How to Protect Yourself from Cheating in Online Poker
Cheating is no longer as big of a problem as it used to be in the past, especially in real-life poker games. However, it’s still present at tournaments, and online poker enthusiasts are regularly faced with it as well.
Unfortunately, players have always managed to find innovative ways to trick other players. If they were to invest as much time in learning the game and some more advanced strategies, they could probably win a lot more money. However, cheaters are cheaters, and we are unlikely to get rid of this problem anytime soon, no matter what online poker rooms and casinos do to eliminate the issue.
For that reason, I wanted to help you out. Sadly, I can’t do much about the players themselves and the entire system of cheating, but I can help you spot the problems and teach you how to avoid or even defeat cheaters.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what you can do to protect yourself from fraudulent activities in online poker.
What if the Problem Is the Poker Room Itself?
Most people blame players for cheating. However, sometimes, the sites themselves can be a part of the issue too. There are thousands of poker sites, and some of them are notorious for trying to cheat their users. For those players who are not aware of this, it can be a real problem, as they won’t be careful enough when choosing a poker room to join.
Naturally, these sites don’t last long, but they pose a constant threat, as new ones keep popping up. That’s why it’s vital for you to choose only the best poker sites available.
On top of that, you need to watch out for corrupt software and leave a poker site as soon as you notice something fishy. However, don’t falsely assume that there’s something wrong with the site just because you’re on a losing streak or something similar.
If the site uses random number generator software (RNG), then it’s impossible for it to cheat. The best way to know for certain whether a website uses an RNG is to look at the software powering the poker titles. If they have been developed by a notable software provider, then you’re all set. There is no way to rig RNG software, so there’s no need to worry.
Of course, don’t forget to make sure that the poker site has a valid license from a notable regulatory body, such as the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority.
The Problem of Colluders and How to Spot Them
You’re probably aware of the fact that players can cooperate in real-life poker. However, this problem is much bigger when playing online, as it is infinitely easier to spot the players colluding while playing with them face to face. Unfortunately, it’s an almost impossible task in the online world.
No matter what you or the site attempt to do, you can’t stop cheaters from using third-party video call apps to discuss the game while they’re playing. Also, it’s hard to notice that players are cheating like this, as there’s no way of knowing what they’re doing on their phones, for instance, while playing poker on their computers.
Huge numbers of such cheaters keep on doing this on a regular basis, which is why it’s important to report any fraudulent activity you notice.
Naturally, this might be easier said than done, but there are ways to spot them. What’s more, your chances of spotting colluders are much higher if you’re actively searching for them. You need to develop a habit of looking for them in every poker game. Trust us — spotting them will become much easier in time.
For example, when you join a game, pay attention to the names of the players. If you notice that the same people keep joining different games together, report them, especially if you are playing on a large site with many games occurring simultaneously.
It might be difficult for the sites themselves to identify these players, but if you and others report them, it will be very easy for the administrators to inspect their game history and hole cards in order to see if they’ve been colluding.
What Is Ghosting and How Can It Affect Poker Games?
Ghosting, which has become quite commonplace in the online poker world, is undoubtedly a form of cheating as well. Unfortunately, the problem is that it’s very easy to do but not that easy to spot.
If you are not sure how it works, read on.
A player plays like everyone else in a poker game or tournament. However, once the stakes become very high, or they have a lot to lose, they simply hand over their control to someone else — someone more experienced or maybe a real poker pro.
This is easy to do, as they only need to let the other person play. To make matters worse, they don’t even have to use the same device. In fact, many players opt for using software that transfers full control over their computer to the other player, no matter where they’re located.
Regardless of the method used, this is still considered cheating and can be a big problem for many players. That’s why poker sites always confiscate the winnings from ghosting players and kick them out of the game. Unfortunately, they need to notice them first, which is not easy to do.
Thankfully, you and other players might be more likely to spot them. In fact, you need to be on the lookout for a significant change in your opponents’ behavior, which is not always easy to notice. Still, if you manage to spot ghosting players, make sure to report them immediately.
Poker Bots and Why They Have No Place in Gambling
The issue of gambling bots keeps getting more problematic, thanks to the constant improvements in AI and bot technology.
Many people don’t consider bots a form of cheating, but I believe that every player has the right to know whether they are playing against a real person or not. After all, I think we can all agree that not knowing that you are playing against a bot is certainly problematic.
The issue has been brought up in the tech community, and mostly everyone agrees that people need to know they are dealing with a bot, regardless of the industry or sphere of life.
But, what exactly is a bot?
In gambling, especially in poker, some players use these pieces of code or programs that can mimic a typical poker player. Some of these programs use advanced AI, or artificial intelligence, which helps them play almost identically like humans. What’s more, they can even respond well in real time.
Over time, these bots have gotten too good, which is why we all deserve to know when they are being used.
If you want to spot a bot, you need to pay attention to how each player is playing. A bot will always differ from a real player, as it can’t get tired, it won’t tilt, and it will never make a mistake, like a wrong click or something similar.
So, whenever a player is playing too perfectly, know that you’re dealing with a bot.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, cheating in online poker is a lot more common than many players think, and it can be a real problem. So, if you want to avoid being at a disadvantage against other players, you need to make sure you can notice most forms of cheating.
Thankfully, knowing about the most common methods of cheating in poker is often more than enough. Therefore, make sure to read this article carefully, and you’ll be ready to protect yourself.