Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cheating at poker

Cheating at poker has progressed over the years. Whereas the supposed problem in the Old West was slick dealers stacking the deck and players sliding a hidden Ace into their hand the most usual cheating today is team play. 

Simply put team play can be used to run a player out with multiple raises or raise a team mate’s big hand so he wins a bigger pot. Somewhat more complex play is available almost exclusively on the Internet where 3 or 4 players tell each other what they have via phone or Internet. This allows a player to know certain things. That is, if three guys threw away an Ace and an Ace flopped then the fourth player’s pocket Kings is good and he knows it. That’s a bit simplistic but it shows my point. And if you can get  20 extra small and big bets in per session that’s an extra $600 in a 20-40 game going to your stack.

In live games that is almost impossible. But two people playing together is not. A buddy raises before the flop. Four people call.  The flop comes. The bettor bets and the raiser raises again. Three players fold. One  player calls. The bettor reraises… and the player in the middle mucks his hand. If the cheaters are smart they bet/call to the River when one bets and the other folds. The dumber ones just check the hand down and one shows his hand and the other folds. A few instances of that and the smarter players at the table either get up and leave or complain, sometimes loudly, to the Floor Person supervising the game.

Unlike the Old West, cheating in casino card rooms is mostly ignored.  While checking the Nuts in a tournament to your friend, if detected, will get you a penalty, team play may get a warning from the Floor Person but in 99% of the cases, nothing else.

Worse, many people see nothing wrong in two buds soft playing in tournaments as well as ring games although multiple complaints sometimes bring banning.

Which is better than “Go for your gun, sidewinder!”

But what to do?? My solution is make suspects show both hands if there is a bet and call, or if there both suspects check. And complain to the Floor Person, quietly if you don’t want controversy. Or just bring the subject while talking to another person. Sometimes just the subject being aired stops it.  But if it doesn’t stop, pick up your chips and leave. 

"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them." - Karl Popper

 “It’s the presumption that Obama knows how all these industries ought to be operating better than people who have spent their lives in those industries, and a general cockiness going back to before he was president, and the fact that he has no experience whatever in managing anything. Only someone who has never had the responsibility for managing anything could believe he could manage just about everything.” - Thomas Sowell in Reason Magazine