Spin and Go Strategy
This article covers the correct basic strategy for playing Spin and Go (lottery-style prize pool tournaments) and the distinctive features of such games.
We will also examine the GTO approach and tactical nuances for different stack sizes.
Since their introduction on PokerStars in October 2014, Spin&Go’s, or simply Spins, have been providing gamblers worldwide with an opportunity to hit life-changing jackpots.
This format attracts both casual users and seasoned professionals alike. The latter group, however, took their time to carefully examine the new discipline.
While getting the highest multiplier at your table is subject to luck, honing your skills and learning specific strategies can lead to stable returns, even without hitting the top multiplier.
Introducing Spin and Go Poker
Spins bear a resemblance to regular Sit & Go, but they are far more attractive to the masses (particularly to hobbyists) due to a constantly changing prize pool.
Hallmarks of the lottery SnG tournaments:
- As a rule, three individuals are competing.
- Users start playing with a 25 BB stack.
- The entire tournament prize pool is awarded to the victor, although there are exceptions.
- Those who finished in second and third place receive payouts only if a large multiplier is activated (e.g., x100, x200, x3,000, x10,000). However, their winnings are always significantly smaller than the winner's, usually around 10% of the main reward.
- The prize pool becomes known before the game starts, and no deal-making among players is allowed.
- The most common multiplier seen in all versions of this format is x2, where you essentially fight for twice buy-in.
How do you play Spin and Go? Each room that offers lottery-style tournaments sets individual rules regarding blind structure, multipliers and format. So, for example, playing Blasts on 888 poker, people automatically go all-in once a fixed time limit completes. And, until December 2019, these games were held in a 4-max format.
Basic Principles of the Game Strategy
Mastering the skill of short-stack play is essential here. One common and substantial mistake inexperienced users make is waiting for premium hands and sticking to a passive playing style during the first blind levels./p>
You should understand that there are only 25 big blinds in your stack, and the levels increase every 3 minutes (on average). So, waiting for a strong starting hand might leave you with a very short stack of just 2-3 big blinds. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to open with 100% of your range, but your opening range should be wide enough. This is particularly crucial for the button and steals from the small blind position.
BTN's opening range in Spins
SB's stealing range
Notably, a prevalent and advantageous tactic when playing from the small blind is limping.
Let's consider a hand example for a better understanding of the topic:
BTN: 25 BB
Hero (SB): 25 BB
BB: 25 BB
Preflop: Hero has 10♦7♣.
BTN folds, Hero calls 0.5 BB, BB – checks.
Flop: 2♠ 9♣ 5 ♥
Hero bets 1.2 BB, and BB folds.
The tactic of limps (or so-called small-ball) is a favoured approach among skilled Spin & Go players. It’s also widespread in the heads-up stage of tourneys when participants have very tiny stacks remaining. By implementing this tactic, a player in the small blind (in heads-up – on the button) can see flops at a lower cost. Against passive opponents, they can even profitably bet on any board and immediately claim the pot.
For a better understanding, we suggest that you watch the Spin-and-Go hand history review by Douglas Polk:
Playing as per Game Theory Optimal
If you master GTO poker, no other person will be able to outperform you in the long run.
If both participants were to adhere to GTO principles (which is impossible due to the complexity of poker), the only party profiting would be the one who receives rake (a poker room in this hypothetical scenario).
However, it is worth noting that most Spin&Go enthusiasts don’t pay enough attention to Game Theory Optimal and often underestimate its strategic value, unlike those playing regular SNG tournaments.
One could argue that they are somewhat old-fashioned, as high-stakes cash grinders have long been using poker software (such as Piosolver) that assists in finding Spin & Go GTO strategies.
If the best Spin & Go player decided to venture into $25/$50 cash games on PokerStars, they would likely face fierce competition. And there would be a line of 20 people eagerly waiting to join their table and challenge them.
The GTO opening range from the button (shown below) represents a reasonable spectrum assuming that we are playing with a 25 BB stack from that position. And there isn't much to discuss in this regard.
In the screenshot below, you can see how you should behave against 3-betting from the BB (big blind position).
This spectrum differs significantly from yours, primarily because you don’t look at the game as regards Game Theory Optimal. Have you ever considered smooth calling in such a situation with hands like 66-AA? Perhaps you’ve done it with aces or kings, intending to trap your opponent when holding a premium hand. But your possibilities extend beyond that.
Many would agree with the following statement: the majority of players tend to 3-bet from the BB only with nut hands like JJ+ and AQs+, and they rarely bluff, except for the so-called maniacs (in such cases, deviating from GTO strategy is advisable).
So, what’s the point in 4-betting with starters like 22-TT or AJs, as many of you likely do?
It doesn't make sense because you're simply isolating yourself against stronger hands, and this is what programs like Piosolver consider when suggesting ranges based on this information.
Let's look at the SB’s range in heads up with an 11 BB stack through the GTO-based preflop charts below.
You have probably never thought about playing with such a range, have you? Yet, it is worth considering, as any other strategy can be exploited by your adversaries.
Give this range a try when you have 11 BB in Spins and when playing one-on-one (heads up, HU) from the small blind position. You will see how excellent and comfortable you are in this situation.
Five Proven Tips for Spin&Go Players
A raise of 2 BB is enough to force your opponent to fold his/her cards.
Given that you and your rival have relatively short stacks, their decision won't depend on whether you raise 3 or 2 big blinds.
If there is no significant difference, then why pay more? When stealing from the small blind against the big one, you can opt for a 2.5 BB raise to increase your fold equity slightly.
In such tournaments, many people follow a highly conservative playing style and only make re-steals having the top of their range.
It is beneficial to open with nearly 100% of your hands against them and simply take the blinds.
But remember, when they show aggression, you should easily muck everything that doesn’t fall within the top 15% of your range. This approach will help you avoid paying off their premium holdings.
Once your stack dwindles to 8-9 big blinds, you can no longer rely on raise/fold tactics or play hands postflop. Your choices narrow down to either pushing all in or folding. Fortunately, there are numerous online programs available that can help you learn the correct push-fold strategy.
Even a medium pair – 77, 88, 99, TT – with a good kicker is quite a strong hand in Spin&Go. This is where the small-ball approach we mentioned earlier comes into play.
With medium-strength hands, it is advisable to employ a check/call technique more often to catch your opponent’s bluffs.
Boards like A T 3 or K 9 4 will suit you perfectly. Your rival is less likely to have hands better than your middle pair on such boards.
When you have 30% equity or more on the flop (a flush draw with a hit, a flush draw and a gutshot, or a straight draw), you should play with maximum aggression and put all your chips into the pot as quickly as possible.
This tactic will help you to extract maximum value from your equity and is a pivotal factor in achieving success in the discussed discipline.
If you are a novice player, you might find ABC poker strategy to be of interest.
Guide to Proper Bankroll Management
Spin &Go a is highly dispersive discipline, and it requires a substantial approach to bankroll management. To find out how many buy-ins you need for a comfortable game, you have to determine your ROI. You can do it after playing your first thousand tournaments.
Until you accumulate the necessary distance for determining your ROI, your bankroll has to contain at least 200 buy-ins per limit.
You can start with low limits (up to 10$) to understand what advantage you have over adversaries and what adjustments you need to make to your strategy if you don’t have an advantage. Also, you can approximately determine your ROI at a limit and understand whether you are able to move to a higher limit. Remember that the higher the limit, the more buy-ins you must have in reserve. This is also related to your ROI:
- ROI 1-2% – 400-500 buy-ins.
- ROI from 3% up to 5% – 200 buy-ins.
- ROI from 5% and higher – 150 buy-ins per limit will be enough for you.
What is a Good ROI in SPINS
Your ROI in MTTs depends on how often you enter the ITM zone. Here, this is equivalent to the number of games you win since only the winner receives a payout in most cases. Also, a lot depends on a rake, which affects your ROI significantly. For instance, you have to win 35.9% of $1 Spins to achieve a near 0% ROI.
Comparing wins and ROI across various stake levels
|Buy-in 1$||Buy-in from 2$ to 10$||Buy-in from 25$|
% of won tournaments
To achieve a 5% ROI at a limit of 5$, you must win 37.3% of the tournaments you play. The differences in percentages appear negligible. Winning 35% of matches, you will break even at best. But if you victor in 38% of the games, then you are one of the best Spin&Go players in the world.
Best Rooms to Play Spin&Go Tournaments Online
In some poker rooms, user numbers, blind growth, and other factors may vary slightly. Note that the names of these fast-paced games are also different.
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👑 What is a Spin and Go?
These are three-player tournaments; they will be perfect for people who don’t have much time and enjoy playing dynamic games. The prize pool amount is determined randomly; therefore, Spin&Go’s are often called lottery poker tournaments. Thus, you can double your buy-in or win 10 000 times more than the buy-in. For example, by investing $5, you can wrap up $50 000.
💸 Is Spin and Go profitable?
Here, you have the potential to win impressive sums of money, but it's crucial to prioritise winning each match rather than fixating on the specific prize pool. Developing a clear strategy, playing a lot, and consistently working on your game will transform you into a winning shark.
🏆 How do you win at Spin and Gos?
Forget about playing tight. If you sit and wait for a superior hand, the blinds will swiftly deplete your stack within a few rounds. The hyper-turbo structure demands aggressive behaviour, especially considering that the winner typically takes everything (you won’t victor by playing passively and folding).
You should also understand when it’s advantageous to move all in, even if your cards aren't particularly strong. Success in this game boils down to making profitable decisions over the long run. The more of them you make, the greater your chances of accumulating chips and winning big money.