What's in a name?

Emperor IX

Emperor IX

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Ok, bare with me here, I don't have much evidence to support my theory, but I think it makes complete sense (and it HAS been brought up by pros like Doyle Brunson before ;))

Whenever you sign up for a site, you nearly always have to pick a screenname to represent you. I for instance always choose either Metalhead6six6 (for metal sites) or Emperor IX for everything else. But some people like to be a little bit more specific. Notice that a lot of the names on our nifty little board here are related to Poker...well duh, it's a poker site! Now I'm going to jump ahead a bit here, since I think you should be getting my point.

Poker is full of vocabulary. There's the usual:

Donk
Blinds
Luck
Fish
pot odds (everyone knows what they are, but few understand them)
RIGGED
etc.

But then there are the words that only people who truly study the game know:

expected value
Isolation plays
Squeeze plays
the wa/wb concept
nit
tag
lag
etc.


Now, suppose you're playing in the $1.20 donkaments that I do all the time. You assume that all the players are really bad, right? But why is that? Because of the stakes? Well yeah, you're probably right. But what if the occasional good player (such as me ;)) is in those tourneys, how would you know? Good players rarely get to showdowns, and people rarely show their cards if they win before it, so how are you suppose to consider who's good and who's not?

Obviously watching certain players you suspect to be experienced can be beneficial when they do get to showdown, but how do you narrow down that list of suspects?

One easy way is to look at their screen name. Take a look at this hand:

pokerstars GAME #11817934191: TOURNAMENT #59971012, $1.00+$0.20 HOLD'EM NO LIMIT - LEVEL VIII (200/400) - 2007/09/01 - 19:59:53 (ET)
Table '59971012 1' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: Emperor IX (7315 in chips)
Seat 4: giank-ev (7830 in chips)
Seat 7: Aruula (3050 in chips)
Seat 8: THE BOZZINI (8260 in chips)
Seat 9: Melie76 (545 in chips) is sitting out
Emperor IX: posts the ante 25
ThaFreshness: posts the ante 25
Aruula: posts the ante 25
THE BOZZINI: posts the ante 25
Melie76: posts the ante 25
Melie76: posts small blind 200
Emperor IX: posts big blind 400
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Emperor IX [2d 2h]
ThaFreshness: raises 400 to 800
Aruula: folds
THE BOZZINI: folds
Melie76: folds
Emperor IX: calls 400
*** FLOP *** [Jd Tc Ac]
Emperor IX: checks
ThaFreshness: bets 400
Emperor IX: folds



Ok, so he min raises pre flop. Donks do this ALOT with big pairs or AK, so I call, hoping to stack if I can hit my set. But unfortunately the flop brings all sorts of bad news, and I have to fold.

But what if his name wasn't something random like "ThaFreshness"? It doesn't SCREAM donk, but it doesn't exactly scream professional either.

But what if his name was something like giank-ev? Sure, it seems just as random as any other name on PS, or FT. But look at the last part, -ev. That's what I did. -EV for those of you don't know means negative expected value (meaning it's a losing play in the long run) but the average donk doesn't know what EV is, so if this guy has -ev in his name (whether he's insulting himself or not) he's played before.

Taking this into consideration I made sure to keep a close eye on him. And sure enough, there he was making standard raises with AKs,AQs,AJo, big pairs only for a while. Now even the average donk can be a tag, but then I noticed something peculiar: He'd played the EXACT same way and came in with J8s, and flopped trip jacks and won a nice sized pot. This is what we call "switching gears".

After noticing he was switching gears, he still never changed the way he played. He played his AKs just like 85o. It was pretty impressive how much he was able to muscle the table. Now let's take a look at the previous hand I posted, but with giank-ev being my villain:

POKERSTARS GAME #11817934191: TOURNAMENT #59971012, $1.00+$0.20 HOLD'EM NO LIMIT - LEVEL VIII (200/400) - 2007/09/01 - 19:59:53 (ET)
Table '59971012 1' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: Emperor IX (7315 in chips)
Seat 4: giank-ev (7830 in chips)
Seat 7: Aruula (3050 in chips)
Seat 8: THE BOZZINI (8260 in chips)
Seat 9: Melie76 (545 in chips) is sitting out
Emperor IX: posts the ante 25
giank-ev: posts the ante 25
Aruula: posts the ante 25
THE BOZZINI: posts the ante 25
Melie76: posts the ante 25
Melie76: posts small blind 200
Emperor IX: posts big blind 400
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Emperor IX [2d 2h]
giank-ev: raises 400 to 800
Aruula: folds
THE BOZZINI: folds
Melie76: folds
Emperor IX: calls 400
*** FLOP *** [Jd Tc Ac]
Emperor IX: checks
giank-ev: bets 400
Emperor IX: calls 400 (Here I think he's c-betting whether he has a pair or not, so I figure I'll wait until the turn to get a better read)
*** TURN *** [Jd Tc Ac] [Js]
Emperor IX: checks (If this has missed him and he has the Ace he'll bet, afraid that maybe I've it hit. If it hit him he'll bet a bit going on previous reads)
giank-ev: checks (No bet. He's missed)
*** RIVER *** [Jd Tc Ac Js] [4d]
Emperor IX: bets 1200 (I fire my bullet)
giank-ev: folds


See how just his name made me play that hand so differently?

This is NOT, I repeat, is NOT a foolproof concept. I've seen total suckers with clever names, so make sure that you only use the name as a priority in scouting out whose play you should be studying, and who knows, maybe you'll save yourself some chips, or earn your selves some on those c-bets.
 
robwhufc

robwhufc

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What a post! Is this all your own work? Possibly worth pointing out that mr -ev was min-raising into a pot with antes, but a great post all the same.

I tend to find most of da "playaz" and da "pimpz" to be amongst the weakest players.
 
vanquish

vanquish

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Good post. I've thought about this idea a lot too, and it actually influences my play in donk-n-gos and sometimes cash games.
It almost makes me want to create an account with a name like BEERDRINKR32 just to throw people off.
 
Emperor IX

Emperor IX

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Yes, it is all my own work actually :) I told you I've been trying to think of something near golden-archive worthy!! lol Combuboom was the first to hear my theory when I started that tourney, and all that info I got off giank-ev was worth it, as I made a LOT of chips off him. Thanks a lot for the props. I really hope that a lot of people will get aruond to reading this, as it could help save a lot of chips from us good players.
 
bubbasbestbabe

bubbasbestbabe

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But that only works for players who sign up an account with knowledge of poker. Take your name for instance, you use this name at most of the sites. It gives no clue to what you are doing or how good you are. This is the name that you started with. And being the creature of habit that you are, you keep on using it.

Now if I wanted to know about you all I have to do is put your name in any data bases and get a good read on you. And I could just google your name and find all the poker post you have made and realize you're not the just a reg. guppy kind of guy.

If you really want to play shark like and tear up the pond you should have a different name for each of the sites you play. I do this for a few of mine. The sites that I signed up for when I was just beginning have my forum name. but as I developed I changed my name on a few sites. This sorta hides my ID, (except to those at this site), and limits the data you can get about me.

This I feel is a necessary step in being a great online player.
 
Emperor IX

Emperor IX

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Like I said, it's not completely foolproof, but you can catch a lot of egotistical players off guard like this. That giank-ev guy must've thought I was a complete donk, because I'd show him a few bluffs (I didn't show the twos) to keep him off his guard, I never let him know that I knew that he was an experienced player, and in the end it cost him--a lot (well, a dollar, but a lot of T$ lol)
 
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jeffred1111

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This is akin to looking at someone's appearance live in order to get tells: ie. some crusty old man is most likely to be TAG while a young guy flashing money around is most likely (a good) LAG (trying to create an image) or a complete and utter donk.

This approach sometimes work, but the crusty old guy can be a very good player capable of changing gears and making good reads instead of peddling the nuts, while the young rich guy can be the most nittiest of all nit.
 
Egon Towst

Egon Towst

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If you really want to play shark like and tear up the pond you should have a different name for each of the sites you play. I do this for a few of mine. The sites that I signed up for when I was just beginning have my forum name. but as I developed I changed my name on a few sites. This sorta hides my ID, (except to those at this site), and limits the data you can get about me.

This I feel is a necessary step in being a great online player.

Absolutely. This is my approach too.
 
shinedown.45

shinedown.45

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fortunately, I have been so deep in the negative ROI, that Even with my game seeing some improvements, you really can't tell how much my game has improved if you were to search me.
Most think that my game just sucks because of my bad stats
 
dj11

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Great work on the great post.

It is a fresh thought for me, and I haven't had one in a while.
 
royalburrito24

royalburrito24

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extremely interesting post
I have found that some names you see you just know that they suck at poker...my favorite one that i see goes something like this

AAsuited

donks x3
 
OzExorcist

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I find the blatant hero-worship ones to be quite informative... y'know, PhilIveyFan or, even better, IveyKilla or something like that.

I don't usually expect great standards of play from people with names like that (though they'll surprise you sometimes)
 
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jeffred1111

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Confession time:

Fortunately, I have been so deep in the negative ROI, that Even with my game seeing some improvements, you really can't tell how much my game has improved if you were to search me.
Most think that my game just sucks because of my bad stats

I will admit that I have looked you up (as I look up a lot of CC members for fun) and din't bother to check out your graph and though: man, this is some negative ROI going, and even looked forward to playing with you. Now, maybe not so much ;)
 
Insomniac_1006

Insomniac_1006

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I played against "Cancer Boy" the other night. A ploy to make others go easy on him?

Or Rycher (with a picture of the back of a shaved head...) an attempt to intimidate I thought, and then was repulsed by the thought of it being his try identity. Regrdless, my game was a bit off as my thoughts kept drifting back to WTF?:dontknow:
 
aliengenius

aliengenius

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What do you think of "aliengenius" as a user name?
I sometimes feel that people automatically have a bit of a dislike for me at the table because of it.

If you subscribe to the 'emotion in poker = negative EV' theory, then I suppose it is a long term gain to use a name that bugs people a little?
 
Egon Towst

Egon Towst

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What do you think of "aliengenius" as a user name?
I sometimes feel that people automatically have a bit of a dislike for me at the table because of it.

If you subscribe to the 'emotion in poker = negative EV' theory, then I suppose it is a long term gain to use a name that bugs people a little?

Possibly it is the name. However, have you considered bathing regularly ? :p


Jus kiddin. To my mind the name suggests that you probably enjoy reading Science Fiction. It tells me nothing about you as a poker player.
 
bubbasbestbabe

bubbasbestbabe

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What do you think of "aliengenius" as a user name?
I sometimes feel that people automatically have a bit of a dislike for me at the table because of it.

If you subscribe to the 'emotion in poker = negative EV' theory, then I suppose it is a long term gain to use a name that bugs people a little?


When I first read your name it was very fast and i thought it was Allingenius! And sometimes seeing you play it fits.:p
 
vanquish

vanquish

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What do you think of "aliengenius" as a user name?
I sometimes feel that people automatically have a bit of a dislike for me at the table because of it.

If you subscribe to the 'emotion in poker = negative EV' theory, then I suppose it is a long term gain to use a name that bugs people a little?

That's probably why you see so many people with names like "URCHIPZRMINE"
 
royalburrito24

royalburrito24

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now that i think about it, my full tilt name willthegreat24 is a pretty donkish name...

maybe I should get a new account and change the name...or is that illegal or something?
 
vanquish

vanquish

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now that i think about it, my full tilt name willthegreat24 is a pretty donkish name...

maybe I should get a new account and change the name...or is that illegal or something?


I'm 95% sure that you can't do that. Whatever, it's better to have people underestimate you most of the time anyway.
 
rob5775

rob5775

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Great thread.

Has anyone noticed (specifically at stars) that names that scream woman (usually with a picture of a scantily clad woman) usually are men. I think this is where the debate over hot estelle started... we all know she is a woman, but in online poker the "hot stacy"s are usually dudes. Do these "transgendered" players think we will go easier on them or expect softer play?

I have found this an idiotic concept.
 
vanquish

vanquish

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Great thread.

Has anyone noticed (specifically at stars) that names that scream woman (usually with a picture of a scantily clad woman) usually are men. I think this is where the debate over hot estelle started... we all know she is a woman, but in online poker the "hot stacy"s are usually dudes. Do these "transgendered" players think we will go easier on them or expect softer play?

I have found this an idiotic concept.

They're probably women with "surprises" hoping someone will want to watch them on webcam. We should play heads-up and loser has to test the theory.
 
SPANKYSN

SPANKYSN

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wow... nice speech... took a long time to read it all.
 
ratmantoo

ratmantoo

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LMAO. good read though. never gave it much thought

oh and aliengenius i must confess i also read it wrong as Allen Genius :D
 
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