Cheating in poker.
The ideal image most websites paint for online and real live poker – as far as cheating goes - is not always an accurate one. There is cheating in poker, and in online poker as well, and as long as there are players who value unfair advantage over the opposition, there will always be cheating.
Most live poker cheaters are desperate losers. Their cheating is quite rudimentary and as such it's most often obvious and funny too in a pathetic kind of way.
The arsenal for these guys consists of rubbernecking, deliberately breaking rules, avoiding the time collection and so on. Obviously, these cheats will not give these guys a serious edge in any game, but they will get them ejected from the table and the room.
Cheating at this level will never stand a chance to succeed, first of all because it's much too obvious, second, because the advantages it gives the cheater are minor, and last but certainly not least because it's both in the interest of other players and the casino to filter out and eject cheating scum as fast as possible.
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Not all cheaters are such desperate habitual losers, however. Player collusion is a pretty big problem in live poker where it is extremely difficult to detect if done properly, and it's downright dangerous in online poker where its detection is almost impossible.
Many otherwise good players are bad cheaters nonetheless. By their nature, these guys find it difficult to trust their partners in crime and they can't engage in long term mutually beneficial cheating setups with anybody. This makes them largely ineffective, and thus less dangerous for honest players.
The third category of cheaters are those guys who are extremely well-organized and who know what they're after. These are the efficient cheaters, and they represent the biggest danger for everyone involved in the game.
While rubbernecking, avoiding the rake and other such "clever" moves are not an issue in online poker, there can still be cheating there too. I'm not talking about the room pulling a fast one on its players because that just won't happen. The idea that poker rooms use their software to generate action flops is a mistaken one too (it is not in their interest to generate large pots) and mostly supported by rookie players who are upset over an especially long losing streak.
The house won't cheat you in online poker if they know what's good for them, so that possibility is out of the question. Other players however, will try pretty much everything they can think of in order to short-end you somehow.
Collusion in online poker is just as big an issue as it is in live poker, since players can communicate in a variety of ways undetectable for the poker room. Even so, poker rooms have the ability to detect certain patterns in betting and thus zero in on collusion. The measures taken in case a player is suspected of cheating in any way are quite radical and serve to deter.
Another category of players who cheat in online poker are botters. These guys use specialized software to optimize play. There are a number of reasons however, why botting is not accessible to just anyone who has 200 bucks to purchase such a software.
First of all, a bot is just as good as the guy is who programs it. Programming a bot to be an efficient-enough winner is an extremely tedious task, and it requires that the person doing it should possess outstanding knowledge of poker strategy.
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Anything short of that will have the bot losing more than it wins, and no botter would want that. On top of it all, the botter won't be able to run the bot on the same system the poker room software is running on. It'll be instantly detected by the room and penalized.
Even when running it on a separate system connected to the first one, chances are the room will home in on the pattern of behavior the bot generates and identify the problem.
Bottom line is, don't cheat. If you want to become a winner brush up on you poker skills and do it the hard way. Believe me, it'll ultimately prove to be the easier way for all average Joes like you and I out there.
Don't fall victim to the loser hysteria. There is a luck factor in poker and you'd better be aware of it. Learning to deal with luck properly, is part of the process of becoming a better poker player.