“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” - William Shakespeare
Poker is a game of imperfect information, and the more information you have, the better off you are. What (if anything) can be learned from someone’s screen name?
Well, sometimes you can learn a little about them, and sometimes you can’t. In tournament play, where you change tables often, name analysis can sometimes provide clues about your opponents. It’s no substitute for watching them play, but can give you a slight edge when you first meet a new player and haven’t had the time to see them in many hands.
Let’s take my name as a warm up. SunPowerGuru. Hmmmmm
If you guessed that I’m an engineer with an interest in alternative energy, you would be right. But what does that mean?
Engineers are problem solvers with analytical mindsets. You should expect them to be pretty good at understanding where they stand in a given hand. Engineers are a bridge between the theoretical world and the nut and bolts world of everyday reality. Some people have trouble bringing theoretical concepts into their game, engineers do this kind of stuff for a living. Engineering is mathematically intensive. You should expect us to understand the mathematics behind the game.
Get the idea?
OK, let’s look at a few other name types and what they might mean;
Military or Law Enforcement names. If you see someone with “Vet,” or “Cop” or “USMC,” or the like in their name, don’t expect them to be timid. Don’t think you will scare them off a hand, they don’t back down that easily. Military guys also like to set ambushes.
Names with “Shark” or “Pro” or “Hustler” in the name usually aren’t. With “Pro” names, this only applies to poker related variations. For example, BagPipePro is probably just good at bagpipes, and probably a little hard of hearing… no help there. Remember, in poker, strong means weak.
On the other hand, you might want to give names like “FluffyTurtle,” or “CuddlyBunny” a little more respect. They are trying to look weak, and in poker, weakness often means strength.
I could go on, but I think you get the drift. Name analysis won’t win you any tournaments, but it can sometimes give you some idea of how your opponents approach the game, and some information is better than no information. Plus, it’s fun to do and helps pass the time between hands. Give it a try and let me know what you think.