I was surprised Tuesday, like everyone else, by the launch of Rush poker on Full Tilt. I don't play NLHE these days, except for Poker Curious freerolls and tournaments which I host. But then on Wednesday, they opened the first 'table' of Rush PLO (.10-.25 9 man). I've been intrigued ever since I watched ChicagoJoey break the world record for hands played in a day. He had an app that brought all his 24 table action onto one virtual table. I've always had a challenge focusing on more than a couple tables, jumping my attention and mouse from multiple parts of a screen. With Rush poker, there is an economy of motion and action that I can appreciate. If you utilize the quick fold option regularly, the hands come flying at you at light speed. It is never more than a few seconds until you have your next playable hand. It accelerates all your important decisions.
I have chosen to play only short sessions so far, typically lasting 20-30 minutes each. After a while, my mind dulls a little from the constant speed and intensity of action. If you aren't sharp, you can make mistakes and lose quickly. The first two days, I have played 12 of these mini sessions - having won money in 9 and lost in 3. Averaging out the sessions, it's been about a buyin difference each mini session. My bb/100 has shot up dramatically. I'm sure players will be making quick adjustments to compensate for the different dynamics, but so far I have found it considerably easier to profit compared to my micro 6 max PLO tables. That may not last long, as I noticed some different strategies and moves today, compared to yesterday.
I've heard various serious and casual players decry Rush poker as not pure poker, but all poker is adjustment. The key to any poker game or format is to adjust to the changing dynamics and opponents. That will never change. Certainly for the professional grinders that were used to utilizing stats, HUD, careful table and seat selection, and established player reads this form of poker negates most of their prior advantages. But the paramount skills of utilizing position, quick hand and stack reading, and bet sizing are front and center.
I will share some helpful suggestions that have helped me. If you want to see a hand play out, but you intend to fold, click the 'sit out the next hand' option and you remain at the table until the conclusion of the hand. That is helpful to gain some history and tendencies on players you are bound to run into again. The other option I recommend is that if you don't remain at the table or missed the action, you can call up the hand history and it will tell you the cards they had whether you witnessed it or not. Using the color dot option on players is also very helpful to type them and make quick future reads, but it's challenging to do it in real time as each time you fold you instantly move on to a new set of players.
The only two times I've been full buyin stacked so far have been all in pre with AAxx vs. AAxx vs rundown hands that hit straights. Try to avoid those...LOL
Some differences I've noticed from the NLHE Rush 'tables' compared to the PLO version:
- NLHE averages 250-280 hands an hour, PLO only 175. The action in hands is slower due to more considerations.
- Average pot size is 40% larger on PLO tables than NLHE, and 10-20% larger on 9 max vs. 6 max tables of each.
- There seems to be much more 3 and 4 betting preflop in NLHE, whereas the preflop aggression has been less at PLO.
I also learned from a friend that Rush poker is not a new idea. It was conceived in Europe over 3 years ago. It was originally intended for the Entraction network, but never saw the light of day for various reasons. Thankfully, the creator/inventor persisted. Full Tilt has now embraced it and I'm sure is working feverishly to establish its patent pending to maintain its competitive advantage.
Like any new form of poker, time will tell if it's here for the long haul. It has been a breath of fresh air to my game. In the end the casual and recreational players will determine its fate. Will they value the increased speed of action, their anonymity, and the leveling of the playing field with the pros not having their usual tools at their disposal, or will their likely faster rate of potential losses ultimately deter them? I'm in no hurry to pass judgment.