Poker Tournament Cheating

Chris Moorman

There are a thousand ways to cheat at poker, including all of the classic card-cheating moves from daubing or bending cards, to slipping in a pre-arranged cold deck, to working in collusion with the dealer to false shuffle, stack the deck, and deliver losing hands to unsuspecting marks. Most of these classic techniques, however, are more easily pulled off in private games.

And although many of these techniques have been used in major casino poker rooms, they are not highly effective in tournament play, where players have little control over which house dealer is assigned to their table, which decks of cards will be used, and which players will be seated where in the tournament.

So, I’m not going to waste much space in this article on the classic poker cheating scams. If you play in big money games, and especially if you play in private games, I’d advise you to invest in a 2-DVD set by Sal Piacente titled Poker Cheats Exposed. Sal’s new DVDs show many of the classic techniques and include a lot of moves I haven’t seen demonstrated before. What this article on poker cheating will cover are the specific types of cheating I’ve found in today’s poker room tournaments, both live and online.

Many types of poker tournament cheating are way different and much more sophisticated than any classic card manipulation moves that you can see today. Here, these types of cheating will be completely exposed as well as the countermeasures for each type and, specific examples will be represented.

Collusion with Other Players

This is the most common type of cheating. It is typical and most usual for small buy-in, fast type of poker tournaments and it is collusion between two or more persons who all share information about their hands. They do this by using secret signals which are very hard to notice unless you are entirely focused on certain individuals. Poker is a game based on deception and trickery so probably that led some players to believe that this way of cheating is fair because it is all poker in the end.

Well, in this case where you have a couple of players working together in order to scheme the others and take their money, we can safely say it is a form of theft. It is everything but poker honestly. Fortunately, any players who try this are usually bad at it just as they are bad at poker and they cannot match or trick any skilled player. They get caught pretty much soon after they start doing it.

There is also another way of cheating called chip dumping. This method is the most common one and it also involves two or more players. What they do is they pretend to play against each other very aggressively. The point is that one of them ends up with all of their chips so they could eventually split the win after the tournament. This can occur at any point of tournament.


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