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Can You Cheat in Poker? How to Avoid Getting Cheated?

Poker is a game of skill and chance and is full of tricks you can do to amp up your winning chances. But that does not involve cheating, as cheating is wrong on so many accounts. That said, there are instances where it is possible to cheat at Texas Hold ‘em and other poker variants, and it is possible for online and land-based games. Here, we’ll discuss how people cheat in poker, and we’ll share tips on how to avoid getting cheated in poker.

Online Poker Cheating

Online poker has some advantages over land-based games, like flexibility, convenience, and availability. You can play with people from all over the world, and using mobile online casinos, you can play anytime you want, anywhere you want. Still, online poker is not free from dangers, as there are ways for people to try and cheat when playing poker online. Here are the different ways you can be cheated when playing poker online:

✅ Multiple Accounts

A way to cheat online is for people to create multiple real-money accounts at one poker site. It provides an unfair advantage, allowing them to pose as different players and sit at the same poker table, which will increase their winning chances. Also, one of the “people” may bluff, and the other can call the bluff as a way to build the pot.

While this is a way for people to cheat, it is also unfair towards online casinos, as players with multiple accounts can claim bonuses on all their accounts, which is called bonus fraud and is illegal. All online poker websites forbid a single user from having multiple accounts.

To protect from such fraud and users having multiple accounts, they are required to verify their identity by uploading an official ID document, and if someone is caught, they’ll have their accounts frozen.

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✅ Use of Bots

By bots, we mean computer programs that people use to play poker. These math algorithms are programmed to predict and extrapolate the most probable outcomes, which means they’ll make close-to-perfect decisions that have a substantial edge over every other player on the table.

It may be challenging to know if someone is using a poker bot, as today, they are very advanced and can emulate human actions. However, suppose you notice someone playing for an unusually long time and making almost perfect decisions for every poker hand, or they play at too many tables simultaneously. In that case, it is probably a poker bot.

✅ Tracking Software

The use of tracking software can be wrong, as people use it unethically. There is poker tracking software that is useful for learning purposes, like collecting data about past hands and your poker decisions on each one, looking for faulty choices, and learning from them.

But when you apply the poker tracking software to your opponents, you get insight into their stats, which gives you the advantage. It is especially harmful when combined with a HUD (heads-up display), where you get all this data in real time, meaning you can spot your opponent’s trends.

Most online poker sites don’t forbid the use of tracking software, which can give an unfair advantage to experienced players, as many recreational poker players don’t even know such a thing exists.

✅ Collusion

Collusion is a common problem in poker, as there are ways to share your cards with a partner and share important information with the goal of establishing a mutual strategy of taking the chips from the other players on the table.

For example, two colluding poker players can talk over the phone while playing at the same table online, making mutual decisions and fleecing everyone at the table. It is a problematic cheat to prove, but there are ways to notice it.

If you encounter the same two people playing at almost every poker table and winning more often than they should, it may be a case of collusion. In such cases, you can report the players in question, and if several people report them, the online casino will run an investigation. Because online casinos have detailed card histories, it is not difficult to recognize them.

✅ Ghosting

Ghosting in poker is easy to do when playing online, especially when a mediocre player finds themselves in a situation where they are playing for a huge pot. It is when an experienced player advises another player during a poker game.

Ghosting is one of the most common ways people cheat in online poker, as one can get an experienced poker coach to act as their ghost and get their opinion on difficult decisions or as a way to gain an unfair advantage over the other players. It is common in online tournaments, mainly because there is no way to prove this cheating method directly.

✅ RTA or Real-Time Assistance

This is a new way for poker players to cheat online, as it involves the use of poker solver software to get a complete solution to every poker hand. Most people who’ve tried to cheat this way have used RTAs by solving all possible hand combinations beforehand and using the solutions in real-time, adjusting for the conditions on the table.

While online poker sites have a way to detect this type of software, there are simple ways around this, like another laptop next to you on the table where you can get instant access to specific sports, optimal hand ranges for particular situations, and more. Protecting against this way of cheating is challenging, as there can’t be enough evidence, especially for players who are always alone when playing online poker.

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Live Poker Game Cheating

Cheating in live poker games is also possible, mainly because people will always look for shortcuts when playing Texas Hold ‘em poker. But it is less common to cheat in a live poker game or poker tournament played at a casino than it is to cheat at a private poker game. Still, here are the most common ways people try to cheat in live poker games:

✅ Marked cards

The use of marked cards is the most obvious way to cheat in a live poker game. You can make minor dents on the cards, and you need to memorize the markings, and you’ll know what your opponents hold. It can also be done using marked cards, like printing marks on the back of the cards with invisible ink that you can see with the use of specialty contact lenses or unique sunglasses. From here, you need to remember the marks on each specific card for this cheating trick to be successful.

A way to protect against this is to use a fresh card deck every time you sit down to play poker, and it is also the way why, in land-based casinos or poker tournaments, every time the players sit at a new table, a new card deck is unpacked.

✅ Collusion

Collusion is a common cheating problem in live poker games as well. There might be players who are partnering together and signaling the strength of their hands or using more advanced symbols to tell them the exact cards they hold.

It can be valuable info about their hand, which provides a considerable advantage, as knowing someone else’s hole cards significantly narrows down the hand ranges and helps with reading your opponent’s poker hand. The signals may be specific words for a particular pair, hand arrangements, or placing different colored chips for other cards.

Protecting against collusion is challenging; if they notice that someone is on to them, they’ll probably stop doing it, and you can’t prove it. If you call them out on it, they’ll stop making the signals, and they might even mock you.

✅ Dealing from the Bottom

Dealing from the bottom requires a perfect sleight of hand, and it may give an unfair advantage to some of the players. For this, the player needs to partner with the dealer, as the dealer needs to set the cards in a specific way to be beneficial to some of the players. It may include dealing with a perfect hole hand or setting the cards just right for the turn and the river, but in any case, it is cheating.

Noticing this is challenging, as experienced dealers have a way with cards that an inexperienced person can’t see. Think of magicians doing card tricks, but only applied to poker. To protect against this, you need to look for strange patterns, like the same player winning against the odds on the turn or river. It is often widespread when playing private games but rarely seen in land-based casinos.

How to Avoid Getting Cheated in Poker

Now that we’ve outlined the common ways someone may cheat in poker, we should also share some poker tips and tricks on how to avoid getting cheated in poker:

  • Leave the table if you suspect foul action
  • Keep talking about it
  • Beware of private games
  • Learn all the rules of poker
  • Play only at trusted online poker sites

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What do I need to check for when selecting an online poker site to join?

When selecting an online poker site to join, we always remind you to check the license, the online reputation, the trustworthiness, the online reviews, and the security measures they have in place. You can check our online reviews of the best online casino platforms you can try now, as we only recommend top-rated online poker casinos.

Do professional poker players cheat?

Generally, professional poker players don’t cheat, as the field of professional poker is very competitive, and it is a point of pride for the players. Still, there are several examples where poker players in poker tournaments have tried cheating and were caught.

Can I be cheated when playing poker online?

It is possible, however unlikely, to fall victim to cheating when playing online poker. This is because online poker sites have established excellent security measures like account verification, hand histories, and past hands.

Can I cheat and win in online poker?

We don’t recommend you try to cheat to win at online poker; no matter how alluring the possible payout may seem, almost everyone gets caught because the online poker sites have advanced security measures in place that protect players against possible cheats.

What do I need to do if I suspect someone is cheating at the poker table?

If you suspect someone is cheating at a poker table, you need to report them to the casino boss. In offline poker games or poker tournaments, this is the person responsible for resolving any dispute. If you suspect that someone is cheating in an online poker game, you need to report them to the support staff and call them out to the dealer. Make sure you have evidence to support your claims.

Is online poker rigged, and how do I know if I’m playing at a fair poker site?

Online poker is not rigged, as it is either run by an RNG or by a live dealer from a poker studio. To know if you are playing at a fair poker site, you can check the site’s credentials, license, and online safety measures. Look for trusted sites that carry the eCOGRA stamp, or check one of the online casinos we recommend for you in our reviews, as we’ve checked and tried them all to prove these are safe and legitimate options.

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