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/May/2012

Thoughts on Zoom poker

By: mytton @ 12:12 (EDT) / 1639 / Comment ( 0 )

An extended downswing in my 6max cash games was getting me down so I decided I needed a change. Along came Zoom, so I gave it a try and am now hooked!

As usually seems to happen when I move to a new level/game, I started off running really well, then began to struggle once I settled into a routine and probably let my concentration level waver. Since then I have adjusted my tactics and my results graph is looking healthy again. Overall I am surprised to find how much I like the Zoom format. The speed of it is certainly very addictive.

In just over a month I've played almost 60k hands of 2nl Zoom and made over $70 profit, giving a winrate of just about 6bb/100. I have mostly been playing 2 tables,as I find playing 3 or 4 to be just a touch too hectic for my elderly brain.

I've not seen much discussion of Zoom-specific ideas and strategies so I thought I would list some random pros and cons of this form of the game. Any comments/additions to this list, please feel free to post:

Pro:
Volume - the sheer number of hands you can get through is a big bonus. It makes this game potentially very rewarding, not to mention addictive. Even playing just 2 tables you can average around 600 hands/hour.

Con:
Zoom teaches fish how to fold marginal hands. The most commonly exploitable mistake of microstakes fish is usually said to be an inability to fold. The Zoom format discourages this error, as the next hand is always just a single click away. So even the worst of the habitual limpers and callers will not be calling you down nearly as often in this format. I reckon most regular winning microstake players will see smaller winrates here as a result.

Pro:
Setmining - can be very lucrative. The pool format makes it less obvious what you are doing when you call a raise in position (or even open limp) with a small pocket pair.

Con:
Setmining - plenty of others are trying this too, so beware. Betting top pair hands for value can be extra stressful when you have to be aware not just of flush and straight chasers, but possible made sets as well. Compared to normal microstake cash games, I have had to adjust my c betting to allow for this. Continuation bets on a dry-looking flop with one high card (eg A63 rainbow) seem to meet more opposition, and you won't know if you are facing an Ace, a set, or just a counterbluff from some random middle pair. On the other hand, I have found a moderate c bet on flops with two high cards will more often induce a fold than normal, presumably because the two overcards scare off smaller pocket pairs.

Pro:
Start, stop or take a break any time - because you never have to worry about waiting for the big blind to come around, you can sit in or out any time you like, which means you can  take a mid session break and restart again with virtually no inconvenience at all. And no need for table selection either. Just dive in when you want, step out when you want.

Con:
No maniacs/tilters to take advantage of - these players presumably exist in Zoom, but you would never know it, because you can't watch consecutive hands from them to notice the pattern. Preflop All-Ins have to be treated with more respect as a result.

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