Choosing the right poker screen name
2006 Randy Saylor  

I always get a kick out of observing the screen names players use at the various poker sites. Some are clever, some are suggestive, and some are downright hilarious. Picking out the right screen name for their new poker account causes some players no end of frustration, as they must display a name that exemplifies their personality, confounds their opponents, or displays their wit to the world.

Pro Names

Some players like to take the name of a famous professional player to hopefully intimidate their opponents. This generally has the opposite effect, but I guess their effort can’t be criticized. A swing through the tables recently turned up names like Negreanoooo, DanielN86, and KidPoker3 from obvious Daniel Negreanu fans. Phil99, Hellmuthhead, and theBrat are likely Phil Hellmuth wannabes. TexasDolly1, DoyleT2, and BrunsonFan take their style from Doyle Brunson.

Fish, Donkey, and Shark Names

Beware the names with the word fish in them. “Imafish” probably isn’t. “GoneFishin”, “Piranha”, and “Piscivorous” (fish-eating) are just waiting for you to swim into their trap. “Billythecod” and “TommyTrout” are trying to be cute and appear fishy at the same time. Don’t buy into their game.

Screen names including “Donkey” or “Donk” are a quick tip-off to a player prone to tilt. “NicecalluDONK” has probably been burnt by lucky rivered two-outers too many times to count. Be aware to attack this player if you witness a bad beat or two.

References to sharks are iffy. Maybe a player is a fan of golfer Greg Norman and knows nothing about poker. A more likely scenario is that the opponent knows a little poker, and has a greatly overblown sense of his own ability. It is unlikely that a true shark would choose such a name. Many of them try to disguise their skill with a more generic name.

Female Names

Despite the amazing success of excellent professional women players like Annie Duke, Kathy Liebert, Liz Lieu, and Jennifer Harman, women are still often considered inferior at the poker table. While it may be true that men win most of the big events, this is simply a case of percentages. Men far outnumber the women playing poker, so they are much more likely to win.

Encountering female names at the tables is usually dangerous. A real woman might be quite a good player, but the real danger is from (good) male players who try to take advantage of the misperception that the women can’t keep up. They gain from the reality that opponents are sometimes less aggressive or distracted against women.

Poker References

Players with the word “poker” in their names are often unimaginative. “HoldemStud” might be a stud that likes Hold’em or a player who likes both games. The word “Stud” doesn’t always signify a stud player, but Omaha references are almost always on target. Mousing over an “Omaha” player’s icon to make sure they’re not actually from Omaha, Nebraska is a good idea. If they’re not, chances are they know their game.

Specific hands don’t tell you much. “72Offsuit” is clever, but it could mean a rock, a tight player who never plays anything except premium hands, or a maniac who never met two cards he didn’t like. “IonlyPLAY53o” is a name I used once in a series of league games, named after a joke hand that the players in the league jokingly called the nuts.

“PocketRockets”, “Big Slick”, and “Cowboys” are clever references to big hands, but they don’t tell you much about the skills of the player behind the mouse.

An opponent who intentionally misspells suited as “Sooted” might be someone to watch out for. These players are making fun of the fish that like to play a pot with any two suited cards regardless of rank. “But it was soooooooted” is a common way to poke fun at this tendency.

Names referring to the “River” like “RiveredAgain” or “DangRiver” are a lot like the “donk” references. These players might just be susceptible to tilt.

Pop Culture and Counter Culture References

Names of movie and television stars, names with the numbers “69” or “420” in them, or double entendres are juvenile and offensive to some players. While I don’t care one way or the other, the rule of “Don’t Tap the Glass” should apply. Don’t risk offending some little old lady or poker-playing minister who might be the biggest fish you’ve ever reeled in! Don’t let your “BigPoppa69” nickname make them leave. Your friends might find it hilarious, but others might not. If you use “420” in your name, I’m probably going to pin you as someone who really does the “420” thing, and if I’m playing you at 4:30, I’m going to steamroll you.

So what name should you use? It’s probably best to keep it generic. Online, nobody cares that you’re a doctor, beautiful, or like the number 69 (or 963217, for that matter). I like the occasional funny name, though. “Iplaynaked2”, “I tooted”, “Welfare Mom”, and “EmptySeat” have always gotten a good laugh.

Let’s discuss funny, obnoxious, and ridiculous screen names on the forum!

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