When Ultimate Poker opened for business five months ago, online poker players in Nevada had a chance to do something they likely hadn't done for several years: Pick an online poker screen name.
Oh yeah, they get to play online poker, too, but the reality is many online poker players had been playing exclusively at PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker prior to Black Friday. Many had accounts with those two giants for years and had been playing with the same screen names since they started.
Some of them were outdated (I'm looking at you "OMGClayAiken"); others reflected a personality trait or nickname that the person may have outgrown (I don't think you should be called "kidpoker" anymore when you're pushing 40, Daniel Negreanu).
So when these new online poker rooms gave players a chance to start fresh, many took the opportunity to create new online poker identities, while others stuck with the names they had in the past.
Screen names can tell you a lot about a person. Or they can be used to make people think a player will play one way, when they really play the complete opposite. "ShoveNE2cards" for instance, could give people an initial impression that a player is reckless, while they are really a rock at the table. The best screen names, however, are the ones that make you laugh.
Here are the top-10 screen names I could find by perusing Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com. I have no idea if these players were using recycled screen names or came up with new ones, but they're some of the best I've come across so far.
10. Georgemcfly (Ultimate Poker)
I'm a huge fan of the Back to the Future franchise, so any name that references the iconic Michael J. Fox movies is a winner in my mind. What I love about this name choice is that it bypasses the most obvious references (Marty McFly, Doc Brown and Biff Tannen) and goes for what seems like the most benign character in the whole movie. I'm willing to bet that this player is susceptible to bullying in the early stages of a tournament, but when it really matters, they'll stand up to that table bully and take his entire stack.
9. UglyPornChik (WSOP.com)
I'd be willing to bet at 20/1 odds that the person behind this account is male, and at 50/1 that the person does not work in the adult porn industry. But that didn't stop me from getting a bit of a chuckle out of the screen name.
8. GRUMPYOLDMAN (Ultimate Poker)
I'm normally not a fan of the all-caps screen name, but in this case, the capital letters fit the name perfectly. I imagine this player limping every hand at a limit Omaha high-low table (once Ultimate Poker offers the game), griping about the fact that there's two open seats. And while you're at it, you should probably remove yourself from his damn lawn.
7. ILikePie (WSOP.com)
This is a great screen name because it makes the player behind it likable right off the bat. I mean, who doesn't like pie?
6. I.Love.Beer (Ultimate Poker)
This is also a great way to get points with your opponents. One of the best parts of this screen name is the periods between the words, which add emphasis to the point. And this player may get some loose calls out of his screen name, too, if people think he's drinking while he's playing.
5. Darth Vegas (WSOP.com)
As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I love this screen name. This player could induce so much tilt if he hit a three-outer and typed in the chat: "You underestimate the power of the Dark Side. You will give me all your chips; it is your destiny."
4. PabloHoney (Ultimate Poker)
The Jerky Boys released a few albums of prank phone calls in the 1990s. I still remember my oldest brother coming home from college with some bootleg tapes of their calls before they put them out on albums. This screen name references one of the calls the New York-based comedians made, but the best part of this name is just how obscure it is. Frank Rizzo (Warning: Link includes profanity, sexist and racist comments), one of the major recurring characters The Jerky Boys used, was the obvious choice. PabloHoney, however, refers to the brief call below (some parts NSFW).
Oh, and apparently, The Jerky Boys are back again.
3. GramerPolece (WSOP.com)
As an English writing major in college, this screen name is a boon to my soul. The misspelling is, of course, the best part. I just wonder whetherJessica Wellman, managing editor of WSOP.com, is the person behind it.
As you can already tell by earlier entries on this list, I'm a huge fan of screen names that reference 1980s and 1990s pop culture. In case you've forgotten, Max Power was the alter ego of Homer Simpson, a name he chose when he saw it as a setting on the hair dryer.
"There's three ways to do things: The right way, the wrong way, and the Max Power way."
"Isn't that the wrong way?"
"Yeah, but faster."
I see a lot of tournaments where this player accumulates a ton of chips early, only to bust halfway through on a bone-headed move.
1. garyloveman (banned from WSOP.com)
The WSOP normally has a pretty good sense of humor, so I was disappointed when I saw Andy Bloch had his original choice for a WSOP.com screen name blocked and he was forced to change it. If you're going for a funny screen name, the CEO of the gaming company offering the product is a pretty good one.
If the real Gary Loveman was worried that Bloch would somehow sully his good name, he should think again. Bloch is a legit poker player with more than $5.3 million in tournament earnings, and he's also a pretty even-keeled, good guy on top of it all.
Now if Mike Matusow had claimed Gary Loveman's good name as his screen name, then I could understand why he'd want him to get it changed.
Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd has covered the gambling industry since 2006. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi. Follow him on Twitter @CasinoCity_AT.