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Zoom Poker

In this post, I want to explore the main differences between Zoom Poker and Regular Poker, and discuss how we should adjust our game-plan.

ZoomZooming is for Perverts

Differences

1. Zoom Poker levels the playing field between a mass multi-tabling grinder and someone playing fewer tables.

Zoom Poker: Ranges between 180-250 hands per hour (average = 225H/hr)
Regular Tables: Ranges between 60-100 hands per hour (average = 75H/hr)

A mass multi-tabling playing 24 tables would have no problems playing 8 Zoom tables, achieving the same number of hands per hour.

A player more focused on a smaller number of tables (6-8 tables) would probably end up playing 3-4 Zoom tables.

Here’s a table of how many tables players are likely to play when they transit from regular ring games to Zoom poker:

  • 1-2 Regular Tables -> 1 Zoom Table
  • 4 Regular Tables -> 2 Zoom Tables
  • 6 Regular Tables -> 3 Zoom Tables
  • 8-12 Regular Tables -> 4 Zoom Tables
  • 16 Regular Tables -> 6 Zoom Tables
  • 24 Regular Tables -> 8 Zoom Tables

What you would notice here is that the 24 tabling regular is still playing a similar number of hands per hour (24 X 75 = 1800) even after he switches over to Zoom whereas the player who played around 6 regular ring game tables at a time (6 X 75 = 450) would probably end up playing 50% more hands per hour (3 X 225 = 675). This means that the mass multi-tabling grinder ends up being at a smaller disadvantage, assuming that having more time to think through each decision is an advantage in the first place.

2. The majority of players end up playing much tighter preflop

Nits tend to click the fold button even faster than before and nut-peddle. Even the traditionally loose-passive recreational players start to play significantly tighter in a Zoom Poker game.

3. LAGs become even more loose/aggressive

On the other hand, some guys tend to try taking advantage of nits and they steal and re-steal even more aggressively than before. They think they can get away with it because it’s much harder to keep track of players’ frequencies when the player pool is so huge.

This held true mainly during the early days of Rush Poker, when Holdem Manager and Poker Tracker had not developed HUDs for players to use yet.

What this means is that we should start resorting to more extreme/exploitive strategies once we start picking up on small reads.

4. The Player Pool becomes much larger

At any point in time, there are a few hundred players playing Zoom Poker at each stake. Compare that to a regular ring game where you would probably end up playing only around 20 different players, assuming you are playing across 6 tables. This means that it is going to be significantly harder to gather reads and mine for stats for each player.

Adjustments

1. Designing a gameplan becomes way more important

In the absence of reads, one needs to stick to one’s default plays. I would strongly recommend designing a well-balanced preflop game-plan, which should include default opening ranges, 3-betting and 4-betting ranges specifically designed to exploit population tendencies.

Here’s an example of how I would approach it:

  • Look at the 20 regulars who you have the most data on
  • Average out their various stats to come up with a good estimate for the “average player”
  • Maybe the average player opens 40% from the BTN at NL10?
  • Design a default 3-bet range specifically for a 40% player (10% range?)
  • To make it balanced, use a 5% value range (99+/AQ+) and a 5% bluff range

2. Steal more aggressively

I’m pretty sure any article about Zoom Poker strategy would probably mention this. I don’t want to state the obvious but if you listened to what I wrote in the previous paragraph, you would probably realize that you should be doing this.

Assuming you did try to profile the average regular using the method described above, you would probably notice that the average regular

  • Has Tighter Opening Ranges: Call and 3bet tighter
  • Has Tighter Blind Defending Ranges: Steal wider from Late positions

3. You should trust your reads and stats more readily

Ok I have to admit I’m not too sure if this holds true. But if players tend to be more polarized (loose players play even more aggressively, and tight players tighten even further), this would probably mean that your stats on others would be likelier to become accurate even at lower samples.

Example: You usually need 20-30 hands to have a good idea of someone’s VPIP/PFR. In a Zoom game, you may need fewer hands (15 hands?) before being confident in “jumping to conclusions” about someone’s tendencies.

Let me know in the comments section if you found it useful. Or if you have any specific request for me to write about a particular topic. Thanks for reading!

7 comments for “Zoom Poker

  1. Siddharth
    January 9, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Nice one mbml. I do agree with players being more polarized.

  2. Max
    January 10, 2014 at 3:15 am

    good article!

    really like this:

    “Look at the 20 regulars who you have the most data on
    Average out their various stats to come up with a good estimate for the “average player”
    Maybe the average player opens 40% from the BTN at NL10?
    Design a default 3-bet range specifically for a 40% player (10% range?)
    To make it balanced, use a 5% value range (99+/AQ+) and a 5% bluff range”

    just a question – the 10% range for 3-bet, is there math behind this? or is it just a good number to keep it tight?

    just one more question – have you read the education of the modern poker player?

  3. artiz
    January 11, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    i think more than 10% u will getted 4 betted a lot

  4. January 14, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    that’s an arbitrary multiplier. too little and you’re not 3-betting enough, too much and you are exploitable vs 4bets. And no, i have not read that book, but based on reviews as well as the reputations of the 3 authors, it should be a decent read at the very least.

  5. Max
    January 24, 2014 at 3:05 am

    Thanks for the reply.
    i found a pretty good resource here: http://web.mit.edu/willma/www/mit15s50.html

  6. Max
    February 5, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Btw, do you have any resources about GTO plays? thanks:)

    • galvin
      February 5, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      you can check out the book section. My 3rd book is finally finished and it contains some information about game theory and how to implement it into your game.

      -Rock Paper Scissors Example
      -Toy Game
      -Maximizing your EV against the Nemesis strategy (best counter strategy) by being balanced
      -The concept of Auto-profiting

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