The fast-fold poker concept was first introduced by Full Tilt and its Rush format. They offered an exciting new option for the game – you can just fold your hand as soon as it is dealt, and move to another one. The non-stop action creates lots of excitement and opportunities to play short, but intense sessions. If you add the lightning-fast rate of earning loyalty points and rake back, it is easy to see why this format stormed online poker world.
Nowadays, all big poker rooms and networks offer these games. By far the most popular is Zoom on PokerStars, iPoker has Speed Poker, and MPN offers Blaze Poker to its players. All of these games are virtually the same as the initial Full Tilt concept and allows you to jump straight to the non-stop action.
The majority of the games are cash tables, and it is no surprise to see that Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular game, nothing comes even close.
Fast-Fold Poker Strategy
You pretty much know what fast-fold poker is and where to find it. Let’s dig deeper and discuss which strategies will help you to make money from this exciting format. Obviously, there is hardly a winning formula for all levels and rooms at once. The level of the competition can vary but should be aware of some basics.
There’s limited history
One of the main differences in fast-fold poker is that you will be playing at a different table every time. This means that you will not be able to get a complete profile of particular poker players, as the opponents will change every single hand. This is particularly the case when it comes to lower stake-games with plenty of traffic, like the micros on PokerStars, where you can often see more than 500 players in the same pool. If you are not playing hours and hours at the same stakes, gathering reads on your opponents will be quite hard.
As a result, it’s difficult to build an exploitative strategy based on the table dynamics and the specific stats for each player, as you usually do on regular cash tables. This might seem like a downside, but do not forget that your opponents have limited information about you as well. Thus, the most important thing to determine the biggest winners in fast-fold poker is who adjusts better. By studying some GTO poker strategy and identifying population trends, you’ll be able to adjust your game for the format quite comfortably.
Fast-fold poker is full of nits
The nature of fast-fold poker allows you to release garbage starting cards and move on to better opportunities. Most people, especially recreational players, are too extreme in this regard. They often fold excessively often and pursue premium or at least decent hands only. The downside of this is that your overall win rate at fast-fold poker tables cannot be as high as regular one. Players simply make less huge mistakes pre-flop because the action is non-stop and they do not need to play marginal hands just to be involved.
The tighter overall style is why stealing and re-stealing the blinds should be the cornerstone of your strategy. Most of the time, a single pre-flop raise will be enough for you to win the hand. You can also try 3-betting more from the blinds, as this is considered stronger than on regular cash tables and until someone gets a read on you, they are likely to over fold. Of course, you should not go too far if the opponent shows no sign of giving up. The trick is to steal often and learn to distinguish the spots when you are beat because some nit finally got his aces.
As always in poker, the table position is a key factor. Even the regulars at fast-fold poker are usually limited in their aggression. This gives plenty of opportunities to attack post-flop weaknesses. For example, try to flat more in position against single raises. When a player is stealing, he will usually check the flop unless he hits it or bet just once and give up. When this happens, you can try to take the pot right there and make some decent profit.
How many fast-poker tables should I play?
Higher Volume, Fewer Tables
One of the biggest advantages of fast-fold poker is that the hourly volume at a single table is much higher than on regular ones. However, the non-stop action means your attention will be required more often. As a result, you cannot play the same number of tables as in another format. There is no universal formula of how many is optimal, as each player has its own comfort zone. However, keep in mind that quality of your decision is more important than a number of hands you play.
Usually, 2 or 3 tables at the same time will provide lots of action and still give you a chance to think through your decisions. You can start from there and try adding more tables if needed until you hit the sweet spot.
There will be a lot of bad beats.
Another important thing you need to know is that the bad beats seem to come more often when you play fast-fold poker. This is natural as the format is an accelerated variation of regular cash games. You should stay in control of your emotions and not let a bad run ruin your whole session. Remember that good streaks can be more rewarding and you can win tons of cash in a heartbeat with speed poker. It should be enough to keep you calm.
Of course, you also have to follow strict bankroll management as in all other poker formats. It is hard to determine how much exactly, as it is highly individual. If you are an experienced player that is used to bad beats, you can be a bit more adventurous. Your primary goal is to stay sharp and keep your composure when bad luck hits you.
Fast-fold poker is certainly a unique format that has a lot to offer. The tempo is high, and it is a great option if you have limited time for your sessions or looking to jump into some action at once. However, be aware that overall win rate you can achieve is lower than the good old cash games and understand that you should be comparing your hourly rate instead of BB won per 100 hands to see the real results.
About the author:
Tadas Peckaitis is a professional poker player, author of the free poker book “Play ‘A’ game and be the boss at your poker table”, and the owner of mypokercoaching.com. He is also a big fan of personal effectiveness and always trying to do more. Tadas shares his knowledge about both of these topics with his students and deeply enjoys it.