Want to really feel a chill? Imagine yourself wandering into a online poker room where ALL FIVE of your opponents are sitting in the same room (or are sharing a conference call or chat room), working together, seeing each other’s cards, and the like. Not only would knowledge of each other’s cards be a huge advantage, but they would be able to select only the strongest hands to play, making it very difficult to prove cheating even by post-hand review.
How do you protect yourself from this? Like most forms of cheating, a suspicious nature is a good start. If the same two players keep re-raising each other, be wary. They might just be wild players, or something might be happening.
How the Online Poker Room Can Help
But I also think the online casino needs to help. They need some sort of appeal and review process, where a player who thinks he’s been the victim of sharp practice can press a button and have some casino employee review the hands and the betting. If Player C has re-raised with a bad hand, we know what’s going on. The cheaters should then be permanently barred (tougher in cyberspace than in real casinos), their accounts frozen, and the losing player should be awarded the pot (or pots) that the cheaters took down.
Unfortunately, sophisticated poker cheats know better than to re-raise with a bad hand; they’ll wait for a situation that’s more defensible. That’s why I think we’re a long way from high stakes poker being practical on the Internet, with the possible exception of one-on-one poker, and most players don’t like to play one-on-one.
If you can find a online poker situation where the ownership is well capitalized and where there is an effective …