Speed Poker: Beating the Fastforward Poker Format
Fast-fold versions of No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha have taken the world of online poker by storm. The Tip Top Fox gives you the top tips needed to beat the game
Fastforward Poker is a fast-fold variant of both No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) and Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO), available on partypoker, which also includes Coral and Ladbrokes as they are part of the same poker network.
A high-octane version of the aforementioned poker variants, fastforward Poker pits you against a pool of players at your chosen stake, with limits ranging from $0.01/$0.02 up to $5/$10, offered both with and without antes.
Rather than being confined to one single table, a player changes both table and position every hand. You don’t even have to wait until your turn to fold should you get dealt a poor starting hand. You can simply hit the “forward fold” button to be presented with fresh cards at a new table.
This means the action is both fast-paced and frantic, especially considering the fact that it’s possible to play up to six tables at the same time, meaning that a player can see hundreds of hands an hour.
This huge volume of hands makes it an ideal choice to hit the site’s top-tier 40% cashback and can be almost a licence to print money – if you know what you’re doing.
Fastforward Top Tips
One major difference on the partypoker network, compared to a site like PokerStars for example, is the lack of poker tools and software like HUDs (Heads-Up Displays), which are not permitted. If you are used to relying on such tools, it can make things at the fastforward Poker tables a little tricky, especially given the high volume of hands you are able to play.
In addition to being able to play close to three times as many hands per table, fastforward Poker differs from a standard cash game in a number of different ways. To win, you need to adjust your playing style.
The lack of available tools makes playing against a rapidly changing line-up of players a challenging prospect. The fact that hands play out much faster also makes taking notes on a sizeable pool of unknown players a tough task.
However, it is something worth doing if you plan to play a lot of fastforward Poker. You need to pay attention to determine which players you find yourself up against the most regularly.
Then, you need to make a note of how often they are raising from late position, and how often they are three-betting (re-raising) from the blinds pre-flop. Should a hand go to showdown, make a note of the sort of cards they are turning over so you can work out some sort of hand range for them.
You need a large sample size against an opponent before you can start to exploit their betting tendencies, but after putting in some volume and taking notes, you will start to pick out the regulars and you can start to pick apart their game with some aggressive three-bets from the blinds, or some timely steals from the button.
It’s also worth paying attention to an opponent’s stack size as this can provide you with some useful information. The vast majority of regulars have the auto top-up function selected. Players who don’t and are entering hands with less than 100BBs (big blinds) tend to be recreational. That or they have low funds in their account; usually the sign of a sub-par opponent. Of course, some opponents may be regular short-stackers, as some players prefer having fewer tricky decisions post-flop. If you notice the same players short-stacking regularly, then you should make a note of this too and adjust your range accordingly.
Any player limping into pots, betting weird amounts as opposed to using the quick bet buttons, or making questionable calls is worth colour coding and making notes on. These are the players where most of your profits should come from.
Less is More
If you can’t beat a regular six-max game then you are going to struggle at a fastforward table. The sheer speed of the game and the volume of hands you are subjected to can overwhelm even a seasoned player.
On a regular six-max table you can see somewhere in the region of 70-100 hands per hour. In fastforward, this number is above 200 per hour. If you are attempting to play six tables at once, that’s over 800 hands per hour. You also have far less time to think about these hands, owing to the turbo-charged nature of the game.
If you are new to the format, fewer tables are better in the long run. Open up just one or two tables and get comfortable. Once you can beat your chosen stake consistently on one or two tables and are showing a profit, then you can think about adding more.
The increased volume of hands played in the fastforward Poker format means you need a solid strategy and good poker fundamentals. If you are shaky in this area then the fast-paced nature of the game will only make you lose more money at a quicker rate.
There is a lot less bluffing in fastforward – a player can just muck their hand and move on to the next table rather than play garbage. At the lower stakes especially, the majority of the player pool is playing extremely tight and nitty.
Set-mining becomes incredibly viable and you can make a great deal of profit from players unable to fold over pairs, or top pair top kicker hands like ace-king and ace-queen.
Just remember the golden miner’s rule – you need implied odds of around 15-1 to set mine profitably to make up for all the times you miss, and all the times you hit your set and your opponent folds.
At the lower stakes, players often play fit or fold poker, meaning you should be stealing with a wide range of hands from the button and late position, raising around 40% of your range:
A raise from the button, cutoff or hi-jack (the two seats to the right of the button) can often be enough to win the hand then and there. Any dry, uncoordinated boards and ace and king-high flops should be continuation bet, especially against a single caller from the big blind.
This brings us succinctly to our next point. The vast majority of opponents in the lower stakes player pools betting position aggressively can be exploited. This makes re-stealing from the blinds extremely profitable.
When players open light, they are less inclined to continue in hand when you three-bet from the blinds, especially when they can just fold and get straight into the action on another table using the fastforward function.
Your re-stealing range should be a lot higher than in a standard six-max game, and if opponents are raising around 40% of their range from late position, a 25% re-steal range counters this fairly well:
Hands like A3s and A2s can be replaced with pocket pairs 2-2 to 3-3 if you prefer, or you can replace danger-hands like KJo, KTo or QTo with pairs as they can flop well.
Big combo draws where you have both the straight and the flush, or a pair and a flush can also be played aggressively to maximise your fold equity.
Of course, should a player continue in a hand against you when you have followed the above strategy, the easier it is to work out their range and there is a good chance they have a strong hand. This means that big three-barrel bluffs are unlikely to work, as if a player is taking the time to go the distance, the more likely it is they have the hand they’re representing.
That should give you a fairly solid strategy to start with, and you can tweak your game accordingly as you become more practiced at the format. So to re-cap; play fewer tables to start, take notes on the regulars, steal from late position, and re-steal more from the blinds. Good luck at the tables.