Why We Insist on Our Players Using Real Names

There are many factors to consider when weighing the merits of one tournament site vs. another. We believe that one of those factors is transparency, and that’s why we require that players use real names when they sign up for an account and enter one of our tourneys.

The argument most often made in favor of fake-name usage is that some players prefer anonymity while playing a tournament and, without such privacy, they wouldn’t play at all. Nicknames are, therefore, good for business and represent “value added” for those players who deem them important. So as long as no one is being harmed by the use of player names/nicknames in lieu of real names, what’s the problem?

At HorseTourneys, we have a different philosophy. We’re fine with forgoing the business of those who don’t wish to use real names. We feel the use of fake names is unfair to the vast majority of players in a collective sense…to the vast majority of players in an individual sense…and to ourselves as tournament hosts.

From a broad perspective, when a person visits a tournament site for the first time and sees a slew of fake names, we think that fosters an image of secrecy–an image of a shadowy, back-room game played by a bunch of insiders. Reasonable minds may differ on this point, but we find it adds a bit to the intimidation factor, and we also feel it can contribute to the notion–however unfair–that such games are not completely on the up-and-up. Sure, many player names are of the fairly transparent “first initial, last name,” jdoe68 variety. But many others are not. We just are not comfortable with visitors or prospective HorseTourneys players wondering why so many players are sitting behind aliases.

On a more personal level, we feel that players gain a measure of confidence when they can see the real names of those they are competing against.


In a tourney limited to, say, two entries per person, they can more easily trust that one of their opponents hasn’t taken 16 entries by registering accounts under eight different player names. Might a HorseTourneys player still work in tandem with a partner? Sure. Might someone have a spouse, brother, cousin, friend or in-law register an account that he, himself, controls? Yes. Our system can’t preclude that sort of gamesmanship, but we think that our way at least makes it more difficult—and keeps things more out in the open.

Even worse, though, imagine the questions that could arise in a player’s mind if a lucrative tourney were won out of the blue by a fake name that hadn’t previously been seen in any competitions of note? That’s not to say that rookies and even first-timers don’t win big sometimes. But when such things do occur, we feel that the use of real names helps quell any integrity concerns that our existing players might harbor.

And this is why we feel it is also not fair to us here at HorseTourneys for players to use fake names. Let’s say a first- or second-time fake-name player wins one of our major cash games and is then not heard from again. One might wonder if this were a) a legitimate entry, b) an entry using one of many fake names registered by a single player, or (worst of all) c) an entry created by a HorseTourneys insider to help fill a guaranteed tourney.

We’re not in any way saying that this has ever happened anywhere, but we sure don’t want it to happen at HorseTourneys. And we prefer not to give our customers the slightest reason to wonder about this. Perception often becomes reality, and we’d rather not do anything to create even the faintest appearance of impropriety if we can help it. Above all else, this is why fake names aren’t worth it to us—and, frankly, why we feel they wouldn’t be fair to us.

So if using fake names is important to you, we encourage you to participate in tournaments held elsewhere. Nothing personal, but we prefer to keep things personal.