Five Reasons to Try a New Site1 year agoSponsored
It’s pretty easy to find ourselves sticking to a site like PokerStars, just because that’s the popular thing to do. The software is good, and there are plenty of games running at all times of the day. However, just because PokerStars is so popular, does not automatically mean that it is the best room to be playing on. Ironically, we could be doing a lot of damage to our win rate by playing at such sites.
Let’s list five reasons why trying a new site might be in our interest.
1. Softer Games
Plain and simple, the games on PokerStars are tough. They attract the professional players, the ones who have spent countless hours analysing how the games play. We are not saying that it is impossible to make money at Pokerstars, but we will have to work a lot harder for a lot less profit.
In contrast, many of the smaller less popular rooms contain a larger amount of weak players. In the industry these are known as “recreational players”. They don’t play to win, they play for the thrill of the gamble. Sites like 888poker, Winamax, and America’s Card Room spend a lot of their time and resources attracting recreational players to the tables so that the games are as soft as possible. It means that we don’t need to be highly skilled to make a lot of money. If we even have a good grasp of the basics, we’ll find playing poker at such sites highly profitable.
2. Tournament Overlay
Tournament “overlay” is a fancy way of saying that we get more value for our tournament buy-in. Many sites, such as 888poker offer what are known as “guarantee” tournaments. This means that the prize-pool is guaranteed to be a minimum amount, regardless of how many players register to the tournament.
So imagine there is a $1000 guaranteed tournament with a buy-in of $10, but only 75 players register. The players have contributed $750 to the prize-pool, but the poker site guarantees a prize-pool of $1000. In this case we can say that there is $250 worth of overlay which the site contributes.
Overlay at PokerStars is less common than at some of the smaller rooms where many of the tournaments offer a measure of overlay. It simply means we can take down the same prize but fight through less opponents to do so.
3. Higher Anonymity
One problem with PokerStars is that our play style is heavily tracked. It’s possible for someone who does not even know us to look up our exact results and statistics. This means that an opponent who we’ve never met before can have a big advantage against us, since he already knows our weaknesses and how to exploit them.
There are two work-arounds to this problem. One option is to play on a poker site that offers anonymous play such as the Microgaming network. Players are simply listed as “player 1, player 2, player 3” etc, and this gets switched up on every table. PokerStars does not offer anonymous play.
Another option is to play on a site that does not support HUD’s (heads up displays). A HUD is a tool the sharks use to display real time statistics on our play at the tables. By playing in games that don’t support HUDs, we take away this powerful tool from our opponents. For example, if we were to play poker on the 888 Snap (fast poker) tables, or other rooms such as Sky poker, Virgin poker and Unibet, we’d find that no-one there can use a HUD. It means that we have much less of a target on our back if our game has certain weaknesses.
4. New Bonuses
Signing up to a new site can be an advantage in itself, since the vast majority of sites do their best to incentivise players to switch rooms. They do this by offering hefty deposit bonuses amongst other things. These can greatly add to the value of our bankroll.
Many sites even offer free money to new signups without the need to deposit. It doesn’t matter how skilled we are, it’s hard to say no to a little bit of free money.
5. New Games and Variants
It's true that PokerStars offers a lot of different variants of poker, but it doesn’t offer everything. There are other formats of poker that are only offered on other poker networks.
For example a recent addition to the iPoker tables is the new 6-plus hold’em variant which is played with a stripped deck. TonyBet is the first online poker network to offer Chinese poker. Other players like the novelty of the “cam tables” at 888poker. This is essentially a cross between live and online poker. The rules stipulate that each player must have a webcam enabled. We can enjoy playing online poker while trying to pick up physical tells on our opponents via webcam.
Make the Switch!
We have seen that it doesn’t necessarily make sense to spend all of our time playing at PokerStars just because it seems like everyone else does. There is more money to be made at other rooms, the games are softer and there are bigger tournament overlays. There is less predatory behavior from the sharks, we can pick up extra sign-up bonuses, and we can enjoy more variants of poker.
Here is a list of 5 suggestions for alternative rooms that feature soft games:
- America’s Card Room
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