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PokerStars Launches Spin & Go Tournaments in Spain

Online poker is a copycat industry. One poker room does something that works and sooner or later, its competitors follow suit. I mean, why not? Why let another poker room draw away your customers with an offering that requires minimal costs to add on your own site? Change its name, alter a feature slightly, and boom…you’re in business.

See, they’re McDonald’s… I’m McDowell’s. They got the Golden Arches, mine is the Golden Arcs. They got the Big Mac, I got the Big Mick. We both got two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions, but their buns have sesame seeds. My buns have no seeds.

Following Full Tilt Poker’s recent rollout of Jackpot Sit and Go’s, PokerStars (owned by the same company as Full Tilt Poker) has launched its mimic on its Spain-only site, PokerStars.es. Called Spin & Go’s, these single-table tournaments give players a chance to potentially quickly win big with a small buy-in.

Spin & Go’s are three-handed single-table tournaments in which players start with just 500 chips and the blinds increase every three minutes (yes, every three minutes). The buy-ins are small: €1, €2, €5, or €10. To register, players enter the Spin & Go lobby, select the buy-in for which they wish to play, and select the number of simultaneous tables at which they wish to be seated. Once the register button is click, the player is taken to table where he waits for the other two seats to be filled. PokerStars Spin & Go

When players occupy each of the three seats, a large spinner will appear on the middle of table and display what the prize pool of the tournament will be. That’s the difference between this and other Sit and Go tourneys (besides being three-handed and crazy fast): the prize pool, rather than simply being the sum of the buy-ins minus the rake, is a randomly determined multiple of the buy-in. Possibilities for the prize pool are two to 1,000 times the buy-in. Additionally, it is a winner-take-all tournament. There is no prize for second place.

As one might expect, there is a much greater chance for the prize pool to be twice the buy-in as opposed to 1,000 times the buy-in. Here is a breakdown of the probabilities of each prize pool:

2x buy-in – 75,757 out of 100,000 (75.76 percent)
4x buy-in – 14,924 out of 100,000 (14.92 percent)
6x buy-in – 8,215 out of 100,000 (8.22 percent)
10x buy-in – 1,000 out of 100,000 (1.00 percent)
25x buy-in – 80 out of 100,000 (0.08 percent)
100x buy-in – 15 out of 100,000 (0.015 percent)
200x buy-in – 5 out of 100,000 (0.005 percent)
1,000x buy-in – 4 out of 100,000 (0.004 percent)

So, yeah, don’t count on hitting it big in a Spin & Go. The combined probability of spinning a prize pool of 25 times or higher is only one-tenth of one percent. And you still have to actually win the short tournament, using little or no skill to do so.

As mentioned, Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars’ sister site, introduced its version of this same type of game recently, calling them Jackpot Sit and Go’s. While each tournament must be registered for individually, everything is the same as PokerStars’ version except for the possible payouts and probabilities. Here’s a look at the breakdown for Full Tilt Poker, for comparison:

2x buy-in – 72,500 out of 100,000 (72.50 percent)
4x buy-in – 22,500 out of 100,000 (22.50 percent)
6x buy-in – 3,900 out of 100,000 (3.90 percent)
10x buy-in – 710 out of 100,000 (0.71 percent)
20x buy-in – 350 out of 100,000 (0.35 percent)
100x buy-in – 30 out of 100,000 (0.03 percent)
500x buy-in – 7 out of 100,000 (0.007 percent)
2,000x buy-in – 3 out of 100,000 (0.003 percent)

As you can see, the bottom four prize pools are the same, but PokerStars’ next level is 25x versus Full Tilt’s 20x. Full Tilt has the edge, though, at the top of the spectrum, giving players a chance at 500x and 2,000x prize pools, compared to PokerStars’ 200x and 1,000x.

The probabilities are slightly different, as well. Full Tilt Poker gives players a much better chance at the 4x buy-in prize pool (about a 7.5 percent difference), but a much lower chance at the 6x prize pool (close to 4 percent). After that, while there are some differences, the percentages are so tiny that it is really not a big deal.

Additionally, all three players will share in the prize pool on Full Tilt Poker at the top three prize levels (75 percent to first, 15 percent to second, 10 percent to third), while everything is winner-take-all on PokerStars.

French poker room Winamax.fr was the first poker room to introduce the world to these sorts of Sit and Go tournaments, launching Expresso Poker in July 2013. The iPoker Network followed suit in January 2014 with its version, Twister Poker.

Spin & Go tournaments are currently available on the desktop software an on the PokerStars Android app. PokerStars says it should be coming to other mobile platforms soon.

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