Rob Yong wants real names in cash games, 67% agree; trial in August


partypoker plan to trial the use of real names in online high stakes cash games after 67% of people polled on Twitter agreed to the concept. 

We’re taught from a young age to never talk to strangers. We sit down with our children and test them.

rob-yong-wants-real-names-in-cash-games-67-agree-trial-in-august“Will you get into the car if he {it’s always a he} offers you, sweets?”


“Will you get into the car if he offers you toys?”


“Will you get into the car if he offers you a Belle dress from Beauty and the Beast?”


Despite our innate fear of strangers in the realm of the ‘real,’ we have created a digital dimension where being completely anonymous is par for the course.

Rob Yong is trying to do something about it.

partypoker’s title-less chief has 50 or so intended ways to provide more value for his customers, and for partypoker, ‘value’ includes creating a safer, friendlier environment.

The latest contrarian view from Yong and the team at party is to force players to use their real names when playing online poker. Yong ran a Twitter poll to gauge public opinion. The results were staggering. 67% of the 5,731 voters felt it was a good idea (18% didn’t care, and 16% thought it was a bad idea).

“I am in favour of real names>improves etiquette, builds community & just feels safer.” – Rob Yong.

Interestingly, those that engaged in debate with Yong were against the idea, but it’s relatively common for the dissenting voices to be more numerous. Ironically, the vast majority of the complaints are about safety, believing Yong’s move puts those who want anonymity at higher risk.

Using real names carries an air of authenticity. I believe this acts as a conduit for more respectful discourse, and the hateful and spineless behaviour that you see promulgated throughout social media, and that drifts into online poker, will soften.

One observation worthy of consideration came from Vanessa Kade.

“For myself I’m indifferent, but I know a number of women who have explicitly mentioned they like online poker for the anonymity and not being gender stereotyped (often means people play differently against us). Also, safety/harassment/stalking are all concerns for ladies.”

It’s symptomatic of our current climate that I feel I’m placing a bull’s eye over my heart when daring to comment on an issue of gender, but here goes.

Remaining anonymous removes the threat of gender-stereotyped behaviour. However, I would like to believe this would be counter-balanced by the improved environment that Yong is trying to create.

Yong and his team have a lot of data at their disposal. If there is a gender issue prevalent on partypoker Yong will know about it. If it worsens as a direct result of these changes, Yong will know about it.

One thing that’s crystal clear from partypoker’s recent changes is a safe, fun and secure environment is their number one priority. Making the place more unsafe for female players is not on the agenda.

Kade suggests that there could be real-world consequences for female players should the changes go ahead with harassment and stalking an issue. It’s not a rebuff that’s specific to Kade, with one person stating that people in gaming are ‘murdered’ in the video gaming world ‘regularly.’

As Yong reminds people:

I can see two definite downsides to Yong’s changes.

Plenty of people have taken advantage of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws, removing their identities from live results on The Hendon Mob.

My research points to the same reason – tax.

Yong’s change makes it easier for the taxman to find high earners who are not paying tax. Balance that with the opt-out process on sites like PocketFives and High Stakes Database (HSDB). It seems like a convoluted process for the tax department to track a player’s record from the action on partypoker alone.

Then there is the narrative that helps sell online poker to the masses and excites those of us who live in this strange bubble. The prime example is the rise of ‘Isildur1,’ who took on all the high-stakes regs back in the way, winning and losing millions of dollars.

The mystique played a critical role in creating one of the true heroes of our times. However, every superhero fan knows that for the stereotype to work, we need to learn the true identity eventually. After the big reveal, the narrative loses its lustre, as it did when PokerStars revealed Viktor Blom as the man behind the most talked-about pseudonym of the modern generation.

Who are we talking about, today?

No one.

Whether you agree or not, Yong will trial the changes in Trickett’s Room and other ‘selected’ games throughout August.​