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Anatomy of a Poker Cheater
by Timmor L. White

One day, way back in the year 2001 (ancient times for online poker), a friend came to me with what was then a shocking revelation. I don't want to reveal his name, so I'll call him "Jed." My good buddy Jed had devised a way to cheat while playing poker on the Internet. By today's standards, he was using a crude system, but it actually did work. And over time, he got good at it.

I, myself, never did try Jed's system because my career was going extremely well and the online poker bug had not yet bitten me, but I did spend a lot of time with him in those days. Over the next few years, I was able to observe how everything played out in his life.

At first, Jed's life was like a walk through fairy-tale land. He was playing online poker every day, and his bankroll was growing at a phenomenal rate.

During the next few years, Jed was not shy about spending his newly acquired cash. He bought the home he always wanted, a 4-bedroom showcase on an acre and a half near a lake. He bought not one Jaguar, but two. He persuaded the woman he loved to marry him, and he threw an extravagant wedding. (I was there.) During the early days of their marriage, Jed and his wife took vacations to places like Thailand and Bali. He even bought his brother a plot of land on which to build his own house. Jed was a picture of success. It seemed as if the heavens had opened up and showered good fortune on him. And there was no end in sight to this dream life he was living.

Jump ahead four years. Trouble first became apparent in the fall of 2005. Jed still had money coming in from his online efforts, but the excitement had left him. He still had his beautiful home, even more beautiful than before, since he had twice remodeled. He still had his beautiful wife, now pregnant with their second child. And he still had his two Jags. On the surface, everything seemed super. But Jed was not the same man he used to be.

I knew Jed well, so I could see what many others could not: He was miserable. How could this be, you might ask? With all the money and excitement in his life, as well as all the satisfaction of beating online poker, how could he be unhappy? Well, I'll tell you how. I had many long talks with Jed, long into the nights during those days. In my opinion, what had taken its toll on him was simply the devastating nature of cheating itself. What I was witnessing was the inevitable result of a life based on (and dependent on) defrauding others.

One thing that all human beings need in order to find peace and contentment is self-esteem. There are no exceptions. Every one of us requires at least some sense of self-worth. Jed had lost his. He felt worthless. He felt he was contributing zilch to the betterment of society. And indeed, his assessment was correct.

In the early days, Jed was able to mentally handle the thought that he was a cheater. The immediate rewards of his lifestyle were so new and so overwhelming that he was able to justify his actions. Money and the admiration of others made it possible for him to tweak his mind in such a way that he ignored his inner feelings of self-loathing. If he needed to secretly be a low-life cheater in order to obtain all the wonderful assets he was enjoying, then so be it.

But as time went on, the deep-seated realization of what he was doing and the type of person he had become finally caught up with Jed. He could no longer fight off the cold hard fact that he was morally bankrupt. Regardless of the beautiful trappings with which he had surrounded himself, the undeniable truth at the core of his being was that he was nothing more than a lousy cheater. And that recognition, over time, had a devastating effect on Jed's peace of mind.

At one point, Jed confided in me that he wanted to stop his cheating ways. But he could not. He was stuck. The money was too good, the lifestyle too easy. He found himself trapped in a situation he had created for himself.

So, you may wonder, how is Jed today? Not good. He is getting divorced, suffering from depression and struggling with his sanity. I won't share with you all the gory details of exactly how his life degenerated during the past two years, but I will tell you that he was recently committed to a mental facility. The Jaguars are gone. The beautiful house sits empty. And Jed is miserable.

I wish I saw a bright future for Jed, who is fundamentally an intelligent and kindhearted guy, but quite honestly, I don't. They say that a person has to hit rock bottom before he or she can turn things around and climb back to a meaningful life. Jed has certainly bottomed out, so maybe he will yet pull his act together. We'll see.

I tell you this story not to cry a sad tune for Jed. I tell you so you will know that there are always two sides to every situation. And there are different ways to evaluate any potential behavior you might be considering. Sure, making a fast buck is alluring. If you can haul in money by cheating, the benefits seem to outweigh the disadvantages, at least in the sort term. Many people feel that if they can get rich cheating and then later need to deal with some mental conflict as a result, that's actually a pretty good trade-off. They will just handle those negative feelings when they come up.

Big mistake. Cheating is not a good trade-off. Cheating may seem attractive, but don't be fooled. Hiding behind all the glamour and all the glory is a life of quiet discontent.

People find happiness by achieving. A purposeful life comes from doing things that contribute in some way to society. What has a poker cheater contributed? Nothing. What has a poker cheater achieved? Nothing. Worse than that, he has taken a portion of other people's livelihood by unfair means. The cheater has not even learned to play poker well. He can never receive fame or accolades for his playing skill, since all he knows how to do is cheat. He can never succeed at high-profile tournaments, because his cheating skills proffer him nothing when they cannot be used. Cheating is never admirable. A cheater is, at his core, a sad case of frustration and unfulfilled dreams.

Yes, you can cheat at online poker. (There are ways, even today, to accomplish this.) And yes, you can make money at the expense of well-meaning individuals. Although the rewards are inviting, do not be roped in. Like Satan's apple, it is a trick. You are wise to resist the temptation. The price you pay for cheating is always a cost that will eventually come due. A life of misery and low self-esteem is inevitable. As one who has witnessed his good friend go down that ill-fated path, I urge you not to fall for the false promises of cheating.

In a sense, me writing this article is ironic. In recent years, I have perfected a particular way to cheat at online poker, and I am now making the system available to those who want it. (I believe in freedom of speech, and I believe in people's right to information.) And yet, while I am making this cheating information available, I am simultaneously discouraging you from using it. Weird, huh?

The message of this article, if there is one, is simply this: do not cheat. In the long run, cheating is not worth the anguish it brings. Nothing beats the satisfaction of playing poker well and winning fair and square -- not a beautiful home, not an expensive automobile, nothing. You pay a dear price when you cheat. The devil must exact his due. And he will, one day.

Poker is a magnificent game. Whether online or in-person, it is the most perfect expression of competition ever devised. I implore you to play within the confines of the rules. Play the game as it was intended to be played, fairly. Play with honor and dignity. Appreciate the precious game of poker for the incredible blessing that it is. Love it, do not defile it.

Timmor L. White is the founder and president of Online Poker Systems and the OPS Group. With a background in Internet technology, he is active in the study and reporting of online-poker playing strategies. If you wish to explore a specific way to cheat when playing online, click here: Online Poker Cheat.

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