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12/02/2007 No. 13
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday February 12, 2007

Tradition has it that you can't choose your own nickname. It's very uncool. I remember a girl at school who announced that she wanted to be known as Bunny. She immediately became known as a lot of things, but Bunny wasn't one of them.

Same with poker. You can't just tell people to call you Razorface or Hot Lips; you have to be christened by others. And there has to be a reason, even if it's only a simple one. Jack "Treetop" Strauss was very tall. Walter "Puggy" Pearson had a snub nose. Johnny Chan, "The Orient Express", arrived in America before political correctness did.

But traditions change. One of online poker's smaller (but not insignificant) effects is that players are now obliged to choose screen names for themselves. They usually spend more time planning their monikers than their game strategy. At big tournaments, you often see younger players actually greeting each other by these names ("Hey, Fish Feeder, how's it going?") or introducing themselves with an explanation ("We've never met, but you know me as Boss Hogg ...")

I'm going to give you a tip, but I want a favour in return. I've been told I need a nickname for a forthcoming TV tournament. Predating the internet by some years, I still feel awkward about the idea of choosing one myself. I don't want it to sound scary (that's stupid) or cool (I'm not) or sexy (a terrible risk as the years go by). But I do want to have the first poker nickname ever chosen by Guardian readers.

My tip: on the internet, don't waste your time trying to choose a brilliant screen name. You're best off with an anonymous string of letters and numbers, so people don't remember you and your playing style as soon as you sit down. But that doesn't work in a live game, so please send suggestions to

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