OKBET Poker Guide: How Do Online Poker Websites Avoid Collusion?
People will try to make money in unethical ways wherever it is possible. We’ll investigate how online poker sites prevent collusion. Unfortunately, wherever there is money to be made, there will be people looking to make it in unethical ways.
The same is true in poker, where some players will try to work together to gain an unfair advantage. We’ll look at the various types of online poker collusion and how online poker sites prevent collusion.
Explained: Online Poker Collusion
Collusion occurs when two or more players at a table actively collaborate to gain an unfair advantage. They collaborate by sharing hole card information, learning about their opponents’ playing styles, and soft playing each other. Their goal is for any player in their group to win the hand and split the winnings equally.
Poker is a game of limited information, and the more you know, the more you have an advantage over the other players at the table. Typically, that informational advantage stems from prior experience playing the game and knowing what strategy to employ based on information available to all players at the table. This is why collusion is prohibited, because sharing extra information among a small group of players gives them an unfair advantage over the rest of the table.
For example, if you get to the river with QT on a board of J68322 and your opponent makes a massive overbet to put you all in, you might be concerned about a K high or A high flush. If, on the other hand, you’re colluding with two other people and they tell you that they folded K7 and A4 preflop, you now know you have the best possible flush and can easily call.
Collusion can also be used to determine whether or not you should draw to a specific hand. For example, if you’re drawing to a flush and deciding whether or not to call, the people you’re colluding with can tell you whether or not they folded any cards of your suit, giving you information about whether you’re more likely or less likely to make your hand if you call and allowing you to act accordingly.
How do online poker sites keep collusion at bay?
When it comes to player safety, online poker operators understand the importance of collusion and actively seek out and ban colluders. One method is to restrict table access for players who share the same IP address. This only applies to cash games, not tournaments, and if two players from the same IP address try to sit at the same cash table, the site will not let the second person in.
They believe that two people playing in the same household will be tempted to collude and will not allow it to happen. This, however, does not prevent people from collaborating in two different geographical locations or from using a different IP address than their housemates. Poker sites like Pokerstars actively monitor each account for suspicious activity, such as botting, colluding, or anything else.
Sites will look at accounts that are at the same tables more often than they should because colluders need to be at the same table to achieve their goals.
Once they’ve identified accounts that may be colluding, they’ll look into how they play. They will examine how the suspected accounts compare to the rest of the player pool and whether there are any significant differences. When colluding players are in a hand, they will often “soft-play,” meaning they will not take any aggressive action in order to get to showdown as cheaply as possible. After all, it doesn’t matter who wins the pot because it will be split among them, and inflating the pot means more money going to rake.
If a poker site has sufficient evidence that accounts are conspiring, the accounts will be frozen and any assets remaining in them will be seized. If they are found guilty after the investigation, their accounts will be closed, and any assets seized will be redistributed to the affected players.
Recognizing Online Poker Collusion
However, the onus is not solely on the poker site to catch colluders; if you know what to look for, you can spot them yourself.
Transfer of a Chip
We haven’t discussed chip transferring or ‘chip dumping’ yet in this article, primarily because it has less of an impact on other players than regular collusion. Chip dumping in cash games is a method of laundering money through a poker site.
A player will deposit ‘dirty’ money into a poker site using one of the less reputable deposit methods, join a cash game table where their recipient is playing, and then intentionally lose money to that account. The secondary account can then withdraw their ‘clean winnings’ from the poker site and deposit them wherever they want.
Chip dumping, on the other hand, can be used in tournaments to give a group working together an advantage. If a colluding team is playing and one player has a skill advantage over the other players, it makes sense for the team to give that player as many chips as possible to give them the best chance of winning.
There are a few methods for chip dumping, depending on how visible they want to be. When in a heads-up pot with the recipient, the chip dumper will almost go all-in, leaving the tiniest amount behind, and will fold to the recipient’s all-in.
Another, slightly less obvious method is to play the hand cautiously against each other until the river, at which point they know whether or not the recipient has the best hand, and then put the money in.
Players Banding Together
Because the colluders don’t care who wins the hand, they can be as aggressive as they want to try to bully other players out of the pot. There are numerous examples of colluders squeezing out players and taking down the pot without a showdown.
A typical preflop scenario is that the first colluder opens, the unsuspecting player 3bets, the second colluder 4bets, and the action returns to the first colluder, who 5bets, forcing the unsuspecting player to fold unless they have a monster hand like AA/KK. Now, none of these methods are foolproof because the unsuspecting player will occasionally have a hand that can go all in, but if the colluders keep the 4bets and 5bets small, they can fold when their target goes all in and only lose the minimum.
Postflop, the first colluder bets, the target raises or simply calls, the second colluder raises over the top of them, and the first colluder raises again. In order to continue, the target must have either an extremely strong hand in a multiway pot or an extremely strong read that the players are bluffing.
Even if the colluders are occasionally caught off guard by a target who simply has the nuts, it will work the vast majority of the time, and they can shut down as soon as their target puts any more money into the pot.
If you notice this move happening frequently at your tables, look to see if it’s the same two or three accounts doing it, and if so, they may be conspiring.
What Should You Do If You Discover Online Poker Collusion?
If you notice any of these types of collusion or suspect that players are colluding at your tables, the best thing you can do is report it to the site where you’re playing. This can be done via live chat with a member of their support team or via email.
The sites take collusion and other forms of cheating very seriously, so any reports that come to them will be investigated. Many sites will contact you to inform you of the findings of their investigation, giving you extra peace of mind and demonstrating that your inquiry was not ignored.
While online poker collusion is uncommon, some players are enticed to participate. Fortunately, poker sites are actively combating it, and now that you know the warning signs, you can join the fight.
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