Partypoker to Force Alias (Screenname) Changes on Dotcom Site

Updated: May 31st, 2019 by Haley Hintze

Here’s one of the best developments to occur in online poker in a long, long time. In a post published yesterday on the partypoker blog, the site has announced that it will force all players on its global dotcom site to change their aliases (screennames) with the live dropping of a ew software client update on June 17th, 2019.

While there are some minor exceptions to the blanket forced change, such as it not coming yet to party sites like its offerings in the United States’ New Jersey (where party works in partnership with casinos and is not the primary licensee), this is still a big deal and a very, very good thing. The move is intentionally a long-overdue counter to the scourge of HUDs (heads-up displays) and other forms of third-party software that allow the users of such software to compile massive databases of their online foes, often through such rules-breaking ways as buying databases of played hands from black-market vendors.

Partypoker, as with every operator, could “sniff” a user’s computer to detect such rules-breaking play, but that raises other privacy concerns. Instead, the world’s second-largest online poker site has opted for the approach of making all its players change screennames. It’s likely that this will be a recurring, mandatory thing on the site, too; such databases and HUD usage improve over time, as hands are accumulated, so a one-time forced alias change would be only a temporary fix.

partypoker Player Panel member Patrick Leonard said: “I am excited at all the changes partypoker has scheduled as part of the company’s next software update, and I encourage everyone to log in and update their player name on June 17 to take advantage of the huge $500,000 giveaway!”

partypoker managing director, Tom Waters said: “This client update is one of a number of initiatives that we are working on in order to provide players with a safe environment where they can play online poker.

“With this release, we will be making changes to our software that will prevent third-party tracking tools from working. We want our players to have a fresh start and therefore we are asking all players to select a new alias so that all third-party tool tracking is lost for all our players. At the same time, we have some great promotions running and I’m sure there will be a mad rush by players eager to secure their preferred screenname!”

Partypoker has also announced that the forced screenname change will be implemented as part of a $500,000, 24-hour giveaway promotion designed to get as many players as possible to change their aliases when the client upgrade goes into effect on the morning of June 17. There are a few, temporary exceptions. Players in Sweden and the Czech Republic are exempted, likely due to some jurisdictional data-preservation requirements that party has yet to fully detail; another blog post, to be published next week, will provide more info. Some device platforms, such as Mac, will also have their clients updated at a later date. The change will also be mandatory for players on bwinpoker, in jurisdictions where that site is available.

This is just great news for casual players. While several sites and networks have come up with varying schemes to counter the effects of third-party software, forcing player to change their aliases has always loomed as the best solution. It avoids the whole question of “banning” HUDs and attempting to continue a losing battle against dark-market sales of hand histories by simply making HUDs much less effective.

It also avoids the shuck approach of “anonymous” player models, which don’t improve things for casual players as much as one would think. While it’s true that such anonymous-player sites eliminate HUDs’ effectiveness, they also make it easy for players to collude with one another at the tables, since being anonymous, it’s hard for the victims to deduce exactly where and how they’ve been cheated. Party’s move to forced screenname changes has always been the proper and best solution to some of the abuses that have hampered online poker in recent years, and the site and parent company GVC Holdings deserve kudos for the bold yet proper move.

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