PokerStars' First New Jersey Post-Launch Promo Is More Ploy Than Promotion

Spin & Go Special Edition On PokerStars NJ Less Of A Promo, More Of An Event

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To the surprise of no one, the first post-launch promotion on PokerStars NJ is focused solely on the operator’s widely popular and highly raked gambling/poker hybrid: Spin & Go’s.

Just as they have on ROW, the three-man hyper turbos and their randomized prize pools have taken the New Jersey online poker market by storm, so much so that Stars’ traditional sit & go lobby is a barren wasteland of inactivity.

Inevitably, the prospect of winning a significantly larger top prize will drive even more traffic to the format. Yet players shouldn’t be so quick to jump, as a look beyond the bold lettering reveals that $100,000 Spin & Go Special Edition is the rare promotion that will have a detrimental impact on the average player’s bankroll.

How does $100,000 Spin & Go Special Edition work?

The new promotion is an exercise in simplicity, with the sole significant change being that at the top ($10) buy-in level only, the maximum multiplier will be lifted from 1,200x to 12,000x.

What this means is that instead of playing for a maximum $10,000 first place prize, combatants can potentially play for as much as $100,000, with second and third place taking home a hefty $10,000 consolation prize.

The event will go on until the $120,000 prize pool is spun exactly once, at which point, the prize structure will revert back to normal. Considering the exceedingly low odds of spinning the top multiplier (1 in 500,000) combined with the capped liquidity of the NJ market, this may take awhile – based on current popularity estimates, an average of somewhere between six and eight weeks feels about right.

As elaborated upon here, the promotion was cleverly paired with a deposit bonus on Stars that doles out $40 in cash and a $10 buy-in Spin & Go ticket to players who make a first time deposit of $20 or more on the site.

The hope is that once new depositors check out the lottery sngs – a format that has been unavailable to NJ players until recently – the allure of winning a six-figure top prize will keep them coming back for more, and more.

A lucrative opportunity or marketing ploy?

From my reading, $100,000 Spin & Go Special Edition is a PR stunt designed exclusively to draw net depositing players to PokerStars, and a bit of a sneaky one at that, as the average player will be losing more money on a match-per-match basis than before the promotion began.

Instead of merely tacking on the $100,000 top prize as an added value bonus, PokerStars reworked the odds of hitting each multiplier across the board. Although the lowest multiplier (2x) will hit with a slightly reduced frequency, this benefit is more than offset by lower hit prevalence at the 6x, 10x and 25x multiplier levels.

All told, players will be paying 7.0 percent rake during the promotion, as opposed to 6.87 percent before. Assuming a player doesn’t hit a top three multiplier during the promotion (.0152 percent chance), they’ll pay an average of 8.6 percent to the house per game.

Granted, the games will probably be softer than they have been, but an 8.6 percent rake is high enough to ravage even a competent player’s bankroll over time.

Yet, as long as players continue to flock to the Spin & Go tables, this is the type of promotion we should expect from Stars – one that generates a one-time positive PR piece, increased deposits on PokerStars as it continues its debut on the U.S. online poker stage, and a whole bucket load of cash for a few lucky players, but does little to pad the average player’s bankroll.

In other words, we should expect promotions that aren’t really promotions.

- Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several publications centered on legal US online poker and the regulated online gambling industries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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