Tuesday, March 20, 2012

PokerStars Zooms Ahead

Short-Stacked Shamus tries out Zoom Poker on PokerStarsIt was mid-January 2010 that Full Tilt Poker first launched what it called “Rush Poker,” that online poker variation which let players join large pools and get reseated at new tables after every hand, allowing them to “quick fold” if they liked and move on without waiting for a given hand to complete.

There was a lot of hubbub when Rush Poker was first unveiled, and many players took to the format immediately, loving how it utterly eliminated between-hands down time and enabled them to keep in constant action.

Another cool thing about Rush in the early going -- in my experience, anyway -- was how soft the pot-limit Omaha games were. Never in my online poker career did I win at so fast a clip as during those first couple of weeks playing the Rush version of PLO on Full Tilt Poker. Things eventually settled down, though, and when the fish finally left the Rush pools I left soon afterwards, too, eventually heading back to the regular ring games.

Looking back at my little black book, I see I didn’t play any Rush at all from about May 2010 onwards. In fact, I didn’t play much on Full Tilt Poker period for the rest of 2010 and early 2011, preferring PokerStars. Then came Black Friday and like everyone else I cashed out my Stars money, but my roll of a little less than three hundy over on FTP remains inaccessible.

Now, just over two years after Rush Poker was introduced, PokerStars has brought out its own version of the format called Zoom Poker. Still in beta, the first real money Zoom games began to be offered on Stars late last week.

I’ve fiddled some with Zoom and the game play experience seems at first glance to be very much like Rush Poker in most respects. Players fade away and reappear rather than zip off to the left and fly in from the right. There’s an added option to sit out the next big blind, something I don’t believe Rush Poker had. And the overall game play is smoother-seeming, too, although I have always liked Stars’ client much better than FTP’s (and never could figure out why people were so often claiming FTP’s superiority in that regard).

Oh, I am playing for play chips, natch. I mean I am a play money millionaire on Stars.

Zoom Poker represents another feather in PokerStars’ cap, and will likely further enable the site to continue to distance itself even further from all competitors. Was reading about Zoom over on Poker News Daily and noticed a reference to Stars' dominance with regard to online poker. Using PokerScout’s numbers, it was pointed out how Stars has more real money traffic going than the next 13 rooms/networks combined. No shinola.

The Rush-slash-Zoom variation represents a genuine innovation, something that could only be done in online poker, and for that reason it is necessarily intriguing for those of us who’ve dedicated a lot of time playing and thinking about the online version of the game. It’s interesting as well to think of Stars usurping this idea from Full Tilt Poker, perhaps the single-most valuable thing FTP had going for it at the time of its demise.

For some, if the day ever did come when Full Tilt Poker relaunched (as a few seem to think may actually happen one day, maybe sooner than later), the option to play Rush Poker might’ve been the only draw. But with Zoom now on Stars, that no longer gives Full Tilt something unique to offer.

Doesn’t matter, really. I mean given how long we’ve all been waiting for some resolution regarding our tied-up funds, most of us disassociated the word “rush” from Full Tilt Poker a long time ago.

Hey, I see this here is post no. 1,600 on Hard-Boiled Poker. Zoomin’ along myself here.

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