Zoom Poker

08 Jul

(Photo: Bodogpoker.com)

Assume Tighter Ranges. Since it is easy to ‘Fast Fold’ bad hands, there is less temptation to. A rousing game of Punderdome can easily be played via Zoom. To begin, gather at least three people, ensure that someone (again, probably you) has the deck of cards, and spend an evening making.

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Many poker players came and went and only a chosen few survived and became regulars at these stakes. All of them are using complex Game Theory Optimal (GTO) software like PokerSnowie and all of them have huge databases and very sophisticated HUDs to help beat their opponents. But that doesn’t mean all they do is look at some numbers, apply the GTO theory, and just click some buttons; many still adjust and exploit the tendencies of both regulars and recreationals in order to maximize their winnings. And at the end of the day, they come up with unbelievable graphs.

Indeed, what some believed to be impossible, it is actually doable: 10 big blinds per 100 hands over a big enough sample size at NL500 Zoom in what many regard to be the toughest No Limit poker game in the world. Why is that?

Well, let’s just say there are quite a few cash regulars who play the highest stakes on PokerStars and ‘only’ beat NL500 Zoom at a rate of 3 to 4 big blinds per 100 hands. Not to mention other known high rollers who tried to beat this game and failed miserably. So is it really the toughest game in the world? And how can it be since one guy is crushing it at such an incredible rate? Well, luckily for you, we at PokerTube have the proof and all the right reasons to believe this is really the case and we are willing to share with the rest of the community. Are you ready? Let’s start with the ultimate proof then.

Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald’s NL500 Zoom Challenge

At the beginning of last year, in one of Chicago Joey’s podcast episodes, known tournament poker crusher and wizkid, Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald, talked briefly about a certain prop bet. He didn’t go into much details but he did say that in order to win the bet, he had to make a profit at NL500 Zoom. The deadline was the 2015 World Series of Poker with McDonald not being allowed to hire a formal coach (he still could talk about hands with cash players).

Zoom poker night

Although he didn’t want the challenge to go viral, ‘Timex’ did post his results on 2+2, and surprisingly for many fans and players who rooted for him, the Canadian failed. According to this post just before the start of the 2015 WSOP, McDonald played 46,325 hands at NL500 Zoom and lost -$11,335.49 (-4.89BB/100). He said in the update that he ran pretty bad but admitted that he wasn’t as good at NL cash games as he thought. He started the challenge quite bad losing 20BB/100, recovered towards the end but it was still not good enough to finish with a profit. He told the poker community there are very good regs at NL500 Zoom yet still many who are awful and also enough fish to make the game beatable.

McDonald continued the challenge but towards the end of the year, he gave up entirely and hasn’t been seen at NL500 Zoom ever since.

So why did he quit? Surely, playing a tough field must be a very solid reason. Is the field that tough? And who’s actually playing these stakes?

Running Round The Clock

One of the most important reason why NL500 Zoom is tough - arguably the toughest in the world - is its round the clock action. It is basically the highest shorthanded cash game on PokerStars - the biggest poker site in the world. They run regularly, almost 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

We all know that the action at nosebleeds is scarce nowadays and is based on one recreational player sitting at the table. Without him, the games don’t run, so in order to fill in the gaps and keep up with the poker joneses, many nosebleeds players usually move down stakes and try NL200 Zoom.

Moreover, the regulars at the lower stakes like NL200 or even NL100 scarcely move up to play the toughest poker game in the world. And why would they? At NL200, a regular can be a slight loser and still make a nice profit from PokerStars’ cash rewards. At NL500 though, the rakeback cannot quite cover their losses thus it is a losing deal for them. And we didn’t even mention the softer field with much more mediocre regulars and recreationals at NL200 compared with NL500 Zoom.

Ok, you may say, but who actually is playing these stakes? Who are these tough regulars?

Moving Down From Nosebleeds

There are many high stakes players that play or have played limits like NL5000 or NL10000 and are forces to climb down from their ivory towers to where the normal people are grinding. Especially when they don’t have anything to play at nosebleeds. Players like Romanian superstar Liviu ‘0Human0’ Ignat - a well respected cash player at the nosebleeds just a couple of years back (he was at one point up $2 million) - Alex ‘Kanu7’ Millar - one of the biggest cash winners all-time according to HighStakesDB with over $2.6 million - or Russian poker guru ‘forhayley’.

Also since becoming a coach and streaming on Twitch, Doug ‘WCGRider’ Polk - the self-declared best Heads-Up No Limit player in the world - had his fair amount of action at NL500 Zoom trying to educate his viewers and give them insight into how a real poker player should think.

All don’t play the game that often, but they do come up in the game’s lobby from time to time trying to impose their will over the regulars and recreationals combined.

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So Who Else Is Playing NL500 Zoom?

The real regulars however are as tough as they come and even these high rollers have a hard time breaking them. They are experienced with millions and millions of hands played online and can beat any No Limit poker game all over the world, from Las Vegas to Macau. But who are they?


Most of them are achieved mid-stakes winners who took shots at the highest of stakes at one point in their career but stick to mid-stakes for safety. Many are unknown from different parts of the world like ‘d3fault’ or ‘cipple444’ or ‘mynameiskarl’ while some are known poker grinders like Randy ‘nanonoko’ Lew - although we don’t see him that often at the online poker tables anymore - and three-time SNE achiever Bertie ‘bigstealer’ Bayley.

Others are poker coaches - Run It Once Team members Juan ‘proggrezive’ Manuel Copani and Mark ‘EluSiveMark’ Lammers fall into this category - or PokerStars Team pros like Jorge ‘Baalim’ Limon and local Russian legend who turned $50 into a fortune, Mikhail ‘innerspy’ Shalamov.

And of course, there is the famous Spanish-speaking team that is currently crushing NL500 Zoom. Part of that team is Raul ‘Sir_DonaldRM’ Mestre, the player who has the unbelievable graph shown at the beginning of this article. Another member is Andres ‘Educa-p0ker’ Artiñano - a former high-stakes Heads-Up No Limit player who transitioned smoothly to shorthanded play and Zoom. All of them are probably using very complex GTO programs constructing ranges for their opponents and trying to exploit them as much as possible. And all of them are probably using a HUD similar to the one below:

No this isn’t Matrix, it’s just how far a NL500 Zoom regular can go to beat the game and annihilate the good but not best poker player. Now how can a NL500 Zoom newbie with not much Zoom experience, even seomone as legendary as McDonald or Phil Ivey or Tom Dwan, beat that?

Do you agree that NL500 Zoom is the toughest poker game in the world? And if not, what other game that runs on a regular basis could be? Have you ever railed the action? Who do you think is the best at this game? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

These Two Aren't Recommended

Internet gaming in the U.S. has been legal and has enjoyed ever-widening popularity, since 2002.

Poker is the Grandaddy card game of chance, and United States gaming sites can be so “game-specific” in specialty so as to be excellent for one variation on play Texas Holdem online while being weak on others. Play Texas holdem poker, a variation on the classic game, and you’ll be learning one of the more unique poker variations, with not only community cards but the possibility, when you play texas hold em poker, of play ending several times prior to when it is inevitable. As betting can occur multiple times throughout the hand, it can be very lucrative, and it is quite exciting, so it is common for internet gamers to play Texas holdem poker.

According to the popular online gaming “blog” and advice site, Hold’em, the 3 best online sites for Texas Holdem are Ignition, Bovada, and Intertops. I’ll talk about the particular strengths of each site below.

Ignition…”Know when to fold Em…”

Zoom Poker With Friends

Like some other sites, Ignition will actually teach you the rules to play their options before your first hand. You can play at Ignition in real U.S. money, and they may, as they claim, have the best online gaming software of any site out there.

Ignition roots its online table card games in philosophy which perhaps best, of all sites, facilitates internet recreation of actual, physical table games. As the company expresses this philosophy on their website, “Life is not a destination: It is a journey.”

The pride Ignition takes in its expertise and class shows through at every level, and it is a fantastic site to play Texas hold em online.

Bovada: “Know when to walk away…”

Where some sites write out the rules of the game, (Bovada does this as well, in fairness), Bovada goes a step better by writing out a few crucial tips for how to bet. In the online text which addresses this, Bovada’s rich appreciation of poker lore and milestones comes through loud and clear. Texas Hold ’em runs through Bovada’s blood.

Bovada is under the umbrella of Bodog gaming, which has been an industry leader since 2004. Because of this affiliation, online players have access to the entire player pool of the PaiWangLuo Network.

Bovada is a powerhouse, a potential poker proving grounds, and can be a thrilling place to play Texas poker. (Just be sure you can hear it when the voice in your head tells you to hold Em.)

Intertops: “And, know when to run….”

Intertops has been around a while, and longevity in this business means you are doing things right. Intertops started in 1996. The site specializes in poker and is quite at home hosting Texas Hold Em games.

Intertops has one special feature which is especially nice: You have one account for any gaming you do at the site. This means that your funds can apply at any game you engage in there, and winnings go to one locale.

The integrity of Intertops games is steadfastly guaranteed by proprietary gaming software. The software guarantees a fair shake for all players within the limits of all possible outcomes.

Zoom Poker Play

  • “Great hand…what to do with Em.?”
  • “With Em?”
  • “Hold…” “Hold…”
  • $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Zoom Poker App

The excitement and benefits of internet gaming have made it increasingly “HOT” since its advent in the early nineteen nineties: In 2018, it was a $50,000,000,000.00 enterprise.