Putting a Spin on it

April 13, 2011, Posted by Pokerfarm

Putting a Spin on it

Nowadays poker is a science. Poker has become a game ruled by stats and analysis where HUDs and trackers provide even the most casual of players a wealth of information about their game. If you’re not familiar with your VPIP or your BB/100 win-rate, it’s likely that you’re losing money somewhere without realising it.

When I first started playing poker, there were no gadgets or training sites. I had no idea about balancing ranges and probably thought ICM was some kind of bank loan. Bankroll management was non-existent and poker was a pastime, a gamble. As I’ve got older, like many, I’ve become more sensible. Late night drunken spin ups have become a distant memory and poker has become a job and a simple means to an end. That’s not to say that I don’t have the occasional spin up.

Spin ups are in their simplest form, a way to turn a small amount of money into a decent chunk, within a short period of time. This can be an evening, a week or a month, depending on your urgency to boom or bust. Spin ups rely on taking a large risk in a game you are not bankrolled for. This could be anywhere from the minimum buy-in to a few buy-ins.

One of my most recent spins came about when I discovered some money sitting in an old account which I had completely forgotten about. Being the irritating buggers that they are, the site told me I couldn’t withdraw the funds as my bank card had expired. In order to withdraw my long lost dosh they would need proof of ID, utility bills confirming my address and basically my life story scanned and printed onto gold parchment and sent by pigeon courier to them. Ok I’m exaggerating a little bit, but you get the picture. It would have been easier to actually swim to Gibraltar to collect my cash than what they suggested; however the balance of $62 hardly seemed worth it.

This was definitely prime spin up territory. Sixty-two bucks. Not even two $30 sit n go’s with the rake. Where to start? I opted to 4 table $25nl 6max to start with, sitting with my roll on the tables, approximately $15 on each. I played extremely tight aggressively, and insta-quit any table that I doubled up on. I’ve always had an issue with people that shortstack cash games, and hit’n runners have been the bane of my heads up cash career. Now it was me doing the rat-holing, and I must admit, it did feel quite good.

Anyway, after several hours of winning flips and pissing off regulars I had made it to 4 tables of $200nl and about $500. It was time to play PLO. Pot Limit Omaha is the spinner-upper’s game of choice; being such an action game, it doesn’t take long to get most of a short-stack in pre-flop and hopefully have your opponent in bad shape. Even if you don’t have them in bad shape we all know what can happen in PLO. I sat with the minimum ($60 IIRC) at 4 tables of $200PLO and continued my rungood, continually doubling or tripling up and leaving. I was essentially waiting for aces or double suited broadways/connectors and smashing the pot button with reckless abandon.

Playing this way is really suited to full-ring PLO games (to avoid paying the blinds more often) but they run so rarely that 6max is the only choice. Having discovered my loot 7 hours prior, I had now turned $62 into about $1800. Not bad at all.

What goes up…

Daft as it sounds, the hardest part of the spin up, like all gambling rushes, is knowing when to stop. It’s wise to set yourself a target, and either cash out immediately if you hit said target, or come back another day. I can’t count how many times I’ve said to myself, ‘just one more round’ or ‘I’ll play until the blinds hit me’ only to donk off all of my chips and wonder where it all went wrong. Sadly for me, I took my $1800 to four $400PLO tables where my luck wasn’t so good and span it down to $0 pretty quickly. At least I wouldn’t have to deal with the Gestapo customer service in Gibraltar…

Over the years I’ve witnessed some fairly impressive spin ups and downs. The one that sticks in my memory is that of a young English pro and friend of mine, Ben Blackmore. Having ran particularly bad in a big FTOPS event, Benno decided to try and spin his min cash into something a little more sustainable. His results were fairly impressive.

To quote him from the thread he made shortly afterwards on the 2+2 forums – ‘So I had $1200 from cashing in the FTOPS HU other night.... lost at first, down to $332. Few flips later and onto 25-50 and beyond. Think I ran pretty good, and to be honest, variance leaned the right way’. To summarise KingBenno’s evening, it went something like this; get it in very very badly, suck out, move up. Rinse and repeat until you are sat with David Benyamine, Ziigmund and Richard Ashby at a 200-400PLO table. Disappear and laugh. A lot. This was his graph. Easy game eh. All in under 2 hours…

benno grphOnly Jesus himself runs better than this

Players are smarter and more risk adverse these days. There are still however some great stories of online spin ups, total fearlessness and degeneracy, none more impressive than that of Viktor Blom aka Isildur1. His epic battles with Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius and Brian Hastings had the railbirds salivating and his $7 million swing within the space of six weeks brought the poker world to a standstill.

blomBlom's Dad cancelled BT broadband last Christmas

Blom is the epitomy of out and out gamble and is the new king of the spin up. While Blom’s rollercoaster ride continues, remember that the spin up is not for the faint hearted. Once you get on a roll it’s easy to think you’re untouchable, but complacency often leads to decline, and quickly too. Without sounding like too much of a nit, err on the side of caution – Although a little bit of gamble never did that much harm did it?

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