PokerStars continues to make adjustments to the EPT, two more million dollar Spin-and-Go’s drop, online poker finds a potential ally in Marco Rubio, Hellmuth no longer coaching Butteroni. All this and more in today’s Hit and Run.

EPT offering twice as many colors for half the buy-in?

This year’s European Poker Tour (EPT) has already seen numerous changes to its tournament offerings, with way more events at each stop, lower buy-ins overall, novel formats, etc. Today, two more changes were announced, one which is proving quite popular, the other not quite so much.

Events #44 and #57 at EPT Malta are going to be used as a testing ground for new four-color decks, produced by the card manufacturer Copag. This isn’t the first time four-color decks have been tried, and they’ve tended to do poorly in the past, but things may be different this time around. For one thing, the European poker scene is much younger than Las Vegas, so the old habits aren’t as deeply entrenched. For another, the EPT is owned by PokerStars, and the new decks look very much like what you see in the PokerStars client if you turn on the four-color option, so green Clubs and blue Diamonds may not look as weird to most players as they have in the past. The only question is whether, in practice, the high visibility will mean more suits get flashed by clumsy players and dealers, but so far, feedback is mostly positive.

Much less popular is the decision to chop the buy-in in half for the Grand Final in Monte Carlo. The Grand Final has always come with a €10,000 price tag in the past, but that will be dropped to €5000 this year. Lowering buy-ins to attract more recreational players is something that typically gets a mixed-reaction, but the poker public’s response here was much poorer than usual. The reason is that Monte Carlo is hugely expensive in general, and lowering the buy-in means the expected profit to expense ratio may not make the stop worth it for many pros.

Two more million-dollar jackpots on PokerStars

PokerStars’s one-year Spin-and-Go anniversary promotion must be pulling in quite a lot of traffic, because the million dollar prizes are hitting at a much greater frequency than we’ve ever seen before. Part of it may be that there are now three different stake levels which all offer the (remote) possibility of a seven-figure payday. With the top tier jackpots for the regular Spin-and-Go’s having been raised to 10,000 times the buy-in, the $100 Spin-and-Go’s offer this chance on a permanent basis, while to celebrate the one-year anniversary, PokerStars has temporarily brought back the $5 “limited edition” Spin-and-Go’s, plus a new $0.50 option.

Prior to last night, there had already been three million-dollar winners in the first week of the promotion. A fourth million-dollar prize then dropped last night, followed by another one this morning, just 12 hours after the last. There had previously only been a total of five million-dollar prizes awarded in total, so this past week has produced as many Spin-and-Go millionaires as the entirety of the preceding year. Of the new winners, two received their windfall by way of a $100 buy-in, and the other three via a limited-edition $5. So far, none of the $0.50 Spin-and-Go’s have hit the jackpot, but this is unsurprising, given how long the odds have to be to produce a 2,000,000 buy-in payout.

Rubio might support online poker

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and as repeated by Card Player, Florida Senator and potential presidential candidate Marco Rubio made statements to suggest he might not be entirely opposed to online poker, despite being a co-sponsor of a bill to ban online gambling nationwide. He stopped short of actually proposing a carve-out for poker, but acknowledged that he understands poker is fundamentally different from, say, online slots, because of its skill element. This seems like it should be obvious, but due to lobbying efforts by Sheldon Adelson and others, it’s a fact that few in Rubio’s party are willing to grant, so it’s a more significant statement than it might appear on the surface.


– Phil Hellmuth announced on Twitter that he’s not going to be coaching Federico Butteroni after all, essentially because he’s too busy.

Steve O’Dwyer won the EPT Malta Single-Day High Roller for €327030.

– PokerUpdate has some recommendations for who you might want to watch on Twitch in the coming year.

– It seems not everyone is thrilled with the selection of John Juanda and Jennifer Harman for the WSOP Hall of Fame this year.

– Andrew Barber posted a video to YouTube warning of the dangers of high markup. Many of the points he makes it the video are similar to ones from his interview with PartTimePoker this summer.