Affiliates News


Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Recent shifts in policy regarding screen name changes introduced first by Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) and their old time partner Unibet, have left us wondering about what are the good and bad sides of changing your poker screen name.

If for some reason you are not yet properly informed on these developments, MPN joined Unibet in offering players the option of changing their screen name every 30 days (or 1000 poker hands). This policy move seems to be in line with the industry trend of catering to recreational players and making them feel more comfortable and at ease. At the moment, it is difficult to predict whether these changes will have the expected effect, but for now, we can at least discuss the impact these developments might have on the game itself.



In order to keep the online poker world going, a consistent inflow of new players is critical. The reason for this is the fact that the regular players are usually not the ones making new deposits that generate rake and bring the much-needed income that keeps the poker room going. So, bringing new players in is the most important task of each and every existing poker room. This is the reason why most poker rooms try to concentrate on protecting recreational players.

The fact is that pokers move from hardwood to online has really changed the pace of its evolution. The possibility to play multiple tables at once and to use poker software to extensively analyze each hand has made poker more competitive than ever. Not only has this helped many people master the skill of the poker game - it has made it more difficult for the average new player to compete. This is important because poker is not the only option of entertainment and play for these recreational players. While poker truly is an incredible and exciting game, the average player is very likely to be completely destroyed by the experienced poker sharks almost every time he plays. The obvious consequence of this outcome will probably mean that this average player will start playing less frequently or quit poker altogether.

If online poker is to survive, it needs to take care of recreational players and protect them from lurking poker sharks. Screen name changes might help this at least a bit, by allowing them to change their screen name and make them less recognizable.



One of the important ways screen name changes can help with this crucial task is to cripple the use of sophisticated poker software. The way this is achieved is that every screen name change allows the player to create a new identity that will allow them to hide their previous statistics from the sharks. Put simply, it gives them a new beginning in which their previous play is not recorded and does not act as a possible sign of weakness (or strength). These changes (if used) will limit the hand history of each player to a sample size of 1000. While some rooms try to discourage, ban or severely limit the use of poker trackers, this policy from Microgaming and Unibet aims to be an intermediate solution, protecting new players and not alienating the old.


The real question about these policy changes is simple – will they be effective? One of the arguments against the effectiveness is the limit put upon the tracking software. Many players argue that a 1K sample size is just too much and a seasoned poker shark might not need more than a few round at a table to spot his target. In this case, it seems that the very purpose these changes were put in place for is not actually being served at all.

Along with that, one of the even more serious problems concerns collusion. With the limit put upon the tracking software, the instances of collusion will be considerably more challenging to find and prove. In other words, while changing your screen name might be beneficial for evading poker sharks and "bumhunters", it might be hugely detrimental to the important cause of stopping the cases of collusion.


In the past, we have all seen numerous cases of poker players themselves finding and uncovering serious schemes and cases of fraud and colluding. With the limitations brought upon these new policies, the fight against collusion might be more difficult than before.


Use it!

Change your screen name every 1000 hands and hide all the info collected about you. The less your opponents know about you, the better.

Look for and target people not doing the same!

If an opponent you are playing with has more than 1000 hands on his record, this means he does not really care about hiding. This gives you an obvious advantage and since it is their choice you should not hesitate to use it against them. Analyze the date and use the advantage!

Consider reorganizing your notes!

A simpler system of note taking might actually work much better in the new poker ecosystem. Instead of wasting time taking long deliberate notes that might disappear the next day (with the screen name change), consider finding a simpler system that will tell you the basics – whether the player is passive or aggressive, skillful or bad, shark or a fish etc.

Try playing the anonymous tables!

With regular tables becoming more like the anonymous ones, you might as well give them a try. The ratio of recreational players could be higher and getting used to playing without a HUD could be hugely beneficial in case similar policy changes actually make them obsolete.

Start playing without a HUD!

As written above, it seems that the entire online poker world seems to be protecting their recreational player by trying to limit the advantages brought by new technologies. If this trend keeps going, it is not crazy to imagine that we might soon have poker networks clear of HUD’s and similar tools that give their users an advantage. If this turns out to be the case – you better get used to it! And playing without a HUD might actually be good for your skills since you will be focusing less on the numbers and more on the dynamics of the game in front of you.

In conclusion, playing poker online is about constant adjustment to new situations and this case is no different. In order to be successful, you must adapt and find a strategy that works for you. We hope that the advice we laid out in this article will be of use. Best of luck.

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