PokerStars is set to join the growing trend of online poker rooms offering anonymous tables. The new feature will be trialed by the online poker site in the coming weeks, with the aim of protecting players from predatory behavior. PokerStars is not the first online poker operator to consider the idea, as some major sites have tried out the feature as far back as 2011.
Anonymous Tables Are Back!
Unibet Poker was one of the first online poker rooms to introduce anonymous tables when it started to operate on its own stand-alone platform over five years ago. French online poker operator Winamax also previously offered the same feature and is currently allowing its players to change their alias every six months. Unibet Poker now bans the use of heads-up displays (HUDs), getting rid of downloadable hand histories. It also enables its players to use a maximum of three aliases a day.
Recently-launched online poker training site Run It Once, the brainchild of Phil Galfond, also does not allow HUDs and offers anonymous tables through a unique temporary ID system. partypoker hasn’t tried out the feature yet but it has confirmed that it will adopt anonymous tables in certain high-stakes tables in the near future.
partypoker has led the way in protecting player security by rolling out a major software update this year, enforcing alias change across its customer base and eliminating all hand histories. The move was criticized by some groups as it could potentially prevent players from spotting unscrupulous behavior, but the operator has remained firm in its goal to provide a fairer and more secure environment, especially for recreational players.
The site’s cash games only display aliases the moment you sit at the tables. Partypoker also introduced a new feature that displays the actual names of the players, instead of their preferred alias.
It remains to be seen whether PokerStars players will buy the idea, but the Severin Rasset, the Director of Poker Innovation and Operations said they will take into account the impact of such move as the trial gets underway.
PokerStars Launches Spin & Go Flash Games
To give players the chance to win big in a speedy manner, PokerStars has launched its latest offering called “Spin & Go Flash”, a new variation of their hit lottery-style sit n go. The new Spin & Go still comes in buy-ins of between $0.25 and $1,000, with random prize pools going as high as 1,000-times the buy-in. This means players may still be able to win the top prize of $1 million, but winning has now been made a lot quicker through the new sit n go version.
According to Rasset, the new Spin & Go Flash is an exciting game that fits those who want to win big in a short span of time. The new variant can now be played on the site’s Italian and European and global .COM clients. It will soon come to the rest of PokerStars clients, including .FR, .UK, .BE, .DK, .SE, .DESH, .EE, and .ASIA.
Spin & Go Flash is expected to increase PokerStars’ profitability, as similarly achieved by Winamax when it launched Expresso Nitro back in July, also a sped-up version of the lottery Sit n Go. In 2017, 888poker also introduced its faster-structured BLAST tournaments with a shorter six-minute game clock.
As it appears, PokerStars is continuing to test what works effectively and efficiently for the poker room and its players, leading to long-term benefits. This year, the site has been implementing a host of changes to its programs and offerings, which include minimizing the number of tables a cash game player can play simultaneously to just four, launching an all-in insurance option, as well as reducing the time to act.
In a couple of months, PokerStars might also introduce a fresh variant called Swap Hold’em, according to reports, though the operator has yet to release official details. Some of the future options set to be offered to players include allowing them to throw virtual objects such as a fish, a rose, a pie plate or a horseshoe at opponents, making the gaming environment more fun and exciting.
888poker has adopted this fun feature for years and has had reasonable success. We will wait and see whether these new PokerStars offerings will sit well with its global player database.