Fast Fold Poker Strategy
What Are Fast Fold Poker Games and How to Beat Them?
Over the years, waiting for other people to complete their betting and play of hands after you have folded became the norm in poker. Since the average player folds around 80% of hands – that adds up to a lot of waiting!
Fast-fold poker solves this issue. When you fold in this game (even out of turn), you are instantly taken to a brand-new hand. This works by creating pools of players. As soon as a player folds then the software randomly seats them with more players from the pool at their buy-in level. You’ll see your opponents change every hand.
There are some practical considerations – for example who posts the big bling in each hand? This was solved by keeping count of the hands played, and giving the big blind to the player that played the most hands since posting it. A pool of players needs to be of a certain size to keep this game flowing. When things go smoothly you can expect to play up to 4 times as many hands as with a regular cash game.
Fast-Fold poker can be found in cash game and tournament format.
Fast Fold Poker Strategy – It Is Easy to Fold!
With so many hands in a short period, it is easy to hit that fold button and simply see some more cards. Many of your opponents will do exactly that, some will wait for premium hands and play extremely tight. This means that on average, the hands you see shown down in Fast Fold games are better than in a regular game.
There are ‘maniacs’ who raise almost every hand to try and exploit this tendency – though these players do not last too long. They will win a lot of small pots when their opponents fold. When the pots get big, their aggression is not usually enough to overcome the disadvantage in hand strength.
Speculative hands like small pairs and suited aces become more valuable in this format. The reason is that players who have waited for aces or kings are often reluctant to fold them on ‘safe’ flop textures. This means that when you hit a set you have a good chance of being paid off.
The majority of opponents are not even opening the pot without a strong hand. It follows that when they re-raise (3-bet) they will often have monsters! If you are deep enough you can call with those speculative holdings, hoping to hit a set or flush. Most of the time I recommend that you simply fold and wait for a better spot.
Once again this can be exploited by aggressive players. If you choose your opponents carefully you can make money in this way – though again 3-betting ‘light’ can get you into trouble frequently due to opponents opening stronger than average starting hand ranges.
HUDs and Notes – Fast Fold Poker Opponent Tendencies
Many players, particularly at the bigger international sites, play fast-fold poker with a ‘Heads Up Display’ (known as a HUD). This collects statistics on the other players, showing how often they raise, 3 bet and get to showdown (among many other things). This information is valuable, immediately giving you information on your opponents expected open-raising range and so on. If you choose not to use a HUD, keep in mind that many of your opponents will be. These are an easy way of spotting ‘maniac’ players too.
I recommend that you keep notes on your opponents as you play. At the mid-sized sites these will soon cover a lot of the players at your buy-in. Information on individual tendencies can be profitable. For example, you might find opponents who limp with aces (though raise with other starting hands), or someone who will raise the button super-light. There is not too much information to go on in fast-fold games, so notes take on a new level of importance.
Fast Fold Poker Tournaments
Tournaments work in the same way as cash games, with a pool of players being randomly recombined each hand. When you reach the final table, the games revert to regular play – it would not make sense to make this random too.
The biggest extra factors compared to cash games are the relative experience level of the players, and the different stack sizes – particularly during the middle stages.
Tournaments, particularly at the lower buy-ins, tend to attract novice / recreational players who do not know the finer points of poker strategy. This means more hands played (relative to the cash games) and going to showdown with hands that experienced players would have folded. Stack sizes mean that fast-fold tournaments often get to the all-in or fold stage quickly. You need to scan the stacks before each hand. For example - a smaller stack behind you might be waiting for a spot to shove all-in, while a big stack might be using those chips to push the table around.