When Full Tilt Poker first shut down, it meant more or less the end of of “cloud poker” for online players as Rush Poker went dark along with the rest of the site. Fast forward a year, and Full Tilt Poker is still closed. Cloud poker, however, is full of options that weren’t even a whisper when FTP dealt their last hand of Rush; Zoom Poker, Fast Poker and Terminal Poker are just three examples of the brands now crowding the space once ruled exclusively by Tilt.
This raises an interesting question: When Full Tilt Poker reopens, will Rush Poker be able to capture the same traffic and interest now that it’s just one of many online poker games offering the fast-paced format? Zoom Poker, hosted by PokerStars, is obviously the largest threat to Rush Poker’s player pool. While only a few weeks out of beta, Zoom Poker already accounts for a staggering half of all cash game hands at PokerStars. Rumors are spreading that Stars is considering transitioning all high-stakes games to Zoom, which would mark new ground for cloud poker; the highest limit Full Tilt ever offered to Rush players was $2/$4 no limit holdem.
Party Poker is also rumored to be developing a cloud client, although those rumors are based on little more than a comment from Party CEO Jim Ryan. Ryan obviously has a lot of motivation to make Party’s plans sound more ambitious than they actually are, so until some evidence of a beta client emerges Full Tilt probably doesn’t have too much to worry about in terms of competition from that particular corner.
One possible opening for Rush Poker is to aggressively push Omaha Poker as a format; some clients, such as Fast Poker, are holdem only, and Tilt will be reopening to a primarily European player base. This tactic won’t do much to blunt the impact of Zoom Poker, which is available for Omaha, but FTP could potentially provide promotions, formats or other enticements in an attempt to establish their room as the place for cloud-based PLO.
Before any of that, however, Full Tilt Poker will have to actually reopen their doors and resume operation as a poker room. The longer that takes, the more difficult Rush Poker’s road to regaining the cloud poker title it once held exclusively will be.