Spin & Go tournaments, under one name or another, have been all the rage in online poker the past couple of years.
Ever since PokerStars introduced the concept, more and more rooms have been adding their own versions of the same idea. Naturally, this led to the discussion about correct Spin & Go strategy.
Incorporating correct Spin & Go strategy requires a lot of understanding. You must always keep in mind the structure of this format and tailor your moves accordingly. The level of play in these tournaments is often sub-par, hence they’re very volatile due to how the prizes are distributed.
Let’s dive into an in-depth analysis Spin & Go strategy advice that should help you take your game to the next level.
Spin & Go strategy basics: Understanding the concept
These tournaments were created primarily with recreational players in mind.
Unlike typical Sit and Go events Spin & Go’s don’t feature a fixed distribution of prizes. Instead, these winner-take-all events award a random prize for finishing first, which can be very small or ridiculously high.
Prize distribution in Spin & Go’s
To explain the prize distribution in Spin & Go’s, let’s take the $1 games as an example.
Since Spin & Go’s are played three-handed (or 4-handed in the case of BLAST at 888 Poker), the game will begin when three players have paid their $1 buy in.
So there’s $3 in the prize pool before the rake.
The rake in PokerStars Spin & Go’s is 8% so the actual prize pool would be $2.76.
However, that isn’t the money that’s awarded.
Instead, at the start of every tournament, a prize multiplier is determined and added to the base buy-in ($1 in this case).
The PokerStars multiplier formula
Multipliers range from 2x to 12,000x, with the possibility of a multiplier hitting decreasing the bigger it gets.
- 2x multiplier ($2) – 734,000 in a million (73.4% of the time)
- 4x multiplier ($4) – 184,506 in a million (18.5% of the time)
- 6x multiplier ($6) – 75,000 in a million (7.5% of the time)
- 10x multiplier ($10) – 5,000 in a million (0.5% of the time)
- 25x multiplier ($25) – 1,000 in a million (0.1% of the time)
- 120x multiplier ($120) – 75 in a million (0.0075% of the time)
- 240x multiplier ($240) – 30 in a million (0.003% of the time)
- 12,000x multiplier ($12,000) – 1 in a million (0.0001% of the time)
This kind of distribution clearly indicates there are certain Spin & Go strategy considerations which need to be taken into consideration.
In most cases, you’ll end up with 2x multipliers, which are quite stingy and significantly increase variance. Of course, occasionally you will also hit the big ones, which is when you need to make things happen.
Understanding Spin & Go Strategy Tweaks
In this article, I won’t talk about general Sit and Go strategy. If you are interested in this topic, check out our in-depth article on sit & go’s, where you will find a lot of advice on how to play during various stages.
Since Spin & Go’s are played three handed and in a hyper format that advanced blinds almost instantaneously you can think of them them as the end game of a regular Sit and Go.
Don’t neglect small multipliers
One of the biggest mistakes you will see recreational players make when playing Spin & Go’s is a total disregard for small multipliers, especially the 2x ones.
Since they didn’t strike gold (again) they just want to be done with it and move to the next one. You will see them shove and call with any two cards just to make things happen faster.
It’s true that small multipliers don’t do much for you in Spin & Go’s, but if you don’t play your A-game in these the already-significant variance will increase even more.
You need to pick as many of these 2x multipliers as you can to maintain your bankroll while waiting for a few bigger ones to finally come around.
Take advantage of awful Spin & Go gameplay
Use the fact that so many players are just playing a horrendous game when in the smallest multiplier tournament and tweak your Spin & Go strategy accordingly.
Be ready to pick them off light. Usually, any ace or two paint cards like KQ will do the trick.
These are winner-take-all tournaments so don’t be afraid to get it in as long as you believe you’re ahead.
When money starts to matter: Spin & Go strategy for big multipliers
Every now and then you’ll hit the Holy Grail of Spin & Go’s in a form of a big multiplier. Of course, 12,000x ones are ridiculously rare and they represent a jackpot of sorts, but the more reasonable ones (6x and 10x) are bound to happen if you play a lot of these tournaments.
Just like many recreational players will be careless in the small multipliers, in the big ones they will tend to become overly cautious. You need to adapt your Spin & Go strategy accordingly, taking a more liberal approach.
Don’t be afraid to open more hands and shove with a wider range of hands when your stack warrants it.
Many players hate the idea of busting out when the winner can take home $120, for example. What they don’t understand that the structure of Spin & Go’s is such that you can’t wait your way to the victory. With blinds increasing so rapidly you need to stay active to keep your stack relevant and maintain your fold equity.
Should you care about Spin & Go Strategy?
Many players believe that Spin & Go are too much like a lottery and don’t like playing them. The truth is, PokerStars did make these tournaments in a lottery style to attract new players.
Casual players may not care about poker strategy and slow grind; they want a chance to hit a big payday in a matter of minutes.
However, with more and more recreational players moving towards these tournaments, Spin & Go strategy becomes important. Professionals are forced to follow the fish, if you will, and go where the money is.
If your “customers” no longer want to play you in a game you used to play it’s your job to adapt and join them in the new game. Not the other way around.
Potential earnings in Spin & Go’s
If you adapt a sound Spin & Go strategy you can expect to have a decent ROI (Return On Investment) over a large sample.
However, you need to understand that over a small sample these tournaments can siphon a pretty big chunk of your bankroll.
Due to inherent volatility caused by skewed prize distribution short-term variance can be quite brutal.
This is nothing to get overly concerned about. Have a big enough bankroll to weather the storms, keep a cool head on your shoulders, and adjust your Spin & Go strategy as necessary.
If you can deal with the variance you might uncover a hidden aquarium
Spin & Go’s are still a relatively fresh game, although they’ve been around for a while now. With many recreational players getting involved, these can represent a real gold mine, but you need to have a proper Spin & Go strategy devised and a good bankroll available to deal with the short-term variance.
While these tournaments can be somewhat frustrating, especially if you can’t master a few wins in big multiplier Spins, as long as you have the patience, a good player should come on top in these games.
One of the most important things for poker success is being adaptable. Don’t be afraid of exploring new games and learning new formats. There is still plenty of money to be made out there for those willing to get it.