No one likes a cheater at the poker tables. Brick-and-mortar operators have spent billions in security measures to prevent dishonest players from tampering with their games. Unfortunately, online operators can’t keep such a vigilant eye on scammers. Below we’ve outlined the most common cheating methods for online poker and how you can spot them first!

The Use of Bots

Firstly, let’s cover the basics. What is a bot? In video games or online gaming, a bot is a type of artificial intelligence-based system software that plays in the place of a human. Traditionally they attempt to mimic the behaviour of a real-world person in the game while using mathematics and player knowledge to beat genuine players. Naturally, poker sites across the globe ban bots from their tables. Even so, it doesn’t stop cheats trying to sneak them in. 

Despite their reputation in online poker circles, bots aren’t the money-making success story you may think they are. Many argue that their efficacy in making a profit is questionable short-term. Therefore, a player would have to play a large number of hands with a bot before they see a return on investment. What’s more, bots rarely account for the human element within the game. As we all know, strategy, logic and mathematics are key elements to success in poker but it’s equally true that most players don’t incorporate these elements into their playing style perfectly. Bots aren’t great in the face of this illogical behaviour. There are ways to spot whether or not you’re playing against a bot. Most notably, they’re recognised by the playing of identical moves repeatedly throughout the game.

Colluding With Fellow Players

Collusion in some form is perhaps the most popular form of cheating in poker. Collusion in gaming is when multiple players team up and share resources to give one player a greater chance of winning. This technique of cheating can be challenging in terms of logistics. Thus, players who opt for this method typically like to see significant rewards for their efforts and often scope out higher-paying tables. Collusion with poker is not a new idea and definitely not exclusive to the online landscape. However, real-world and online cheaters have different methods of collusion. In online gaming, collusion could simply be one player revealing their hole cards to another via some form of technology. Alternatively, collusion could be two players teaming up to edge a third out of a tournament. In this case, two players are sharing information and using it to have an advantage over the third. 

The last method of collusion in online poker is probably the most obvious. Any player could simply join a game and have another, more advanced player, sitting over their shoulder as they play. While this type of cheating is near impossible in real-world casinos thanks to advanced security measures, it’s rampant in the online space. What’s more, unlike other forms of cheating, it’s near impossible for operators to detect. Given the advancement of communication technology, the two players don’t even need to be in the same room. Gaming screens can be recorded or even shared through online platforms. 

Using Multiple Accounts

Finally, a common online scam is to create multiple accounts for a single poker playing site. As you can imagine, with a single player holding multiple seats at the table, the odds are skewed considerably in their favour. Fraud like this is a problem for both genuine players and operators alike. Not only do these cheaters receive multiple bonuses from the operator for each account they hold but they also have a greater chance of taking home the pot from honest players. Operators have taken measures to prevent players from engaging in this type of fraud. For instance, most operators attempt to get players to verify their identity with an email login or by linking to social media platforms. Of course, in the case of mobile games, players attempting this scam would need multiple devices to play the game on. Typically, if a player is found to be employing multiple accounts, they will have each account suspended. This is by no means a foolproof method of preventing fraud but unfortunately, it’s all that technology will enable at present.

We feel the need to note that players who engage with these methods are not the majority. Therefore, don’t be afraid there’ll be one at every online table you sit at. With that said, we should note that each of these methods may provide a player with an advantage over the game but it by no means makes them infallible. No matter which bot they’re using or how well they’re being coached, poker will always retain a certain amount of unpredictability. With enough poker practice, you can build enough skill to spot them and even potentially beat them despite their advantages.