The controversy swirling around Spin & Gos at PokerStars was addressed by a site representative who answered critics by posting on 2 + 2 that the revolutionary, hyper-turbo, lottery-jackpot Sit n’ Gos are saving, rather than killing, online poker.
Since launching on September 29, Spin & Gos have been blasted by regular players who are upset that the games are attracting recreational players, taking those players away from the cash tables and “regular” Sit n’ Gos. The angry cries in protest include the belief by some regs that Spin & Gos are “killing the games” and led to the formation of a petition to do away with, or at least alter, Spin & Gos as currently offered.
PokerStars remained mum on the controversy, save for a rant from site ambassador Daniel Negreanu one week ago, who opined that winning players were responsible for killing the games and destroying poker’s ecosystem. The site’s silence was broken yesterday and the official stance offered by PokerStars falls along the same lines as KidPoker’s thoughts on the issue.
Poker is increasingly struggling to attract new players, and Spin and Gos serve exactly this purpose,” stated PokerStars Ring Game Manager Baard Dahl. “I think it is much more likely that in a few years we are going to say that Spin and Gos saved online poker than Spin and Gos were responsible for killing the game.”
14 million games played and counting
The prospect of landing at a Spin & Go where the prize pool could be as high as 1,000x a single buy-in is quite enticing for the casual crowd. It has resulted in 14 million Spin & Go games played to date in just over two weeks, a staggering number.
Cash game player traffic numbers tallied by PokerScout support the claims of regs that perhaps too many players are spinning their way over to the new Spin & Gos. Ring game action has declined in percentages of double digits since the new concept was launched. Yet Dahl continued to defend Spin & Gos, keeping in mind that an obligation remains to give customers what they want.
We cannot lose sight of the fact that we are a business and that we do business in a competitive environment,” Dahl posted. “And as a business, we need to provide the products that are pleasing to our customers. Clearly, given the popularity of Spin and Go, we have many customers who like the format, are pleased that we have offered it, and based on the overall volume of play on our site, it is clear that players are overall happier than they were before.”
Online poker always evolving
The ring game manager went on to remind players that the online poker industry is always changing. Adaptation to new elements or features that may be added or removed along the way is required for success. That ability to go with the flow and accept the changes goes both ways –players and site operators alike.
We do need to keep adapting to provide the games that our customers as a whole prefer,” Dahl added. “If we don’t, someone else will. So when a new product comes along that captures the imagination of a wide range of players, it is not something that we can just pass on because we don’t want to upset the regular players.”
It is evident that PokerStars plans to keep riding the Spin & Go craze, as long as that’s what its customers want. That may cause some regs to take their multi-tabling elsewhere, but PokerStars appears intent on catering to the needs of the largest number of players possible. As any business would do.
“In general, we spend our development resources on the features that have the most positive impact on the greatest number of players, and the development and launch of Spin & Gos is likely to reach the greatest number of players that we have seen in a very long time,” Dahl said.