Effective Rake Of Nearly 15 Percent Renders Wild Twister A Poor Play

Faster, Bigger, And Completely Devoid Of Skill: Wild Twister Pushes Online Poker Closer To Slot Machine

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The lottery sit & go format has undergone something of an upheaval of late.

It seems that with each new variant to hit the market, more of the format’s skillful elements are being lopped off in favor of increased speed, volatility, and randomness.

To say that Wild Twister, a new variant recently launched on iPoker France skin Betflic.fr, follows and expands upon this trend, would be putting it mildly.

The end result is an almost pure gambling game that bares far more structural similarities to a slot machine than any lottery sit & go on the market — which might not be so bad, if the house take didn’t ravage player bankrolls.

Be prepared for a “wild” ride

At its core, Wild Twister isn’t all that different from traditional Twister games on iPoker, or even Spin & Go’s on PokerStars:

  • They’re three-man sit & goes, where the winner receives either all, or the lion’s share (80 percent at higher multipliers) of the prize pool.
  • The payouts are determined randomly at the beginning of the contest. As is the case with every other lottery sit & go variant, prize multipliers are heavily weighted toward the lower end.
  • The rake is higher than it is for other online poker formats.

However, Wild Twister takes the latter two nuances to an extreme.

A new level of volatility

For one, Wild Twister introduces the woeful concept of an even-money payout, where just over 20 percent of time winners only get their initial buy-in back. And just under 99 percent of the time, the prize pool is five times the buy-in or less.

Full prize matrix as follows:

  • 1x: 20.78 percent probability
  • 2x: 45.12 percent probability
  • 3x: 20 percent
  • 4x: 10 percent
  • 5x: 3 percent
  • 10x: 1 percent
  • 100x: 0.1 percent
  • 1,000x: 0.01 percent
  • 10,000x: 0.002 percent

By comparison, traditional Twister games on iPoker also spin low multipliers 99 percent of the time, but instead of 1x – 5x payouts on the low end, they’re 2x – 6x. In other words, Twister is by far the less volatile format of the two.

To offset the poor low end payouts, Wild Twister introduces a new jackpot tier, where winners receive 8,000 times their buy-in, and runners-up 1,000 times. Interestingly, that’s still a lower top end payout than what’s found on PokerStars (10,000x for winners), but Wild Twister jackpots hit 20 times as often.

In this singular regard, Wild Twister is less volatile than Spin & Go’s, but this offsetting factor only comes into play for players lucky enough to hit a jackpot.

Over in seconds, not minutes

The other primary difference between traditional lottery sit & go’s and Wild Twister is the blind structure, or lack thereof. Players only start the match with a paltry five big blinds, suggesting that the games are meant to last, at most, a few hands.

In this respect, Wild Twister pushes the envelope even more than 888 Poker’s BLAST, which utilizes a shot clock format that converts the game into an all-in shootout after a short amount of time has elapsed.

However, BLAST games start players out with 30 big blinds, affording players some maneuverability that is notably absent from Wild Twister.

A slot machine disguised as a poker game

When the first lottery sit & go’s hit the market, an argument could be made that highly skilled players could squeak out a modest edge. That rationalization applied less strongly to the second wave of games to hit the market, and not at all to Wild Twister.

Make no mistake, with a starting stack of just five big blinds, this is as much a gambling game as any online slot terminal. And not one that offers players a fair shake.

The house takes 8 percent of every Wild Twister buy-in, regardless of denomination (games can be played for 0.5€, 3€, 7€, and 15€).

By contrast, regular Twister games only rake 7 percent. This flies in the face of conventional online poker logic, which dictates that faster formats at higher buy-ins should adhere to a less oppressive rake schedule than their slower, lower buy-in counterparts.

What’s more, the effective rate for anyone who doesn’t hit a jackpot is significantly higher, approximately 14.7 percent.

By contrast, a slot player gambling on a NJ online casino site could easily realize a return of close to 95 percent, pending the player exercised smart game selection. Even the poorest online slots return somewhere in the vicinity of 90 percent.

So not only is Wild Twister a slot machine thinly veiled as an online poker game, it’s quite the poor slot choice.

The high prevalence of even-money payouts seals the comparison between Wild Twister and traditional slots, as slots are notorious for doling out wins that are equal to or less than the amount of money invested.

Will the lowest multiplier for the next lottery sit & go variant pay out just half a buy-in? It’s starting to seem plausible.

Suffice it to say, that the nonexistent skill element combined with the exceedingly high rake, guarantees that no Wild Twister player will come out a winner over the long haul.

Conclusion: Poor returns won’t go unnoticed

For all of our criticisms, Wild Twister will probably perform well, attracting action-hungry gamblers who fancy the occasional game of poker. But even many of them will soon notice just how quickly Wild Twister savages their bankrolls.

Semi-serious grinders and pros will fade the game like the plague, all the while hoping that Wild Twister serves as a bridge for new players to try out more skill-based online poker formats.

Let’s just hope that net depositing players don’t erode their entire rolls on the format first.

- 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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