Over the years, we have seen PokerStars release many new and exciting game formats, but the popular jackpot sit-and-go format used by Spin and Goes was not initially patented by the operator. In fact, other jackpot SNGs were available on a number of other poker sites before Spins ever appeared on the market, but the size and volume PokerStars offered really stood out right off the bat.
Today, Spin and Go poker tournaments are some of the site's most popular games, loved by recreational players and professional grinders.
If you have been playing some Spins and failing to devise a good Spin and Go strategy, we have some tips that will help you get better at this game format and do well in the future. But before we delve into it, let's talk about what Spin and Goes are and how they differ from other tournament types out there.
Spin and Go is the name PokerStars gave to their jackpot sit and go tournament brand, although similar games are also available at other poker sites. In a classic Spin and Go, the game starts when three players have signed up, as these tournaments are not scheduled and start according to the classic sit and go rules.
Once the three players are registered and paid their buyin, the random number generator will select one of the many available prizes for which players will be playing.
Unlike a typical SNG where players play for the money they bought in for (minus the rake), in Spin and Go, the prize will be completely random and decided before the game begins.
At each buyin level, there will be a range of possible prizes that can come up, with a million-dollar prize available even in $5 Spin and Goes. More often than not, however, the three players will be left playing for just two buyins, which will be awarded to the winner.
In fact, the entire prize pool is awarded to the winner in all but a few Spin and Goes, making this a very top-heavy game that needs to be approached differently than regular SNGs where ICM implications matter and pay jumps exist.
One of the great things about Spin and Goes is that these games are running around the clock at every buyin level and that you can get in as much volume as you want.
Spin and Go poker features a hyper-turbo blinds structure, with games taking only a few minutes to play out. It is also very possible to multi-table Spin and Goes, making these games ideal for grinders.
In fact, Spin and Goes today are very similar to what single table SNGs used to be back in the early days of poker, except for the fact that variance is huge in these tournaments.
The lowest buyin Spin and Go currently available at PokerStars has a $0.25 buyin, while $1,000 Spin and Goes are also available.
The minimum prize you will be playing for in any Spin and Go is always 2x the buyin, while the maximum payouts can go up to $1,000,000 in the higher buyin and the $5 Spin and Goes.
In all other buyin levels, you will be looking at the top prize of 12,000x your buyin, which will come up once in a million Spins, making volume the absolute most important factor in chasing down the jackpot.
The problem with jackpot sit and goes is that the vast majority of players in them never get to play for the top prize or even one of the higher prizes in general, as they are simply so rare.
Considering that these games also come with a rake structure that charges between 5% and 8% of the total buyin, many players were skeptical about whether or not it’s even possible to be profitable in this game format.
However, time has shown that players who approach the game with the right Spin and Go strategy can be profitable over the long run, regardless of the jackpots.
Because these games are played by so many recreational players, it is not at all uncommon to see many players play very bad poker whenever playing for a 2x or 3x prize pool. Since the quality of play in these games is much lower than that in regular poker games, there is a massive edge to be had over the majority of the player pool.
All it takes is the right strategy, lots of dedication, and a willingness to play large volumes while going through some significant swings.
In order to help you get better results in Spin and Go poker, we have prepared a few tips you can follow to get you started and give you a better chance at beating the games.
This one may be quite obvious, but Spin and Goes are extremely high-variance games, so you must be ready for some harsh downswings. For that reason, you should always approach these games with a deep bankroll and a willingness to lose money before you win.
Starting with 100 buyins should be reasonable at lower levels, but we strongly suggest being willing to reload that bankroll or starting with a larger amount.
As many as 250 buyins for your buyin level should be enough to keep you afloat even through the worst downswings, as long as you play an otherwise winning spin and go strategy.
Once you start playing, you should not focus on your bankroll or the amount you are up or down but on making the right decisions every time you play.
A min-raise refers to a raise worth exactly 2x the big blind and is the preferred raise size in any Spin and Go poker game. If you want, you can bump that up to 2.1x or 2.2x, but sticking to a very small raise size will be very important during the early levels of a Spin and Go.
The result of making a min-raise or raising bigger will usually be the same in most scenarios, and you will save thousands of big blinds over the long run by raising smaller.
Considering the small starting stack and the quickly escalating blinds, any amount of bbs you can save with your raise and bet sizing will matter in the long run.
A typical tournament poker player out there is used to calling raises in late positions with hands like T9s, 98s, or 55, but this kind of strategy will not work out in Spin and Goes.
Since the stacks are so shallow from the very start and there is so little post-flop play to be had, you will not want to waste chips trying to make straights and flushes.
Instead, you will only want to call raises with strong hands in position or defend your big blind against min-raises with speculative hands while re-raising the vast majority of all your hands in all positions.
In fact, you could even adopt a push or fold only strategy against raises from all positions other than the big blind, as this will work quite well at any stack depth you could have in a Spin and Go.
The small blind is the one position you want to play very aggressively in a Spin and Go, as you will always be out of position post-flop, and any calls you make from it open the doors for the big blind to come in or squeeze over the top.
Facing a raise in the small blind, even at the first level, you will want to always three-bet or fold all your hands.
Use all your strong hands, small suited aces, and suited Broadway cards to re-raise over the top of a button raise, and you will end up printing money against recreational players who are raise/folding way too many hands in Spin and Goes.
The push/fold game is an essential part of play in Spin and Goes. Fortunately, this segment of poker was solved many years ago, and you can quite literally learn it by heart.
If you want to have hope of being a successful Spin and Go poker player, you should learn your push/fold charts by heart and always stick to them.
Once your stack gets down to 10 big blinds and lower, your decisions should be automatized and based solely on the push/fold chart suggestions.
You can download the push/fold charts for short stack play and learn them by heart, but remember not to use them while playing as this may be considered cheating under the anti-RTA rules most poker sites have in place these days.
Tournament poker players are used to thinking in terms of ICM on final tables or deep in single-table SNGs, but there is no ICM to think of in a Spin and Go.
In most Spin and Goes, all the money goes to the winner, which makes it identical to playing in a cash game. You only get the money if you win all the chips at the table.
On the other hand, the bigger prize, Spin and Goes, does award something to second and third as well, but these values are usually the same, making the ICM implications non-existent as well.
When playing Spin and Go poker, you will be playing for the first place and first place only. Being second or third doesn’t matter at all.
Don’t expect results to come from playing a few Spin and Goes a day. In fact, you can easily go on a downswing or an upswing lasting hundreds of games, so volume is key.
Fortunately, Spin and Goes don’t last long, so you will be able to easily play many games in a single day and put in a good volume in a short time.
Another thing to keep in mind is that jackpot Spin and Goes literally don’t matter. If you get lucky to have the RNG pull the top prize out of a hat for you, that’s just an extra bonus on top.
You will be able to grind out a solid profit by consistently playing the right Spin and Go strategy and putting in the volume but expect a small ROI that will add up over the many games you play.
Spin and Go poker is one of the wildest and loosest poker formats that have come up in the industry in many years, and that's exactly what makes it so fun. If you are sick and tired of the tight cash game tables or waiting to strike big in big field tournaments, Spin and Goes could be the right game for you.
You will find more recreational players at these tables than anywhere else, and creating a good Spin and Go strategy to adhere to will be easier than in other game formats.
Just remember to keep your expectations reasonable, approach every game seriously and without scoffing at the small prize pools, and you will see your bankroll grow slowly but steadily.
Head over to PokerStars to play your first Spin and Go tournament today, and keep our tips in mind as you play the games and face new and interesting poker decisions.
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