the poker community. “You can’t argue that these are a lot of fun for a lot of people. And so we do have to keep coming up with fun, interesting ways to play poker, otherwise people just aren’t going to stay interested. And some of those are going to be more recreational focuses and some of them are going to be more ‘reg’ focused.”

As for MPN’s new Fish Party, “It’s going to be, frankly, the best version of Jackpot Sit-and-Go’s out there.”


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