PokerStars will no longer offer Double of Nothing Sit & Go Tournaments as of February 15th, 2011.I'm not very happy about this news since I've been getting very into my Double or Nothing SnG Challenge. I've played a few of the new Fifty50 SnGs and I'm not too confident they will be a good replacement in terms of profitability. Especially in the long run. I'm not sure yet what this is going to mean for my DoN SnG Challenge.
This is not a decision that was made easily as these tournaments have proven to be quite popular with players. However, after thorough evaluation, PokerStars has decided that the format needed improvement.
Newly introduced ‘Fifty50’ Sit & Go tournaments have been deployed to provide an alternative for players who have previously played the Double or Nothings. Fifty50s have many of the same attributes that attracted players to Double or Nothing tournaments:
• Half of the players who enter the tournament receive a payout
• The tournament ends when half of the players remain
• There is no shorthanded play
• They end quickly
• They have low rake
Fifty50s differ from Double or Nothings in their payout structure. Only half of the prize pool is distributed evenly amongst the top half of finishers. The other half is distributed based on chip count, with each chip having an equal value.
This difference means that players always have some incentive to care about the size of their chip stack, whereas in Double or Nothings this was not always the case. This added element makes the Fifty50s a more skilful and, to many, more interesting format.
The value of each chip in Fifty50s also makes situations where some players may softplay each other less attractive than in Double or Nothings. Some forms of poker invite this sort of implicit collusion more than others, as the rewards are greater and costs are smaller for making such plays. The Fifty50 format is an improvement over the Double or Nothing format in this regard as there is always a cost for a player to make a decision that doesn’t maximize the size of their own chip stack.
While it is understood that many players may miss the old Double or Nothing format, improvements and changes to game formats are necessary from time to time. While the loss of a familiar game format can be frustrating or annoying initially, PokerStars is confident that Fifty50s will prove to be a superior tournament format.
The rake structure is different for Fifty50s than for DoNs. It’s somewhat higher for Turbo Fifty50s than it was for Turbo DoNs at most stakes, but is lower at the $1 level. The rake for normal speed Fifty50s is significantly lower than it was for normal speed DoNs. The Double or Nothings offered rake that was in most cases twice as much for normal speed tournaments than for turbo tournaments. The Fifty50 rake is more in line with other PokerStars Sit & Go tournaments.
PokerStars is currently evaluating all Sit & Go offerings, including rake. The stakes offered and rake for Fifty50s are in line with the changes planned for all Sit & Go Tournaments on PokerStars in the coming months.
If players compare Fifty50 rake on PokerStars to the industry standard for similar Sit & Go tournaments, they will find that the comparison isn’t close; the PokerStars’ rake is much lower.
There was a lot of speculation on the forums that the Fifty50's were going to replace DoNs because there had been so much cheating at the DoNs, especially with the big Chinese DoN cheating ring.
Based in part on the wording in the announcement as well as some other things I've read my guess is it's not so much the cheating as was the false reports of cheating.
PokerStars thoroughly investigates all reports of cheating. Because of some of the strategy involved in the Double or Nothing format some things may look like cheating, such as implicit collusion where two or more players may call a short stack's all-in on the bubble and check it down to try and knock them out.
Even though a lot of rake was generated by these games the time it took up for the fraud team must not have been worth it? At least that's my guess.
I'm really bummed out about it because I thought I'd have a real shot of making Supernova this year because of the amount of DoNs I play for my challenge. I wish they could have at least waited until the end of the month before killing these games since February is already a short month and I'm not sure if I'll be able to meet my VPP goal.