Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Quick take on quick poker

I just tried Full Tilt's new game format, "Rush Poker." There's a full tutorial available here, but the basic idea is this: You enter a large pool of players, and as soon as you either win or fold one hand, you and eight other available players from the pool are instantly assembled into a new table, in random positions, and play a new hand. If you don't like what you are dealt, you click "fold," and you're whisked off to yet another new table with new opponents and new position.

I lost my first $10 buy-in in a $0.05/0.10 no-limit hold'em game when my pocket queens went down in flames on an all-undercard board to a flopped set of 8s. I then lost another couple of bucks when my pockets 10s lost to a flopped set of 6s from a short stack. Have I told you lately how much I hate sets? I have? Oh, well, then never mind.

Anyway, the action is just as fast as promised. In one stretch I folded about nine trash hands in a row, and it couldn't have taken more than about 45 seconds total.

Obviously you have to adjust by giving opponents credit for bigger hands than usual, because people will be folding junk much more frequently, when they don't have to wait around for a premium hand anywhere near as long as would ordinarily be the case. Just as obviously, you don't have the luxury of watching opponents' patterns over time. Basically you're reduced to playing your cards. At least it seems so to me after a grand total of about ten minutes of experience.

It is indeed quite a "rush." In the video introduction, Phil Gordon says that it feels like multitabling at one table, and that's a pretty good description of it. For me, it's a cute and extraordinarily clever novelty, but I'm not going to spend much time playing that way. I'm not an action junkie by any stretch of the imagination. I think I have my edge by being more patient and analytical than most of my opponents, and those attributes are not what gets rewarded in this game format. But I have to give Full Tilt's programmers credit for yet another novel and interesting variation on hold'em.

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