Poker news | Nov 20, 2019
PokerStars Trying Anonymous Tables – Will They Work Out?
By RTR Dennis
PokerStars is never afraid to try something new. Case in point: they’re now in the process of developing anonymous tables.
The anonymous tables are still under works. However, they’re expected to go into beta testing phase in the near future.
Dubbed “stealth mode,” these tables will hide players’ screen names during the action. But hand histories, which are released the next day at Stars, will show players’ handles.
PokerStars Is Far From the First Site to Try Anonymous Poker Tables
Stealth mode may be new to PokerStars players. However, it’s definitely not new to the industry. Severin Rasset, the Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, was quick to point this out.
“PokerStars isn’t the first online poker site to toy with the idea of anonymous tables. As far back as 2011, the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) offered anonymous tables.”
Rasset added that Stars wants to try stealth mode in an effort to help recreational players. This feature prevents skilled grinders from using software to stalk fish and other amateurs.
Besides MPN, Bodog and Winamax were among the first poker sites/networks to try anonymous tables to protect the recreational crowd. Neither found great success with this feature.
For some reason, though, these tables are suddenly popular again. Partypoker has plans to add this feature in their high-stakes section. Run It Once launched with anonymous games as one of its key features.
Research Shows that Stealth Mode Hasn’t Been a Gamechanger
The idea of protecting amateurs through anonymous tables sounds good in theory. After all, bum hunting remains one of the bigger problems in online poker.
MPN once analyzed 175 million hands on their network in an effort to find the impact of stealth mode. They discovered that the worst players actually lost even more money when their screen names were hidden.
Some of the key reasons behind this phenomenon include:
- More bets are called in anonymous games.
- The average pot size and the average bet size are higher when these wagers are called.
- Bet sizes are 19% larger in stealth mode than they are in regular games.
In the end, MPN found that anonymous tables did more harm than good when it comes to encouraging amateurs. They ultimately decided to axe the tables after discovering that recreational players had shorter careers and quit faster due to stealth mode.
Can PokerStars Succeed Where Others Have Failed?
Lost in MPN’s 2014 study is exactly why amateurs bet more and called more wagers at anonymous tables. Perhaps PokerStars knows something that others don’t regarding how poker has changed within the past five years.
In any case, they feel pretty confident in rolling out stealth mode. They’re not the only ones either, given that Run It Once and partypoker are also going the stealth route too.
It’ll be a while before Stars finds out if their anonymous tables are a success or not. Again, these tables are only in the developmental stages right now.
However, these games will soon be available through beta testing. After that, they’ll be rolled out on a larger scale. Countless PokerStars members will then have a chance to see if anonymous tables improve their fortunes.