Poker is a riveting and fun game, enjoyed by people all around the world. Since the recent global pandemic, many have opted to stay home more and turned to playing poker on the internet to pass time or as an alternative to the physical game. Online poker is accessible as it allows players to enjoy a game with anybody with a working internet connection. That is probably why online poker is popular in the USA again.
Playing poker online is not all fun and games, though. Cheating can occur when gambling on the internet, hence, it is important for online poker players to be aware of the different methods that cheaters use. This article will list down five common traps that people fall into when playing online poker, so you can spot the red flags in your next game.
Ghosting in poker is understood as the act of coaching or advising another player during a tournament. This is banned in poker tournaments in real life and is less discreet as it necessitates the coach/accomplice to be seated near the player. However, when playing online, players can easily use screen sharing features on apps such as Zoom and Skype to show real time happenings on the table as they play. The coach often referred to as the “ghost” will give advice to the player, and provide an alternate opinion or act as a sounding board when the player is faced with hard choices. Ghosting commonly occurs during the later points of the tournaments with a larger prize amount. Although one of the only benefits of ghosting is some insight from another person, this form of cheating is most likely the most frequent method that people use when playing online poker.
- Computerised Poker Bots
Poker is a game that is heavily reliant on arithmetical skills in order to clinch a win. Hence, computer bots, commonly known as poker bots have been specially programmed to easily make accurate moves and decisions when playing. Competing with a poker bot significantly reduces the opponent’s chances of winning, as most players are prone to making human errors that could be detrimental in a game like poker. This method of cheating is exclusively found in online poker but remains a pertinent issue within the community because it is difficult to differentiate between a poker bot from a human player as they are all behind a screen. Fret not though, we have gathered some tell-tale pointers to identify a poker bot in your next game! Poker bots tend to play for excessive periods of time without stopping and play at multiple tables at one time. Additionally, if they always happen to play a perfect hand, your opponent is most probably a poker bot.
- Conspiring With Other Players
This is also referred to as colluding, which is when people secretly come together to raise the likelihood of a single player winning. This method of cheating is found in both on and offline poker, as players conspire against the others to help them win. However, due to its challenging and arduous nature, many tend to collude when the stakes are higher. As more internet poker sites pop up, people have found new ways to cheat the system, despite many online poker sites have taken preventative action against collusion.
Internet poker participants deliberately show their cards and share their strategies by video calling, messaging and other forms of communication. A more indirect form of colluding and conspiring occurs when participants gang up on the player with a short stack of chips, by cornering them so that they will be eliminated when they go all-in.
- Using Multiple Accounts
In order to get the upper hand, some people create more than one account on a particular poker website, this is also known as multi-accounting. By having multiple accounts, the user has an added advantage as they are able to manipulate the game by posing as different players in a poker tournament. While multiple accounting is problematic for people who want to play an honest game, it is a huge cause of concern for hosting websites as well. The player posing as multiple people will receive bonus payouts from the poker site for all of their accounts, this phenomenon is often referred to as bonus fraud. Due to this, many sites restrict each player to one account by requiring them to upload identity cards or other forms of official identification as a form of verification. Dishonest players who are found to have more than one account will have their money and accounts frozen by the hosting website.
- Seeing Opponent’s Hole Cards
Last but not least, one of the ways that a player can win is by knowing their opponent’s hole cards. Knowledge of others’ cards will allow the player to know when is an opportune time to make which move — which would increase the likelihood of a win. Playing on a poker site will typically show only the player’s own hand and not their opponents’ cards. This sensitive information is all stored in a central server that is typically inaccessible to the public. However, in 2007, an employee of a poker site managed to get his hands on a super-user account that allowed him to see everybody’s cards on the table. The employee was eventually caught, but this scandal showed that there could be breaches in the system, that could make this way of cheating a definite possibility.
Playing poker online is a wonderful way to slot in a game with anyone, anywhere and at any time. Unfortunately, cheating in online poker is inevitable, but one can enjoy an honest game by choosing a reliable and trustworthy hosting site. Read up on the gambling site beforehand, and look out for legitimate positive reviews online and whether or not the site has a license from a gambling authority. The different ways that people use to game the system can be sneaky and hard to spot, but knowing them might allow you to weed out cheaters in your next poker tournament. Playing online can be fun as long as you do your research and stay vigilant. Good luck!