Upswing Poker featured pro Doug Polk recently recorded a Spin & Go hand history review session with fellow Team #GrindNation member Courtney Gee. Courtney (aka “courtiebee”) currently resides in western Canada and was a professional poker player before moving over to streaming full-time on Twitch in 2015.
A Heads-Up Hyper Turbo specialist, Gee has used the skills she has learned in that format to expand into Multi-Table Tournaments (MTTs) and lottery-style events on the world’s largest poker site.
Twitch – @courtiebee
Twitter – @courtiebee
YouTube – @courtiebee
The YouTube video clip coincides with Courtney’s Spins Challenge in which she attempts to increase a starting bankroll of $25 playing micro-stakes Spin & Go tournaments on PokerStars.
Doug Polk & Courtney Gee Spin & Go Review (Transcript)
The following is a complete written transcript of that September 13, 2016 review, which is a follow-up to a similar video posted on Courtney’s YouTube channel in late August.
Spin & Go Hand History Review (September 13, 2016)
YouTube Ratings: 10,540 Views – 140 Likes, 7 Dislikes
Doug Polk: What is up YouTube! Doug Polk here and today we’re going to be doing something a little bit different. We’re going to be taking a Spin & Go played by fellow Team #GrindNation member Courtney Gee, and we’re going to be breaking down every hand to talk about the strategies that she should be using.
If you want to see how to play Spin & Gos and maybe more specifically, micro-stakes Spin & Gos, this is a great video to learn from and also get to meet a member of Team #GrindNation Courtney. Courtney’s doing a bankroll challenge over on her YouTube Channel that’s similar to what I was doing on Twitch last month. But she’s doing it with Spin & Gos and only on YouTube. We also have Part 1 of this video over there, so if you like this video and you want to learn more about the format, head over to her channel and check it out.
(0:40) Let’s go ahead and hop in to the Spin & Go review we did together. We are here with Courtney Gee for Part 2 of our Spin & Go series. A fellow member of #GrindNation… what’s up Courtney?
Courtney Gee: Hey guys! Hey Doug… so nice to be here! I’m super excited to learn more awesome things from you in this Spin & Go.
Doug Polk: The Spin & Go format sure is riveting.
Courtney Gee: Yeah, especially at the 25-cent stakes.
Doug Polk: Exactly. Alright. Let’s hop on in then.
Courtney Gee: Alright! I don’t even remember what we spun here so it’s a surprise.
Doug Polk: I love how they just always throw the big amounts in there just to be like… Oh, it could be $3,000!
Courtney Gee: You gotta know what you’re missing so you keep playing, right?
Doug Polk: Exactly. So actually let’s talk about this fold really quick here. So, what’s your strategy on the button here at 25 Big Blinds deep. What hands are you planning on opening? I guess let me ask you, what’s your worst hand you’re planning on opening here?
Courtney Gee: So let’s see if we just go… it was 9h3h, right? So suited Nines, I would probably open 9-5 suited?
Doug Polk: Okay. That’s fairly reasonable and one of the things I guess in these shorter-stack games relative to when you’re playing a little bit deeper I guess is you want to make sure you’re a little more on the tight side because you’re going to get jammed on a lot. And particularly when you’re playing without an ante, I think that this fold is okay. That said, particularly at the low stakes and particularly for 25 Blinds right out of the gate, I think you’re going to find that you’re gonna have plenty of fold equity and frankly… trying to play against whoever’s in the Big Blind with a hand that’s just simply suited is likely going to be profitable. So I think I would try to maybe have a few more opens on the button, particularly when you’re playing in some of these low stakes games.
Courtney Gee: Okay. So you would have raised the 9-3 suited?
Doug Polk: Yeah, I think I would. I think I’m playing versus players… like let’s say we are playing a really high stakes Spin & Go which, to my knowledge those things don’t exist yet. But let’s just say we’re doing that. Then I might want to be a little more careful raising some of the weak hands like that, where I am going to get 3-bet a lot and my opponents are going to play back at me a decent amount. But particularly in the softer games, I think having a wider button-open strategy is generally better because post-flop they’re probably going to make some mistakes and then also players in the Big Blind aren’t really going to know how wide they need to defend. So I guess I’m just trying to give some good advice to people that are playing maybe the low stakes Spin & Gos.
Courtney Gee: Okay. yeah, that’s perfect. Sounds good. Well, now this entire Spin & Go I’m going to be like, “Man, I’m opening just too tight.” The rest of the Spin & Gos I’m going to be like, “Oh yeah, I should have raised this. Oops. Well…”
Doug Polk: That’s a good thing to probably learn here in this video overall. When you are playing these smaller stakes, capitalize on people’s nitty-ness and really try and get some more bluffs in. Try and take down some more pots. It will definitely help your win rate.
Courtney Gee: Right. That makes sense.
Doug Polk: So let’s actually pause this here for a second and talk about preflop. When you raise this up facing a limp, what’s your plan if they limp-jam?
Courtney Gee: My plan if they limp-jam is to… well usually my strategy here is I’m going to try to raise hands that I’m okay calling with when they jam. I’m not planning on calling 100% of my raises so the King-Jack is probably one that I could find a fold with. I don’t think I would raise King-Ten here because I don’t want to have too many Kx hands that I’m going to be raise-folding, but I don’t know if that strategy makes sense.
Doug Polk: Sure. So to talk about the way I would try to play this… you’re going to want to have a polarization here preflop. This actually reminds me of the first video we did. We talked a bit about raising some weak hands in the Big Blind, right? Where you might want to raise with some hands like 4-3 suited or 5-3 suited. Or maybe even some hands like 43o against a Small Blind limp as a bluff. When I’m bluffing with those hands, I do try to be a little bit more careful and selective with raising Value Bets that are gonna have to fold to jams.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t raise this. You’re going to risk 40 chips here when you raise to 60, to get 40 chips. So you’re getting pretty good odds on this raise and it’s definitely okay to have some Value Hands to raise versus limp to fold-to-jam. But at the same time I think that King-Jack is pretty close either way. I like the idea of checking King-Ten and I guess I would just say to be careful with raising hands that are going to have a very difficult time facing re-raises.
Courtney Gee: Yes. That makes perfect sense. I totally agree with you. Keep going?
Doug Polk: (5:34) Yeah that sounds good. Alright… we take it down. I think both betting and checking the flop by the way, can be pretty reasonable options.
Courtney Gee: Sounds good. Five-eight offsuit is probably not good enough to complete with there? 87o I would be completing. I’m not sure about 86?
Doug Polk: Yeah so you probably need about 17% to call. You’re going to get raised by the Blg Bind something between 10%-20% so you’re gonna have to have more like 20 to 24 percent equity to complete there. Out of position 3-way you know… it’s probably pretty close. I think you can make kind of a case either way.
Courtney Gee: Okay. Sounds good. At least I’m not too far off here in these discussions so far.
Doug Polk: You’re right in the ballpark. And yeah, those Ace-x hands like A-4 you just raised on the button… those are definitely good hands to steal with. Flatting I’m folding to a jam… actually let’s pause right here. I just think this is interesting and I just want to talk about the Ace-Four real quick. Those hands make really nice steals because when you get jammed on — particularly this deep — you’re going to be fine letting it go even though you have an Ace. What’s going to happen is because you have an Ace, both players are much more likely to be weak so those hands are really nice. It’s weird to call it a steal when it’s the best hand, but it kind of is when you deny your opponents their equity.
With this hand here… so what are your thoughts preflop? Because I actually think this is a very interesting situation and there are a lot of answers. There are a lot of things you can decide to do here.
Courtney Gee: So probably my calling ranges in the Small Blind aren’t the greatest. I don’t always know what to do. Jc9c I feel like is good enough to flat here because I feel like it does relatively well in a multi-way pot because I assume that the Big Blind is going to call a lot here? But I don’t think I would call… I would fold with Jack-Eight suited and I guess those are my preliminary thoughts.
Doug Polk: Okay well there is a third option. You know what’s actually very funny about this hand… because it was a little bit of a trick question from me because really everything is reasonable here. If you’re playing against a particularly tight button-open you could fold, although I think folding is probably the least reasonable option? Your hand has a lot of equity and I think I would like to try and play against some other kind of range?
I don’t mind the idea of calling. The slight problem I do have with that is as players get shorter they tend to be more likely to jam, right? And of 21 or 21.5 Blinds that the Big Blind has here, that might not be as big of a factor which makes flatting a little better.
But I always want to be careful with some of these speculative flats where I’m going to have to fold a lot, because whenever he re-raises behind, you have to fold so that’s one thing to take into account when looking at a flat. But another thing to think about when we’re looking at re-raising is… what size are you going to want to make it here when you have a hand like Aces or Kings? Like you’re going to want to go small, right? You’re gonna want to make this like 110 chips or something.
Courtney Gee: Well I think the standard for me here would be about 100 chips.
Doug Polk: Okay cool. So you’re going to go 100. And what hands are you planning on balancing that out with as bluffs?
Courtney Gee: Do I bluff here in the Small Blind at this stake? I probably don’t do that very often but that it certainly something to think about for sure. I will be completely honest here and say that re-raising here with Jc9c did not cross my mind, so you’re kind of like blowing my mind.
Doug Polk: Alright well. I guess what I’d say here is this… If you’re going to have a small re-raise range with your best hands (which is definitely best for them, right — if you have Aces you don’t want to jam, right)? So you want to pick some hands out that are close between fold and call that can operate as good bluffs. Because then… Let’s just say you make it 100 chips here. You’re probably not going to get too many folds. You might get no folds, you might get a few folds that’s fine. But he’s mainly going to call. And that means that when he calls, you’re going to get to try to realize your equity.
You’ve got a chance to make a profitable bluff out there on the flop. And maybe you have a chance to bet the flop and jam the turn with some kind of draw. What that’s going to do is balance out your Aces, Kings and Queens with all those draws to make your overall strategy win more chips. So I think I like this hand as either a call or a small 3-bet. I think folding is probably a little too conservative.
Courtney Gee: Alright. Yeah, that sounds really good. That’s awesome. Now I’ll be thinking about that and 3-betting so many of these types of hands in the Small Blind now.
Doug Polk: (10:25) There’s always the third option. So this spot is actually kind of interesting to me because, aw man… this spot’s actually really tough. This spot’s interesting because both players, particularly the Small Blind, are not going to have many Ace-x hands? A lot of those are going to be jamming preflop or re-raising small preflop?
So the Big Blind can have a few weak Aces that they can call with preflop but on this board… it’s actually a pretty bad board for the Small Blind and facing the 20-chip bet I don’t mind any option here. I guess you really can’t raise because you don’t have value hands to even-out our raise, right? So maybe you have Ace-Eight suited or Ace-Six suited but you really don’t have many strong hands that you’d want to raise here. If you have a hand like Sixes or Eights you’re definitely jamming preflop so I don’t think raising is actually good so the question is, do you want to have some light floats against small bets, and I think I’m okay with either a fold or a call here.
Courtney Gee: Okay. We went fold…
Doug Polk: Okay. I think that’s totally fine. I mean, you don’t know what the Big Blind has, the button has a bunch of Aces. But keep in mind when you’re getting… what is that 7-to-1? You’ll probably be pretty likely to flip a flop.
Courtney Gee: In this spot right here, I actually to be completely honest I had no idea whether I had bet or whether I had called or folded because I was sitting here going, “I don’t know which one I did” because like you said… it’s such a small bet.
Doug Polk: So let’s first pause this here on the Flop, or on the Turn that’s fine. So let’s just say that he does this lead… what hands are you planning on raising with as a bluff?
Courtney Gee: In this spot let me see. So perhaps something that maybe has some equity, an overcard, so maybe a type of straight-draw.
Doug Polk: Give me some hand examples. Let’s pick some hands out.
Courtney Gee: How about, I’m trying to think of things that have… so maybe something like Q7 with the Queen of Hearts.
Doug Polk: Sure. I think either gutshots, backdoor flush draws or even a hand like that… uh, that’s pretty loose though, Courtney! That’s gettin’ a little on the loose side there.
Courtney Gee: No! (laughs) I never said I do that I just said in theory if we were to pick a hand which was the question…
Doug Polk: I see. So I actually think that that’s a pretty reasonable strategy. I think you want to raise some bluffs here that are hands that are not awkward when you get jammed on. So I’m going to give you some examples of some bad raises. You would not want to raise a hand like 7-6 where if you get jammed on, you’re forced to fold-out a bunch of equity. You want to raise hands that are, maybe a hand like 6-4 suited or yeah I think maybe a hand like Q9 or something more of a gutshot type hand is fine too, or maybe you want to call that and decide to raise with a hand like Q7 because Q9 is too good against a min-bet.
Which, you know, that’s also a very reasonable strategy but you just want to make sure that you’re keeping your raise ranges polarized; which is always what you want to be trying to do. You always want to be trying to separate your raise range into bluffs and value bets and then try to have as many hands in the middle that are calling as you possibly can.
Courtney Gee: Right. Okay. Makes sense. So I think in this spot I wasn’t actually sure what to do. So he’s continuing with this tiny little bet here on an Ace Turn, which seemed very strange to me. And then I wanted to raise again but then his stack is such a strange size, so I was very stumped here on this Turn.
Doug Polk: (14:23) So let’s start off with this. How often do you think he has an Ace?
Courtney Gee: I think he has an Ace not very often.
Doug Polk: Right. I think there are a few reasons why we can deduce that. The first is a preflop call with his stack will not have many Ax in it because a lot of those hands are going to re-raise preflop? If he has a hand like AK, AQ, AJ, I think almost all of those hands are going with it preflop. And in the Small Blind facing an open I generally think hands like the weakest Aces are going to be folding. And then after that, he leads the flop for a min-bet and calls your raise… it’s sort of hard for him to really have an Ace. I mean if he has an Ace, he has a hand that’s like Ace-Five suited, maybe Ace-Eight, maybe Ace-Jack but honestly I don’t even think that they would have that preflop. And maybe a hand like Ace-Nine of Hearts.
But I think he’s way more likely to have hands like King-Jack, Queen-Jack, Jack-Nine suited, Jace-Eight suited, Ten-Nine suited, 6-7 suited, 9-8 suited… all these hands are way more likely to play it preflop. Like think back to Jack-Nine in our Small Blind, right? Same situation when he called the open. So he’s way more likely to have all those hands and I know the stack seems awkward, but there’s 260 in the pot and 260 behind. So he basically just has pot behind. So I think on the Turn here I’m jamming, and this will allow me to jam with some hands that are like some of those gutshot or flush draws, or backdoor flush draws. Maybe those are the hands I give up, but I’m going to jam here with Queens, and this also allows me an opportunity to jam when I have some of those weak draws and try to get him to fold maybe a stronger draw? An Eight or maybe put him in a really tough spot with a Jack.
Courtney Gee: Okay. That makes sense. Oh Courtney… what going on? Oh my goodness. Do the right thing! Oh baby!
Doug Polk: Nice!
Courtney Gee: Nice! Every so often we do something that is correct!
Doug Polk: We do. You did great there! You sounded like you didn’t raise.
Courtney Gee: Oh no. I was pretty sure that I did, but I played these hands a pretty long time ago so you can’t always be sure that Past Courtney was a smart person.
Doug Polk: I gotcha. Alright so we call this bet. Seems fine. A pretty bad Turn. (laughs)
Courtney Gee: That’s the worst Turn. What are you gonna do?
Doug Polk: So yeah. I think raising is definitely standard here.
Courtney Gee: I think I wasn’t sure about sizing here. I made it 70 [to a min-bet Turn lead].
Doug Polk: I might go a little bit bigger. Generally speaking, when I raise in spots I try to hit a homerun. And that way when I’m bluffing I have the most ability to bluff because when you have bigger sized, you get to bluff more. So when you are going to raise against a [single] bet… especially in a Spin & Go, I would try to size it in a way where you’re going to be able to go all-in by the River.
Courtney Gee: Okay. Yep, that makes sense.
Doug Polk: And for the Small Blind. I think both limp and jam are fine. If you wanted to put a couple of traps in your limp range, this could be an okay one… No dice.
Courtney Gee: We will not get heads-up. I know you’re disappointed.
Doug Polk: So the Blinds have gone up. Things are a little shorter now. See like… oh, actually this is interesting. We’re going to have to raise this, right?
Courtney Gee: I assume so. Yes.
Doug Polk: Okay. But talking about the button raise before you raise it. You know, going back to like the 9h3h hand… on this stack I would be much less likely to raise it because you’re going to get jammed on way more often when the players have just like 13 Blinds rather than before when they have 25.
Alright. so the Turn is a Four. Alright so let’s pause on the River. Let’s talk about this hand a little bit.
Courtney Gee: Let’s talk about it.
Doug Polk: So on the Turn. This is obviously a very bad Turn for you. An Eight gets there. A Three gets there, but that’s extremely unlikely to first-off call and open in the Small Blind. And then second-off call a raise on the Flop. Like in order for him to have the Three, he has to have a hand that’s like 7-3 or 6-3 but those hands aren’t really gonna play preflop. So I would say he has a Three close to never?
Courtney Gee: Okay.
Doug Polk: The question really is, “Does he have an Eight or not?” And I think this is an important thing to make sure that you’re doing as well. I think on this stack-to-pot ratio… I think the pot is obviously very big compared to the stacks? I think if you have an Eight on the Turn, I think you should generally be checking in order to be able to call River bets?
Courtney Gee: Right. Okay.
Doug Polk: I think that on the Turn you can still have some bluffs. You can still value bet a couple of Eights and then I think if you have a hand like a Set… I know it kind of sucks because the board’s a Straight? But I think if you do have a Set I would still generally advocate just jamming the Turn?
Courtney Gee: Okay.
Doug Polk: Because if you do have a Set, and the River’s a Three or an Eight you’re playing the board. If he has a hand like a Flush draw, he still has a bunch of equity and you want to deny his opportunity to win the pot there. So I would probably change this strategy as I get a lot deeper but unfortunately the way that these smaller stack-to-pot ratios work, are that you have to just commit with a lot of hands that you wouldn’t otherwise want to.
Courtney Gee: Right. So since you have to get your money in the pot anyway, at some point — usually on the River — you may as well get full value from his draws on the Turn?
Doug Polk: Exactly. And I think that trapping gets a lot better too because now he’s going to be more likely to put in money on the River. So as played, I like checking this hand on the Turn. It makes a lot of sense. Betting doesn’t really do much and I think facing the min-bet on the River you just have to play your call.
Courtney Gee: Okay. Alright!
Doug Polk: Whoa! Okay!
Courtney Gee: Queen-Seven!
Doug Polk: Alright! So that happened.
Courtney Gee: Queen-Seven! It did! Is your head exploding, Doug? Come on… now you know these micro-stakes! You know the kinds of things that you see.
Doug Polk: (20:24) You see a lot of things. Oh, and in the Bankroll Challenge… yeah!
Courtney Gee: I bet you can’t wait to go back to that!
Doug Polk: I’ve played many hands of… actually to be honest with you, these are lower stakes than I’ve played in that, so…
Courtney Gee: Oh my gosh! This is a whole new world, right?
Doug Polk: It is.
Courtney Gee: But I’ve tuned-in to your stream so many times just to see you go, “I cannot believe what I’m seeing. How could you have that?” You are like, “I don’t know if that was the best move guys. Don’t try this at home.”
Doug Polk: It is.
There is a lot of stuff that happens when you’re playing for pennies. Which makes sense. If you were having fun, it’s fine to me how many people are like, “Oh you’re playing micro-stakes so you shouldn’t be playing like ‘good poker.'” And I’m always just like, “What?”
Courtney Gee: I know. Right?
Doug Polk: It definitely does make sense to me.
Courtney Gee: Yep. I gotcha.
Doug Polk: Like at micro-stakes, you can still bluff and you should be trying to work bluffs into a lot of your strategy? You just need to be a little more careful about things like rake and make sure that you’re picking hands out well. And just not be too focused on like, “Aw, he’s a Station. I saw on this one hand, he called somebody.” You know. I think players get a little bit too hung up on stuff like that rather than trying to play their hands the best way.
Courtney Gee: Right.
Doug Polk: So preflop I think is fine facing a limp. Jamming also could be okay. I do like having a couple of Aces, as your weakest ones make the most sense to check so I definitely like this. I think fold here pre?
Courtney Gee: Would you? I wasn’t actually sure. You can see that the Past Courtney pausing here and going, “I am confused.”
Doug Polk: I mean, jamming is probably okay. You have an Ace and it’s kind of like this… if he’s opening the button in a way that’s like normal or too loose, you’re going to crush him with this play? But if he’s making an adjustment for the fact that he has 13 Blinds, this raise should actually be more polarized and I think you’re going to be crushed against a lot of hands. It’s probably okay either way, honestly.
Courtney Gee: Okay. Alright. I wasn’t sure kind of how the Big Blind’s stack affected it? I assume he is raising with a hand that can be called by the Big Blind? So I’m not sure if that should make it more or less likely for me to jam? Perhaps less likely.
Doug Polk: If you think that he’s not gonna… well, let me start off with this. He’s definitely not folding to a Big Blind jam here because against a five-blind jam, he has two in there. So…
Courtney Gee: That is an assumption we could make. I have seen strange things happen.
Doug Polk: Alright. Fair enough. Let’s just say that he’s very unlikely to fold here. And so that does make this open a bit stronger? But it also means he’s more likely to have some hands like King-Queen, King-Ten, etc. So I think I would probably fold here. I will admittedly say that I’m not like the expert Push-Fold guy? But if he’s opening somewhat correctly given the Big Blind’s stack, I just don’t think that you’re going to be making money with this jam.
Courtney Gee: Okay. That makes sense. Oh! Plot twist! Big Blind.
Doug Polk: Oh man! We taught him a lesson though.
Courtney Gee: Oh, we got him.
Doug Polk: And Brandi got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Courtney Gee: I know, right!
Doug Polk: Get your Dongers out! Alright. So this appears to be one-on-one Hold’em. Nice.
Courtney Gee: It is. We’re heads-up so, King-Three I was thinking that this must be kind of… I mean I’m not exactly sure but I assume that we should have — even though he’s so short — perhaps a check-back range with say a King-Two or one of the worst Kings?
Doug Polk: (24:10) I like where you’re going with this. I think it’s great to have some Kings in that range because you get some playability across some different boards and at this stack size, I don’t know if King-Three… I mean it depends on the way he’s limping. I think jam is probably a fairly… I’m trying to think of a jam as winning or not here. I think it’s probably close. Maybe you can be slightly losing depending on that way the button’s playing.
But the idea that you’re going to have some Kings even maybe a couple of Aces in your range when you do check in the Big Blind I think is very important. Because it prevents it from when the board comes Ace or King-high you’re just screwed, you know? So I think I like check here.
Courtney Gee: Okay. I was thinking that here, too. I’m not sure what I did.
Doug Polk: Okay. Well, we’ll see what happens.
Courtney Gee: Ah, we went all-in!
Doug Polk: Okay. Easy enough! And I think we’ve pretty consistently seen from Brandi… he’s trying to play too loose on the button. Wow. That was a counter! I just don’t understand what people are thinking when they do this stuff.
Courtney Gee: Right? I’m not sure either. I guess he was just getting tired of my shit so, that was it. That was fighting back.
Doug Polk: (25:18) So would you say there’s still money to be won in the 25-cent Spin & Go streets?
Courtney Gee: Yeah, I think maybe… that Ten-Four suited? I think that may be optimistic about my Bankroll Challenge too.
Doug Polk: How’s that going overall, by the way?
Courtney Gee: I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t seen it, but it’s interesting. There’s been ups & downs as I’m sure you’ve experienced during your Bankroll Challenge?
Doug Polk: I have certainly experienced a lot of both of those things.
Courtney Gee: Yes. So I think I’m learning mostly that it’s a grind no matter what I do unless I spin just something huge.
Doug Polk: Alright.
Courtney Gee: Well thanks Doug! I really appreciate the help. I am much smarter and am going to be going into my next Spin & Go games with a much higher ROI now!
Doug Polk: (26:00) If you’re interested in learning more about Spin & Gos, you can click the following link in order to go over to the courtiebee YouTube Channel if you want to see Part 1 of this Series. We’re also probably going to have a few different members of #GrindNation on here, so definitely stay tuned and subscribe to my channel if you’re interested in meeting the Team, as well as other types of poker-hand material like our series of Poker Hands.
So on that note, thank you for joining us and I hope to see you soon!
(Note: Looking to get better at MTTs and win more money? The Upswing Lab is full of awesome MTT training. Join today by clicking on the image below!)
David Huber (known as “dhubermex” online) has been involved in the poker industry for more than a decade. He currently assists several poker and gaming entities as a researcher, writer, and consultant. Former Editor-in-Chief & Head Moderator of online tournament rankings site PocketFives (2006-2011).