The industry-wide trend currently helping to make online poker more appealing to the casual player and the masses, took another step forward recently thanks to Microgaming.
Over the last few months the online poker industry’s push to open itself up to more members of the public has seen a raft of changes take place. Sites such as Full Tilt have done away with high stakes cash games and now automatically seat players at random tables to limit bum hunting by regular players.
Similarly, PokerStars has introduced lottery-style SNGs, as well as, casino games and sports betting in an effort to attract a broader demographic. Moreover, in the last few days, one of the industry’s most vocal figures, GPI owner Alex Dreyfus, has called for an end to HUD use during Twitch streams.
All these efforts are aimed solely at making online poker less exploitable by hardened grinders and more enjoyable for casual players with the net effect being higher traffic levels across the board.
In line with this epistemic shift, the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) will now allow players to change their screen name every 30 days or 1,000 hands (whichever comes sooner).
The decision to implement this new system, which comes into effect on September 22, was based on MPN’s desire to make it easier for players to avoid being the target of sharks.
“Last month, Full Tilt made the dramatic decision to remove game-selection facilities and heads-up play in all its ring games. The hope was that it would help attract and improve retention of recreational players,” MPN’s Head of Poker, Alex Scott, told Pokerfuse recently.
In essence, bum hunting is a strategy seasoned players use to identify opponents they believe are weak by marking them in their tracking database and continually targeting them each time they sit down.
Although this predatory culture is a natural part of the game, it’s also something that’s slowly whittling down the number of casual players and novices wanting to ante-up and play.
In response to this, MPN’s latest initiative should give players a chance a hide themselves by regularly changing their identity and therefore, avoid being marked and followed by sharks.
Of course, in the spirit of the game, the people behind the decision wanted to ensure players were able to get some handle on their opponents. For this reason the 30 day or 1,000 hands time limit was put in place.
Explaining MPN’s new feature further, Scott stated that level of exposure (30 days or 1,000 hands) should be enough to satisfy regular players and protect the casual.
Additionally, he suggested that the move would protect the network’s current customer base, which averages around 700 cash game players per day and brings new players into the mix.