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Learn to win ZOOM tournaments with Steve O'Dwyer

There is a new way of playing tournaments on PokerStars. It's fast. It's fun. It's Zoom Poker for tournaments!

From our Zoom Poker Strategy Introduction article you already know how this works. You know that you can play many more hands per hour, that the average play is tighter and that there is very little short-term history. Compared to Zoom cash games there is one difference though: as soon as there are only 3 tables left, play goes to normal table balancing.


Zoom Poker Tournaments arrived

But how does it affect your tournament strategy? Should you give it a try at all? We got someone who can help you.

We met with Poker Pro Steve O'Dwyer, who now hails from Dublin, Ireland, one of the hottest tournament players in poker.

In the last two years he earned live cashes of more than $2 million, and he currently is ranked in the top 20 of the Global Poker Index. Steve spends much of his downtime between live tournaments grinding on the Internet.


Steve O'Dwyer in action at EPT London 2013

Hi Steve, have you played much Zoom or Rush poker?

Steve: Yes, for example during FTOPS I would play all the major Rush tournaments. And if you include cash games, I've played more than 350,000 hands of Rush and Zoom poker.

Would you advise people who normally play MTT tournaments to give Zoom tournaments a try? Even if they don't usually play turbo tournaments?

Steve: Yes, it's just a slightly different format which takes a little more focus because you are getting so many hands. I won't usually add Zoom tournaments to my daily grind schedule unless it's towards the end of the day when I'm not playing as many tournaments, or in the beginning of the day when I haven't yet registered for too many. I'm very excited to see them now on PokerStars.

If you are a player who normally plays a single table at a time, I can't imagine why you wouldn't want to play Zoom tournaments. Many of the regular tournament grinders will stay away from Zoom tournaments because they require so much extra focus. The fields are likely to be easier to get through, so if you're used to one tabling tournaments then Zoom is for you.

Tell me about the strategy adjustments that differ from a normal MTT specifically regarding the early stages?

Steve: In the early stages of a Zoom tournament, you have a lot less information to go off of. You're not developing an image with your table mates and you are not able to make reads. You should be playing a very basic form of poker early on. I play really tight during the early levels of these tournaments because I'm waiting around for the antes to kick in; then I play looser, significantly looser.

Tell me about the Quick Fold button.
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