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Full Tilt Poker did not become one of the world’s most popular online poker sites by sitting on the sidelines, letting others lead the way. No one in the industry can compete with the level of innovation Full Tilt integrates into its software. From widgets to Cashout tournaments, the FT development team is constantly thinking of new ways to keep their product fresh and exciting. Their most recent invention may be their most popular ever. Rush Poker has the poker community buzzing, with amateurs, journalists, and pros all weighing in on Full Tilt’s latest creation.

For the uninitiated, Rush Poker is a new way to play, which allows you fit in the maximum number of hands into a given time. Whenever you fold, you are instantly moved to another table and given a new hand to play. Rather than folding rags and then waiting for your opponents to play out the rest of the hand, Rush Poker lets you get straight back into the action with some new cards. Rather than buying in to an individual table, players join a mass group who are constantly switching tables and moving position.

Rush Poker has proven to be incredibly addictive, with writer Chasse Rehwinkel referring to it as “Poker Crack”. Renowned poker blogger Dr. Pauly was so convinced of its similarities to drug use, that he penned a short story about a man becoming totally dependent on Full Tilt’s new game. The tale ends with the man in rehab, lamenting, “I daydream all the time. What do I see? The QUICK FOLD button.” Isildur1 destroyer, Brian Hastings, was also quick to draw a comparison: “I’ve never tried crack, but it’s gotta be similar to Rush Poker.”

Some of Full Tilt’s most prominent team members have been quick to praise their company’s new idea. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson called it, “the greatest innovation in online poker since poker started on the Internet,” and Andy Bloch declared that, “this is how poker really should be.” He also chimed in with a little strategy advice for budding Rush Poker fanatics. Bloch noted that constantly switching tables, makes it impossible for opponents to analyze your play. “You can raise every hand on the button, for example, whereas at a regular cash game table, you wouldn’t do that because people would pick up on it.” Aaron Bartley, another Team Full Tilt Pro, also added some wise words of his own. “I think what people need to realize is that it’s still the same game,” he told Pocket Fives, “It’s still No Limit Hold’em and the fish who play the games are going to play these the same as they would a normal table.”

A few players and journalists were a little more reserved. Poker News’ Michael Freidman noted that poor players entering the world of Rush Poker will likely maintain the same win rate and that good players may even become more dangerous. “Because they are lowering the impact of variance, this makes these players tougher opponents,” he said. Cardrunners founder, Taylor Caby, agrees.  “I actually think the Rush games will benefit thinking players,” he commented, citing many online players over-reliance on automated Heads Up Displays that track the behavior of their opponents. The flip side of this is that Rush Poker makes it significantly harder for good players to utilize long term reads. “Playing Rush Poker there were no moments where I could use my ability to read people’s tendencies,” noted Chasse Rehwinkel.

Overall, the reaction to Rush Poker seems to be overwhelmingly positive, although a few free thinkers have tempered their enthusiasm. The game is still developing and most pros report that ABC poker currently reigns supreme. Those same experts are hoping that the allure of more hands per hour will draw in the recreational fish required to feed the professional poker industry. It also seems that once Rush Poker has you in its grasp moving back to the drudgery of the standard Ring Game can take some serious effort. With Full Tilt’s penchant for invention and the success of Rush Poker to build on, it’s exciting to imagine what new ideas will be unleashed over the coming months and years.