Anonymous poker tables aren’t a new innovation in the online poker world but, when launched by PokerStars, they have the potential to make a big impact. PokerStars will be testing Stealth poker tables very soon and, while they didn’t change the game when Unibet and Bovada tried it years ago, anonymous tables will be an interesting addition to the lobby.
The new anonymous tables can be selected from the lobby as “Stealth” games. When you join a stealth game, you won’t be able to see any usernames. You’ll be competing completely anonymously with the other players at the table.
PokerStars has stated that anonymous tables have the potential to prevent collusion. This has been somewhat of an issue in the online poker world and the company wants to keep its players safe from any potential harm.
Even though the tables will be anonymous, hand histories won’t be. Players will still be able to view their hand histories with usernames attached to them. They will become available 24 hours after the hand was played.
This is a handy feature of anonymous tables, as hand histories are a useful tool in identify bots and suspicious behaviour. So, players will still be able to keep an eye out for any shady activity while playing at PokerStars.
A Look Into Behaviour at Anonymous Poker Tables
It was way back in 2011 that the first anonymous poker tables were launched. Bovada allowed players to compete without being identified, with Unibet and Winamax following suit in 2014.
A study conducted by MPN in 2014 showed that anonymous tables weren’t a game-changer. It found that 40% of cash game players took part in anonymous games, with the majority of players participating in them at higher stakes.
When it came to analysing the activity at the tables, things got pretty interesting. Fewer hands were played at anonymous poker tables, but there was more action in the hands that were played. For example, there were more called bets and the average size of each called bet was larger than in non-anonymous games. The average pot size had also increased.
There is certainly the potential for history to repeat itself at PokerStars’ Stealth tables. It makes sense that players would play a bit more loosely when they can’t be identified – but, the game of poker has changed a lot in the past five years.
So, only time will tell how players respond to anonymous tables at PokerStars. The company will be keeping a close eye on the activity of Stealth tables and it will be very interesting to see whether action and pots increase when players don’t have their usernames attached to the online poker activity.