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Online Poker Cheating: The Long Con for All

Jun 3, 2008
Online poker cheating should be an issue of some concern to poker sites because of the damage it renders to their site, beyond the most obvious in terms of lost revenue by funds being siphoned off by unscrupulous players. Online poker cheating damages the reputation and goodwill of a online gaming site, either rightly or wrongly creating a presumption that the site in question is insecure, a soft target and this a prime location for fraud and abuse.

Not only does this mean then that the site becomes something akin to a watering hole for further cheats and scammers, but it also drives away real customers for exactly the same reason. Any website that requires the processing of online payments will have to rely and depend upon sophisticated technology to protect customer's sensitive financial information and if customers feel that their bank details are at a greater risk of being compromised then they will simply take their custom elsewhere.

This in turn has a cumulative and very negative effect on the company, because if legitimate members are now leaving in droves then this too will put potential customers off, who will want to know why exactly this is happening.

The existing customer base is compromised, and the potential market base is deterred from joining, which has implications for the long term financial viability of the site. Whilst this may sound like scaremongering and emphasising the absolute worst case scenario, online poker cheating does and will have this eventual effect, and so online poker companies must ensure that they implement and enforce policies with which to deal with online poker cheating effectively and quickly not only to "punish" the cheats with an appropriate sanction but to serve as an effective deterrent as well.

Online poker cheating differs from the sort of traditional cheating that would take place in casinos and the like due to the virtual nature of the entire process, i.e. players and dealers are not physically present during the game which can serve as an inhibiting factor in of itself to a prospective cheat. A common method of online poker cheating is whereby cheaters will work in collusion with one another, betting at the same table and then informing each other as to their respective hands and plans for their cards.

In practice, the internet allows for instant communication to anyone across the entire world, and so an effective regulation of this is quite impossible. Instead, one of the most effective ways to work out if there is online poker cheating occurring is to check the patterns and histories of each different player, to determine if they have been perhaps unusually "lucky". If patterns indicate that there is direct correlation between the actions of two players then this of itself is also an excellent indicator of cheating.

One of the major factors of using computers is that peoples' inhibitions are reduced, as they feel a degree of anonymity, and so when translated into an online poker context, cheaters do not have the same qualms as cheating via the computer than they would in a physical location. They also tend to become rather greedy, and try to keep up their "winning" streak, and thus increase their chances of detection and sanction exponentially.
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