Impact of High-Speed Online Poker Games

Published on May 3rd, 2012

In the last few weeks, we've seen several variations of high-speed online poker games introduced. Full Tilt popularized the concept in the form of Rush Poker in early 2010, 16 months before Black Friday. In Rush Poker, as soon as a player's action in a hand ended, he was whisked away to a brand new table where a new set of opponents awaited. Another hand started instantaneously and the process repeated itself.

A player being able to see 200 to 300 hands per hour was common, and Full Tilt indicated to the rest of the industry that Rush Poker was patent-pending. Poker software companies like PokerTracker and Holdem Manager ardently kept pace with the fast dynamic of Rush Poker, and ultimately succeeded. As PokerTracker's Steven McLoughlin told PocketFives, "It's still poker in the end."

Fast-forward to 2012. <a target="_blank" href=""><b>PokerStars</b></a>, the world's largest online poker site, rolled out Zoom Poker, whose game play is quite similar to Rush Poker. According to PokerStars' website, "When you fold in Zoom, you are immediately moved to a hand at a new table. You can fold at any point in the hand when you are facing a bet. You can even click the 'Fast Fold' button, which allows you to fold when it is not yet your turn to act. This greatly speeds up the action because you can move on to the next hand before everyone else finishes playing their hand."

Pokerfuse recently published an article outlining other so-called "fast fold" poker offerings, which included PokerTube's InstaDeal and Relax Gaming's Fast Poker. Pokerfuse pointed out, "Although [fast fold poker] had its critics, it gained a lot of popularity among players: It offered a change of pace to normal poker, reducing waiting time between hands and giving the whole experience a more action-orientated, arcade feel."

PocketFives asked McLoughlin for his take on the future of rapid-fire games like Zoom Poker: "It'll be based on skins rather than networks and may be a brand new business model. I think it's common sense that you'd want this type of product in your client. Poker room operators are looking for any opportunity to increase their rake yields and provide any product they can to have their customers stay and play longer. With Zoom Poker, they can rake more per hour than any other option available."

More poker room rake could be considered a win-win. As posters on PocketFives have pointed out, increased rake opportunities in fast fold games allow players to achieve VIP goals faster. And from a poker room's standpoint, player juice is a primary revenue source. "It's good for loyalty," McLoughlin argued. "It's good for rake yield. It's good across the board."

Programs like PokerTracker have built-in Heads-Up Displays, or HUDs, that allow users to view detailed stats on their opponents. VPIP, PFR, and everything in between are shown in HUDs in real-time. But, like Zoom Poker, do HUDs impact rake and player loyalty?

When asked that question, McLoughlin responded, "HUDs create players who are active, engaged, and keep poker games alive. Plus, HUD users tend to create more poker room rake. This is one of the reasons the PokerTracker team works with almost every site on a one-to-one basis. It's the same reason they'd want a fast poker solution."

Meanwhile, posters on PocketFives are anxiously awaiting Zoom Poker tournaments on PokerStars. Full Tilt was widely known for its Rush Poker MTTs, and when asked whether MTTs will be coming to PokerStars any time soon, one PocketFives member reported, "I emailed Stars before they released Zoom for beta and they said they have no plans for tourney/SNG style yet. I guess they'll wait to see how well the cash games run and how much demand they get for them."

You'll recall that several Full Tilt Online Poker Series events were of the Rush variety, and the site celebrated Rush Week. What do you think the impact of fast fold games like Zoom Poker will be? Let us know here by leaving a comment.


  1. Pokerstars? What's that?

  2. Zoom tourneys ftw. What are they waiting for?

    Originally Posted by allanforsyth View Post

    Zoom tourneys ftw. What are they waiting for?

    +1 Why it take so long??? Only difference is chips for $$ - structure same as in normal mtts. It was great options if you usually have only 3-4h for play.

    Originally Posted by allanforsyth View Post

    Zoom tourneys ftw. What are they waiting for?

    +3, Come on stars .. zoom mtt ftw ! and also .. HURRY AND BUY FULL TILT

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