Party / Borgata vs Which NJ Poker Site Offers the Best SNG Value?

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Sit & Go’s (SNG) are an intrinsic part of any online poker site. Not only do they act as a gateway into bigger tournaments, but they’re a reliable means for grinders to generate a sustainable hourly rate.

If cash games are a site’s bread, then Sit & Go’s are surely the butter. And that’s why New Jersey’s biggest online poker sites are locked in an ongoing competition for SNG traffic.

So which of the two leading NJ poker networks – WSOP NJ or Party / Borgata – offers SNG grinders the best overall bang for their buck?

Measuring SNG value

Before we dive into the comparison of Party / Borgata and WSOP, let’s quickly discuss what factors we’ll base our comparison on:

  1. Entry fee.
  2. Payout structures.
  3. Game volume.
  4. Promotions / bonuses.

Other variables, such as blind structure, opponent skill level, available formats and rakeback can also be considered, but for the purposes of our analysis, these four factors should suffice.

Let’s start with entry fee. To illustrate how this as calculated, we look at a simple example:

Let’s say the buy-in for a SNG is $10. Of that, $9.50 is applied towards the prize pool and $.50 goes to the house.

In percentage terms, our sample SNG has a 5% rake, or vig. The higher the rake, the tougher it is for players to generate a profit.

A second, albeit less tangible, way to determine SNG value is through site volume. Greater volume provides players with more multi-tabling opportunities, in turn potentially increasing their hourly rate (not their ROI).

Payout structures also play a pivotal role in the SNG value equation, with top heavy payouts generally looked upon more favorably than flatter distributions.

And finally, Sit & Go promos work wonders towards augmenting a player’s average rate of return.

One of the most significant SNG promotions in New Jersey: leaderboards that reward players based on performance and amount played. This popular practice has recently been adopted by New Jersey‘s two market share leaders, Party / Borgata and, with measurable success.

Entry fees: Almost too close to call

For this segment of the analysis, we’ll start by taking a look at the two most popular overlapping SNGs types on each network: $5 Turbo [6-Max], $10 Turbo [6-Max].

$5 Turbo [6-Max]

  • WSOP: $4.60 buy-in, $0.40 fee, rake of 8%.
  • Party / Borgata: same as above.

$10 Turbo [6-Max]

  • WSOP: $9.20 buy-in, $0.80 fee, rake of 8%.
  • Party / Borgata: same as above.

Clearly, we need to dig a bit deeper. and Party / Borgata both offer Heads-Up SNGs, with stakes ranging from $1 to $50 (up to $500 on Party / Borgata). Again, the value ratio across both networks for all buy-in levels are exactly the same.

However, WSOP’s HU SNGs are non-turbos, whereas Party / Borgata’s are. While this might not seem like a big deal at first, consider that there’s an unwritten rule in the online poker community that states that faster formats necessitate higher value ratios. Two reasons for this:

  • A skilled player’s advantage is somewhat nullified by turbo formats. To offset this loss, entry fees are lowered.
  • Turbo SNG grinders play more matches, and by extension, pay more entry fees.

Given this, WSOP NJ’s Sit & Goes provide slightly better value than Party / Borgata’s.

Winner: (but it’s close)

Volume: WSOP has the traffic edge

There was a time when Party / Borgata boasted nearly double the number of simultaneously running SNGs as Those days are long gone.

Nowadays, the distribution of SNGs is skewed slightly towards, with an average of 18 – 22 concurrent SNGs running during peak weekday hours.

Comparatively, it’s rare to find more than 20 SNGs running on Party / Borgata, ever.

Factor in that WSOP’s SNGs average a greater number of sign-ups (Party / Borgata does not offer full ring games), and it becomes clear where habitual multi-tablers are best suited spending their dollars.


Payout structures: Comes down to preference

Much like their MTTs, Party / Borgata’s Sit & Go’s favor a rather flat distribution. This has been the subject of much debate among regular players, many of whom feel that it penalizes those who are versed in heads up play.

To illustrate:

  • Party / Borgata’s 6Max SNGs delegate a mere 60% of the prize pool towards first, with 40% going to second. This appears to be the case whether the single table tournament is standard format, turbo or hyper.
  • Conversely, WSOP’s 70:30 prize distribution is what I would consider somewhat aggressive compared to the industry norm of 2/3rds to first and 1/3rd to second.

What it comes down to is that Party / Borgata favors both the recreational player content to outlast his or her way into the money and those lacking confident in their heads up skills, while WSOP’s SNGs are tailored more towards seasoned and well-rounded pros.

Winner: Tied (personal preference)

The battle of the SNG leaderboards


In an effort to bolster its then-nearly-absent Sit & Go volume, was the first network to roll out a Sit & Go Leader Board promotion.

It was a game changer.

So much so, that in order to negate the cannibalizing effect the promo was having on its own SNG traffic, Party / Borgata launched a Leader Board promo of its own.

Since July, nary a month has gone by when at least one of the network’s has included a variation of the Leader Board as part of its monthly promotional schedule, with the more broad variants proving the most successful.

Sit & Go leaderboards: Analysis

Party / Borgata’s August leaderboards and WSOP’s current promotion, which both award(ed) players who performed well across most Sit & Go formats, will be used as a comparison point.

WSOP’s October leaderboard …

  • Consists of three buy-in tiers ($5 and below, $20 and below and $25 and above) and awards the top 30 performers across each tier with monetary prizes totaling $7,500.
  • As expected, more prize money is reserved for players who compete in higher stakes games.
  • There are four qualifying weeks per promotion, and the top 10 finishers from each tier receive the lion’s share of the leader board prize pool – 70%, with the winner receiving 23%.
  • In total, $30,000 has been allocated towards the promotion.

Party / Borgata’s August SNG promo …

  • Was significantly less lucrative on face, offering a total of $4,000 spread out across the top 9 finishers on the high leader board and the top 40 on the low.
  • However, the total value of the promotion was only 25% less than WSOP’s. That’s because the promo ran five weeks (as opposed to four), and the weekly winners were invited to participate in a $2,500 freeroll tournament.
  • Also of note, compared to its last leader board, Party / Borgata’s August effort offered nearly double the prize money as its first foray.
  • Finally, the reward for finishing first on a high leader board was more valuable on Party / Borgata ($750 + a freeroll ticket worth $250) than on WSOP ($920 to the winner).

If Party / Borgata continue to up the ante, it won’t be long before the network edges out its rival for best Sit & Go leader board in New Jersey.

But that’s a big if.

Winner: (but the gap is shrinking)

Closing thoughts: Why not play on both?

Based on a quick skimming of this piece, it would appear that I am in largely in favor of WSOP’s Sit & Go’s both in terms of value and diversity.

And while I do slightly prefer WSOP for its higher volume, better promotional deal and more top-heavy payout structure, the differences between the two networks is fairly nominal.

In fact, I’d go as far to say that for recreational players and those with eyes on the high leaderboard’s top prize, Party / Borgata may be the better network to grind SNGs.

For the rest of us, WSOP is top dog, but in so long as players can adjust to two very different blind structures, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be taking advantage of the free money consistently offered by both networks.

- Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several publications centered on legal US online poker and the regulated online gambling industries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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