The Significance of Screen Names
When I’m playing online, I look for clues about my opponents based on their screen names. A player’s online-identity gives away more information than many realize. Screen names are good for short-term tells, and worth paying attention to when you’re at a new table.
Safe Screen Names
Author, Helene Silverstein has strong opinions on the matter. In “The Everything Online Poker Book”, Silverstein wrote, “Your screen name is just as major a tell as when a player raises only with pocket aces.” To avoid this, she suggests sticking with a neutral screen name.
John Vorhaus gives readers the same advice in “Killer Poker Online”. Vorhaus devoted a chapter of his book to screen names, and warns against choosing one that reveals any information about yourself. He recommends picking a name that’s the opposite of who you are, or totally irrelevant to avoid revealing personal information.
Telling Screen Names
Players have a tendency to expose too many facts according to Vorhaus. “In my experience, most people don’t lie. Their screen names are a genuine reflection of their gender, area of interest or at least their names. “Angelo23” is probably really somebody named Angelo. He may be a Michael Jordan fan, as Jordan’s number was 23.”
The following styles of screen names are dead giveaways.
1. Some screen are pretty straightforward. They provide information about how long our opponent has been playing online, and give us an idea of what we’re up against. Younger players are more likely to be super aggressive, something to consider when “John92” is seated is your table. His screen name’s so transparent, he might as well say, “Hello my name is John. I was born in 1992”.
2. Notice one of your favorite pros at the table? Unless you’re at the highest stakes, it’s probably an imposter. These star-struck newbies are clueless, and you want to play them as much as possible. Whoever you think you see, “ElkY” and “Durrrr,” are not playing the micros. Only newbies with an identity crisis. The same applies for any name from the movie, Rounders.
3. A name with a marijuana reference, there are so many to choose from, take “BONGFACE” or ‘superweed2’ ‘for example, means your opponent’s a stoner. A screen name with 429 in it also belongs to a pot smoker, who probably prefers playing stoned, so use that to your advantage.
4. Fishy names usually come from good players trying to mislead the table. Think twice before butting heads with “TheFish77”, “Town Donk” or “donkanon”. We know he’s capable of deception, so he may be prone to making other sneaky moves, like slowplaying and check-raising.
5. Better players like to incorporate poker moves into their screen names. These names suggest experience, because beginners aren’t comfortable enough to get creative with poker phrases and terminology.” 999aa” was clever enough to represent a full house for his screen name. Players who create these names tend to bright and dedicated to their games.
The Great Poker Screen Names
It’s hard to pick a screen name when the great ones are already taken. Viktor “Isildur1” Blom, and Phil “OMGClayAiken” may be hard to match, but just like you, they opened online poker accounts and picked screen names.
Blom turned to the Lord of the Rings for Inspiration. The poker world wanted to know who “Islidur1” was, as Blom anonymously achieved great success in online poker. More than a year later, Viktor Blom introduced himself as the man behind “Islidur1.”
With so many macho screen names at the time, Galfond decided to go in the opposite direction, and picked Clay Aiken as the anti-tough guy. Galfond chose “OMGClayAiken,” because he wanted a name people would be embarrassed to lose to.
So what should you pick to be your online poker identity? Resist the temptation to get creative and follow our experts’ advice: chose a screen name that doesn’t reveal anything about yourself. If you prefer not to remain anonymous, come up with something clever , and find a name you can live with over the long-term. Most online poker sites will never allow you to change your screen name, so the name you choose will stick with you throughout your poker playing life.
What would be your screen name
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