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Rush Poker: Strategy, Pros and Cons

28 January 2010, By: I-PokerJunkie-I

It seems that most players are quite happy with the recently introduced Rush Poker feature at Full Tilt Poker and after trying it out for a few hours I have to agree with the majority that it’s a pretty cool idea. It’s not a 100% great feature though – it certainly has some disadvantages. On the other hand it’s incredibly entertaining.

Full Tilt is marketing Rush Poker as extremely fast paced, and that’s no exaggeration. In the unlikely event you’ve missed the hype, here’s a short summary of how it works:

This new poker format is designed to minimize your wait time between hands and keep you in the action. You’ll join a large player pool and face a different table of opponents every hand you play. When you fold your hand, you’ll be rushed to another table for a new hand right away. To play even faster, use the Quick Fold button to move to a new table for the next hand immediately.

The term Quick Fold is highlighted for a reason - it’s key to the entire concept. The second you are dealt a hand you have the option to fold it immediately and be whisked away to a new table and a brand new hand. This effectively cuts out all the waiting, allowing for 250 or more hands per hour instead of the usual average of around 75. So it’s basically like multi-tabling three or four tables in terms of speed. It is limited to stakes between $10NL and $200NL, and for now the largest player pool by far is in the smaller games.

Rush Poker takes the speed factor to new extremes. In the widely available Turbo Sit & Go tournaments you need to adapt to a quick pace, but you still have time to get a few reads on your opponents. This is easier said than done in Rush Poker, since you don’t even get to see how the hands play out after you have folded.

One of my assumptions was that an ultra-fast game like Rush Poker would attract lots of action junkies. There’s some truth in that, but the games are still surprisingly tight. This could be due to the fact that Full Tilt Poker is well-known for hosting some of the tightest games in the industry. However, I expected the average player/flop percentage to go well above the 30s, which it only rarely does.

A reason for the relatively tight games could be that the speed in combination with lack of information encourages a conservative strategy. With lots of hands to choose from and little knowledge of your opponents, there's  only so much you can do.

Don’t get me wrong – Rush Poker is really fun and addictive, but at the end of the day it is more of a fun complement to regular ring games than it is a replacement. How big are the chances of this concept showing up on other sites? It’s anyone’s guess, but PokerStars and the other poker sites would do well to follow the developments closely.

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