How to Spot Cheating in Poker

5 months ago
How to Spot Cheating in Poker
03 Dec

Men (and increasingly women) will always try to have an unfair advantage when money is at play. Cheating in poker is probably as old as the game itself.  Poker cheats are idolized in movies such as Shade and Rounders. Poker cheats such as Hamilton and Lusardi are legendary for heists at the poker table.  But this is not very amusing if you are the one suffering unfair disadvantage and losing to a scammer. 

Poker Cheating in Online Games 

Nowadays, many people learn poker online before trying their hand in the more intimidating atmosphere of a live poker room. There are many free poker rooms to practice and also play for low stakes. Online casinos offer fair poker games, you can find free online poker games and tips at CasinosAvenue. Poker cheats are found online as well. Here are some common tricks by online poker cheats;


Collusion cheats try to keep each other alive as long as possible by squeezing out other players and folding unnecessarily. A colluding player will make unexpected moves such as folding for a tiny river bet.  A colluding player will fold even when he is holding a relatively strong hand. The end goal for colluders is to have one of them end up with pot. 

In the past, casino security would root out colluders by reading their IP addresses. But collusion cheats have become more sophisticated, using IP masking technology. It is easy for two cheats sitting at the same table in Miami to look like one is in Canada and the other in Mexico. Cheats playing apart can also collude by communicating as the game progresses. 

Colluding cheats often have the upper hand with this method because it is hard to prove.  Telltale signs are players who are always playing together at the same or different online poker tables.  Watch out for players who always seem to be entering the pot together. 


Deploying artificial intelligence in poker games has brought an elevated threat to poker rooms everywhere. Bots can analyze poker hands in real-time and make recommendations or play like humans. They can also play for a long time without tiring, causing havoc in busy poker rooms. 

Is a particular player very successful for very long hours? That is likely a bot. Another telltale sign is if a player has the same response time in different plays. High success from amateurs can also point to a bot.

Casinos can beat bots by going low tech. They can insist on a video link by every player. They can also ask captcha questions that a bot is unlikely to solve, just like websites do. 


This is where a player makes a small buy-in, plays along, and lets a more experienced player take over once high stakes are involved. It is like having a graduate take a high school exam.  The most obvious sign of ghosting is a sudden change in playing style, like a careful player suddenly making aggressive moves.  Video play can eliminate ghosting, although a cheat can still take instruction discreetly. 

Live Poker Cheating Tricks 

Poker cheats will try these old poker cheating methods in one form or another;


This involves signaling to coordinate play and protect one another at the poker table. Poker cheats can use hand signals, chip placement signals or communicate discreetly.  Collusion in live poker games is fairly easy to spot. Colluders will always sit at the same table, pay closer attention to each other, and make suspicious folds.  

Marked Cards 

Marking cards is harder in a casino than in a home or private game. But poker cheats can collude with dealers to mark cards.  Cheats also have become better at marking cards, with invisible ink or marks that only they can see.  These cheats will make unexpected big bluffs or make hero calls more times than expected. You can demand a new deck of cards if you suspect the cards are marked.

Angle Shooting 

This is simple but very effective.  The cheat makes deliberate ‘mistakes’ that will put him in an advantage. For example, the cheat makes a bold move on the flop, pushing the chips all in, but they never touch the felt. The other player will then show his hand, assuming the game is over, but the cheat refutes this and plays a winning hand because he has seen the other cards.  Always watch the way players place their chips.

Poker cheating has become rarer because of improved security in both online and land-based casinos. But it is a good idea to stay vigilant and avoid losing to a smooth criminal.

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Writer and semi-retired poker pro from Edinburgh (UK).Read more


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