Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How to detect Collusion in Online Poker Rooms

Poker is a highly competitive game where
 the winners stand to win large amounts of
 cash for beating their opponents. 
Online poker is no different.
 As such, player cheating is an issue.
 Some players will do anything they can to gain
 an edge and increase their chances of winning,
 even if it means resorting to cheating.
 The relative anonymity of internet poker facilitates this.
The good news is that online poker rooms
are well aware of player cheating and
 the tricky schemes that people invent.
 Here’s a rundown of some of the
 common methods employed by online poker cheats,
 and how the online poker rooms have responded to them.

All-in Protection/Abuse

This is a method of cheating by abusing
 a featured called “all-in protection
” or “disconnect protection”,
 which was designed to help online
 poker players.
 Basically, it works as such – when
a poker player times out or disconnects
from an online poker room
(a rather common occurrence, given the
 fickle nature of many internet connections),
 any money that the player has invested in
 the pot will be protected. When the player
 logs back in,
they’ll be entitled to receive the money they
 invested, since it apparently wasn’t their own 
fault that they were disconnected.
 If the disconnected poker player wins, he wins the part of the
 pot that he bet on, and the player with the next best hand wins
 any side pots that happened after the disconnect.
Some poker players try to exploit this feature.
 They intentionally disconnect their internet connection
 when they’re afraid to make a poker decision, in order
to hold onto their invested money instead of
 folding and losing it.
 This is a clear-cut example of cheating and
  online poker rooms are well aware of this exploit and have responded.
 This type of cheating is nowhere near as much of a
problem as it was in the past.
There was a time when virtually all online poker
sites had a feature called “disconnect protection”.
 Many online poker rooms have completely stopped offering disconnect protection. Full Tilt and Poker Stars will give players adequate time to reconnect, should there be a legitimate disconnection problem. But if they fail to get back to
 the action within the allocated time, their hand is folded
 if further betting actions occur. This completely
 eliminates the all-in abuse cheats from these
online poker rooms.
Other online poker sites that still offer disconnect 
protection nearly always have more tables that
 don’t offer it. These are listed as “no all-in” or “no DP
 (disconnect protection)” tables, which turn off the disconnect protection feature for players who are concerned 
about the exploit. If you ever notice what you deem 
to be all-in abuse at your online card room, 
contact support staff immediately.
In addition, all poker rooms prevent this type
 of cheating by monitoring disconnects.
 Online poker players that are suspected of this type
 of abuse will have their account banned and players
 victim to this type of cheating are often eligible for 
monetary compensation.


Collusion is basically defined as two players
covertly working together in order to increase
 one player’s chances of winning. To get an idea
 of how this works, imagine two or more friends
 logged into the same online poker room, playing
at the same table. They share information about their cards
 in order to get an idea of what cards aren’t remaining in the deck. Worse still, they work together to increase the pot size
 or to squeeze other players out of a hand.
 Presumably, they’ll share their profits when the game is over.
Collusion is often difficult to spot because it’s often
 hard to tell if players are working together or
 simply making decisions on their own based
on their individual poker strategies. A player
folding AQ before the flop might be doing it
 because his friend has AK, or he might
 simply be a very tight player who is only
 willing to pursue absolute premium hands.
Player cheating of this nature, however, is actually
 easier to detect than you might think. Online poker
 sites have a complete hand history database for all
 of their poker players. They know if certain players
 have a history of playing on the same tables.
Their databases are automatically scanned
 with complex algorithms that search for any
 signs of collusion. When something fishy is
spotted the staff will manually review the action.
Online poker rooms take multiple steps against
 collusion and, accept on the rarest of occasion,
 it is not an issue when playing online poker.
 Having said that, online poker rooms take
reports of suspected collusion very seriously.
 Poker Stars is widely considered one of the
 best sites when it comes to reviewing these
situations thoroughly. Regardless of which
online poker room you play at, be sure to
contact customer service immediately if you suspect
 player cheating, including collusion, at your table.


It is against the terms of most online poker rooms
 to sign up under more than one player account.
 However, this doesn’t stop people doing so –
 and in many ways the online poker rooms only
have themselves to blame for this. Most of the
 cases where players have create additional
accounts are usually because the player wasn’t
receiving rake-back on their existing account,
and therefore paying more than other players.
But there’s a big difference between creating a
 new player account and the true definition of
 multi-accounting, which can be a form of collusion.
Multi-accounting is when an online poker player
 who plays under more than one account at the
 same time on the same site. A player might enter
 an online poker tournament under several different
accounts in order to increase their chances of cashing.
 In some rare cases they could even end up on the
 same table, which would obviously be a huge
 advantage (see collusion, above) and unfair
 on the other players. The good news is that
this form of cheating is fairly easy for the online
poker rooms to spot, and players who attempt
to cheat in this way will face serious consequences.

Online Poker Bots

Poker bots are software programs that have
been designed to analyze a poker game,
particularly starting hands and community
 cards, and make decisions for the player.
A poker bot can be set up to play poker for
 real money while the actual player sleeps,
 goes to work, or just generally doesn’t pay
 any attention to the game himself.
The simple fact is that online poker sites
 disapprove of bots, and that you should
 consider them to be a form of player cheating.

Poker bots are not really as big of a problem
 as some angry poker forum posters
 (that may have simply been beaten fairly)
 would like people to believe, and get far
 more attention that they deserve. In the
 rare event that a poker bot has been
 identified in the past, it has been shown
 to be a quite unsuccessful technique.
 Bot algorithms are no match for even the
amateur poker player and sites found guilty
 of using poker bots (however ineffective they
 may be) have always failed or been
 forced out of the online poker market.


There’s no denying that cheating occurs.
 It happens in live poker games, and it happens
 in online poker games. There will always be
 cheaters trying to scam people when there’s
 money involved. But it isn’t nearly as bad as
 you might think. Online poker rooms know 
that dishonest players will try and cheat given
 the opportunity, and they put a lot of time and 
resources into making the games fair.
 If you truly suspect foul play at an
 online card room, simply cash out 
and take your money elsewhere.

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