Oct 21, 2014
Some Players Want Lottery Style Poker Games Banned
By RTR Dennis
For years, online poker has been a positive-expectation game, where pros feast on fish and make big profits while doing so. But lately, lottery-style poker games are starting to enter the scene. Incorporating large elements of chance, lottery-style games have an obvious focus on recreational players. And so far these offerings have been a huge success.
From Full Tilt's "Jackpot Sit & Gos" to iPoker's "Twister," SNG-based lottery games have been generating a significant amount of revenue for online poker sites. And this trend doesn't look to stop any time soon, with PokerStars rolling out "Spin & Gos." These are 3max SNGs that offer 500-chip starting stacks and 3-minute blind levels. But here's the kicker: rather than delivering standard SNG prizes to players, a random number generator decides what the winner will receive.
The exciting thing is that players can win up to 1,000x their buy-in; the downside is that the probability of this happening is 4 in 100,000. Furthermore, the winner will only receive 2x their buy-in around 75% of the time, which is lower than the standard 3x buy-in payout.
Argument for banning "Spin & Go's"
PokerStars grinder and TiltBook founder 'MASUR0N1KE' has been very vocal in his complaints about Spin & Gos. He claims that these SNGs have already ruined the 6max hypers traffic at PS.es/.it/.fr. Moreover, MASURON1KE believes that many fish are gravitating towards Spin & Gos while leaving behind the +EV SNGs where pros make their money.
He has done calculations on lottery-style payouts and figured out that, due to insane variance, winning players will find it nearly impossible to earn long-term profits - even when playing against fish and having a 10% ROI. MASURON1KE has since created a petition to ban Spin & Gos while relegating lottery-style poker games to just Ful Tilt. His argument is that PokerStars should remain the online site that still caters to pure poker players.
Argument for keeping Lottery SNG's
Daniel Negreanu is leading the support for keeping Spin & Gos on his sponsor's site. Negreanu's argument centers on his belief that these SNGs help recreational players avoid pros and stretch their dollar further. Here's an excerpt from what he posted at TwoPlusTwo:
Do you know what kills games and destroys the poker ecosystem above and beyond all the things mentioned? Winning players. Yup, you guys lol. The winning players as a whole win a lot more money than the company makes each and every year. Yet, oddly, they still offer VIP programs to the very people who are essentially "killing the games."
If Spin N' Go's deterred pros from playing, that actually HELPS the poker ecosystem immensely, it just may not help YOU personally. I love, love, love, and love this concept and if it helps to level the playing field a little bit, while allowing rec players to stretch their dollars a bit further than before, I think in the end that is a win for everyone- even the winning players who are upset about it now.
Petition has a Tough Road to Success
While MASURON1KE makes some good arguments, his petition is unlikely to convince PokerStars to remove Spin & Gos. As long as these SNGs remain profitable and the large majority of players enjoy them, Spin & Gos will stick around.
Of course there's also the healthy poker ecology aspect to consider, where winning players create liquidity and games at all stakes. Without successful players, there wouldn't be many mid and high stakes games available for customers to choose. But even with this being the case, Stars seems more worried about their rec player base, just like every other poker room out there. And unfortunately, semi-pros and pros aren't a top priority right now.