It should be obvious from the outset that trust has no place in poker games. One of the attractions of poker is that it places the individual in a situation where he or she can win money, if able to survive the deception and aggression of the other players at the table. At the heart of this lies the ability to detect deception through irregularities in behaviour, and the playing patterns of opponents.
Given the fact that the analysis of human behaviour is such a critical skill in poker, it’s surprising to learn that thousands of online poker players fall prey to scams on a daily basis. Here are just a few poker scams that online card players can avoid if they combine healthy distrust with an ounce of common sense.
Let’s Go All In
If you’ve been playing poker for any length of time, chances are you’ll have seen a player in late position call for the table to go all-in pre-flop. While this can sound like a good idea, it effectively gives the player in question a significant advantage going into the hand.
All the player has to do is watch how many players in earlier positions place their stacks in the pot and then decide whether or not to follow suit depending on the quality of his or her hand. While the players in earlier positions can’t pull out once they have committed, the scammer can and therefore has a significant edge over opponents.
The Side Bet
Most poker fans will know that it’s fairly common for the world’s best players to offer side bets when playing in major tournaments. For example, Phil Helmuth routinely places side bets with pros in the audience when playing at the final table of major live tournaments.
You’ll find that there are online players more than willing to offer the same service. However, there is a small but important difference that some poker players overlook – you have no idea who your opponent is. In fact players who offer big side bets are more likely than not to disappear entirely if their bet loses. If you want to place side bets, restrict these to home games or to players whom you have met in person.
The Chat Scam
One of the easiest scams to operate, and the hardest to detect, is the chat scam. This scam allows two or more players to collaborate at a table and then milk their opponents dry. It is achieved by the opening of an online chat outside the poker room where information on hole cards is then shared.
Knowing which cards are in play can be critical when making close calls, and gives these players a tremendous advantage. If you find players folding around you when you’re strong, as well as consistently calling your bluffs, it may be time to change tables, let someone else take the sucker seat, and report your suspicions to the poker room manager.
The Unregulated Poker Room
There are literally hundreds of poker rooms online, and many players sign up to these without first investigating their legitimacy. This opens these players up to all sorts of devious scams, including straightforward sharing of their hole card information by the poker room’s server.
To avoid large losses to unscrupulous poker rooms, only join established poker rooms. Many high street bookmakers in the United Kingdom offer excellent online poker rooms that are licensed by gaming commissions, and also have their activities regulated and audited.
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