Where to Play Online Poker Anonymously
In recent years, an increasing number of online poker sites have been offering anonymous poker tables, where a player can sit down for a session without ever revealing who they are or having a regular screen name that tracking services can keep and eye on.
Bovada are one of the sites leading the way with anonymous poker, making the game available for players in the US (Bovada only accepts USA-based players). Party Poker also features anonymous tables, their large player base making the games ideal for players throughout the rest of the world.
The anonymous option means that whether you are a long term winner at the game, or a long term loser, nobody at the table will know. For some, the introduction of these tables was something of a contentious issue, citing that it takes some of the skill out of the game of poker, while other players welcomed the introduction of the games.
Here I look at the pros and cons of anonymous poker tables. I start by looking at the games from the viewpoint of a good, regular winner at the poker tables. I then look at the games from the viewpoint of a recreational player, who might well be an overall loser at the tables. I finish by looking at anonymous poker from an overall point of view and ask whether they are good for the game.
Anonymous Poker Tables – View from a Winning Player
A regular winner has three key weapons in their poker armoury. As well as building up a good solid game at the tables, they will also be particularly good at table selection and make use of a ‘heads up display’ (HUD) which tells them a wide range of statistics about each opponent at a table. These HUD’s will show the players information about every session they have ever played with the player. Anonymous tables actually wipe out two of those weapons – as they make both table selection and the use of HUD’s redundant.
However, is it really all bad news for the regular winner? They will still be the best players at the table and they’ll still be able to pick up reads at a table and take advantage of them. A good player will take money from a bad player, anonymous or not. However, a problem arises for players who like to play a large number of tables at once – mass multi-tablers rely heavily on their HUD for reads, so these are the players who will be most adversely affected. The lack of table selection will also mean that good players will not be able to guarantee that they are sitting at a ‘fishy’ table – meaning they’ll have to play at a table to find out!
Overall, this means that good players will still win money at the tables, but it will take them more work and time to achieve it.
Anonymous Poker Tables – View from a Recreational Player
Many recreational players will not notice hardly any difference at all when playing at an anonymous table. They’ll be happily playing their cards against the other players at the table. A heavy losing recreational player will probably have no idea that they might have been targeted by a number of good players at standard tables and therefore not have realised they are sitting with a bunch of sharks. When playing at an anonymous table, this same heavy losing player will still have no real idea if they are sitting with a bunch of fish or a bunch of sharks, they are simply trying to win money playing poker.
However, this player might notice that they don’t lose quite so much when playing at anonymous tables. They might put this down to the fact that their game has improved, or they might think their game is ‘more suited’ to anonymous poker – it’s actually neither of the two, it’s simply that the better players have a harder time meeting these bad players and will take a much greater number of hands in realizing the player is bad (where with a HUD they’d know the moment they sat down).
Anonymous Poker Tables – Overall Viewpoint
If asking the question whether anonymous tables are good for the game, you’d probably receive a different answer dependent upon how good the player is. Looking from the outside with a longer term view, it’s probably not a bad thing for the game that bad players take longer to lose their money. This will mean that they are more likely to come back and reload their poker accounts – whereas a series of quick losing sessions might see them leave the game completely. If many people leave the game completely, it can only be a bad thing for the game.
However there is another question that can be asked. Is anonymous poker really poker? One of the joys of the game for many players is the fact that you can pick up reads on players and build up a plan to beat these players. Anonymous poker takes this aspect out of the game completely. In real life poker, if you head to a casino on a regular basis, you’ll not be anonymous – so should it be any different online?
The jury is out!
The easiest anonymous games I have played in are the SNAP poker tables at 888 Poker. If you are outside of the US, this is the best place to build your bankroll. Check out www.888poker.com now!
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