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Ready for a Rush revolution?

It’s the new kid on the block in the internet poker world but can Rush Poker gain enough respect from serious players to enjoy sustained success or will it end up as simply a one-hit wonder? Gareth Bracken reports on the latest poker craze

Rush Poker has certainly caused a stir since its introduction into the online community in January. This is a new type of poker, introduced by Full Tilt, which ensures that players are never more than a few seconds away from playing a hand. Competitors are kept in a pool of players and are quite literally rushed to a seat at a new table as soon as they fold. The recent unveiling of tournament Rush Poker has added a new string to the concept’s bow and gives players yet more opportunities to make a (very) quick buck.

As with any new idea that challenges a more established model (see Twenty20 cricket) there have been both supporters and dissenters. The majority response does appear to have been positive though. Waiting around for a good hand – or sometimes even a hand of any description – can be frustrating, especially in an online environment that is supposed to facilitate fairly quick play. Rush Poker removes that wait, providing “ADHD poker” as one internet player rather mischievously put it.

Tighter and/or more seasoned players have been encouraged by the fact that – for the time being at least – poorer players are seemingly flocking to play Rush in the hope of reaping rewards in double-quick time. This does of course have the knock-on effect of there being a higher ratio of regulars left to battle it out at the normal tables, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by some in cyberspace. There is a silver-lining however in the form of the rakeback that some of these regulars can expect if they get heavily involved in Rush.

One concern is that Rush will make the skill involved in reading opponents redundant, as there isn’t much point spending time and effort making notes on someone who you might not come up against again for a couple of hours, if at all. Full Tilt pro Taylor ‘Green Plastic’ Caby disagrees though. “I actually think the Rush games will benefit thinking players,” he says. “The 35 big blind buy-in makes short stacking harder.”

To return to the sporting analogy, is it possible that Rush could become the face of online poker in the way that Twenty20 has become the face of limited-overs cricket? It’s certainly a possibility but in order to appeal to a wider audience it definitely needs to expand further. At the moment the only types of poker offered in Rush form are Fixed Limit/No Limit Hold‘em, Pot Limit Omaha and Pot Limit H/L Omaha, with the highest possible stakes rooted at $1/$2. The longer it stays that way the more chance there is of players becoming bored and moving on, but surely Full Tilt won’t run the risk of turning their new big thing into a passing fad.

The consensus on the future of Rush, for all its positive feedback thus far, is that while it will never fully usurp regular poker it will certainly continue to provide constant action for those who embrace it. As Taylor Caby puts it, “I don’t think these games will became more popular than regular poker, but there are a lot of reasons why I think it’s good for sites to experiment with stuff like this in order to offer more options for their customers.”

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