It's like crack, but poker.
Full Tilt’s introduction of Rush Poker has the entire poker world talking, and everyone from fish to nosebleed pros are playing the game just because it’s so much fun.
But what’s the correct strategy?
For those of you that don’t know, Rush Poker is Full Tilt’s latest brainchild. Poker for the action junkie, Rush Poker automatically deals you into a brand new hand at a brand new table the very second you fold.
There’s no downtime at all - fold and you’re instantly back in the action. There’s even a quick-fold button that allows you to fold the second you get your hand, regardless of your position.
The Obvious Changes to the Game
The biggest change to the game by far is that you instantly change tables when you fold your hand. Meaning you never have history with your opponents.
Each hand is at a new table with new opponents. You don’t know who the fish are and you don’t know who the regulars are. Everyone’s just a blank face.
Because you can’t develop reads through playing multiple hands with the same opponent, you have to treat each opponent the same. But that works both ways.
Since you can’t develop reads on your opponents, they can’t develop reads on you. In Rush Poker you don’t have to worry about leveling, balancing your range, or anything like that because your history with your opponents is going to be minimal.
So How Should I Play?
In small-stakes poker the bulk of your profits come from fish.
Even if you’re the best small-stakes player in the world and you regularly own other reg’s souls, the majority of your profit is still going to come from playing the fish.
Even durrrr was getting down on the Rush Poker action.
Unfortunately in Rush Poker you may not know who the fish are and who the regs are until after the hand's over. And by then it’s too late. So the best way to play is a basic ABC poker game.
In fact you can play even tighter than you would normally because your opponents are never going to notice and never going to be able to adjust.
When you’re moved to a new table it’s a clean slate. They have no idea that you just hit quick fold twenty times in a row and are now cold four-betting AA from the blinds.
They’re just thinking, “Wow, I’ve got AK. I’m supposed to felt AK.” And they call it off, drawing nearly dead and chalk it up to a cooler.
Just like when you first started playing poker, tight is right. The mantra is especially true for Rush Poker.
Wait for big pairs, AKs, set mine, make top pair or better and value-bet relentlessly. That’s how you’re going to make money in Rush Poker.
The Not-So-Obvious Differences
Of course the whole game is changed by the fold and quick-fold buttons. Players don’t have to wait around for a great hand. They can just fold their junk and move on to a new table and a new hand.
That means your average player’s range is going to be significantly tighter. The fish are going to be fish and do what they always do: play strange hands and take them way too far after the flop. But the regulars are going to be playing a much tighter range.
It’s because of the quick-fold button. If you’re sitting with 6-8o in the small blind, are you going to wait around and see if you get the chance for a BVB steal? No, you’re going to hit quick fold and move on to another table.
So when you raise from under the gun and get called in the small blind you have to realize that that player had the chance to quick-fold and get a new hand at a new table but he didn’t. He waited around to play against you.
Either he’s a fish or he has a pretty damn good hand.
Because he didn’t choose to quick-fold you can already start assigning him a range. It looks something like JJ-22, AQ and maybe AJs. Anything else is definitely too wide vs. a UTG raise in Rush Poker.
From there, as the hand plays out, you do what you always do. Start narrowing his range down until you have a good idea of his actual holdings.
The Big Blind
The big blind is the only position where you can’t insta hit quick-fold. That’s because you have the big blind invested already. You have to wait until there is a raise before you can quick-fold.
Meaning that the above is not as true for the big blind in unraised pots. He didn’t have the opportunity to quick-fold his hand, so if it’s folded to you on the button or in the small blind and you raise, when he calls it doesn’t mean his range is necessarily tighter.
A mass multi-tabler's rakeback wet dream.
For that reason, as of now, the majority of “light three-betting” comes from the big blind. Because any other position wouldn’t wait around until their turn to three-bet some trash hand, they’d just fold and move on.
The big blind doesn’t have that chance so he gets mad and three-bets those steal raises far more than he would from the small blind.
Obviously not every player plays the big blind like this, but it’s something to be cognizant of.
Shorthanded vs. Full Ring
Like in any form of poker the difference between shorthanded and full ring is very real, only in Rush Poker it’s absolutely huge.
A six-max Rush game plays only slightly different than a regular six-max game. With so few players and everyone playing so fast, you often can’t even hit quick-fold before the action is on you.
While everyone’s early position ranges tighten up, the late position raises remain wide.
In full-ring the tightness is extremely magnified. Why even bother calling a raise with ATo when you can just insta-fold and get a new hand? There’s no reason. Ranges are, or at least should be, tighter across the board.
There’s just no need to be involved with marginal hands.
As the novelty of these games wears off and more people start playing a better Rush strategy, I think the real value in these games will be for the rakeback you can make.
Eight-tabling $100nl Rush (four six-max and four full ring) nets you 2,000 hands an hour. In those 2,000 hands you pay approximately $100ish rake. At 27% rake back that's $27/hr in rakeback alone.
If you can beat the game on top of that, you’re going to be making a pretty good wage.
Rush Poker is a fun, action-packed game. This article was written on the second day of its existence. This is the proper strategy in my opinion for the games that I've played at this point.
I’ve only played 10,000 hands and I have no idea how the games may change and evolve in the future.
As of now, tight is right is the best strategy for Rush Poker. Rock it up, and rake it in. In the future I may be re-writing this article.
More Strategy Articles from Dan Skolovy:
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