How to Quickly Increase Your Zoom Poker Winrate (2021)

How to Increase Your Zoom Poker Winrate

This article was written by blackrain79.com contributor Fran Ferlan.

Fast fold poker (aka Zoom) can be quite appealing due to its lightning fast action. Less waiting and more playing, what could be better?

However, it does have considerable disadvantages to regular games, namely the inability to seat select and difficulty in getting reliable reads due to the player's anonymity.

This means that you’re expected to have a lower winrate in zoom games than you would on the regular tables.

Nonetheless, Zoom poker can still be profitable, because the sheer amount of volume can more than make up for the lower winrate. But it’s only the case if you’re actually beating your current limit.

This article will teach you 8 simple but highly effective ways to increase your Zoom poker winrate so you can have the best of both worlds. 

More volume and a better bottom line!


1. Loose and Aggressive is The Way To Go


Zoom games play significantly tighter than regular games. It’s inherent to the game format, so even the recreational players will play tighter on average. 

One of the reasons they play looser than they should is because they primarily play for fun, and often don’t feel like waiting for a good hand.

They get impatient and frustrated quickly, which causes them to play hands they shouldn’t be playing, chasing draws they shouldn’t be chasing and so on. 

That’s not really the case in zoom games, as you can just spam the fold button until you get a decent hand. That’s true for the regulars as well, of course. This means players are a lot more selective with their starting hands. 

In poker, the best strategy is the opposite of the one your opponents are playing. So if everyone nits it up, the way to exploit it is loosen up your starting hands selection, and up your aggression. 

You can do this with suited connectors for example as BlackRain79 discusses in his brand new advanced suited connector strategy video.


These are the kind of hands that can really increase your Zoom poker winrate if you play them effectively in these games.

And that is because it's actually really rare to have a strong hand in no-limit Texas hold’em, so a lot of players will fold far more often than would be optimal. 

After all, why would you fight back with mediocre hands when pocket Aces could be seconds away?

The problem with that kind of thinking, of course, is everyone else is doing it. This would make poker a zero-sum game. Everyone is trading money back and forth, minus the rake. 

The way out of that predicament is adapting successfully to the player pool’s overall tendencies. 

And those tendencies would be being very selective with their starting hand selection preflop, giving up postflop with all but the strongest holdings, and rarely bluffing out of fear villains only continue with the nuts, or close to it.

A successful counter-strategy would then be loosening up with your starting hand selection, fighting back postflop with a wider range, and bluffing more. 

While a sound TAG strategy could give you decent results in zoom poker, a LAG strategy can have you absolutely crush it.

This is something that is discussed at length in BlackRain79's massive Zoom poker strategy guide, and in all his poker books as well.

So how does that LAG strategy look like in practice? Let’s take a closer look. 


2. Steal The Blinds A Lot in Zoom


Zoom poker games play significantly tighter than standard tables, and that’s true for recreational players and regulars alike.

By the way, make sure you are using a good poker HUD while playing Zoom so you will be able to quickly and easily tell the difference between these player types. 

But anyways, this is why you should get into the habit of stealing the blinds much more often than you would usually be inclined.

If you are holding anything even remotely playable, you should be open-raising from the cutoff and the button. Even if you get called, you will still see the flop in position and with the range advantage.

How to Increase Your Zoom Poker Winrate

Then you can simply fire off a standard c-bet on all but the most unfavourable boards. Most hands miss most flops, and it’s true in zoom games as much as on regular tables.

If you open-raise to 2.5 BB on the button with any two cards, for example, your opponents have to fold only about 63% of the time in order to render your steal outright profitable. And if you raise to 2 BB, only 57%. 

The way you calculate these percentages is by using a simple formula dividing risk by risk and reward. 

So if you raise to 2.5 BB, that’s your risk, and the reward is that risk plus reward (i.e. the small blind and the big blind, or 1.5 BB).

So the formula would look like this: 2.5 / (2.5+1.5) = 0.625, which equates to 62.5%.

In plain English, this means that your opponents need to fold about two out of three times in order to render your steal attempt profitable. 

The more they fold, the more you can expand your stealing range. If somebody is folding 80% of the time, for example, you can profitably try to steal their blinds with basically any two cards. 

And a great number of players will, in fact, fold their blinds that often, for the fear of playing out of position. 

And that’s especially true in anonymous Zoom games, where they aren’t overly concerned with optimally defending their blinds.


3. Learn to 3-bet Light


Any decent player knows that the cornerstone of winning poker is playing in position as a preflop raiser. 

So when you see someone open-raise in the late position (the cutoff and the button), you can assume their range is far wider than if they open-raised in earlier positions. 

This means they are probably trying to steal the blinds a decent percentage of time. 

Most of the hands that open-raise from late position won’t be able to stand the pressure of a 3-bet, so whenever you see someone open-raising on the button or the cutoff, consider 3-betting light to re-steal. 

The best hands to do this with would be the ones that have some playability postflop if your 3-bet gets called.

Suited connectors are once again a strong candidate for light 3betting as BlackRain79 discusses in another recent video, re-raising preflop with 87 and then making a huge bluff after the flop.

  
But hands like suited Aces or suited Kings are even better candidates for a couple of reasons. 

First, they have blocking power, meaning they reduce the number of strong holdings your opponent can theoretically have, like Aces, Kings, Ace-King or Ace-Queen. 

If you hold an Ace, for example, you reduce the number of combos of Aces in your opponent’s range from 6 to only 3, and the number of combos of AK from 16 to 12. 

(It might be useful to remember that there are 6 possible combinations of any pocket pair, and 16 combinations of unpaired hands - 4 suited and 12 offsuit combinations). 

What this means in practice is that blockers reduce the chances of your opponent having really strong hands, so it makes it more profitable for you to bluff them.

This is a fairly sophisticated part of modern poker theory that most of the best advanced poker training sites are now teaching you these days.

The second reason to use suited Aces and Kings for light 3-bets is they have decent playability postflop if your 3-bet gets called, because they can make flop strong flushes and flush draws. 

So if you hit the flop, you’re going to hit it hard, and you’ll be able to play for a huge pot. One advantage of 3-bet pots is they have shallower SPR (stack-to-pot ratio), so they basically play themselves. 

If you connect with the flop, the rest of the hand should be pretty straightforward, and if you miss, you can just give up without risking the rest of your stack.


Learn to Quickly Increase Your Zoom Poker Winrate With My Free Poker Cheat Sheet


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4. Float The Flop Often


It’s easier to float the flop (call with the intention of stealing the pot on consecutive streets) in position than out of position, but either way it can be profitable because a lot of players will give up way too often on the turn. 

The reason for this is basically everyone already knows these days that you should c-bet the flop with quite a broad range (70% or so is the default). 

And mathematically speaking, you are bound to hit the flop in any meaningful way only about 33% of the time (2 out of every 3 hands miss the flop completely).

How to Increase Your Zoom Poker Winrate

This means that a lot of players will c-bet the flop not because they’ve hit, and not because they believe the flop doesn’t interact well with the caller’s range, but simply because “it’s standard.”

By the way, there is tons of good poker software you can use these days to identify these types of player straight away...and ultimately exploit the heck out of them!

Because when they get called on the flop, they often don’t know how to proceed on consecutive streets, and they simply give up if they don’t have a strong hand (which they don’t most of the time). 

So when the villain checks to you on the turn, it can be outright profitable to simply fire off a half-pot bet and try to steal the pot then and there, regardless of what you’re actually holding. 

If you bet half the pot on the turn, the villain only needs to fold more than 33% of the time (or one out of three times) in order for your play to be +EV, and they’re bound to fold a lot more often than that, especially if you’re playing in position.

And even if you get called, you still have one more street to try to outplay them. 

This play works best when you pick up some equity on the turn (additional hand equity never hurts), but again, this play works so well often enough regardless of your hand strength.

If you are playing out of position, however, and the turn goes check-check after villain’s flop c-bet, you can also try to take the pot away on the river with a probe bet. 

A probe bet is a bet made out of position when your opponent missed the opportunity to c-bet on the previous street. 

If the turn checks through, it’s more than likely the villain just gave up the pot, so probing the river can also be profitable even if you’re holding total air. 

It also needs to work only slightly more than 33% of the time to be +EV.

For more on floating the flop in Zoom poker games, this is covered in much more detail in The Micro Stakes Playbook.


5. Check-raise When You Pick Up Equity on The Turn


A great counter strategy against players who’ve learned you should float the flop widely is check-raising the turn. 

Playing with a positional disadvantage is hard to do profitably, so this is one way with which you can counteract it successfully.

BlackRain79 shows you exactly how to use this turn check-raise strategy (and get ALL of their money) in another recent video.

  
The best situation to do so is when you are playing out of position against an opponent's wide ranges. For example, small blind against a big blind, or a cutoff open against the button’s flat call. 

In these situations, you will fire off a standard c-bet fairly often, and you will get called quite often and quite wide as well. So when the turn comes, you might be inclined to just give up and check-fold. 

But you can consider check-raising instead, as this will signify incredible strength. 

Your opponent will have a hard time continuing, because he’ll often assume you just gave up because you didn’t continue barreling, so he’ll try to steal the pot away from you, often with total air.

Check-raising the turn out of position like this could be more profitable than the standard double barrel (i.e. c-betting the turn) because if you c-bet the turn, you will either:  

A) force your opponent to fold all air in his range and

B) only get action from hands that have you beat or have a significant amount of equity against you.

And since in this particular situation your opponent will in fact have a significant amount of total air in his range, you’ll be able to extract more value with a check-raise.

The best hands to do this with are the ones that pick up some sort of equity on the turn, like a straight or a flush draw, for example. That way you still have something to fall back on if your check raise gets called.

For much more on playing the turn effectively check out my recent complete strategy guide on how to play the turn much more profitably.


6. Learn to Play Deepstacked Zoom Poker Games


One of the biggest edges you can get in poker in general (but in zoom particularly) is knowing how to play deepstacked. 

If no-limit Texas hold’em is the Cadillac of poker, then deepstacked no-limit Texas hold’em is a Ferrari (pardon the clunky analogy). 

A deep stack is a stack with 200 big blinds or more, and this is where the skill edge is most pronounced. That’s because you are usually forced to play all three streets with a significant portion of the stack behind, so the decisions get more complex, and mistakes get more costly. 

In most tournaments, for example, the stacks are considerably shallower, so most of the decisions are made preflop and on the flop. When the flop comes, you are either pot-committed or not, and the hands basically play themselves. 

By the way, for a deep dive on tournament strategy check out BlackRain79's ultimate guide to small stakes mtt strategy.

That’s not the case with deepstacked poker. Here hand values change dramatically, so your strategy has to change as well. 

With shorter effective stack sizes, top pair hands go up, while speculative hands (like middle pairs and suited connectors) go down in relative value. With deep stacks, it’s exactly the opposite. 

Top pair hands go down in value because of their vulnerability. They can get outdrawn and get relatively weaker by the river, and it’s hard for them to get action by weaker hands. 

Speculative hands, on the other hand, go up in value, and the deeper the stacks, the more valuable they become. 

The reason for this, of course is the implied odds. The bigger the stack left behind, the better the potential payoff if they improve on consecutive streets.

This is something to keep in mind when selecting hands preflop. If the effective stack size is very deep, you might consider playing speculative hands you wouldn’t play with an effective stack size of 100 big blinds or less. 

You should also be very careful with playing vulnerable hands that could potentially cost you more than you could theoretically earn. 

If you have a top pair hand for example, you should exercise caution and try to pot control instead of blowing up the pot disproportionately to your relative hand strength.

While there might be nothing wrong with 4-bet shoving AKs preflop with an effective stack size of 80 BB, like a lot of poker training sites teach you these days, doing it with an effective stack size of 200 BB can be an outright catastrophe.

The best case scenario is you’re coin flipping against Queens or Jacks, and worst (and far more likely) is you’re a 3 to 1 dog against Aces and Kings. 


7. Be Prepared For Some Wild Variance in Zoom


One of the crucial things to keep in mind is that while zoom games can be insanely profitable with the sheer amount of volume you’re able to put in, it does come at a price, namely the lower winrate. 

Lower winrate means more variance. 

So in order not to be negatively affected by it, it pays to prepare in advance for it. This means having a bankroll that can sustain prolonged periods of bad variance without you being negatively affected by it. 

If dealing with variance is a potential issue for you, and prolonged periods of bad luck tends to push you off the rails, you might start making mistakes that can be absolutely detrimental to your winrate, and your bottom line.

How to Increase Your Zoom Poker Winrate

What’s more, due to the unbelievable speed of zoom poker, you might spew off your chips in a quick succession, and before you know it, you’re down 5 buyins. 

String a couple of sessions like that in a row and it’s a recipe for a disaster.

Think of it this way: 

Every chip you don’t lose to tilt is a chip you don’t have to earn back by playing your absolute best. A penny saved is a penny earned.

If on average you lose one big blind per hundred hands because of an avoidable mistake, that’s one big blind too many.

Poker is a business of razor-thin margins, and zoom poker especially so. You should try to look for every edge you can, however small or insignificant it might seem to you.

This is something that BlackRain79 discusses in far more detail in Modern Small Stakes.

And having a peace of mind is a huge edge to have, relatively speaking, especially in such a competitive environment. So do yourself, and your winrate a favour, and get a big fat bankroll. 

That way you can dispense with fretting about your winrate altogether, and focus on playing every hand to the best of your abilities. 


8. Avoid Decision Fatigue


This one doesn’t really have to do with the strategy element, but is crucial nonetheless, particularly for zoom games. 

Zoom poker plays significantly faster than regular tables, so what this means in practice is an increased number of decisions you have to make in a short time span.

This is why it is so important to use a good free poker HUD in order to get fast reads on your opponents and increase your Zoom poker winrate.

How to Increase Your Zoom Poker Winrate

But the speed of Zoom can also quickly lead to decision fatigue, i.e. the deteriorating quality of decisions made after a long session of decision making. 

If you know the proven winning strategy intimately and can make optimal decisions without using up a lot of mental energy, decision fatigue will be less of a concern for you. 

Compare this to someone who still has to ask themselves about basic preflop starting hand decisions for example, and this will lead to a lot of mental decision fatigue for them.

Poker is extremely intellectually challenging, unless you’re just playing it for fun to unwind with a beer in hand after a long week. But if you’re playing to win, then it will definitely take a toll on your mental resources. 

Think about the following scenario: you sit down to play, you’re totally tuned in to the action, you’re making great reads, pulling off huge bluffs in marginal spots and overall playing your A+ game.

You’re up three buyins, you’re dealt Aces, you 4-bet shove them all-in against a fish, and you lose to K3s. It doesn’t matter, you tell yourself. You’re still up in a session, the games are good, and you’re killing it. 

The session continues, you start missing your draws, your bluffs don’t pull through, and the deck has gone cold. You haven’t had a decent hand in half an hour, and you’re finally dealt Ace King. 

You 3-bet preflop, hit an Ace on the flop, and fire off three barrels on the flop, turn and river, and you get snapped by a set of Jacks. 

You completely lose your marbles and the session is ruined. You can’t get back to your A game, and you quit in frustration.

You might be suffering from decision fatigue. 

Somewhere along the way, you started playing on autopilot to conserve mental energy. You get a good hand, you bet, you get a bad hand, you fold. 

You don’t think through your opponent’s range, your perceived range, the board runout, pot odds and implied odds, you don’t take future streets into account. You’re just going through the motions. 

This can be absolutely detrimental to your winrate, because unlike tilt, which you’re hopefully able to recognize on time and take a breather, this is far more insidious, because you don’t even realize how it’s affecting your play. 

So ask yourself consciously how you’re doing throughout the session. Are you completely tuned in, paying attention and thinking through your decisions, or are you just going through the motions and waiting around for the nuts? 

If it’s the latter, a break might be in order.


Can Anyone Quickly Improve Their Zoom Poker Winnings These Days?


Zoom poker has an inherently lower winrate due to the lack of ability to table select and seat select, but the sheer amount of volume can more than make up for it, so if you know what you are doing, it can be more profitable overall. 

You just need to know the right strategy and adapt successfully and use the game format to your advantage.

And luckily, you don't really have to know a ton of super advanced poker strategy these days to beat these games consistently.

Successful adaptation is playing the opposite style of the majority of the player pool you are up against. 

Since zoom games play significantly tighter than regular games, the most profitable strategy is therefore a loose and aggressive (LAG) style. This means playing more hands preflop, upping your aggression and bluffing more.

One easy way to instantly boost your Zoom winrate is stealing more blinds. Since a lot of players will refrain from playing out of position and Aces are just around the corner, they don’t defend their blinds nearly as often they should. 

They fold their big blind 80% of the time, and some of them even more than that. If someone is folding their blinds so often, it can be outright profitable to try and steal blinds with basically any two cards. 

You can use a smaller open-raise size (even as little as 2x) to decrease the required fold equity. The bigger your open-raise size, the more often your opponents need to fold to render your steal attempt profitable.

Conversely, if you are the one in the blinds and see someone open-raising in the late position (the cutoff and the button), you can assume they are trying to steal the blinds fairly often, so you can 3-bet light to resteal. 

The best hands to do this with are the ones that have some sort of playability post flop if your 3-bet gets called. 

Once again, you can just use a good poker tracking program like PokerTracker in order to see all the data for yourself (which hands you are winning with, and which ones you are losing with).

Zoom poker winrate pokertracker

Suited Aces and Kings are ideal candidates, as not only can they make monster hands post flop, but also have blocker power, which reduces the number of potential strong combos in your opponent’s range (like Aces, Kings, and Ace King).

If you decide to flat call preflop instead, you should float the flop wider than you would usually be inclined and try to steal the pot on consecutive streets if your opponent gives up.

Most players know they should c-bet the flop fairly often, and they will c-bet far more often than they’re mathematically expected to connect with the flop in any significant way. 

Most hands miss most flops, and that’s true in zoom as well. A lot of players will fire off a “standard” c-bet, but won’t have the heart to keep barreling on later streets without a good hand (which they won’t have most of the time). 

You can therefore float in position and simply fire a half-pot bet when they check the turn to you, or probe the river out of position if the turn goes check-check.

Another power move you should look to incorporate in your arsenal is the counter-strategy to the previous point. Instead of double barreling on the turn, you can consider check-raising as a bluff instead. 

A standard turn c-bet might not always be the most +EV play because you will often only get called by better hands, and you force all the worse hands to fold. By check-raising instead you can get more value out of all the air in your opponent’s range. 

This play is best employed when you pick up some equity on the turn, like with a straight or a flush draw. That way you’re giving yourself more ways to win the pot if your bluff doesn’t pull through.

If you opt for the zoom format, learning to play deepstacked is a must, as this is where you allow your skill edge to manifest itself the most.

I would recommend checking out The Upswing Poker Lab for some of the best deepstacked poker strategy in the world designed for Zoom poker games.

Deepstacked poker is an entirely different beast than standard 100 big blinds stacks, because you have to play all the streets.  

Decisions get more complex, and mistakes more costly, but the potential upside more than makes up for it. 

Deepstacked play will influence your starting hand selection. Top pair hands go down in value because of their vulnerability, and speculative hands go up because of the bigger implied odds.

So practice pot control with your top pair hands, and look to get involved with speculative hands to potentially take down a huge pot. Nothing better for your winrate than a huge pot.

While Zoom poker games aren't always the easiest to beat these days, with the right Zoom poker strategy, most people can quickly increase their winnings in these games.

By the way, if you are curious, here are the best Zoom poker winrates these days that you should be shooting for.


Final Thoughts


So Zoom poker strategy aside, one thing to mentally prepare yourself for is more variance. Poker is a game of razor-thin margins, and zoom poker especially so. 

If the never-ending swing of ups and downs is a problem for you, do yourself and your winrate a favour and get a big fat bankroll.

Like they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure. Worrying about losing a considerable chunk of your bankroll, even through no particular fault of your own can be debilitating. 

Losing some money is inevitable, but playing sub-optimally because of it is not. 

Every big blind you don’t lose to tilt is one you don’t need to earn back by reading advanced poker strategy on how to increase your winrate. 

Finally, don’t forget to take a break from time to time. 

We poker players often disregard the stress of having to make so many decisions for so much money in a short timespan, and it does take a toll, whether we realize it or not. 

Decision fatigue is a real thing. Bigger volume is only an advantage if you’re playing your best. If not, you’re just losing money quicker.

Lastly, if you want to know my complete strategy for crushing Zoom poker games, make sure you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

How to Increase Your Zoom Poker Winrate