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Fast-fold poker.

For years online poker sites have been introducing new poker variants with middling success. That all changed in early 2010 when Full Tilt Poker introduced a fast-fold version of Hold’em and the game spread like wildfire to every major online poker site.

The premise of Fast-Fold poker, which is also known as Speed, Zoom, Snap and Zone Poker, is simple: Fold your hand and instantly get a new one. Fast-Fold poker was a godsend for anyone who couldn’t stand the amount of patience required in traditional poker.

What is Fast-Fold Poker?

In Fast-Fold Poker players are able to fold at any time and they will be instantly whisked away to another table where they will have a brand-new hand waiting for them.

  • Skip the Boring Part: Thanks to Fast-Fold Poker, players can skip the various marginal hands they are dealt and skip to the more interesting ones.
  • 21st Century Poker Style: It’s a huge benefit for players who grew up playing faster-paced video games or simply want to play more hands in a shorter period of time.
  • Simple to Play: While Fast-Fold Poker might sound intense to old-school poker players it can actually be a simpler way of playing numerous hands compared to opening multiple tables.
  • Great Mobile Poker Option: It’s also a fantastic option for players who are playing on mobile devices because you only need to have one table open to play numerous hands.
  • Hard to Read Players: The downside of Fast-Fold Poker is that you’re frequently switching tables. It can be difficult to build reads on certain players (although you can still make notes).

What’s the Best Fast-Fold Strategy?

For the most part, you want to adhere to the traditional poker strategy while playing Fast-Fold Poker. Still, there are a few extra wrinkles.

  • Play Stronger Hands: First of all, you’ll tend to encounter stronger hands as players are able to pass on less-premium hands. Don’t be surprised to run into a large number of premium pairs such as AA, KK, QQ, and JJ.
  • Don't Discount Medium Hands: That doesn’t mean you should discount lesser cards, however. Lower pairs and suited connectors can be fantastic ways to win huge pots off players with premium pocket pairs if you manage to hit a big flop.
  • Be Mindful of More Blinds: You should also be aware when playing Fast-Fold Poker that you’ll be playing blinds more frequently because the game is that much faster.
  • Play According to Position: That means that you should play position and occasionally defend your big or small blind. Consider making some calls from the button as well.
  • Bluffs Still Happen: Players will bluff occasionally too so that’s something you should consider putting into your range every now and then.
  • Opponents Can't Read You: Keep in mind that opponents generally won’t really have any read on you. It doesn’t matter if you folded the 15 hands or bet every single one of them. You can approach each hand as a self-contained game.

Will Fast-Fold Poker Help Clear Bonuses?

Fast-Fold Poker is one of the best single best ways to clear bonuses quickly. Generally, sign-up bonuses for online poker sites are based on playing a certain number of real-money hands.

By its very nature, Fast-Fold Poker lets players mow through hundreds of hands in a fraction of the time it would normally take them.

What is Zoom Poker, Snap Poker, Zone Poker ETC?

Every online poker site developed its own version of Fast-Fold Poker over the years and launched each one with a proprietary name.

It can be a little tricky to keep track of but here are the most popular Fast-Fold variants that you’ll run into on the internet and the operator behind them.

  • Zone Poker (Bodog, Bovada, Ignition)
  • Zoom Poker (PokerStars)
  • Snap Poker (888poker)
  • Fast Forward Poker (partypoker)

Is Fast-Fold Poker Good for New Players?

If it’s your very first time playing poker ever then you’ll likely want to start with the slower-paced regular tables.

  • Speed Up Your Poker Education: That said, once you’ve got your footing and understand how the hand rankings, Fast-Fold is actually a fantastic way to turbo-charge your poker education.
  • Play Low-Stakes Speed Poker at First: So long as you stick to extremely low-stakes Fast-Fold you will be able to put in a huge amount of hands and there’s a good chance you’ll learn the game faster than players who stick to traditional tables.

What Games Are Available for Fast-Fold?

Fast-Fold poker is mostly limited to just No-Limit Hold’em although you will find some Pot-Limit Omaha games on the bigger sites.

Don’t get your hopes up for less popular games like Seven-Card Stud or 2-7 Triple Draw, however, as those games have never been offered in Fast-Fold format.

Are There Downsides to Fast-Fold Poker?

Not really but it’s not for everyone.

  • Not for Poker Psychologists: Players who enjoy developing reads on players will likely want to pass on Fast-Fold poker as it takes a long time to build up a decent number of notes on players in the huge Fast-Fold pools.
  • You'll Pay Lots of Blinds: It’s not a huge issue but you also have to be aware that you are burning blinds at a pretty fast rate if you are only playing aces and kings. It’s important to mix some lesser hands into your toolbox.
  • Harder to Spot Soft Games: You also might run into slightly tougher competition at fast speeds. Figuring out which games are “soft” is not an exact science but grinders tend to gravitate towards Fast-Fold because they can record a very high number of hands in a short amount of time.

You shouldn’t let that scare you away, however, as Fast-Fold offers an exciting new way to play Limit Texas Hold'em

History of Fast-Fold Poker

Since the dawn of the online poker boom in the early 2000s, operators have been actively seeking a new variant of poker that they could call their own. There have been plenty of misses over the years (along with a few hits) but nothing really took off quite like Fast-Fold Poker.

  • 2010: Speed Poker Launches: In early 2010, Full Tilt Poker introduced a variant called Rush Poker and instantly took the poker world by storm. The idea behind Rush Poker was that players would be able to fold their hands and instantly get a new one as they were transported to a different table.
  • 2010: Fast-Fold Poker Gains Popularity: It was an idea that could only work online as the physical logistics of moving players would never work in a live setting. Players were suddenly able to ditch the long-waiting periods of traditional poker and could keep clicking that instant-fold button until they got to a hand they wanted to play.
  • 2011: Speed Poker Spreads to Live Tournaments: The game was initially used for cash games but it quickly spread to tournaments as well (although once players got down to a final table it would turn into traditional Hold’em).
  • 2012: PokerStars Launched Zoom Poker: Full Tilt competitor PokerStars quickly got into the action and introduced its own Fast-Fold variant called Zoom Poker.
  • 2015: Speed Poker Goes Mainstream: By 2015, all of the major operators followed suit and these days it’s pretty much impossible to find an online site that doesn’t offer Fast-Fold.
  • Speed Poker in 2022 and Beyond: Over the years the game has been expanded to include Pot-Limit Omaha, tournaments, and more.

Speed Poker FAQ

What is fast fold poker?

Fast fold poker is another name for speed poker. Some poker sites call the game fast-fold poker and others call it speed poker. Though the game was inspired by online poker, fast-fold poker is now played in some offline setting.

Two televised poker tournaments, the Poker Dome Challenge and the World Speed Poker Open, use speed poker as their main game. Also, the Asia-Pacific Speed Poker Championship features fast-fold poker. 

In the US poker market, fast-fold poker has many names. For instance, Bovada Poker and Ignition Poker each call the game "Zone Poker". Other famous poker sites call the game Zoom Poker or Snap Poker. 

What is speeding in poker?

Speed Poker or fast-fold poker is a variant of online poker that many cardroom sites offer. Speed poker can be played with any variant, though most games feature Texas Hold'em. Players have 15 seconds to make a decision before the hand is ruled dead.

Some sites allow a single 30-second extension to each player in the game. If the hand has had no previous action, the default action is checking to the next player. All other rules are identical to Texas Hold'em. 
 

How do you play speed poker?

In most versions of online speed poker, the game variant is Texas Hold'em. Most rules are identical to standard Texas Hold'em rules. Players must make their decision to call, raise, or fold within 15 seconds, though. If other players made bets in front of the player, the hand is ruled dead if the player doesn't make a decision within 15 seconds. Essentially, the player folds. 

If no bets have been made in the round of betting and the player doesn't make a decision within 15 seconds, then the player is ruled to have checked to the next player. Many sites allow for one 30-second extension for each player when making a decision. 

On some online poker sites, special betting rules apply. For instance, Mansion Poker's game has pot limit betting rules in pre-flop play and no-limit betting in post-flop play. 
 

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