Back in June, we reported that MPN (Microgaming Poker Network) was going to implement a feature to help its casual players, the ability to change one’s screen name. The feature was supposed to be added in July, but because of some technical issues, it was delayed. It wasn’t forgotten, though, as according to Pokerfuse, alias changes are on track for later this month.
As we have discussed before on this site, most online poker rooms and networks have been trying to transition to more recreational player-friendly environments over the last few years. Recreational players tend to not only lose money, thus distributing it through the poker economy, but also re-deposit. Compare that to the skilled pros and serious amateurs, who tend to win money from other players and cash out, removing funds from the poker room.
One way poker rooms have tried to make things easier on casual players is by implementing ways to keep weaker players from being hunted by better ones who use poker tracking software. Some rooms have made select tables anonymous, while Bodog has gone to the extreme and made all of its table anonymous. Without permanent screen names, players simply can’t be tracked.
MPN is going about things a bit differently. People often like to have a screen name, an identity at the tables, so rather than doing away with them, MPN is going to start allowing players to change their screen name a few times per year. That way, by the time a shark accumulates enough data on a player to know if they should be targeted, said player can switch up his name and disguise himself from the predator.
MPN won’t just allow constant name changes, but rather will permit players to choose a new alias once every 30 days or every 1,000 real money hands, whichever comes sooner. Everybody will also be given one free name change if they would like to make the switch immediately.
In a June blog post, MPN’s Head of Poker Alex Scott explained the thought process behind the decision in blog post:
The intention behind this is simple – we want to stop parasitic players from ruthlessly pursuing weaker players. We also want regs to play each other once in a while, and we don’t want players to create a new account with a new poker room just because their alias is unlucky. So we’re making the alias change feature quite prominent and I hope that a lot of players will use it.
Along the same lines, MPN is working on combating seating scripts, which are software programs which allow players to be automatically seated a tables with weaker players. The software uses player tracking data that the user has accumulated (or purchased, which is almost always against house rules) and scans the tables for opponents that are defined as weak. It then seats the user automatically, yet another way sharks can hunt down fish.
The alias change feature is expected to be put into action on September 22nd, though it might take about a week for all skins on the network to see it implemented.