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Better: WPN JPs or PS Spin and Go's?

PokerStars LogoWinning Poker Network Logo  Sites are always looking to offer players something that no one else.  Winning Poker Network did this for US-based players by introducing Jackpot SNGs, but what should rest of world players do?  Should they just stick with PokerStars or does Winning Poker Network offer an intriguing option for players?

PokerStars Spin and Go’s v. Winning Poker Network Jackpot SNGs!

When players are looking for sites to play at, many times they default to PokerStars without much consideration for external factors.  If you were a Spin and Go player you had to default there, because PokerStars was the only site that offered the game, but now Winning Poker Network has launched their answer to this game type.  Which site you should play at might not be such an easy answer as it turns out and here are we are hoping to provide a better look at your options and do the research, so you don’t have to.

Game Selection: PokerStars

When looking at game selection there is little surprise that PokerStars wins this section, but there is one huge caveat with this.  Winning Poker Network offers Pot Limit Omaha Jackpots, which is something that PokerStars doesn’t offer.  Winning Poker Network still only offers $2 and $10 levels for those PLO JPs though, so anyone wanting to play high stakes is out of luck.  There is no word on when/if PokerStars will add different games in the Spin and Go format, but they haven’t to his point so it seems unlikely it would happen in the near future at any rate.

With that, you may think that Winning Poker Network should win the section, but the problem that Winning Poker Network suffers from is not having an easy way to move up stakes.  Currently they only offers 2 levels of PLO and 3 levels of No Limit Hold’em Jackpots.  This makes it hard to move up, because at $2, $10 and $40 there are huge gaps in the levels.  PokerStars on the other hand has $1, $3, $7, $15, $30 and $60 levels allowing for a much more natural progression up the ranks.

PokerStars gets another slight edge when you talk about the availability of games in terms of traffic.  It’s no secret that PokerStars has the best traffic of any site in the world by a pretty wide margin, and even at the lowest points for the site it is still above peak traffic for Winning Poker Network.  This means that it is difficult to get games during early morning and early afternoon hours on Winning Poker Network (US Eastern Time.)  This is just a problem you won’t run into very much on PokerStars, but that is because there are more grinders on PokerStars, presumably making the games harder.

Effective Rake Paid: Winning Poker Network Wins

Previous to the announcement that Winning Poker Network is finally adding the Jackpot SNGs into the Sit n’ Crush leaderboard this was a really hard question to answer, not so much anymore.  PokerStars has a higher rake at the lowest level with 7% rake compared to 6% for Winning Poker network.  The middle stakes sees a comparable rake rate of 6% while PokerStars gets the slight nod at the higher stakes with a 5% rake rate. 

This isn’t the only thing that should be looked at though, because both sites have their own benefits program that can tip this in the favor of either site.  The VIP program at PokerStars has been seen as one of the best programs for some time now, but Winning Poker Network actually has a nearly identical system.  So while this might seem like a wash then, PokerStars has a slight advantage, because part of the rake you pay on Winning Poker Network actually goes towards the Sit n’ Crush, which is a weekly rake race offered by Winning Poker Network.  This means that you actually gain more VIP points under the Stars system and thus raise up the tiers of the VIP system faster.

That being said though, PokerStars doesn’t have a rake race for players to participate in, so this advantage if rather neutralized.   In most cases you are going to gain more from the Sit n’ Crush than you would from the extra VIP points, except in a few very rare cases.  Lower stakes players are still going to be better off with the lower rake offered by Winning Poker Network, while the higher stakes players are going to have their higher rake supplemented by a lucrative rake race every week.  The middle stakes players stand to gain the most as they will have a good chance of placing in the rake race while paying the same rake on both sites.

Game Payouts: Winning Poker Network Wins

We covered the rake in the previous section and considering our findings there you might expect this to be even, or for Stars to have a slight edge when looking at payouts, because effective rake paid isn’t really taken into consideration.  Surprisingly, this isn’t the case though.  Winning Poker Network actually gets the edge here, because despite the 6% rake across the board, they offer the same payout percentages as the high stakes 5% raked Stars Spin and Go’s.  The way that Winning Poker network achieves this is by having smaller multipliers.  While this might sound disappointing in some ways, in reality 99.4% of the time you are actually in better shape with how Winning Poker network structures there payouts by taking some from the top most levels and spreading them out among the lower payout levels, most notably by making it 3-5% more likely to hit a 4x spin.

PokerStars Spin n' Go Prizes and Frequencies

PokerStars SnG SNG table

The real world result of this change is much lower variance for players, because they are going to be competing for more than a 2x spin more often, giving them more of a cushion.  Players who are serious can’t be banking on that 0.6% of payouts to help them, so the change from less likely dream payouts to practical grinder friendly payouts that also helps casual players play longer on their deposits and makes grinders more likely to not need to move down from downswings, it’s a win-win.  If you still are a bit skeptical, think of the lottery that is popular in much of the US.  You could always win the top prize, but it happens so little that it just doesn’t make it a smart play to gamble on it.

Winning Poker Network Prizes and Frequencies

WPN JPs Table


The answer isn’t easy and each player needs to take a look at things individually.  Winning Poker Network, consisting of America's Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, True Poker, Ya Poker, and PokerHost, currently doesn’t have as nice of software as what PokerStars does, nor do they have the traffic that PokerStars enjoys, but there are some pretty big factors that might make Winning Poker Network a better answer.  Lower effective rake paid with better game payouts for many of the levels is something that Winning Poker Network can offer that PokerStars just doesn’t.  These better game payouts mean less variance, but overall less top prize ability, which shouldn’t be a reason you chose wone site over another.  It’s important to know what kind of playing patterns you will have as a player.  If you are just going to play a few games and that’s it, then PokerStars likely wins, but any kind of noticeable volume and its likely Winning Poker Network would get the nod.  If you still have questions about what site is best for you, feel free to use our Contact Us page for a personalized consultation.  Which site are you going with and why?  Tell us on Twitter and Facebook!