PokerStars Adds Heads-Up Zoom Poker

Date: 2013-12-09
Author: Jason Glatzer

PokerStars players, for many years, have been complaining about bum-hunters in heads-up cash games.  In response, PokerStars has added Heads-Up No Limit Hold'em and Pot Limit Omaha Zoom cash games.

For those of you not familiar with Zoom, it is a popular fast-fold game.  In the heads-up format, whenever a hand is folded or otherwise ended, you are brought to a new table facing a new player heads-up.  Since the seating is random, on one hand you could play the biggest shark in the player pool and the next hand play the biggest fish.  While players can still hit and run, they can't be selective about whom they play, thus making the overall game play more fair and balanced.

Currently, games are available in regular and cap formats for NLHE and PLO.  The blinds range from $0.25/$0.50 to $25/$50 for NLHE and up to $5/$10 for PLO.  As you might expect, the higher the limits you want to play, the thinner the pool.  For example, the NLHE $0.25/$0.50 game almost always has over 100 players in the pool, whereas you are lucky to have a dozen at $1/$2 and higher.  There is a lot of good action if you are a low-limit player.  Additionally, you shouldn't have to wait long for a higher limit player pool to build if you and a few others are in the action.

Buy-ins at each limit range from 50 to 100 big blinds, so there shouldn't be a ton of short-stacks involved in play.  While this doesn't completely eliminate short stacks, as there is no mandatory rebuy if going under a certain number of big blinds, it increases your odds of facing opponents who have 100 big blinds or more.

While we are used to PokerStars being the first poker site to introduce almost anything new, in this case they were a little late to the party.  Ongame and PartyPoker already have heads-up fast fold games.  Ongame's stakes range from $0.05/$0.10 to $1/2, although the only healthy player pools are at $0.05/$0.10 and $0.25/$0.50.

Heads-up Fast-Forward games on PartyPoker are only available at $0.25/$0.50.  While the games on PokerStars are available at more stakes and also in a capped format, they are more difficult than their competitors to win at.  So, if you are playing heads-up games at lower stakes elsewhere, I would think twice before moving your action to PokerStars since your win rate will most likely decrease.

If you use a HUD, you should be at a significant advantage compared to your opponents not using a HUD.  Since the player pools can get big and there is no game flow to guide you along, the HUD giving you stats on your opponents' tendencies can help dictate how you want to approach a particular hand.

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