Editorial: Flopomania is How Poker Should Be Played
There seems to be a race to introduce the most innovative and addictive game to help inject some fresh excitement into online poker.
PokerStars has Spin & Gos with many other poker rooms carrying a similar variant. Full Tilt had tournaments that started with a flip until one player remained at each table and then proceeded normally with everyone in the money. A lot of rooms have a fast-fold variant where you switch tables and get a new hand immediately after folding. There are push/fold variants where you can only either fold or go all in. PokerStars launched a game called Duel that completely redesigned the structure of the game. The list can go on and on.
The latest innovation is 888poker’s Flopomania. What’s the angle this time? The preflop betting round is removed.
It’s really that simple. It’s a six-max game and there’s no small blind or big blind. Every player pays the ante (10c in the $5 buy-in game), hole cards are dealt, the flop is dealt, and then the first betting round begins. Simple, but it changes the game a lot.
Here’s what I’ve noticed after playing a couple thousand hands of Flopomania:
Bet sizes are all over the map. A lot of players haven’t really determined how to size their bets, so you’ll see a lot of min-bets and a lot of half-pot bets and everything in between. Like any new variant, it’ll take a while for the average player to adapt and learn better strategies specific to the game.
You’re going to get called a lot. With every player guaranteed to see three of the five community cards no matter what they’re dealt, a lot of players will be on draws or make weird two-pair hands. Players will call bets often, and showdown hands will be a lot stronger than usual hold’em. A single pair is the winner less often. If you’re going to showdown with less than top pair, you’re almost certainly losing.
No more flips! While you’ll get plenty of action, there are a lot less all-ins in Flopomania. Regular hold’em, especially at the smaller stakes, has a lot of preflop all-ins, making it a high-variance game. I’d argue that Flopomania has a lot less variance. You’re rarely too far behind when you can get it all in preflop and there are still five cards to come. But when everyone has already seen three of those five cards and only have two more to come to improve their hand, you either have a hand or you don’t. Players are getting it all in a lot less often.
I’ve really enjoyed playing Flopomania, and it’s a soft game for now. I wouldn’t add this to the list of gimmicky games with a lot of gamble like Spin & Gos or push/fold poker. I think this will follow in the path of fast-fold poker like Zoom (PokerStars) and Snap (888poker) which have been adopted among the canonical poker variants and played regularly by professionals. I haven't played a hand of regular cash hold'em since Flopomania was launched.
There is, however, a push/fold version of Flopomania. Don’t bother. Really, just don’t.
See you at the flop!