Spin & Go Strategy Guide - How to Beat the Spin & Go Format

Discover the basic strategy needed in order to succeed at Spin & Go's at PokerStars, often known as ‘jackpot sit & go’s’ at other sites, and how everyone can benefit from playing this format.

The jackpot sit & go formula didn’t originate at PokerStars, but since they introduced their branded Spin & Go's in 2014 the format has grown in popularity. More and more players have been drawn in by the appeal of winning a life-changing amount of money for a small outlay – both in terms of money and time, as these short-handed turbo tournaments play extremely quickly.

As with every form of poker variance plays a part, but developing a strategy allows you to have as much control as possible due to the edge you have on your opponents. Hitting a huge jackpot is easier said than done, but with a developed strategy and some experience playing this specific format, you can make a nice profit even without hitting those mega-multipliers.

Keep reading to gain a better understanding of how Spin & Go games work and how you can beat them.


An Introduction to Spin & Go's

Spin & Go's have essentially the same format as Texas Hold'em Sit & Go's, but are more appealing to many due to the possibility of a truly huge payday. Here’s what you need to know about how the Spin & Go format works.

  • Every Spin & Go is played with three players.

  • Each player starts with 500 chips and blinds increase every 2-5 minutes (depending on the multiplier).

  • The prize pool is revealed before play begins, in the form of a buy-in multiplier (e.g. a 10x multiplier in a $1 Spin & Go means the prize pool is $10). This can be anything from 2x to 240,000x the buy-in. Lower multipliers are statistically more common.

  • It's a winner takes all format. No deals can be made between players.

  • Players finishing in 2nd and 3rd receive a smaller payout if one of the higher Spin & Go multipliers is hit (two players are paid for a 10x multiplier, three players for anything higher than that).

  • The most common prize pool is 2x buy ins and you will see this payout more than any other (i.e. around half the time).


Basic Strategy

Spin & Go strategy will be easier to pick up if you have some experience playing short-handed, either in cash games or in the late stages of tournaments. Due to the short levels and players starting with only 25 big blinds (BBs), having a concrete strategy will help you play optimally when a lot of your opponents may just be trying Spin & Go's out for the first time.

By following some of the key points below, you should be able to develop an edge over your opponents despite the shallow starting stacks.

Building a Stack Early

A common mistake inexperienced players make in this format is waiting for a good hand and not taking the initiative in the first few levels. Remember, you only have 25BBs and the blinds are increasing at turbos speeds; if you wait too long for a good hand you might only have a few big blinds remaining in your stack when it comes. This doesn't mean you should be opening 100% of your range, but controlled aggression is definitely optimal, especially from the button and small blind.

It's important that you try and find out as much information as possible during the early stages, such as:

  • Are players not defending their blinds properly?

  • Are all of your button raises getting through?

  • Are your opponents playing too passively?

  • Do your opponents seem like weaker opposition?

Once you have a feel for your opponents, you'll be able to gauge how aggressive you can be and adjust your opening/shoving ranges around that.

Calling Becomes Shoving (from the Small Blind)

Due to the shallow stacks, calling an open raise becomes a lot less profitable in this format. You'll be playing 25BBs effective poker in the first level and even then, you should only really have a calling range from the big blind.

The problem with calling raises out of the small blind is that you'll be out of position every time and you'll struggle to realize the full equity of your hand when post-flop. Therefore, a lot more hands are added to your 3-bet jamming range, which is going to be so much more profitable than calling.

The table below shows a typical 3-bet jamming range from the small blind in the early stages when stacks are around 20BBs deep.

For 20BBs Effective

  • +EV Open Jam

AA

AKs

AQs

AJs

ATs

A9s

A8s

A7s

A6s

A5s

A4s

A3s

A2s

AKo

KK

KQs

KJs

KTs

K9s

K8s

K7s

K6s

K5s

K4s

K3s

K2s

AQo

KQo

QQ

QJs

QTs

Q9s

Q8s

Q7s

Q6s

Q5s

Q4s

Q3s

Q2s

AJo

KJo

QJo

JJ

JTs

J9s

J8s

J7s

J6s

J5s

J4s

J3s

J2s

ATo

KTo

QTo

JTo

TT

T9s

T8s

T7s

T6s

T5s

T4s

T3s

T2s

A9o

K9o

Q9o

J9o

T9o

99

98s

97s

96s

95s

94s

93s

92s

A8o

K8o

Q8o

J8o

T8o

98o

88

87s

86s

85s

84s

83s

82s

A7o

K7o

Q7o

J7o

T7o

97o

87o

77

76s

75s

74s

73s

72s

A6o

K6o

Q6o

J6o

T6o

96o

86o

76o

66

65s

64s

63s

62s

A5o

K5o

Q5o

J5o

T5o

95o

85o

75o

65o

55

54s

53s

52s

A4o

K4o

Q4o

J4o

T4o

94o

84o

74o

64o

54o

44

43s

42s

A3o

K3o

Q3o

J3o

T3o

93o

83o

73o

63o

53o

43o

33

32s

A2o

K2o

Q2o

J2o

T2o

92o

82o

72o

62o

52o

42o

32o

22

This specific range can be adjusted depending on the opponent opening from the button. If the player has been relatively tight, or extremely aggressive, you can adjust the range accordingly.

In addition, this range can also be applied to the big blind, but considering you have already invested 1BB into the pot, the majority of the time you'll be getting the right price to call with most of your range, even off a short stack.

Raise-Sizing

Preserving your stack at all times is something that will go a long way in Spin & Go's. So, When opening from the button a minimum raise (‘min-raise’) is often ideal, as you don't have anything invested in the pot, so risking the least amount of your stack is going to be much more profitable.

As for opening from the small blind, considering you already have half a big blind invested you have more incentive to fight for the pot and try to take down the hand. Therefore, upping your sizing to around 2.5x BBs is fine from this position as you're increasing fold equity and giving the big blind less incentive to call.

A common mistake people make from the small blind is min-raising, as you give your opponent a great price to call and they then have the advantage of position. Also, the shorter your stack, the more you'll start to open-shove from the small blind and raise-sizing won't be an issue.

Button and Small Blind - Jamming Ranges

After the first few levels of a Spin & Go, more often than not you'll find yourself playing a ‘push or fold’ strategy with fewer than 11 BBs. You'll no longer have the stack to play post-flop poker and 3-bet/folding becomes a less favorable option as well.

If you're struggling to build a +EV jamming range from the button or small blind, the following charts will give you an idea of what your range should look like.

Note that as your stack becomes even shorter you can add a few more hands into your jamming range, but using this table is a good way to build your range and gain some experience by using a set strategy.

11BBs: Button Range

  • +EV Open Jam

AA

AKs

AQs

AJs

ATs

A9s

A8s

A7s

A6s

A5s

A4s

A3s

A2s

AKo

KK

KQs

KJs

КТs

K9s

K8s

K7s

K6s

K5s

K4s

K3s

K2s

AQo

KQо

QQ

QJs

QTs

Q9s

Q8s

Q7s

Q6s

Q5s

Q4s

Q3s

Q2s

AJo

KJo

QJo

JJ

JTs

J9s

J8s

J7s

J6s

J5s

J4s

J3s

J2s

ATo

KTo

QTo

JTo

TT

T9s

T8s

T7s

T6s

T5s

T4s

T3s

T2s

A9o

K9o

Q9o

J9o

T9o

99

98s

97s

96s

95s

94s

93s

92s

A8o

K8o

Q8o

J8o

T8o

98o

88

87s

86s

85s

84s

83s

82s

A7o

K7o

Q7o

J7o

T7o

97o

87o

77

76s

75s

74s

73s

72s

A6o

K6o

Q6o

J6o

T6o

96o

86o

76o

66

65s

64s

63s

62s

A5o

K5o

Q5o

J5o

T5o

95o

85o

75o

65o

55

54s

53s

52s

A4o

K4o

Q4o

J4o

T4o

94o

84o

74o

64o

54o

44

43s

42s

A3o

K3o

Q3o

J3o

T3o

93o

83o

73o

63o

53o

43o

33

32s

A2o

K2o

Q2o

J2o

T2o

92o

82o

72o

62o

52o

42o

32o

22

11BBs: Small Blind Range

  • +EV Open Jam

AA

AKs

AQs

AJs

ATs

A9s

A8s

A7s

A6s

A5s

A4s

A3s

A2s

AKo

KK

KQs

KJs

KТs

K9s

K8s

K7s

K6s

K5s

K4s

K3s

K2s

AQo

KQо

QQ

QJs

QTs

Q9s

Q8s

Q7s

Q6s

Q5s

Q4s

Q3s

Q2s

AJo

KJo

QJo

JJ

JTs

J9s

J8s

J7s

J6s

J5s

J4s

J3s

J2s

ATo

KTo

QTo

JTo

TT

T9s

T8s

T7s

T6s

T5s

T4s

T3s

T2s

A9o

K9o

Q9o

J9o

T9o

99

98s

97s

96s

95s

94s

93s

92s

A8o

K8o

Q8o

J8o

T8o

98o

88

87s

86s

85s

84s

83s

82s

A7o

K7o

Q7o

J7o

T7o

97o

87o

77

76s

75s

74s

73s

72s

A6o

K6o

Q6o

J6o

T6o

96o

86o

76o

66

65s

64s

63s

62s

A5o

K5o

Q5o

J5o

T5o

95o

85o

75o

65o

55

54s

53s

52s

A4o

K4o

Q4o

J4o

T4o

94o

84o

74o

64o

54o

44

43s

42s

A3o

K3o

Q3o

J3o

T3o

93o

83o

73o

63o

53o

43o

33

32s

A2o

K2o

Q2o

J2o

T2o

92o

82o

72o

62o

52o

42o

32o

22

As you can see, your small blind jamming range becomes a lot wider as you only have to get one player to fold. Similar to the button, the shorter you are the wider you can open-jam. Additionally, if the player in the big blind seems like an extremely tight player, you can widen your jamming range as they won't be calling with the correct range.

Once you've started getting a feel for your opponents, you can adjust your ranges accordingly and start to build a strategy of your own.


Advantages and Disadvantages

The introduction of jackpot sit & go’s in general, and Spin & Go's at PokerStars specifically, caused a divide in the online poker world. Whether you're a professional or recreational poker player, you've almost certainly got an opinion about Spin & Go's and what they offer to the game. Understandably, not everyone agrees with this new format of poker. So, the following advantages and disadvantages will show you the ins and outs of Spin & Go's and why they have divided opinion in the poker world.

Advantages

  • By playing Spin & Go's and experiencing the thrill of online tournament poker in a fast, digestible format, new players learn the game and will eventually explore other games.

  • The games are affordable, attracting a wide range of players to Spin & Go's and giving recreational players a fun and cheap poker experience that may grow their passion for the game.

  • Compared with games of chance like roulette or blackjack, recreational players will lose at a much slower rate playing Spin & Go’s. Also, with a much bigger element of control and skill than casino table games, players can learn, improve and ultimately have a better chance of making money.

  • Ultimately, online poker has the potential to grow by attracting players from more chance-based casino games, and the randomized prize pools in Spin & Go’s may help bring those players into the world of poker.

Disadvantages

  • Spin & Go's are possibly reducing the skill element of the game due to the quick format and how little play there is during each game.

  • The 'jackpot' element of Spin & Go's is the same hook that attracts gamblers to roulette and blackjack games, which downplays the skill necessary to become a successful poker player

    .

  • Due to the high amount of rake that is charged, recreational players won't be able to sustain the combination of rake and variance at these games, which has implications for everyone in the longer term.

Enjoyed this content? Share it with your friends!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn