Cheating At online Poker – Does it work? How To Tell If Someone Is Cheating in an Online Poker Game

Is online poker full of cheats and poker bots?

Are we as online poker players getting a fair game or are the online poker rooms themselves cheating you out of your money? Are your leary of playing online poker for real money because you don’t know if the game is fair? Here is a real look at cheating at online poker.

Dont Get Cheated- Play at trusted Online Poker Sites.

Here is an example of blatant cheating shown live at the final table of a Partouche poker tour.

For as long as people have been playing poker, people have been cheating at poker (or at least trying to).
We’ve all heard the stories from the early days of poker in America of a cheater getting caught with an ace up his sleeve in a cash game at a local saloon. Today’s world of online poker is no exception. Let’s not be naive and fail to realize that somewhere, sometime, someone has cheated playing online poker. Players cheat, they have, they do and they will continue to do so…

The good news is that the really scary types of cheating are probably not as bad as you might think as long as you are playing at a trusted online poker room then most of your online poker games are fair and honest.

If you are not interested in reading this article but are just looking for an online poker room you can trust:

They have extensive independent auditing by Citigal and BMM International. These guys are the read deal as far as trustworthy online poker rooms plus the customer support is top notch. Stars is not the only trustworthy online room, check out our poker room reviews for more reputable and safe places to play online.

The scariest version of online poker cheating is when the card rooms themselves are ‘in on it’.

The Online Poker rooms are doing some shady and underhanded things to maximize their profits and get a bigger rake… A lot of people make this accusation, we’ve seen it in our own forum and in forums all across the net.

People claim that they receive such terrible beats against idiots calling their bets and hitting a miracle gut-shot on the river that the card rooms must be rigging the cards so the ‘idiots’ win and the pots are big. The bigger the pot, the bigger the rake and that means more money for the poker room.

This, after all, benefits the poker room in two ways. First, it causes larger pots meaning larger rake, plus it means that the bad players lose money slower. If the bad players lost the money they deposited to a winning player, and that winning player withdraws his winnings on regular intervals, like all winning players do, then the poker room looses the chance to make rake money off of that money.

The loosing players are going to most likely stay and play until they lose all of their money anyway, so the more money they have to lose, the more they will play, and the more that they play the more that the poker room will rake in total.

This seems like a respectable argument on it’s face, and very intelligent, coherent and quality poker players have made this accusation. However, most of the people you hear making these claims in online forums and especially at the poker tables are bad poker players who are blaming their poor poker decision making ability on a scapegoat, the online poker room.

These players blame their bad luck on the online poker rooms and claim that surely the poker rooms must be stacking the deck to create big hands that they happen to end up second best in. The rooms are cheating to maximize the rake as much as possible, not that you misplayed your pocket aces by limping in pre-flop when four earlier players had limped in and the flop came 8, 9, J with two hearts and you raised all in from middle position and got called by QTH who flopped the nut straight.

While you certainly see exceptional bad beats and big hands online, you also see them live. If you’ve never been outdrawn by a two outer gut-shot then you probably haven’t played at one of the Atlanta Poker Club weekly tournaments (or much poker at all). Suck-outs happen in poker at the highest levels to the lowest levels. If you can’t handle the swings then do not bother playing, Texas Hold ‘Em is probably not for you.

Here is the deal – The reputable online poker rooms would not risk their hugely profitable business by cheating and being exposed. The poker rooms are not cheating, they wouldn’t start cheating and my confidence level in that statement is very high.

Here is a major reason I believe that the poker rooms do not alter the outcome of hands to maximize rake.

Statistics support the trusted online poker rooms. Thousands of people use various poker tracking software to track their hands and analyze their play and the play of their competition. Each and every hand is tracked and added into a database where tons of query’s can be ran and statistics analyzed.

People play tens of thousands of hands over long periods of time (years). No one has shown any statistical evidence that the reputable card rooms are dealing hands that wouldn’t be randomly dealt. There is no evidence other than the anecdotal “I lost to a 2 outer twice in a row” complaint from a disgruntled online poker player to support the claim that the poker rooms themselves are cheating.

If this is your concern then just look for a reputable online poker room, especially those that have their shuffle algorithm verified by an independent source such as THAWTE.

Online Poker Cheating that is real – Collusion

The most common form of online poker cheating is collusion. Collusion is when two or more players share their private cards with one another and act together as a team. Knowing more than just your own cards is an advantage over the other players at the table. Just call up your buddy on the telephone or instant message, get him to join the same online poker table as you and play together as a team by sharing your cards.

Collusion occurs and is probably the most common form of cheating found in online poker. This isn’t to say that every single online poker game is full of colluding cheaters, most are not. The majority of the games at the reputable online poker sites are straight up.

The good news is that the poker rooms keep track of who is playing together. If two or three, or a whole ring of players, are playing together on a regular basis, hand histories will be looked at and scrutinized. If collusion is detected these players will no longer be allowed to play together and their funds will possibly be frozen.

Combating Collusion

Most colluders are probably weak poker players and will still lose money. Pay attention. Be on the lookout for two players building the pots for one another and then one player folding at the end. Or if you notice a hand being announced in the chat box, this could be a key that someone is colluding via instant messenger or some other online communication channel.
If someone types in Ad5d into the chat box, it is likely that the player is colluding via an instant messenger type program and has accidently typed his hand into the chat box on the poker room instead of his instant messaging program. Pay attention, make sure he isn’t telling his hand from the previous hand, check the hand history if possible and make a note of the time and table number and the player name. You can send this information to the poker rooms and they can investigate.

Report colluders to the card rooms when you’re pretty sure someone is colluding.

There is not really a whole lot you can do to prevent collusion at your table other than to pay attention and be on the lookout for what seems like odd play. I don’t really think that it is that risky of a proposition but I’m sure in my years of online poker playing I’ve been a victim to colluders but it is not a concern for me whenever I sit down at a table although I do try and pay attention just in case.

Self Collusion

Another form of collusion, is self collusion where one player has multiple accounts at a poker site and plays them all together at the table, fleecing a couple of suckers out of their cash. This is something that very well might be possible, but is very rare and probably only a concern at the really high stakes. Someone who went into the huge invesment of setting up the multiple network / server / ip address / monitor / masking info would have to spend a ton of money to get around the poker rooms security rooms. The most common collusion is going to be a couple of idiots on a telephone sharing their cards and still loosing because they suck at poker.

Bust Poker Bots

This is most likely doubtful, but not completely out of the question. I’m sure that some programmer somewhere with enough time and enough desire could create a poker bot that could win at the lower levels of online poker.

If you think you are playing against a bot, a quick and easy way to ease your mind if you are playing is to chat. Say hello, mock them, call them out, ask them a question.. try and get a response.

If they talk back you’re not playing against a bot. Of course if someone doesn’t respond doesn’t mean that they are a bot, they might have chat turned off or just ignoring you.

Most of the reputable online poker rooms are actively working to ensure that poker bots are not playing at their room. If they detect a poker bot they will freeze accounts and banish the player. Many people have claimed to program a bot that can win one big bet per hour playing low stakes limit hold-em. I think that if the poker rooms weren’t combating poker bots that there would be more of them.

A bot that can win at poker is probably fairly difficult to create considering you are playing without 100% information. If you are thinking that if you can create a chess program then you can create a poker program then just remember that in chess, you see 100% of the pieces. In poker you don’t know what your opponent holds. Good players will kick a bots ass.

Again, at the reputable poker sites the vast majority of players are the real deal. For more on poker bots, check out this MSNBC article on online poker bots. Most above average players will figure out the bots patterns and can easily beat a bot.

Remember, poker rooms want to keep new real players and they know that if you think you are playing against a table of poker bots time and time again that you will take your play elsewhere. Poker bots are bad for business.

In closing, cheaters suck, don’t cheat. If you get caught by the card rooms you’ll lose your cash and get your account frozen.

Here is a list of reputable online poker rooms with detailed room reviews, sign up guides and current deposit bonuses.

Thanks and we’ll see you at the tables!

P.S. If you are hesitant to try online poker because you are worried about cheating, don’t be… you can play 100% free or even a $1 tournament so your risk is minimized… Start out for free and if you are comfortable with the software you can make a deposit later.