In this column, we deliver you the latest and most interesting online poker industry news from across the world and all platforms.
PokerStars tests anonymous tables
It’s been discussed for quite a while, but just now does PokerStars finally start testing anonymous tables. The tests are taking place in the segregated markets of France and Spain and we can assume that they will be rolled out to the other markets if successful.
Anonymous tables have been integrated fully at Run It Once from the get-go. This means that you will not have a nickname that is being displayed at every table you take a seat at. Instead, you receive a random name for that table only and players can only gather information on you while playing against you at that table.
This is one of the ways poker sites try and level the playing field so that bum-hunting can’t be used to target weaker players and “overfish” the waters.
This is not the only new thing Stars has been trying. As we reported previously, PokerStars also looked at Sit & Gos and trialed shorter versions of the tables to increase action and reduce wait times for players.
How any of the decisions on these tests look like will remain to be seen. Fact is, things are usually going quite slowly when it comes to the poker giant, so don’t expect any changes before the first quarter of 2021 is over.
Another Indian state bans real-money gaming
On the other hand, we get news about more and more restrictions being put in place in other areas of the country. Now Tamil Nadu, one of India’s largest states with a population of 72 million, is the third state to amend laws to restrict online gambling within its territory. Real money gaming is not just blocked, but it is even punishable by imprisonment and fines.
This change comes just a few weeks after the state of Andhra Pradesh took similar measures. Several major Indian online poker rooms have now stopped accepting players from Tamil Nadu, including PokerStars.IN, Adda52, MPL, PokerBaazi asnd Spartan Poker.
This is not the kind of development we want to see in the poker world and it is possible that more states in India will follow the example to protect their citizens from online gambling and inflict further restrictions as time passes.
Run It Once Poker to host charity event
Run It Once does not have multi-table tournaments on offer yet, but it doesn’t stop the poker operator from running a 27-person Sit & Go bracket format charity event on 19th December.
The event will be played out 3-handed, using the Sit & Gos on Run It Once, consist of a mixture of pros and amateurs and will be streamed on Twitch. 18 seats will be filled by pros, 9 by amateurs that qualified for the chance to play in this “tournament” or by a draw out of those players that have donated to the cause.
For this charity event RIO teams up with Double Up Drive, the charitable foundation created at the end of 2019 by American pro player Dan Smith. Smith has already collected more than $16 million in donations and supported a wide array of charitable causes with the money.
GGPoker wants to attract more women
The critical voices on “poker Twitter” and other discussion platforms were loud and clear after GGPoker had announced the signing of their new ambassador Dan Bilzerian, especially after he went ahead on the same day calling one of the most popular female poker players, Vanessa Kade, a “hoe”.
It is difficult enough for poker to attract more female players and a character such as Bilzerian with his particular following is not going to help this cause.
Now, GGPoker reacts to the backlash it received from the poker community and makes sure to let everyone know they will be putting in more effort to attract female players.
A GGPoker spokesperson has told the poker news outlet Pokerfuse: “Part of making poker more inclusive is actively balancing out audiences that Dan does not always reach. Over the coming weeks and months, GGPoker will make a concerted effort in extending our outreach to female players.”
What exactly these efforts will look like was not mentioned, however, and it will be interesting what GGPoker will come up with. After all, attracting more women to the game has been a challenge for all other poker sites in the past and maybe GGPoker’s innovative approach to things can find a solution others couldn’t.
Google to allow users to block gambling ads
Last week Google announced that it will allow YouTube users in the U.S. to adjust their personal Ad Settings to limit being exposed to ads that involve categories such as gambling and alcohol. This is planned to be extended beyond the U.S. in early 2021.
Google VP Debbie Weinstein said that users will have to proactively opt out of seeing gambling ads and she adds that users need to be aware that they will see “fewer” gambling promos rather than a complete blackout. If users visit certain sites and click on certain articles, this may still result in them being exposed to those ads.
So, it basically means that if you have a problem with gambling or alcohol and opt out of seeing ads on Google products, they are still going to see the ads if they keep being interested in those topics… Protection looks different.