Have you ever been in doubt whether to go grind regular tables or fast tables? Well, as a grinder for a living, I must say I’m still in doubt about what format to concentrate on. What are the Pros and Cons of both formats and what is my experience?
The old-fashion way was just one way; regular tables. However, it was Full Tilt (pre Black Friday) that introduced the fast tables under the ‘Rush Poker’ name. Today’s speed tables include well known Pokerstars’ Zoom, SNAP on 888, Speed poker on iPoker and Fast Fold on Party Poker, to name a few. Here are few of the Pros and Cons of both formats:
Regular tables - Pros
- Weaker competition: The biggest advantage of playing regular tables is your possible win-rate. Due to being able to table select, you’ll have the possibility to play versus weaker opposition. This means you’ll be able to play versus these weak opponents round after round.
- Developing reads to exploit players: When you’re playing regular tables you’re able to collect information to exploit your opponent. When you develop note-taking, by writing down villain’s actions and hands, you’ll be able to exploit it even further. You’ll also be able to collect a lot of data from possible fishes around you, which allows you to exploit those weaker opponents even more.
- Avoiding tough tables: At times, you would rather not see or play against some regulars. This can be avoided by selecting the right tables for you. So it will always be your choice whether you want to face certain opponents or avoid them.
Regular tables - Cons
- Lower volume: A big disadvantage to playing regular tables is the amount of volume compared to the fast tables. For every fast table, you’ll need around three regular tables to match up the volume. Playing four fast tables is a less stressful activity compared to playing 12 regular tables, due to the messiness of your screen(s).
- Harder to achieve certain VIP status: This is especially hard when you’re playing micro-stakes. You won’t be able to achieve a high-raking VIP status fast unless you play huge volumes. This means that when you’re not able to gain the highest VIP status, you won’t receive as much rakeback as you can possibly receive compared to the fast tables. This will result in lower hourly gains in terms of missing a certain % of rakeback.
Fast tables - Pros
- Bigger volume: As mentioned before, you are able to play more hands per table. More hands could mean higher hourly winnings. This totally depends on the difference of the win rates and rakeback. Also, due to a number of hands you’re able to play, this will help you fight more variance (although this is not always true due to lower WR compared to regular tables).
- Easier to focus: You are able to focus more easily because when you’re finished with your hand, you’re able to go to the next hand right away. This way, instead of dispersing your attention, you are able to maintain focus on that one table in front of you.
- Instantly sit on a table and start playing: When you’re starting a fast table, you’re starting right away and are able to load 4 tables with a few clicks. Compare this to a regular table and you get the picture.
Fast tables - Cons
- Win rate: Compared to regular tables, you’ll face more regs on fast tables. Also, you’ll have to play versus the most feared regs at your stakes. You can’t hide from those regs like you can in the regular format. There will be less fish and you also won’t have the wonderful opportunity to maximally exploit a whale, sitting next to your right. Another factor regarding fish is that they will be tighter on the fast tables, since they can click the ‘fold’ button too, just like you. This all combined will result in a lower win rate.
- Table selection: You can’t choose whom you play against. You can’t look around for juiciest tables. It’s click and play all the way with the fast tables.
I must admit that I still don’t select tables well enough yet. Especially after I quit my job to play poker, I just started my 50NL table on PokerStars and grind my way through it. But let’s be honest; wouldn’t you rather make a few bucks more per hour if you could?
The first time I really started to try and grind the fast tables is about a year ago. Before that time I never really liked it, because to me it didn’t feel like ‘real poker’. But after a while, I actually started to enjoy playing the fast tables. If you have the same feeling like me, just try playing fast for a little longer than just half an hour.
The thing I do miss at the fast tables is the real action and possibilities to exploit a player. It is way more fun to outplay an opponent, compared to playing a ‘GTO-ish’ style. But on the other side, regular can seem slow when you’re used to the fast table style action.
When you lack time but really want to learn the game, I suggest always playing the fast format tables. This way you can get a lot of hands in. If you just want to have some fun, then it’s about what you like; if you want to play every hand and think about how to make your opponents life really tough, then the regular table is maybe a better option for you.
Another option could be to mix it up; choose for fast or reg tables at specific times and compare win rates. You could also just mix it with your current session. At the end of the road, I think we all want to have fun while we either play or work. So I would suggest trying out both options. After that, you will be able to compare win rates and the amount of fun, weight these factors and finally make your decision!