The Spin

The Spin

Written by abarone

Topics: Uncategorized

Throughout my life I’ve made several decisions purely based on the potential for personal growth.

  • Instead of going to law school at UC Davis (Where I attended undegrad), I chose a school in an unfamiliar city where I didn’t know anyone.
  • Back in 2012 when I was deciding between  Australia or Thailand, I ultimately chose the place that I felt offered me the best opportunity to better myself.

And while I didn’t leave Thailand with a solid grasp on the language (Tonal languages are hard!), my time spent there helped me open my mind and abandon the subconscious western indoctrination that was embedded in my personality.

When it comes to poker, I’m also all about growth.  I thoroughly enjoy studying, learning, improving, and of course, the fruits of that labor.  Two days ago, I found myself in an entirely new situation.  One that undoubtedly has helped me grow.

During the middle of my work-day, I meant to register for three $60 Spin and Gos but accidentally loaded three $30s in addition.  My table count was already pretty high and suddenly I had 20+ tables jumbled all over my screen.  I re-tiled them to make it look a bit more orderly and noticed one of the Spins was a color I had never seen before.  If you’re not familiar with Spin and Gos, they are 3-handed SNGs with varying prizepools from 2x-3000x and each multiplier has a different felt background.  I’ve seen light green, dark green, purple, light blue, and a whole lot of dark blues but this orange background was foreign to me, so I clicked on the lobby to see how much money I was playing for.

First place?  $180,000.

Wuttttttttt.  This was ultimate jackpot in the $60 Spins, a 3000x multiplier which only occurs 1/100,000 games.  I had a 0.00001% chance of having this game pop up and boom, there it was.  Incredible.

A few hands into the match, a loose player limped in and I shoved Ace-Ten over him.  He called pretty quickly, revealing Ace-Three.  I was a 3-1 favorite to have nearly 1,000 chips of the 1,5000 in play, but he turned a gutshot straight and unceremoniously, I was out in 3rd place.


While I wasn’t guaranteed to win the tournament if my hand held, I would have a really good shot at finishing first and taking down the $180,000 prize.  With nearly 2/3 of the chips in play, my equity is close $120,000 if I’m up against equally skilled opponents — and not to be rude, but the two other guys I was playing against weren’t even close.  I don’t know how to quantify my skill advantage over those guys, but it’s safe to say I had somewhere between $120,000 and $150,000 equity.

Because there are so few of these Jackpot SNGs, not many players are going to have that experience so might as well ask the million dollar — err, $162,000 — question is, ‘How does it feel to bink a $180,000 Spin and Go and lose?’

It feels…weird.  It’s important to note that I didn’t walk away empty-handed.  I referred to this as the $162,000 question because that was the difference between first place and third place prizes, as third place paid $18,000.  I simultaneously wanted to celebrate my win and be consoled for my loss.  Obviously I was stoked to be $18,000 richer than I was five minutes earlier, but saddened that amount didn’t have an extra zero.  Sad, not angry.  Sometimes I get upset during game-play and will curse, but not during this SNG.  Didn’t even raise my voice or at least I can’t remember doing so.  After my opponent turned the straight, I dejectedly dropped my head for a second, grimaced, and went back to the 12+ tables that were beeping at me.


No, not that Grimace

For the most part, my fellow poker players had a ‘glass half empty approach’ and offered their condolences.

“Tough break”


“I ‘d have jumped off a bridge”

Despite my choice of several bridges in the greater Vancouver area, I didn’t feel that suicidal urge at all.   No homicidal urges either, congrats to Frenki6996 who after knocking me out, went on to win the whole thing.

“Did you break anything”

Umm, no.  I didn’t break anything and I didn’t want to.  Missing out on $162,000 was, to put it mildly, rough.  But I *did* just win $18,000.  And I was quick to remember how lucky I was in the first place to even be in that game, to have the opportunity to win what I considered to be a life-changing sum of money: one in one hundred thousand.

I said ‘life-changing sum of money’ but in actuality, winning the SNG wouldn’t have changed my life that much, at least not right now.  Down the line if/when I look to purchase a house, having an extra $162,000 surely helps but in this moment, I wouldn’t do anything with it.   Material things give me minimal joy so it’s not like I’d have bought a fancy car or popped bottles in the club.

I do, however, feel that winning the SNG would have somehow validated myself as a poker player.  Logically, I know that doesn’t make any sense.  One Spin and Go is a drop in the proverbial bucket of my poker career.  My success is not defined by one game, one hand, one day, or even one month.  I’ve been a professional for seven years now, supporting myself solely by the decision to call, raise, or fold.  I’ve made it.  Plus, not that it matters, I did get it in good.  🙂  Losing this particular game is somewhat of a tough pill to swallow, but at the same time it builds character.

The following morning, less than 24 hours after bricking the $180,000 Spin, I grabbed a coffee.  A lot of guys in my position might have taken the day off for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps they earned a holiday because they made $18,000 the day before.  Or perhaps the pain of losing out on $162,000 was simply too much.  No sir, not me.  As I took my first few sips of my Americano, I loaded up games.  One of those games was the $109 Progessive Super Knockout MTT.  I busted several tournaments in the next few hours, but kept cruising along in the $109 PSK and soon enough, I was heads-up.  The difference in first and second place prizes was close to $5,500 because of the extra bounties, but at no point was I even sweating it.  Why not?  Well, probably because only a day ago I had lost a game for much more than that.  I can’t say that I played any differently in the $109 PSK, but I can say I was 100% focused on making the correct decision and more detached from the results of that decision than I’ve ever been.  Funny thing is, I’m sure that if this game had occurred two days earlier, I’d have been a nervous wreck.  Instead, I was oddly calm.  Only after I KO’d my opponent and shipped the tournament did I realize that the $12,100 prize was my largest MTT score ever.




I wish I had some neat little closing statement about how this makes losing the Spin sting a bit less.  And while it does, to the tune of $12,000, part of me still feels I missed out on $150,000.  I might have that feeling for a while, somewhere in the back of my mind, but I refuse to dwell on it.  As long as I keep working and keep improving, there will be other opportunities down the line for me to showcase my skills and ultimately succeed.  And you know what money can’t buy?  A positive outlook.  Vamos!

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