Collusion in poker is an illicit practice that involves players secretly working together to gain an unfair advantage over their opponents. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the world of collusion in poker sites, exploring its purpose, mechanics, prevention measures, and more. Whether you’re a casual player or a seasoned pro, understanding collusion poker is essential for maintaining the integrity of the game.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF POKER COLLUSION?
The primary purpose of collusion in poker is to gain an unfair advantage by sharing information and coordinating actions between two or more players (the maximum being four players to around six).
Colluders work together to manipulate the outcome of hands, thus increasing their chances of winning while exploiting unsuspecting opponents.
Is player collusion classified as cheating? Yes! Although not the most ‘basic‘ form of cheating as you might expect, this practice is considered cheating in all poker sites and every poker room out there, at least, legitimate ones. By colluding, two colluding players risk facing penalties, fines and even legal action (especially when money laundering is suspected).
COLLUSION IN POKER GAMES – HOW DOES IT WORK?
Collusion involves a complex web of tactics designed to deceive opponents.
Most players who collude may engage in the following actions:
- Chip Dumping: Chip dumping involves one player intentionally losing chips to one other player. Colluders may engineer scenarios where one player bets aggressively while the other calls or raises, resulting in a transfer of chips between them. In such cases, the person will decide how a hand should be played depending on which of the players wants to win more money. As you can imagine, you can expect some nonsensical decisions being made, such as a fold of good hands, a bet on a bad flop.
- Soft Play: is a term used to describe a situation where players intentionally avoid taking aggressive or competitive actions against each other, particularly when they are collaborating or colluding. When players engage in soft play, they might refrain from making a bet or raise to each other, effectively giving each other a free pass to see additional cards without putting substantial chips into the pot.
- Card Sharing: A colluding player might subtly share information about their cards or potential draws to other players. This could be done through nonverbal cues, such as the timing of their actions or how they handle their chips.
- Team Play: Colluding players might work together to eliminate strong opponents from the game early on by collectively deciding to play aggressively. By targeting skilled or threatening players and using their combined resources, they increase the chances of ensuring one of them wins the hand.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR POKER COLLUSION AMONG CASINO PLAYERS?
Several motivations drive players to engage in this illicit practice:
- Financial Gain: Colluders aim to increase their collective winnings by exploiting unsuspecting opponents. Most colluders use two separate internet connections to fool the entire table into thinking they are two players playing individually. In reality, they would be two players working together.
- Reduced Risk: By colluding, players can minimise their own losses and ensure one of them wins a hand. On the topic of reducing risk, such users also create several accounts to avoid detection. The two players colluding usually have multiple accounts at their disposal, since they create new accounts on a regular basis should the need arise to use them.
- Ego and Prestige: Some players collude to enhance their reputation by consistently winning through unfair means.
DOES POKER COLLUSION OCCUR IN ONLINE POKER?
Yes, collusion is a concern in online poker as well.
Despite playing online, colluders use communication platforms (for example, Discord, Skype and, especially in the past, telephone calls) and tactics to gain an unfair edge over opponents in online cardrooms.
HOW DO ONLINE POKER SITES PREVENT POKER COLLUSION?
Online poker platforms employ advanced technology and vigilant monitoring to detect and prevent collusion. Measures include:
- Detection Algorithms: Algorithms analyse gameplay patterns to identify suspicious behaviour. This is the most common way casinos deter collusion when many players are present (for example, in a tournament).
- Manual Reviews: Trained staff review gameplay sessions to spot potential instances of this illicit practice. When certain two players (or more) are flagged as potential colluders, staff may be assigned to the particular table so that it’s closely monitored.
- IP Tracking: Monitoring IP addresses helps detect players who consistently share a connection. Players with the same IPs playing at the same tables usually raises red flags.
- Chat Restrictions: Limits on chat usage prevent players from communicating too easily. While not the most effective way to deter collusion, it does prevent a person from trying to commit illicit practices at the table.
WHO CAN DETECT COLLUSION IN ONLINE POKER?
Online poker sites rely on a combination of automated systems and human oversight. Specialised teams, including security experts and data analysts, work to uncover and address instances of this practice.
COLLUSION POKER WITH OTHER PLAYERS AT THE SAME TABLE
Collusion between players at the same poker table is particularly challenging to detect, as subtle cues and signals may go unnoticed by others.
IS POKER COLLUSION A COMMON TRAP AT THE POKER TABLE?
While not rampant, this practice remains a concerning issue within the poker community. It’s essential to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to maintain a fair gaming environment.
EXAMPLES OF COLLUSION IN POKER GAMES
Instances of this illicit practice may vary in complexity and intent. Some big examples include:
- WSOP Bracelet Scandal – In a shocking incident, two players, Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer, were accused of collusion during the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Tournament of Champions. Allegations arose that they worked together to allow Ferguson to win the tournament, splitting the prize money afterwards. The incident caused a significant uproar in the poker world and damaged the reputations of both players.
- Bellagio Poker Room – In a live game at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, a group of players was found colluding to cheat during cash games. The players were caught exchanging information about their hole cards and using signals to coordinate their actions. The casino took swift action, banning the players involved and implementing stricter security measures.
- High-Stakes Cash Game – Collusion can occur at any stakes, including high-stakes cash games. In a lesser-known case, players at a high-stakes cash game were discovered sharing information to exploit weaker opponents. This resulted in the colluders significantly increasing their winnings by working together to manipulate the gameplay.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU KNOW ABOUT COLLUSION AT THE POKER TABLE?
Discovering this practice at the poker table can be unsettling, but taking appropriate steps is vital to uphold the integrity of the game.
If you suspect that some players are colluding, consider the following actions to address the situation effectively:
- Observe Carefully – Before making any accusations, gather substantial evidence to support your suspicions. Take note of specific instances, behaviours, and patterns that seem unusual or coordinated.
- Report players colluding – If you’re playing in a brick-and-mortar casino, discreetly inform the floor supervisor or poker room manager about your suspicions. They are trained to handle such situations and will conduct their own investigation if necessary. If you’re playing online poker, utilise the reporting tools of your poker site to alert administrators. Online poker sites have procedures in place to investigate and address this illicit practice, so they will be well-equipped to monitor such users accordingly.
- Keep your focus – Regardless of the outcome, continue playing with integrity. Your commitment to fair play sets a good example for others and contributes to a healthy poker environment.
CONCLUSION – IS POKER COLLUSION A BAD IDEA?
In the world of poker, collusion is unequivocally a harmful practice that erodes the integrity of the game. True poker enthusiasts appreciate the challenge and thrill of fair competition, making this practice a misguided endeavor that ultimately tarnishes the spirit of the game.
In summary, colluding in poker is a serious violation of fair play and sportsmanship, both in casinos and online.
While its existence underscores the importance of vigilance and integrity, the broader community must work collectively to eliminate this harmful practice and uphold the true essence of the game: skill, strategy, and honourable competition.
It’s in every player’s best interest to keep the game fair, and the practice of colluding directly
✅ Can collusion poker work legally?
No, colluding in poker is universally regarded as cheating and is against the rules of every reputable site and online platform.
✅ Can you get fined by the casino for poker collusion?
Yes, casinos take this illicit practice very seriously and may impose penalties, including fines and even banning players involved.
✅ Is there also collusion in live poker?
Yes, this illicit practice can occur in live games as well. Players may use nonverbal signals or other covert methods to collaborate.