Chances are you’ve seen Zoom Poker in the PokerStars lobby.
Looks good, doesn't it?
Below is a guide to getting started in Zoom Poker including some background information and basic strategy tips.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll be crushing Zoom Poker games in no time!
What is Zoom Poker?
PokerStars’ Zoom Poker is a high-action online poker variant similar to the old Rush Poker on Full Tilt Poker and various others at competing online poker sites..
The basic premise is simple: Fold your hand and immediately get a new one at a new table with new players.
If you hit the fast-fold button you can even fold before the action is on you and get reseated even quicker! It’s essentially poker for adrenaline junkies as the action never stops.
If you’ve ever 8-tabled online poker or played multi-tasking video games like Starcraft there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the speed of Zoom Poker.
What’s Good About Zoom Poker (Hint: Volume)
Zoom Poker is a godsend for any ADD-riddled poker player who simply needs more action.
It’s also very good for generating massive amounts of reward points for the PokerStars rewards program.
You can triple or even quadruple the amount of hands you can play in an hour quite easily with Zoom Poker.
Is Zoom Poker Real Poker?
This remains a contentious issue as Zoom Poker is lacking one major aspect of regular poker – the chance to develop a read on a player.
Hope you like PLO or NLHE
Because you’re always moving to another table you’ll constantly be playing against opponents you know nothing about.
It gives the game a much more robotic feel.
It also means that math plays heavier into the game as well as the ability to develop quick reads on virtually unknown opponents.
Zoom Poker also discourages seasoned grinders from hunting inexperienced players because they are constantly being moved.
Some Quick Tips for Playing Zoom Poker
- Tight tends to be right in Zoom Poker. No one can tell how tight you’re playing so it’s possible to fold every hand unti you get aces and stack someone who has AK.
- Speaking of AK, be careful with it. It’s far weaker in Zoom Poker than in a normal game.
- You can watch the end of a hand by holding the CNTRL key when you click the fold button (That’s the command button on Macs).
- There are several different Zoom table animations. Some feel faster than others. You can find these by clicking ‘Options’ > ‘Table Display Options’ > ‘Zoom Animation’. We like ‘Flip’ a lot but default ‘Fade’ still seems fastest
- Play fewer tables with Zoom Poker (It’s freaking fast!)
- Be mindful of your blinds as you’ll pay more of them
- The big blind is the only player who doesn’t have the option of fast folding. Expect a wider-range of starting hands.
- Each Zoom Poker game or tournament has hundreds of players. You can open multiple tables in the same game.
- Be prepared for massive swings as you’ll being playing a massive number of hands
- You’ll see a fair amount of min-bets from late position as people attempt to steal a pot off the players who have already fast folded.
- Quite often you’ll run into deep stacks with 100+ big blinds behind. Check this article on NLHE Deep Stack strategy.
What's the Best Strategy for Zoom Poker?
So what’s the correct strategy for winning at Zoom (aka "Fast Fold") Poker? 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 Zoom Poker you don’t have to worry about levelling, balancing your range or anything like that because your history with your opponents is going to be minimal.
How Should I Play Zoom Poker?
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.
Unfortunately in Zoom 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 20 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 Zoom Poker.
Wait for big pairs, AKs, set mine, make top pair or better and value-bet relentlessly.
How to Make Money in Zoom Poker
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 Blind vs. Bling 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 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. 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.
What to Do in 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.
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.
No Need to Play Marginal Hands!
Like in any form of poker the difference between shorthanded and full ring is very real, only in Zoom Poker it’s absolutely huge.
A six-max Zoom 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!
Is Fast Fold Poker More Profitable?
It's fast and exciting for sure - but is Zoom Poker, or any Fast Fold variant, more profitable? Before you quit traditional poker and make the switch to Fast Fold poker you should really weigh the pros and cons.
3 Major Upsides of Fast Fold Poker
1. Fast Fold Poker = More Hands Per Hour
In a regular online Texas Hold'em game you're lucky to be dealt 80-90 hands per hour. Compare that to the 30 you get in a casino and you're laughing.
But in Zoom Poker you can be dealt over 250 hands per hour depending on how fast you click! With more hands per hour comes more good hands and more hands where you can exploit your edge.
Furthermore, with more hands comes more bonuses and, if you get it from a site like partypoker, rakeback. Which for many players is a very high percentage of their total winnings.
2. Fast Fold Poker Evens the Playing Field
You're moved to a new table with new opponents every time you fold your hand. Playing a different opponent each hand makes it extremely difficult for your opponents to get a read on you.
You can use that as an advantage any way you like. If you only want
to play aces and kings your opponents probably won't catch on. If you
want to three-bet every single button and small blind, same deal.
Fast Fold Poker evens the playing field and takes out the read and tells aspects of the game, which you can use it to your advantage.
3. Fast Fold Poker is REALLY Fun
The biggest advantage to Zoom Poker is that it's action-packed and fun. It makes grinding less of a chore and the fun factor helps bring more fish into the game. More hands vs. fish is a good thing. The only problem is that it's sometimes difficult to spot the fish until it's too late.
3 Downsides to Fast Fold Poker
1. No History
This one's a pro and a con. It's a negative because as a good player you should be formulating reads. You should be observing your opponents and figuring out how they play and then using that information against them.
When you change tables after every single hand it's impossible to truly understand how your opponent plays. You have to treat everyone the same and make ABC, generalized, decisions against everybody.
Snap Poker at 888poker
If you're a better player than your opponents Zoom Poker forces you to give up a percentage of your edge.
2. Tilt Factor Goes Up
Because you're playing so many more hands per hour you're also dealt
more bad beats and coolers than you would in a typical poker session.
Add in the fact that players are often turbo-folding waiting for aces
and kings, and coolers happen seemingly all the time.
If you can't control the emotional side of your game and are susceptible to tilt you may have problems with Zoom Poker - it's even easier to tilt when you can play 1,000 hands per hour on four tables!
3. It Can Stunt Your Poker Growth
Maybe the biggest disadvantage to Zoom Poker is the fact that it can
stunt your growth as a poker player. If you're happy grinding and
winning a little and making a decent earn at $1/$2, then Zoom Poker is
If, however, you would like to move up in stakes and improve as a poker player, Rush Poker is not for you.
To succeed in poker's middle stakes and beyond you have to develop reads and use your reads against your opponents. Zoom Poker teaches you to treat all of your opponents as equals. If you try and treat everyone the same at medium stakes and above you're going to bust your roll pretty fast.
Final Word on Zoom Poker
Zoom Poker or any form of Fast Fold Poker is a great game and can be
really fun to play. But you have to know what you want to be as a poker
player to decide whether or not you should switch to the game full time.
Use this list and think of pros and cons of your own before deciding whether or not to make it your full-time game.