PokerStars players in New Jersey and Michigan can now play ‘Zoom’ fast-fold poker. It’s an option that some have been hoping for since the site launched in 2015.
In an emailed announcement, the US poker market leader said Zoom poker would be available as of 9 p.m., Jan 23. The format has been internationally popular since it debuted in 2012. However, that was one year too late for US players, who lost access to the global dot-com site in Apr 2011.
PokerStars relaunched in the US in 2015. However, its New Jersey site was missing many of the features of the global one, including Zoom. Asked in 2016 why that was, the company clarified that it wasn’t a regulatory issue. Rather, it’s that Zoom games need a certain amount of traffic to be sustainable.
New Jersey lacked a sufficiently large player base to make it possible on its own. The same is apparently true of Michigan and Pennsylvania, where PokerStars has launched subsequently.
That said, could Michigan and New Jersey together have enough players for Zoom to work? PokerStars seems to think it’s possible. The announcement cautions that the games will only be available temporarily, though it doesn’t specify a duration for the trial. One can only assume that the new tables could become permanent if they prove popular enough.
Sadly, Pennsylvania players will still be without such an option for now. Their best hope is that their state will be the next to link up with the others in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement.
About the PokerStars NJ/MI Zoom Trial
PokerStars says that buy-ins for the trial will range from $2 to $200. It doesn’t specify stakes, but on the dot-com site, Zoom allows buy-ins of 40x to 100x the big blind. The buy-in range, therefore, seems to imply a stake range from $0.02/$0.05 to $1/$2.
There’s still a chance the games could stall due to a lack of players. However, PokerStars is providing an incentive to those willing to restart them. When play resumes at any Zoom table, the first ten players to have sat down will receive double rewards points for ten minutes.
The nice thing about Zoom is that you can play a lot of hands in those ten minutes.
How to Play Fast Fold Poker
Americans playing on gray market sites before Black Friday may have experienced something like Zoom under a different name. The now-defunct Full Tilt Poker invented the fast fold concept in early 2010. That first iteration was called Rush Poker.
It’s a concept that only works online. Players don’t sit in designated seats. Instead, they join a pool – one pool per stake level. All games are six-handed.
Tables only last for a single hand before breaking. Players face a new selection of opponents each hand. When a player folds, they don’t remain at the table to watch the rest of the hand unfold. Instead, the site whisks them off to a new table, formed of whatever other players have recently folded.
That’s why it needs a lot of players to work. If there aren’t enough other players ready for their next hand, there will be a wait. That would deceive the point.
Zoom: a Boon to High Volume Grinders
One group of players, in particular, will undoubtedly be excited by the trial. That’s high-volume professionals.
In 2019, PokerStars introduced a four-table cap to its cash games. That was to rein in winning players who would play at a dozen or more low-stakes tables at once rather than moving up in stakes.
The good news for such players is that Zoom tables don’t count toward that cap. There is still a hard cap of 24 tables total, including tournaments, cash games, and Zoom. What’s more, Zoom tables count triple. So you won’t be able to play more than eight Zoom tables at once. Or, if you’re already playing at four regular tables, you could add up to six tables of Zoom. Good luck keeping up with that pace, however.