Security Game Guide

Collusion or Hustling


Poker Collusion or Hustling – Using Poker Software to Prevent It

One of the ways poker players can try to cheat at online poker is by teaming up, an act that is commonly referred to as ‘collusion’ in online poker.

Introduction to Collusion

Collusion is one of the ways players looking to win at any cost can adopt while playing poker online. Basically, it is a form of cheating that has been used often in online poker. You will not see player indulging in collusion in a game of blackjack, or even craps, for that matter. That is because in those games you play against the casino, not against the other players at the table.

So what is collusion? It is a situation in online poker when two or more players gang up against the other players, literally following the adage of ‘two heads are better than one.’ The colluding players play in tandem to beat the others at the table and win more. Sometimes, a single player could be operating multiple computers, each with a unique id.

Collusion exists in different forms. Some of the forms you will see often include:

• Signaling – The colluding players use pre-arranged signals to communicate with each other

• Dumping – One of the colluding players drops a hand regardless of how good it is because he knows the other colluding player has a better hand

• Whipsawing – The colluding players go on a raising spree where they continue to raise bets against each other so the other players either drop off or end up losing a lot of money

• Soft play – One of the colluding players opts out of placing a bet or raising it when normally that is what they would do.

Detecting Collusion at Online Poker Rooms Detect

Though collusion is a common form of cheating in online poker, the poker rooms are quick to catch on to the fact that someone is trying to indulge in collusion. It is true that collusion is a tricky business thanks to the anonymity that the Internet provides. Since the players are at remote locations it is difficult to see what they are doing, as against at a traditional poker room.

Players can use offline measures like telephoning or text-messaging each other as well, which the poker room may not be able to catch. However, whenever collusion happens a pattern begins to emerge after a while, and that is how poker rooms can latch on to the fact even if the colluding players are using offline options. There are many ways for collusion detection at online poker rooms.

Using Software to Detect and Prevent Collusion

Companies developing software for online poker rooms are trying their best to stay ahead of players trying to employ malicious means to win by incorporating features into the software that can help detect collusion and other such fraudulent practices. So how do they go about achieving this objective, of ensuring players are not able to collude during the course of a game?

It may be really difficult for online poker rooms to catch players in the act of colluding, especially if the collusion is happening offline, through telephones and text messages, as mentioned earlier. However, regardless of how collusion is happening, it will manifest in the course of a game, in the form of specific patterns of wins and losses, dropped hands, and so on.

An online poker room has no control of the happenings away from the room, but it definitely has complete control of things happening within its area, such as the game itself. Online poker websites usually have software that tracks each move made during a game. Checking the different moves during the course of a game can give a very accurate picture of collusion happened during the game or not.

The things to look out for are very simple, really – whether there has been a pattern of a good hand folding early, of the same set of two players sitting in on games consistently and a history of one of them at least winning big most of the time, and so on. The online poker rooms also do random checks and review the log files to determine there is no collusion.

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