Rob Yong wants to know if poker players prefer using real names or aliases online

Rob Yong Partypoker
Jon Sofen
Posted on: September 19, 2020 04:10 PDT

Partypoker partner Rob Yong polled his Twitter followers to find out their opinions on using real names instead of aliases at online poker sites. More specifically, the poker site he operates. And the results were quite telling.

Since online poker launched in the early 2000s, players have used anonymous screen names. Some choose the non-offensive, generic route for usernames. While others, such as Tim Burt on, are more edgy and select political monikers such as "Trump2024."

But in recent months, during the COVID-19 era, some poker sites have been testing out forcing players to use real names. We saw this during the WSOP Online Bracelet Series on GGPoker. And now Yong, who runs partypoker, wants to know if players prefer using aliases or real names. He posted a poll on Twitter seeking a non-scientific answer to that question and, as of Friday, received over 3,000 votes.

Yong is specifically asking for an opinion on multi-table tournaments, not cash games. Through more than 3,000 votes, nearly 66% say they're in favor of using real names. That's almost in line with his similar poll from six months ago, which got a 70% "real names" vote.

It should be noted that Twitter polls aren't exactly scientific. Anyone can vote whether they follow Yong or not. Even those who can't even spell "p-o-k-e-r" or those who don't play online can vote. But most of Yong's followers are poker players, which means the majority of those who voted are likely to at least play poker in some capacity. Thus, given the fairly large sample size (3,000+ votes), the poll should be fairly reflective of the entire online poker community, although there will be some margin for error.

During the current partypoker WPT World Online Championships series, all players are required to play under their real names.

Upside and downside to using real names

Yong is always looking for new ways to improve partypoker and attract more customers. There are some positives and negatives associated with switching from aliases to real names.

On the positive side, as one Twitter user suggested, it could help prevent cheating and collusion. If players know who they're up against, their opponents may have a tougher time colluding. On the downside, some poker players like the anonymity that online poker provides. If they're required to use their real names, they can no longer hide who is playing under their account.

Using real names would also cut down on the verbal abuse in the chat. Some players can be rather abusive towards others at the table when hiding behind an anonymous screen name. But if you make their real names known on the poker site, most will be less likely to tell their opponents to "die in a fire" or "go jump off a bridge."

"I think the real names is great, def gives you a different level of comfort knowing who you are playing. And you can tell from chat that recreationals really enjoy playing against names they see on TV. I also just noticed more chat/socializing than prior," poker pro Faraz Jaka wrote.

"I think you have to let the players choose real name or username. Not everybody wants his or her real name online visible at a pokersite," @Maurice7778 argues.

Featured image source: Twitter