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Introduction to Zoom Poker

November 13, 2019
by Dave Roemer

The Basics

ZOOM Poker is a way of playing poker at PokerStars. It´s different, it´s fast and it’s a whole lot of fun. Instead of playing one table with up to 10 players, you can play a pool of up to 200 tables and 2000 players at the same time. This means an increase in your total hands per hour of up to 400%.

At first everything looks like a normal ring game, but as soon as you fold your hand, you will get dealt a completely new hand at a completely new table. That’s right, you don’t need to wait until the current hand is done, you instantly get a brand new hand. You don’t have to fold another 72o on the button, just to wait for the next marginal hand and do it again. Hit the Fast Fold button as many times as you like until you get a playable hand.

Changes to the Game

What do these features mean for your strategy? A lot! Let’s start with the obvious changes to the game.

  1. There is very little short- term history. While your opponents usually get curious when you raise your button the third time in a row, they won´t be at ZOOM Poker. They simply don’t know if this is the first, second or third time you did it.
  2. What is true for your opponents is also true for you. ZOOM Poker makes it very hard to develop reads on your opponents. As soon as you play a new hand, you are basically up against blank faces again (unless you hold the CTRL key when you click the fold button in order to watch the end of a hand). Aspects like building an image, leveling, and other forms of player- dependent moves suddenly become less relevant.
  3. You don´t have to wait anymore. With normal ring games you needed to play multiple tables in order to get more action. Now all you have to do is fold.
  4. Despite all these changes, keep in mind, that you still have to pay the blinds. Even though the Fast Fold option is very appealing, you can´t sit there and wait for Aces. You still have to play in order to win. Don´t waste playable hands just because of the Fast Fold option.

These changes might seem obvious to you, but many players have difficulties understanding the consequences. For example, players still think they have to slow play their Aces because they played them aggressively in earlier hands. But it’s most likely that no one will notice!

Let´s get into the less obvious differences to regular NLHE poker.

  1. ZOOM Poker will enable you to play more hands per hour than usual. This means you should play fewer tables, than you are used to. Start with one table and add more tables only if you feel very comfortable in doing so.
  2. Be aware of all information available. The table changes every hand, so make sure to check the number of players at the table, your position and your opponents’ stack sizes before you decide to play a hand.
  3. The average play is way tighter than in normal ring games due to the Fast Fold option. Your opponents in a full ring cash game may play 25% of their hands preflop, but they will probably play 20% or less in a ZOOM Poker game. Same thing goes for 6-max games. While you are used to 33% preflop hand ranges, this amount will decrease to something like 26%.
  4. When a player from late position or the Small Blind plays back at your early or mid-position raise, keep in mind that he waited to see, what the players in between did. He didn´t simply hit the Fast Fold button to get rid of a bad or marginal hand. He liked his hand so much, that he decided to wait and see what happens. His hand range will be stronger than in a usual ring game.
  5. There is almost no table selection. Spotting the bad and good players at your table will be very tough. Instead of beating certain players, with ZOOM Poker you have to beat the whole pool of players. Beat the average style of play and you will beat the game.
  6. The swings to your bankroll are more intense due to the high volume and action. You should think about a more conservative bankroll management strategy than you are used to. Play with at least 45 buy-ins. About 70 buy-ins would be ideal. Remember, in poker you have to beat the variance before you can beat the players.
Special Position of the Big Blind

The above points don’t always apply to the player in the Big Blind. She doesn’t have the option to Fast Fold as long as nobody raises. Unlike the Button or Small Blind position, she always has to wait.

Because of that, many players might defend their Big Blind more often to your late position steal attempts. This is in complete contrast to every other position in ZOOM Poker. While everyone tends to play tighter, the Big Blind might be even looser than in a regular game.

Benefits of playing ZOOM Poker

ZOOM Poker is another addition to the wide selection of poker variants that are offered on PokerStars. You should play the games that have the most appeal for you. It should be fun! Everything else comes next. To give you more input for you choice, here are some benefits of playing ZOOM Poker.

  1. ZOOM Poker makes it easy to start a session. Table selection is not really an issue. You simply choose your game and your stakes, and get dealt in. Less table management will give you more time to concentrate on playing rather than preparing.
  2. The game of ZOOM Poker is new and not deeply understood. Your opponents might make more mistakes than they would normally would. Because of the big action, players might go on tilt more easily. Take advantage of it!
  3. Not knowing your opponents and vice versa can be a big advantage. Moves that might be wrong in normal ring games, might be very profitable in ZOOM. For example, you could now start to reraise more often or bluff certain board textures.
  4. If you happen to play against certain opponents more than once, taking notes will allow you to increase the amount of information that you can use.

On the downside, you have less time per decision, which not only gives you less time to analyze situations, but also less time to learn from them. As soon as you fold, you can´t follow the action anymore (unless you hold the CTRL key when you click the fold button in order to watch the end of a hand). You won´t know how opponents play certain situations unless you play against them.

The Winning Style of Play

Which style should you play in order to be a winner at ZOOM Poker? Similar to most questions in poker, the answer is: It depends! In ring games, you know it’s best to adjust to your opponents. For example, when an opponent plays too tight, you can loosen up a bit to take advantage. This remains true in ZOOM Poker, but you now have to adjust to the whole player pool. Play tighter or looser than the average player and make further adjustments whenever possible. For example, if you are playing in a loose pool, tighten up. But if your opponent realizes you’re tight, try to widen your range.

Of course, this article doesn’t cover every aspect of ZOOM Poker strategy. There are many refinements that can turn a slight edge into a massive one. Always be aware of what happens to the player pool, consider position, adjust your play to certain opponents, and most importantly, have fun with ZOOM Poker!


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