Online Poker Collusion

Collusion at online poker rooms is less common than at live casinos but it can be just as damaging - especially for its victims. Due to the nature of online poker, players that participate in collusion have developed several techniques for cheating.

A common form of cheating is when two friends participate in the same poker online game and share the identities of their hole cards with each other. They may do this via the telephone or through an instant messaging system. If seated together at the same online poker table, a player can influence the course of the game by raising and calling bets to suit his own poker hand and the hand of his friend. While in this scenario there is no common bankroll, colluding friends may still share the contents of a pot with each other if they are fortunate enough to fool the poker site and their opponents.

The above example may seem tame in comparison to expert collusion. This is when two or more people plan to influence the course of a game by sharing the identity of their cards. When multiple players are adept at collusion, they can manipulate the game and intimidate other players into folding or losing large numbers of chips attempting to raise the stakes.

Another serious form of cheating in poker is known as self-collusion, where a single player uses two or more accounts to participate in the same online poker game. This gives the player a distinct advantage over his opponents. As well as benefiting from multiple poker hands in play, the player can also seriously influence the game in the same way two or more players colluding together can.

Fortunately, it is far more difficult to cheat online than it is in a game of casino poker. This is due to collusion detection measures in place at most reputable internet poker rooms. Many sites have invested in technology that allows them to run continual analyses of hand histories to search for signs of collusion. These can be manually reviewed if suspicious activity is detected.

A player who engages in sustained and successful collusion against a poker website needs to be highly organised. Even a player in possession of two internet connections, two computers and two player identities at the same site can make mistakes. If the player forgets to take a turn for all players he is representing in a game of poker, a site's collusion detection software will be alerted. The site also has full visibility of folded hands. If one colluding players finishes with a high flush and his opponent folds with a high hand, the poker site can check the hand to find out why he decided to fold.

Another useful collusion detection system is a site's player logging system. This keeps a record of all the players who have faced each other to win at poker in past games. If players are suspected of collusion, casino staff can check the logs to find out when they last played together and what the end result of the poker game was.

Finally, one of the best detection tools a poker site has is its honest poker fans, who are encouraged to report any player they believe is acting suspiciously. No proof of cheating is required; a player need only report another to have his opponent's record checked by the online poker room. And while this may lead to false accusations on occasion, it is far better to encourage vigilance than fall victim to a player or players seeking to manipulate a poker game using dishonest methods.