Ready or not, lottery style spin and go’s are coming to New Jersey.
If you have been following the news lately, you might have seen quite a few references to PokerStars and their attempt to gain licensure in the New Jersey market. With a purchase from Amaya in July 2014 they have attained their goal and we witnessed them enter the market in the fourth quarter of 2015.
PokerStars launched a spin and go style of play that have some serious poker players reeling. Traditional table and tournament style sit and go (we will explain the difference in a bit) poker games are still very popular in New Jersey. However, the spin and go’s have the potential to either seriously help, or seriously hurt, the traditional online poker game format.
So what are lottery spin and go’s and how exactly are they different from the sit and go style?
To understand Pokerstars spin and go style poker game you first need to understand what a sit and go is. A sit and go is a tournament that typically has 6-10 players at a table. The buy in varies but everyone has the same number of chips to start with. You simply register for a game, pay your buy in and wait for the seats to be filled and begin to play.
In the sit and go poker game there is typically three winners, based on a 10 player game, each player receiving a portion of the pot. There are no huge wins but it’s a great way to learn to play the game and have a cap on any potential loss.
Spin and go’s start with the same basic rules, you register, pay your buy in, then get placed at a table and wait to play. You all start out with the same number of chips and players range from novices to serious. That is where the similarity ends.
In spin and go’s there are only three players who play against each other and compete for a random prize pool. The prize is then multiplied anywhere from 2 to 3000 times and given to the first player. There is a much higher chance of winning big with a spin and go, it’s no wonder they are gaining in popularity.
Imagine if you received an email that Player X had just won $10,000 in a spin and go with only a $5 buy-in! That kind of payout would get even the most serious player interested. Of course, many players would argue that over the long haul the spin and go’s do not offer the same type of earning potential as a traditional game, and the prizes are largely based on luck and not skill. But hey, with a chance to win a big payout like that, with such a small buy in, who wouldn’t want to give it a try?
It’s Not All Fun & Games
With the introduction of spin and go’s into the New Jersey market, many online poker players are worried they will see a dramatic decline in the number of players of traditional tournaments.
PokerStar’s spin and go’s are being marketed aggressively and will conceivably take a good chunk of the market share away from other online poker games. Serious players have also made their concerns known that they fear it’s a slippery slope from spin and go’s to casino games, like slots and roulette. The reason is the large prize pool you are playing for is very much like a bonus prize you can win in a slot game, and due to this new dynamic it is taking away from the true nature of play.
Although the allure of a large prize could pull some players away from traditional sit and go style poker tables, in the long haul the high rake that PokerStars takes per game could leave a stream of losers behind them, swearing off online poker all together.
If you look at the PokerStars website they tell you that they take a 5-7% rake off each game of spin and go, depending of course on the stakes. This high rake in by PokerStars could players to lose faster than at traditional poker, making them disillusioned for online gaming and leaving the industry for good.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Although many critics say spin and go’s will pull customers away from online poker completely, other proponents for the game argue that it will actually increase the total number of player’s altogether.
By offering a fast, easy and affordable way to play online poker, PokerStars will be capturing the demographic of players that are not comfortable playing in “big leagues” of online poker.
Many causal players are only willing to spend around 30 minutes playing online and most have varying degrees of skills, making spin and go’s a great option for them.
With the influx of new players, the market should be able to bear any loss of players from online poker to spin and go’s. There may also be a flow of spin and go players to online poker as the players become more confident with the game.
Only Time Will Tell
The entrance of PokerStars spin and go’s into New Jersey’s online gambling market is so new that it will take some time to see how the industry, and players, will respond.
Whether we see a huge influx of new players jumping from spin and go’s to online poker, or as critics fear, a mass exodus of players to spin and go’s and other online casino games, this new and exciting offering is here to stay. Only time will tell what impact this new arena of gambling will have on online poker.