Consider the following: tonight, you’ll be attending a speed-dating event. You’re paying good money for the privilege of talking to a lot of random people for 30 seconds a piece. Your goal is to find true love. How do you prepare?
Well, surely you’ll want to take a shower. You might even consider wearing deodorant and cologne (or perfume). You’ll pick out your best clothes and do your hair just right. First impressions are everything, right?
Like your fictional speed-dating event, Rush Poker is a game of surface judgments. You don’t have a history with your talking partner at a convention; the same holds true with your opponents in Rush Poker. You’ll never know more about them than what you immediately see.
Since you’re up against random people every single hand in Rush, you can’t rely on long-term reads to guide your decisions. That’s not to say reads should be discounted totally; in fact you can make some quite useful ones that will help you immensely. However they’re different kinds of reads than in regular-paced poker.
Think of Rush Poker as speed-dating, but more fun (and more useful—sorry, speed-daters). You’ve got only seconds to get to know your opponents. You extract from them whatever information you can use in a small amount of time, and use that information to your advantage. Searching for long-term reads is a mistake, since they can’t be gathered easily and won’t be useful.
Thus you need to look out for superficial things that hint at your opponents’ playing style. Here are some reads to look out for at the Rush Poker tables.
Read #1: Screen Names
Some people are naturally dumb, and this dumbness tends to color all facets of their lives. This is especially true on the internet. Just take a look at any internet forum (especially any poker forum), read some posts, and you’ll see what I mean.
More often than not the ridiculous posters will have ridiculous screen names. This translates to poker: ridiculous people do ridiculous things consistently, and it follows that their screen names will be ridiculous.
Look for names like these:
Name #1 is inherently silly; nobody can deny this. Knowing that somebody would choose such a naive screen name gives you insight into the player’s character. #2 indicates that the player thinks he’s good at poker; this is inevitably far from the truth. No winning player wants to advertise his skill to the world; players who feel a need to broadcast their abundance of skill are generally compensating for a lack of skill. Name number #3 is a special breed of read, and requires further analysis.
When you read a name like #3, it advertises two things: first, that the player is part of an internet “in-crowd”, and second, that they spend way too much time on the internet. The first tells you that they probably hang around poker forums; the second that they spend a lot of time on said forums.
Players fitting this mould are almost universally one of two types of players: TAGs or LAGs. Further, they’re almost always bad TAGs or LAGs. Those who know don’t speak. This is very true of winning poker players. Why would a winning player want to help his opponents pinpoint his playing style? No winning player would. Thus anyone advertising their time spent at strategy forums is probably very exploitable.
Read #2: Stack Sizes
This read is very simple, and always very accurate. In a game of Rush Poker (or any poker for that matter) it makes no sense to buy into a game short-stacked. You can automatically assume that any player sitting with less than 100BBs in his stack is terrible. Adjust, and play accordingly.
Read #3: Obviously Silly Bets; Limping Preflop
These are quite common blunders at the micro-stakes Rush Poker tables. Both scream “I do not know what I’m doing! Exploit me!” Don’t turn down this offer. Exploit people who limp or make silly bets as much as you can.
An example of a silly bet would be a preflop minimum raise in a no-limit Rush Holdem game. If people want to play limit, they sit in at a limit table. Guys placing minbets at no-limit are simply playing poorly. Raise them frequently.
Limping preflop is bad always, and you should raise to isolate limpers whenever you can. This is ESPECIALLY true if they also have silly screen names, and are short stacked; what more could you ask for than the trifecta of Rush Poker reads?
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