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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

January 29, 2004

Online Cheating

by Luckbox

A loyal Up For Poker reader sent me an e-mail wondering how worried I am about online poker cheating. There's no question that it's a concern of most players. There are no real absolute guarantees these websites are entirely trustworthy. In fact, a search of RGP or 2+2 will find dozens of posts about being cheated.

However, you also know by now that I'm a rabid online player, spending hours at a time on Ultimate Bet. So if I know that there are no guarantees and that cheating is possible, why do I risk my money?

That's easy...

In my mind, there are three basic cheating concerns when
it comes to online play:

  • Collusion: It is possible for a group of friends to sit at the same table and compare hands via IM or phone. That would give them a huge advantage. All websites claim to monitor for this, but you can never be sure.
  • The Cards Aren't Truly Randomized: It is possible web sites don't use a program that really randomizes the cards. They may deal out the cards specifically to create big pots. After all, the bigger the pots, the bigger the rakes for the online site. For example, I get dealt AA and my opponent gets AK and the flop comes AKK or something like that. Both players will pay big money, but the site will get a big rake.
  • The online site uses "shills" who have some kind of an advantage, either by seeing cards they shouldn't or by getting an inordinant number of good cards. I've never seen evidence of this, but it's always possible.
  • As far as the first possibility goes, I don't believe anyone would collude at the low limit tables. It just doesn't seem profitable enough. I also think it's something that can be spotted. If I see any sign of it, I move tables.

    As for possibilities two and three, no guarantees can be made. However, there's an even bigger reason for an online site to run a clean service. The sites will make money hand over fist without having to resort to cheating.

    There are thousands and thousands of online players willing to lose all their money. Why cheat when you can make millions without cheating? It's in the online site's best interest to be clean because it helps build a bigger customer base. The more customers and the more money the site makes.

    So, cheating is a concern, but I just don't think it's as widespread as some people believe. After all, I've made more than $1000 playing online. If they're cheating, I seem to be getting around it!

    | Online Poker