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Zoom/Rush poker strategy

Since Rush poker was first introduced by Full Tilt Poker, most poker rooms have their own version of this fast-paced tournament format. Whether they are called Zoom, Rush, or Snap tournaments, the basics are very similar. With small starting stacks, quickly rising blind levels and only three seats, those winner-takes-it-all tourneys have become very popular across all poker rooms.

The most attractive feature is the fact that the prize money varies a lot: before the start of the tournament, the prize money is determinated by chance. While most of the time players will be playing for two buy-ins, there is a small chance to get lucky and play for a huge payout of several thousands of dollars, even with a buy-in of $1.

How to win?

Due to the tournament structure, most of the time the tournament will not be much longer than app. 30-40 hands, and the strategy differs greatly from normal tournament strategy. Among other things, you have very little time with a specific player, which makes it difficult to find wek spots.
Here are a few tips that will help you winninga Zoom poker tournament:

1. In the early phase, do not escalate hands before the flop, unless you have a monster like AA, KK or QQ. That means that even with pockets of medium or good strength, you should not raise too much preflop. If a 2 BB raise gets called, a 2.5 or 3 BB raise will most probably get a call as well. But with a minimum raise, it is easier to get away from the hand if an opponent reraises, or even goes all-in. Also, the pot will be smaller after the flop if you get called, making pot commitment a smaller problem for you.

2. In later phases, go all-in right away with any good hand if nobody has opened yet. Generally, look at any hand from this point of view: if you raise and get called, will you bet the flop, or even see the river, regardless of the board? If the answer is yes, go all-in right away. If your hand is better than the range of hands you might get called by, you add a little fold equity to the already existing advantage that you have. This makes going all-in a winning move in the long run.

3. Observe betting patterns in your opponents' play. Do they try to see many cheap flops but fold to raises? Do they contionuation bet frequently? How aggressive are they? These games are more often decided by aggressive betting, and less often by one player actually having a hand. If you observe a player going all-in very frequently, you should call his all-in with any broadway hand and any pair - all those are definitely above his preflop all-in range!

4. Watch out for your own chipstack, and compare it to the other player's stacks. Use the chips that you have while you have enough chips to scare your opponents. Once you have, for example, only 3 BB left against an opponents 15 BB, your stack is no longer a weapon. On the other hand, if the chip leader has 12 BB and you have 7 BB, he knows that losing an all-in hand against you can cost him a big part of his stack.

5. It is difficult to tell when a preflop raise is simply a steal. In general, a raise first in has a better chance of stealing the pot than a raise from the small blind.

6. If you play a lot of those tournaments, you will run into the same players all the time. It is a good idea to write down notes about those players (use the note function that almost all poker room softwares offer). This info will be of enormous value in future games!