For a “fast-moving” poker variant, it sure took a long time to come out. Rumored for the better part of a year, it was first confirmed back in September 2011 that PokerStars was working on a “fast-moving ring game product.” Pokerfuse exclusively revealed the name Zoom Poker and that the product was nearing a public beta.
The day has finally arrived. Six months since it was first confirmed, and almost two years since Rush Poker debuted on Full Tilt (and almost one year since it went offline), “One innovation is a simplification of the lobby and registration system. Rather than a separate tournament-like lobby in Rush, in Zoom everything is done from the main lobby window.” Zoom Poker was quietly rolled out on PokerStars’ test client last night.
For those who have forgotten the format, a quick refresher: Rather than join individual tables, players join an uncapped pool of players, much like a multi-table tournament. Once signed up, you are instantly seated randomly with other opponents in the pool. At the end of each hand, you are moved randomly to a new table with a new selection of players. Players can “fast-fold” preflop, instantly moving them on to the next hand, allowing players to play more than 200 hands per hour while one-tabling.
For fans of Rush, the Zoom experience will be very familiar. As before, you can enter the pool up to four times. You can fast-fold (the button is labeled exactly that) and be taken to a new table – a quick 'fade’ transition and you will be reseated in less than a second.
The replayer and instant hand history function as with regular tables, allowing you to view mucked hole cards of the previous hand as well as take notes and color-code opponents at the last table.
The only major innovation is a simplification of the lobby and registration system. Rather than a separate tournament-like lobby in Rush, in Zoom everything is done from the main lobby window, with a player list showing those already playing and how many entries into the pool. When you click 'join’ you are prompted to set your buyin amount, and how many times you wish to join; then you are taken directly to your tables. There is no observation of play allowed – clicking on a Zoom pool simply prompts you to join.
Right now there is just one 6-max NL pool on the test site, but the lobby has space for fixed limit Hold’em, PLO, Omaha 8, and “Other” games too. According to the stat in the lobby, players are clocking up 200-280 hands/hour.
So there you have it – PokerStars’ long awaited Zoom Poker. For those who wish to try it, you can download the test client at testpokerstars.com (you will need to set up a new account). How long until it is rolled out for real money play is unknown, and will likely depend on how smoothly the beta test goes. PokerStars has yet to indicate whether it will be rolled out simultaniously on their new mobile platform (which is currently available in the UK and in Italy), but as the format is so well suited to light, recreational gaming, it is safe to assume it is on PokerStars’ radar.