From four-bladed razors to flavor-changing gum, novelty is a powerful tool in the marketing game. Online poker is no different.
Each and every week we’re going to examine a new feature available to online poker players. Gimmick or innovation? We’ll make the call and tell you whether it’s worth your time.
Today we look at the new Anonymous Heads-Up tables on Party Poker.
The idea is simple. At these new anonymous tables the players are … you guessed it, anonymous. Your screen name isn’t going to show up in the lobby or on the table itself.
While it is a basic concept it does have a few implications that are a little less apparent.
Anonymity = Purity
Know thy enemy. Good poker players have taken this maxim to heart and it’s a big part of why they’re successful.
Tracking software and keen observation gives the dedicated online player a massive edge these days but plenty of people hate the idea of playing against someone working with a database of hands and a HUD of valuable statistics.
Anonymous tables take all that out of the equation. Players are forced to build a profile of their opponents on the fly which, according to some, makes it a much more pure form of the game.
Anonymity = Catch 22 for Great Players
Being the best heads-up player at a given level is great because you’re probably making a lot of money, but it sucks when you spend the entire time sitting alone at a table because no one will give you action.
Anonymous tables will get the great players in action but it could limit the edge they once enjoyed over their opponents. With no database and HUD to guide them they’ll find it harder to exploit the known flaws that was their bread and butter.
Anonymity = Kiss Game Selection Goodbye
What some people call shrewd game selection, others call bumhunting. At anonymous tables players are unable to target the weak and mentally deficient.
For the competent player this is a big problem. A fundamental rule of poker is to find weak players. Like they say, you don’t have to be best player in the world just better than the other players at your table.
The Bottom Line
Anonymous heads-up tables offer a unique experience. Is it worth your time? That depends on what kind of player you are and what kind of experience you’re looking for.
Good players who exercise good game selection and rely on hand histories and HUDs aren’t going to benefit from giving up those edges.
Weaker, more recreational players, however, might enjoy the anonymity. They won’t be targeted and the leaks in their games won’t stand out like a statistical sore thumb.