Immediately after the first Internet-poker website went online,
people began to wonder if there might be a way to beat the system through
cheating. It didnít take long for players to realize this fact: While they were
playing online poker, they could be speaking on the telephone to another player
at the same table, and no one else would be the wiser.
This idea of working with another player was not new to the world of poker. At
brick-and-mortar poker establishments, players have been teaming up for as long
as there has been gambling. Two players go to a cardroom and sit at the same
poker table. They have a predetermined system of signals to communicate with
each other about their hands. The theory is that, together, they can better
manipulate the betting and, eventually, win a lot of money. This form of
cheating is called collusion.
In practice, making collusion profitable is an iffy proposition. It is far more
difficult to execute properly than most people realize. Nonetheless, done
skillfully over a long period of time, two colluding players can gain an
advantage over the rest of the table. For that reason, cardrooms and casinos
have policies in place to watch for collusion. Should they spot evidence of two
players working together in this manner, they will promptly ban those players
from their establishment.
Online poker is a different story altogether, and you can see why. With online
poker, there is no physical poker table where players actually see each other
with their own eyeballs. When you play poker online, you could be doing
anything. Players can (and do) post probability charts next to their computers,
sit at their computers naked, loudly swear and curse and give tells like crazy.
Anything and everything is okay, since players cannot see what other players are
doing. There are activities that no player would dream of doing while seated at
a game in person, but those same activities can be done easily when playing
Included in this list of possible activities is talking to other players. At an
in-person game, it is not possible to carry on a secret conversation with one of
the other players at the table. You cannot discuss your hand and devise joint
strategies to defeat your opponents while you are involved in the game.
Obviously, if you tried to do this, other players would know what you are doing.
But that is not the case online. Online poker seems perfect for such strategies
Players collude in online poker games all the time. Often, those players think
they are the first people ever to devise such a brilliant scheme. They
congratulate themselves on their cleverness. In truth, they are late to the
party. It is estimated that as many as one out of every five online poker tables
contains at least some players working in collusion in some way.
Is this collusion effective? Not really. Most players who try it, do so only for
a while, and then give up after they notice they are not generating any more
profit than they normally do. Often, the colluding players actually end up
earning less than normal. Such players eventually conclude that working in
cahoots with another player is more bother than it is worth, at least for them.
So, what are they doing wrong? Why do their efforts at collusion fail to produce
a profit? There are four basic reasons why simple collusion does not work for
1) The players do not communicate effectively. In most cases, players do not
have a clear system of communication worked out before they get on the phone
with each other and start blabbing about their hands. As a result, mistakes and
misunderstandings are common.
2) They do not play well. For most players, the added complication of constantly
dealing with another person, analyzing his hands and figuring out strategy with
him, is too much added mental baggage. These players do not concentrate as well
on the things they should be concentrating on during the game. The most common
result is that they play too many poor and marginal hands. These players are
eager to get in there and start using their new perceived advantage, and as a
result, they play too many hands and play them badly.
3) They are only two players strong. Rarely do colluders get more than two
people to go in on their scheme at one time, and that is not enough. And three
or more players on a multi-way phone conversation is bedlam, and highly
ineffective; it can never work to produce results. Two players are not enough to
influence a game and its probabilities a sufficient amount to make much
difference, especially if there are another four to eight players seated at the
same table. Two guys sitting at a table of ten are not likely to accomplish
much, no matter how good they are at their plan.
4) They donít know what to do. This is the biggest reason why online collusion
fails for most players. They sit there on the phone with their buddy, and they
just know they have some kind of an advantage over the rest of the table.
However, they simply do not know what to do with their newfound power. They do
not know how to use it.
If you are one of the millions of online poker players who suddenly get the
bright idea to collude with a friend while you play, I offer you this advice:
donít bother. If you persist in putting your little brainstorm to the test, go
right ahead, but you will soon find your dreams of poker riches dashed upon the
rocks of reality.
True, there are ways to cheat at online poker. Many players do so every day. But
colluding with a friend is not one of those ways. Talking on the phone with your
buddy while playing is a sure path to failure. Just in case you are open to
hearing my message, I thought Iíd save you the trouble and disappointment of
trying this shortsighted scheme.
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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