The Basics of Rush Poker by Howard Lederer

Full Tilt Poker recently released a revolutionary new form of online poker: Rush Poker*. If you’re not familiar with the game, I encourage you to give it a try. Instead of the players sitting in a 6 or 9-handed game, they are seated in a game that has up to 2,000 players in it. All players are seated at a normal table, but as soon as you decide to fold, instead of waiting for the hand to finish and playing the next hand against the same players, you are immediately seated with a different group of players and play your next hand. This allows players to play around 300 hands per hour instead of the usual 80.

The excitement level isn’t the only thing that makes this game different than normal online poker. Playing against a different group of players each hand means you will need to make a few other adjustments to your normal ring-game strategy to succeed at Rush Poker*.

One big mistake that is tempting to make is to play too tight, waiting for only premium hands. It’s easy to find yourself folding any marginal hand, as you will have a chance to get a monster the next hand with no waiting. But, you must not forget that you’re still paying blinds. And if you tighten up your starting requirements too much, those blinds will eat away at your stack. In fact, I would suggest that opening a few speculative hands (like suited connectors in middle to late positions) is a good way to try to steal a few blinds. However, you should give any 3-bet a lot of respect. Players won’t be as likely to 3-bet light when a new hand is just seconds away.

One habit that is harder to break is playing off a table image. In Rush Poker*, you don’t have one. Just because you have stolen a few blinds lately, doesn’t mean you should be worried your opponents are aware of it. In fact, they have no way of knowing, as they weren’t seated with you when you were making those steals. If you just slow played a big pair, don’t be afraid to try it again next time. Instead of worrying about protecting your table image, you should be ruthlessly exploiting basic strategy and punishing what should be the more predictable hand ranges of your opponents.

Playing good poker is all about making the proper adjustments to your strategy, given different playing conditions. Rush Poker* presents very different conditions than a regular ring game, so making the proper adjustments will be a must. Make those adjustments, and you’ll find yourself having a lot of success while you have loads of fun playing the fastest game on the Internet.

Howard Lederer