PartyPoker, one of the largest online Poker sites in the world has announced a forced alias, or screen name, change for all its registered users. The move comes in conjunction with a major software update that is set to go live on June 17th.
According to the brand’s blog, the move is in direct response to threats associated with heads-up displays (HUD’s) and other third-party software that have become prolific in the online gaming world.
The site is asking players to change their screen name as soon as possible after the upgrade goes live on the 17th of June. The company will be running an incentivised promotion called the “$500K Race to Alias Giveaway” to aid in this process. The promotion will run for 24 hours, from the time the update goes live, and offers users a chance to win random prizes worth up to $10K in cash and up to $40K in click cards as well a freerolls.
According to PartyPoker, players will not be able to choose their existing screen name or any of their previous screen names, which will be made unavailable for a period of six months. New names will become available on a first-come first-serve basis. Unconfirmed reports have suggested that the alias change will be come a regular feature at PartyPoker to ensure that all players get the best possible experience on their site.
The forced alias change is a simple, yet impressive response to problems created by heads-up displays and illegal 3rd party software. HUD’s provide real-time information about previous hands played against opponents at any given table at the site. This means that more experienced players have a vastly superior HUD storage base to access and use at their advantage.
Using a HUD display, a user can find out which of their opponents are inexperienced and find out how they are likely to play their hands in certain situations. This information is augmented by a vast library of black market databases, on which hand-history is sold to the highest bidder. Experienced players can then use this information to hunt down inexperienced players and bust them out of games straight away.
Instead of removing HUD’s altogether, PartyPoker are henceforth going to force players to change their aliases on a regular basis. Once a player has changed their name, all user hand histories will disappear off their profile, giving them a fresh start and making them less of a target. There are still opportunities for hand histories to be used on the black market though. Software programs that analyse a player’s actions can link them to old profiles, providing “sharks” with years of hand history, so the name change isn’t entirely infallible, but it will help.