Does PokerStars manually control when the Big Deal jackpot is won?

(Update: the jackpot as of 12:30 GMT Friday,  January 27 is now over $470,000. Given that there now have been roughly 21.8 million losing entries, if the odds of the hitting the jackpot are truly 1 in 5,197,920, meaning that the jackpot wheel is fair, neither predetermined or unevenly weighted, we should have expected the jackpot to be hit 4 times by now. Stated in different terms, the probability of NOT hitting the jackpot after 21.8 million tries is roughly 1.5%. So in true PokerStars fashion, after just about one month since the introduction of “The Deal”, we are supposedly already hitting 66 to 1 long shots.)

Right after publishing the article on the expected value of The Deal, the jackpot has vaulted beyond the break-even point of $272,000 (at the time of writing this article, it stands at $307,000).

There is nothing in their rules stating the probability of spinning the jackpot, so far all we know it could be completely fixed.  But just to gauge the unlikelihood if the original assumption that every spot on the wheel has equal probability of getting hit, the odds of winning the jackpot per 7 StarsCoin is still 1 in 5,197,920.

For the current jackpot to be reached, given that 77% of $0.028 goes towards the progressive jackpot per 7 StarsCoin entry, there have been approximately at least 13,000,000 losing entries at the time of writing this article. This is well beyond the 5,197,920 expected average. (It should be noted there is no difference between entering with 70 StarsCoin versus playing 7 StarsCoin ten times in terms of probability of hitting the jackpot since adding the 36 straight flush possibilities in the 70 StarsCoin case increases the likelihood of a jackpot spin exactly ten times).

I suppose the jackpot could theoretically grow forever but the unlikelihood already of having a jackpot beyond the break-even point makes me wonder if the jackpot is manually controlled to encourage more people to spend their rakeback on a bad deal, since there is no indication anywhere on their Terms of Use or rules page denoting the exact probabilities of the wheel and the game itself.  Who knows, maybe the outcome of the cards in “The Deal” are controlled too.

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