Reaction to iPoker Network's Twister Poker

Date: 2014-03-06
Author: Jason Glatzer

If you are looking for a new, casino-style spin on sit and gos, you should consider checking out Twister Poker on iPoker.

Twister Poker was released on select iPoker skins on January 20.  While it is still not available on all iPoker sites, it seems to be available on the most of the popular skins such as Titan Poker, William Hill, Winner, and BetFred.

How the game works is simple.  If you like casino games, Twister Poker can add a nice twist to your poker action.  The games are Three-Max No Limit Hold'em Hyper-Turbo Sit and Gos.  The difference between these games and normal sit and gos is that a winner-take-all jackpot is randomly determined, ranging anywhere from double your buy-in to a huge 1,000 times your buy-in.  While the latter it is very rare (1 in 20,000), it creates quite a bit of excitement in each game to see if you have a chance to win big.

The buy-ins are all low and most likely designed that way to attract casual players.  I do not foresee the network rolling out higher limit games to placate higher stakes grinders.

Currently, you can only play Twister Poker for $1, $2, $5, and $10.  It is interesting that iPoker priced these games in US Dollars considering it recently migrated its entire tournament schedule to Euros after embracing that it's a popular network in Europe.

While Twister might seem revolutionary, iPoker is not the first network to introduce these types of games.  Winamax has had similar three-max jackpot sit and gos for a few months.  The only major difference is that Winamax's version is called Espresso instead of Twister.  The odds of the prizes, sit and go structures, and just about everything else is the same.

The reaction on poker forums to Twister Poker seems to be mixed.  It is not surprising that there is some criticism since the typical poster is a serious-minded player and not the recreational, casino-minded player these games were designed for. A poster on TwoPlusTwo, Ivanhoe, suggested that although the structure will wind up having you playing for double your money more often than not, this type of game should also attract recreational players: "15,186/20,000 [times] you will be playing for $20, three-handed, for a $10 buy-in."

Another poster, coon74, commented that the rake in these games may deter stronger players from entering.  "The official rake taken by the network (on which awarded player points are based) is 7% of the total BI (7.5% of the 'pure' BI)."  The same poster went on to say that the games are more reasonably priced than traditional three-max non-jackpot sit gos at 9.1%, but that these games are slower speed; therefore, more skill comes into play and it allows for opponent selection.

The rake is not easily figured out in Twister Poker since the rake and fee are combined into one price.  After taking into account the odds of hitting all of the jackpots, the blended rake is about 7.6%.  This in itself doesn't seem too bad, but considering you won't be playing for the top prize very often, the rake can be skewed to the house's benefit in the short-term.  For example, if you're just playing one Twister Poker game, it will most likely be for only double the buy-in based on the odds.  If you play one game and keep playing until you play for a jackpot game, you are essentially paying over 33% in rake.

That said, I believe anything that brings more recreational players to a poker site is a good thing, and certainly the jackpot possibility is likely to attract many players who normally just play casino games.  Whether this is worth the higher rake you are likely to pay in most of the games you enter remains to be seen.

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