Spin and Gos Eroding PokerStars’ Cash Game Traffic

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The secret is out: Lottery Sit and Gos are popular. They caught on quickly when they were introduced by Winamaxin July 2013, again when they were launched by iPoker earlier this year, and yet again when Full Tiltand PokerStars.es got on board more recently. But they officially hit the prime time when PokerStarsrolled out its version, Spin and Go, on its dot-com site just a couple of weeks ago. And boy, have the players lapped it up.

To review, Spin and Gos are three-handed, hyper-turbo sit and gos in which each player starts with 500 chips. Rather than having a standard prize pool comprised of the sum of the buy-ins, the prize pool is randomly determined based on preset probabilities and not announced until the game starts.

Almost three-quarters of the time, the prize pool will be 2x the buy-in, but it can be 4x, 6x, 10x, 25x, 100x, 200x, and even 1,000x, hence the “Lottery” designation. The chances of hitting anything over 4x the buy-in is very low, though; the top three prize tiers have just a three-hundreths of a percent chance of hitting… combined.

Spin and Gos were clearly designed with the casual player in mind. They are quick, which prevents boredom. Their small starting stacks and rapidly escalating blinds reduce the effect of skill on the outcome, thus leveling the playing field and making the games more attractive to recreational players.

Results have shown them to have made a significant impact on Stars. According to PokerScout in its weekly Scouting Report, during the first week Spin and Gos were introduced, cash game traffic on PokerStars decreased 9.2%, almost certainly from players hopping on the Spin and Go train.

PokerScout took it a step farther when looking at the influence of Spin and Gos. Because PokerStars saw its traffic rise 2.5% at the same time last year, PokerScout figures that Spin and Gos have actually taken away 12% to 16% of the site’s cash game traffic.

On the whole, it appears that people like Lottery Sit and Gos. Opinion has seemed to be generally positive to neutral in the poker community as well. While these high-variance games are not everyone’s cup of tea, many appreciate the fun of the new game type and like that Stars and other sites are coming up with new ideas.

There is one group of players, though, that is not happy at all with the advent of Lottery Sit and Gos: high-volume grinders. These players see the Spin and Go as a threat to their livelihood, as they feel that recreational players are not only moving away from cash games and into Spin and Gos, but also away from certain sit and gos.

One player in particular is trying to do something about it. masuronike, the founder of Tiltbook and a Supernova Elite member on PokerStars, is urging players to e-mail a petition to PokerStars asking the site to eliminate Spin and Gos or at least alter them to make them less attractive to casual players.

In a post, he wrote, “The fact that you can theoretically win a thousand buy-ins in a span of minutes makes the format extremely exciting and addictive for recreational players. That looks like a great thing at first glance and should make the game potentially very profitable for regulars and skilled players. The reality is that the actual profit of even the best and most skillful players will be affected by sheer luck… Most of your winnings will be determined by how lucky you’ll be in hitting and, of course, winning the games with 100+ buy-ins.”

He then explained that it is close to a mathematical impossibility to spin one of the top three prize pool tiers, let alone win one. Showing the math, he calculated that if a player dominated $30 Spin and Gos to the tune of making the money 36% of the time, but did not hit a single 100x, 200x, or 1,000x prize pool in 100,000 chances, he would only profit $1,168.

He went on to say that Spin and Gos “may ruin the whole ecosystem of online poker, as it might be very compelling for a recreational player to play a game that potentially offers a $30,000 win just minutes after paying the $30 buy-in.” There will be little incentive, masuronike believed, for a casual player to participate in other game formats that offer less potential money and take longer to play.

Alternatively, he created another petition for those who like Spin and Gos, but would prefer the prize pool distribution to top out at 100x to make them less attractive to recreational players.

What do you think of the Spin and Go format? Leave a comment here and let us know.

PokerScout’s Scouting Report is a daily newsletter for the online poker industry, with in-depth data and analysis of the market. More information can be found by clicking here or contacting support@pokerscout.com.

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30 COMMENTS

    • Maybe it balances out with the amount of new degens being enticed in then trying their luck at a regular format.

    • it doesn’t balance out.these things are absurdi tried my luck a few times then i emailed support and told them to block my access permanently and irrevocably

    • It probably wont fully restabilise, but I think there’s just a buzz about them atm. and with time some people will fall off that hype train and return to the cg’s imo. I think it’ll recover a little bit.

    • They are fun to play when your on the train or bus and can only play for 5-10 minutes. But I don’t think people are out there grinding these? I guess they could be.

    • it doesn’t balance out.these things are absurdi tried my luck a few times then i emailed support and told them to block my access permanently and irrevocably

      me too and on fulltilt i emailed them

    • it doesn’t balance out.these things are absurdi tried my luck a few times then i emailed support and told them to block my access permanently and irrevocably

      sounds like me lol these may be fun to hit up once and while but for someone like me I could defintely see me tilting away buyin after buyin from frustration of how much luck plays the part in these. If I was allowed of stars I probably would do the same and have my account blocked from playing those ahah : P

    • Maybe it balances out with the amount of new degens being enticed in then trying their luck at a regular format.

      never

    • never

      I think everyone just needs to relax, like everything else this will calm down. It isn’t going to end profitable poker, I mean come on already. I have been hearing since 2006 from players who don’t play anymore, they think the glory days are over, no real money to be made anymore!! If that sounds ridiculous, it is because it is. Just be patient and everything will be okay. Best of luck to all on the felt!!

    • I think everyone just needs to relax, like everything else this will calm down. It isn’t going to end profitable poker, I mean come on already. I have been hearing since 2006 from players who don’t play anymore, they think the glory days are over, no real money to be made anymore!! If that sounds ridiculous, it is because it is. Just be patient and everything will be okay. Best of luck to all on the felt!!

      +1

    • I think it would be hard to convince a congressman against internet gambling that this isn’t internet gambling. Counter productive, in my opinion.

    • I think everyone just needs to relax, like everything else this will calm down. It isn’t going to end profitable poker, I mean come on already. I have been hearing since 2006 from players who don’t play anymore, they think the glory days are over, no real money to be made anymore!! If that sounds ridiculous, it is because it is. Just be patient and everything will be okay. Best of luck to all on the felt!!

      +1

    • Three things:1) This format is boring. How come you conclude that it is addictive? 2. The probability to win thousands in minutes is wrong. PS only wants to attract people there, it is a marketing strategy, no way you are going to make thousands in minutes on that format.3. It is fantastic for someone who has very few minutes to play. If a casual player has more time to play, for sure is going to play a 180/90/45/27 mans SNG.

    • It seems to attract a lot of novices, assumably these ppl already have accounts so idk if it’s bringing more ppl to poker. But you can see the attraction for novice players, the chance (while very slim, surely this is what they thinking about when they reg) of decent money, coupled with them being able to play the game within 8mins. So they can play it anywhere they’ve 8mins, there is a high proportion of ppl playing on mobiles.At the end of the day poker is an enjoyable recreation for these ppl, there is no need to whinge about ppl who want to enjoy what ever game they want to play. If your a cash game player adjust and win or stfu.Even if you skim out the money being put aside for the big ones they are still profitable imo, just because the players are so weak.One thing tho, it doesnt seem like fulltilt charge rake as yet, atleast it doesnt say that they do.

    • So it’s bad that a rec player gets SUPER lucky and binks a $30K spin N go? there gonna go dump it in the cash games to the regs right? Seems like a good thing to me..could help the Poker Economy, they can then take shots, I think it has lots of Positive effects.. Look at the long term..Just my 2 cents.

    • So it’s bad that a rec player gets SUPER lucky and binks a $30K spin N go? there gonna go dump it in the cash games to the regs right? Seems like a good thing to me..could help the Poker Economy, they can then take shots, I think it has lots of Positive effects.. Look at the long term..Just my 2 cents.

      to get those 30k others will spend 50, it doesn’t work like that!

    • What big$bond said! sugadadd– of course Full Tilt charge rake. 😉 They don’t explicitly state the rake, but you can calculate it from the tables here: http://www.fulltilt.com/poker/tournaments/Jackpot It works out that you’re paying 5% rake on $1-$10 buyins, and 4% rake on $50 buyins. PokerStars only rake 4% on $7-$30 spin’n’gos, but they rake their $1 games at a hefty 7%.

    • why complain about this? i certainly think its an interesting format. i have played a lot of these (unfortunately for play money) but have noticed the people playing them ask to ‘chop’ even at the 6x level and get pissed if you dont. They are essentially gamblers who are chasing the big score and really want to cash each time for another jackpot spin. They have no clue what they are doing for the most part. Not sure if the real money ones is the same but I would assume its similar. There has to be a way to find an edge in these.

    • why complain about this? i certainly think its an interesting format. i have played a lot of these (unfortunately for play money) but have noticed the people playing them ask to ‘chop’ even at the 6x level and get pissed if you dont. They are essentially gamblers who are chasing the big score and really want to cash each time for another jackpot spin. They have no clue what they are doing for the most part. Not sure if the real money ones is the same but I would assume its similar. There has to be a way to find an edge in these.

      ive both real and play and never seen anyone ask for a chop. You can’t chop in play money anyways, it is probably someone trolling, support won’t chop play money and you can only send 1k in transfers now.

    • I think everyone just needs to relax, like everything else this will calm down. It isn’t going to end profitable poker, I mean come on already. I have been hearing since 2006 from players who don’t play anymore, they think the glory days are over, no real money to be made anymore!! If that sounds ridiculous, it is because it is. Just be patient and everything will be okay. Best of luck to all on the felt!!

      +1000000

    • Get good at hypers.I don’t see what everyone is whining about.So many players (at least at the lower end) were just trying to hit a big one and if not just shoving atc the first hand. Even the ones that played it out had no idea how to play hypers.Why am I wasting my time writing this when there is so much money to be made, cya!