PokerStars has introduced “Spin & Go,” a new poker variant known collectively as Lottery Sit and Gos, first introduced on Winamax last year and now available on four of the top ten online poker networks globally.
It is currently live on the segregated market in Spain. A rollout to other networks, including dot-com and dot-eu, can be expected soon.
In Lottery Sit and Gos, players sit in 3-handed, hyper-turbo structure NL tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $1 to $10.
The twist is that the prize—which usually goes entirely to the winner of the tournament—is randomized at the start of the tournament, ranging from 2x the buyin to 1000x.
The format is known as Expresso on Winamax, Twister on iPoker, and Jackpot on Full Tilt.
With the addition to PokerStars, Lottery Sit and Gos are the biggest innovation in online poker since the introduction and proliferation of fast-fold poker.
The PokerStars format follows very closely Winamax’s original, since aped by iPoker and Full Tilt. The games are three handed, the structure is fast, and there is no table selection.
Players choose the buyin (€1, €2, €5 and €10—the same as on Winamax), the number of games to play (from one to five), and hit “Register.” The player is automatically assigned into a three-handed tournament.
At the start of the tournament, the prize pool is randomly selected. 75% of the time, the prize will just be double the buyin. 15% of the time, the prize pool is four times the buy-in. The big prizes are a lot less frequent—a 200x prize occurs five times in 100,000; The jackpot—1000x the buyin—occurs four times in 100,000.
Full Tilt’s Jackpot Sit and Gos introduced new innovations, including a more top-heavy payout table, a lower rake (5%), and a 3-way payout split for the bigger prizes. Its bigger brother has stuck much closer to the Winamax original.
In fact, the pay table of Spin & Go and Expresso is very close indeed—there are some tweaks to the middle of the paytable—the 50x payout is a much more frequent than the 25x payout—but the effective rake is nearly identical, at 7%.
Spin & Go is available for both play money and real money on PokerStars Spain. It can be played on both the PokerStars 6 and PokerStars 7 client, which was recently rolled out to its Spanish player base. It is also available on the Android mobile app, and is slated to roll out on iOS shortly.
PokerStars was not available to comment on the rollout of Spin & Go into other regulations, but it is very likely to be introduced on dot-com soon, assuming this test phase in Spain is a success.
After being introduced on dot-com, its addition to open-pool dot-countries, including Denmark and Belgium, can be expected once authorized by regulators.
An introduction in France, to compete with the industry leader Winamax and the smaller iPoker, is assuredly on the cards once authorized by ARJEL. The format has also been recently authorized in Italy, so it can be expected there too.
The popularity of the format is hard to gauge—with no lobby and no observable tables, there is no way to tell how many tournaments run. However, if its quick adoption in the industry is any indication, the format must be quite popular.