Zoom Poker is the new game from Pokerstars.com, the world's largest online poker sites. This is different from regular games in that you join a large pool of players instead of sitting at a single table. You are put together with other players to play a hand, then the instant that you fold you are recombined again to start a brand new hand. In addition, you can fold (and thus start another hand) before it is your turn to act. The 'Fast Fold' button hides your action from other players and allows you to cut out all of the dead-time which was previously spend waiting for other players to act.
With different opponents each hand and super-fast action, your strategy will need to adjust if you are going to beat this poker format. Here I list 5 adjustments to get you off to a profitable start.
#1 - Assume Starting Hands Are Stronger
Since it is very easy to fold bad hands and move on, the majority of players will be doing exactly that. This means that, on average, starting hands will be stronger than those in other games - where reads and specific situations might cause someone to 'raise light'.
#2 - Position Is Always Important In Poker
Acting last after the flop is a huge advantage, allowing you to gain information on your opponents before you act. In Zoom, where there is a lack of tells such as player-specific bet sizing information, position is even more important. Your button is profitable - do not let other people push you off of it too easily.
#3 - Beware Of The Small Blind Raising
As small blind the 'Fast Fold' button is available from the start. Since this player needs to wait for almost everyone to act, most people fold most hands from this position immediately. If the small blind raises, or calls a raise then gets active later in the hand, then alarm-bells should be ringing. Very few players will be bluffing in this spot.
#4 - Sets Are More Valuable
If you hit a hidden 3-of-a-kind in Zoom Poker then you have a better chance of being paid off than in a regular cash game. This is because in a normal game, your opponents are more likely to notice that you wake up and start betting strongly. In a pooled game you are unlikely to have seen the same player enough to be giving away this type of betting tell. If someone has an overpair you can often win their whole stack.
#5 - Find Out Who Plays 4 Times
You can play each pool of Zoom Poker up to 4 times. This is great for grinders who want to play a large number of hands. If you take the time to look on the lobby for your pool, you can see a number in brackets which shows how many tables each player is at. If you spot some 4's make a note of their names, then color-code them when you see them at the tables. When you know who the good grinders are you can easily avoid them - or play when you have position and a reasonable holding.