Poker Columns
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
open/closeAaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd has covered the gambling industry since 2006. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi. Follow him on Twitter @CasinoCity_AT.


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My first Rush Poker tournament
 

When I learned Full Tilt Poker was launching Rush Poker Tournaments, I have to admit, I thought it was insane. Of course, I thought the idea of Rush Poker was insane when Full Tilt introduced the new poker format to its ring games earlier this year.

Players sitting at a Rush Poker table are instantly moved to a new table the moment they fold a hand. Players have the option to fold before the action gets to them, so depending on the hands dealt and position, a player could go through dozens of hands in a matter of minutes.

Critics of the format say it is a bastardization of poker because there is little to no opportunity for players to develop a read on the others at the table, nor can a player develop and take advantage of table image. Grinders and poker math geeks have praised the development because it allows them to dramatically increase the number of hands per hour they can play, and as a result, their theoretical profit.

I tried Rush Poker for a few minutes when it was first released, and didn't think I'd play again. I felt rushed in every hand and missed getting the opportunity to get a read on the other players at the table.

But when Full Tilt announced its "Take 2" promotion a couple of weeks ago would give players the opportunity to get a $25 bonus just for playing Rush Poker, I tried it again. I finished the nine-day promotion with a small profit (plus the $25), and while it's still not my favorite form of the game, I admit it grew on me a bit.

Rush Poker tournaments follow the same format as Rush Poker ring games, with the entire pool of tournament players being whisked from virtual table to virtual table as they exit each hand. Blinds are posted by the players who have gone the longest without posting, and as the tournament pool shrinks to less than 28 players, all tables begin playing shorthanded to increase the pace of play. For instance, when 18 players remain, instead of having two nine-handed tables, Rush Poker Tournaments have three six-handed tables.

Full Tilt ran its first Rush Poker Tournament at 1:11 p.m. ET today. The $1 No-Limit Hold'em event drew 892 players for an $892 prize pool, with the winner taking down $205.16. I learned about the tournament about five minutes before it started and decided that the price was right, so it was worth a shot.

I was surprised to see how short each blind level was. The first 10 levels were scheduled to last just three minutes, with the next 15 lasting for four minutes. Levels 26-37 were five minutes, while levels 38-47 -- which were never reached -- would have lasted six minutes.

While the levels were incredibly short, I still played 10 hands in the first level, which would be just about average in a tournament with 10-minute levels, and certainly more than I would see in any turbo tournament. I lost all my chips on my 19th hand (let it be noted that I correctly pushed as a 2-1 favorite on the turn and was called by a flush draw that hit), just six minutes into the tournament to finish in 637th place.

It took an hour and 34 minutes to get down to a final table, at which point the tournament stopped playing the Rush Poker format. At the final table, players' positions were fixed until the winner was determined. The winner was crowned in just two hours and six minutes, and that includes two five-minute breaks. jbone74 won the first Rush Poker Tournament when his A-10 held up against Mr Greenstein's A-7 and metropolis16515's A-9 after jbone74 called the other two players' all-in bets preflop.

While I thought the idea was crazy at first, Rush Poker tournaments are a valuable addition to the tournament landscape. Personally, I prefer the Rush format more in tournaments than I do in a ring game. It's a better value than a turbo tournament because it runs quickly and gives players a chance to see quite a few hands during each level. I'd love to see the time at each level increase just one or two minutes, but all-in-all, Rush Poker tournaments are a great way to take a shot at a big bankroll boost in a multi-table tournament that won't take all day to play.

Now if I could only fade a flush draw on the river.

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