Collusion in Online Poker

Collusion, Online Poker

What does one do when they think they are being cheated at the poker table? I know in the old days of poker you could lose life or limb over it. Times have drastically changed since those days. If Wild Bill had a computer he would be familiar with the term collusion. Definition: a secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose. How can you spot collusion in online poker? What can be done about it?

How Players May Collude in Online Poker

It seems, if you really think about it, that it would be all too easy for 2 players (sometimes 3 and 4) to sit at the same table and call each other over the phone, or to use an instant message system to tell each other what cards they are holding. This can work in a few different ways for the cheaters. First, they can protect each other. If Cheater A has pocket jacks and Cheater B has pocket aces and goes all in, Cheater A knows to fold, where if he were playing alone at the table he would make the call in a hot second. The second way it works is the worst. Cheater A may have the nuts (best possible, unbeatable hand), Cheater A bets, and some poor sap has the second best hand and calls. Then Cheater B raises the pot for Cheater A and poor guy with second best hand gets taken for 4 times what he would have if without any collusion.

More times than not, the person who has been cheated thinks it is just bad luck, or a bad beat. Unless the cheaters make a mistake. Taking the same scenario that I have mentioned above, at the end of the hand when the cards show, Cheater B accidentally shows his cards and the player that just lost with a great hand sees the person was raising with nothing. The person that just lost should get suspicious and watch the players very closely.

What Can You Do About Collusion in Online Poker?

What can you do when you think you have been cheated or feel that there are 2 players colluding in online poker? You can confront the players, but this is useless. The cheaters will do one of a few things when accused at the table.

1. They won't answer and will tone down their cheating at that table for the moment.
2. They will deny it and say that you are just whining because you lost.
3. One or both players will flee the table and move on to their next victims.

The best thing to do (don't accuse the cheaters at the table - this way they tone it down and the poker site's support department can't catch them doing it right then) is write to the support of the site where you are playing , include (if you can) their full user ID's, and what table it happened at and even the hand number it happened on. If you do not recall the hand number you may want to get a hand history report before you write to support, so that you have the exact hand number for them to review.

Collusion in Online Poker Tournaments

Light-playing friends in a tournament is also a type of online poker collusion. Say you are in a NL tournament and you and your best friend end up at the same table. You get a nut hand and it is you and your best friend heads up. You check to him/her. This is highly illegal, especially in tournaments. Other players at the table may suspect collusion because of the check, when all you were trying to do is to not take your friends chips.

When I first started playing online poker, I played at a fake chip site. People that wanted to play the biggest games available would actually purchase chips for $50.00 per million (I was a chip seller). One group of women (there were 3 or 4 of them) decided to cheat. They would all sit at the highest staked table and buy in with millions of chips. Every single hand (no matter what they had) they would raise each other max. Every pot at the table with them was HUGE, and more times than not, one of the cheaters would take the pot. People started just not playing at the same table with them, but they would filter into tables under different names. This was so frustrating because the site was on the verge of closing and had no support team to write. We (a bunch of regular players) took it upon ourselves to break them. We would join their table and buy in minimum amount of chips, win a pot, then jump off the table and bank the winnings, then jump back on the table and buy in minimum again. Either our planned worked and we broke them or they got tired of winning only a very small amount of chips when they did beat us, because one day they just weren't there anymore.

I know for a fact that Poker Stars is on top of the issue of collusion in online poker and takes action when it is reported. Last year there was actually a case where people had money refunded into their account because there was proof of collusion. This brings me back to writing the support team of whatever site you are playing on at the first signs of collusion. Support teams can watch these players and see if players are really colluding. If collusion is uncovered, any money you were wrongfully taken for could make its way back to you.

More Signs of Online Poker Collusion

The signs are easy to read. If you see 2 players at the same table constantly and never see them bump heads in a hand, or lose money or chips to one another, this is one big sign to watch for. Another is 2 players constantly raising each other. Granted you will always run into a few players at the table (more times than not, they are men) that just have it out for each other and max raise every pot they are in together. This is just two people trying to show they are better than each other, and it should be easy not to confuse this with collusion. I say players like this should just unzip, lay them out on the table, see whose is bigger, and call it a night.

♣ Back to the index of articles about online poker games.