Maybe it’s just me but when I think about something done anonymously it takes me back a few hundred years in time to some grand masquerade ball in Venice…..

Okay, it’s just me, but I like the image, so that’s how I’m going to keep on thinking about the new anonymous heads-up tables on Partypoker.

The truth is that even though we can play online poker from the luxury of our own home (in our choice of clothing, or lack thereof) and be thousands of kilometers away from our opponents, we can’t hide behind a veil of anonymity anymore.

We leave a virtual trail of destruction

Players will have longstanding notes on us, we’ll be in databases and we leave a virtual trail of destruction for anyone interested in following our path. Anonymity brings with it some great advantages and if you can leverage them maybe you can increase your earn on the virtual felt.

The most obvious thing is that every session begins as a blank slate – you know nothing about your opponent and they know nothing about you. Why’s that good? Well, we can now shape for ourselves any image we want and then play off that image in the most profitable way.

Where this was becoming less important with all the tracking and databases out there, now the metagame (the game within the game) becomes much more important. We have to try and influence the dynamic of the game so that we can completely mess with our opponent’s head and own the game.

Of course, our opponents can play that game as well and it now becomes our job to see through the smoke and mirrors and figure out exactly how they plan to win our money. Overall, we now have to become a LOT more image conscious.

Like the 90s Agassi slogan, image is indeed everything. How we look, how we want to look, how our opponents look, and how they want us to think they look are now crucial questions to answer when you’re in the early parts of an anonymous heads up session and then throughout the session.

There are many ways to manipulate your image profitably, and with anonymous tables you can change your image on a day-by-day basis and to suit your opponents, but over the whole I believe making your opponent think you’re playing very badly is going to be the best way to encourage the most action.

This is the really fun part. Just think about all the donkeys you’ve ever played against and aim to emit that image. This doesn’t mean actually playing badly, just giving the illusion of it (you still need to play fundamentally well to win). You can do this by widening your ranges and loosening your calling requirements preflop.

I’m the massive donkey spewing off chip – or am I?

Also, if you get the opportunity to showdown a random hand, then it might be best to show it down rather than try to make a value bet or bluff. Sometimes using odd bet sizes, over-betting the pot and then showing a bluff or the nuts, min-reraising preflop etc. You have countless options and should get creative.

Also, use the chat box. Even if you don’t have the skill to come up with some reflex donktastic statements, a marker for a good player is that they’re much less likely to use the chat.

One of the funny things about heads-up poker is that if we stack our opponent all those image defining ‘mistakes’ are completely negated and you can easily see their profitability. So stacking our opponent is our aim.

If we produce the right image, our opponent will want to keep playing with us, so a session where he quickly exits will hopefully not be a problem. We need to build an image and then work on exploiting it further into the session. This requires being properly bankrolled for the limit and willing to go down early in the game.

In all forms of poker your image and how you play off it is crucial to success, but the anonymous tables bring a great new dynamic to it.

Hopefully, this is a good start to get you thinking about some strategies for the anonymous tables.

I’ll be there. I’m the massive donkey spewing off chip – or am I?

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