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Poker Collusion

By Gary Steele

In very basic terms, poker collusion is when two or more people sitting at a poker table are working together to win more money from other players. Unfortunately with the number of players anonymously playing poker online, this is very difficult to catch for poker sites. Poker sites claim to be able to catch players engaged in this activity, but I have serious doubts about their ability, or commitment, to do so.

Obviously, simply knowing the cards one other player has is a huge advantage at the poker table. You can use this information to decide when to fold if this player has you beat. You can also use the information to help to calculate your outs. For example, let’s say you have two Spades and two show up on the flop. Normally you would calculate the number of spades left in the deck at nine. Now if you know another player has two spades also this decreases the number available in the deck to seven. Let’s say the other player only has one Spade, but it is the Ace. All of a sudden, if you make a flush and are holding the King, you know you are holding the high flush and can bet without worrying about another player holding the Ace.

While the example above is considered collusion, it is a very basic form. Players working together to come up with a more sophisticated plan are able to take much more money away from the other players at the table. Last night, while playing at a $2/$4 no-limit table, I believe there were two people at the table I was playing at using just such a scheme. They were sitting at opposite sides of the table and the first would raise $2 before the flop. A couple other players would call this bet and the other player would again raise $2 again. The other would then raise $2 again on his or her turn. If you have already paid $4 to see the flop you are going to go ahead and pay $6 or $8, even with a moderate hand. You may not have paid $8 to stay in the hand originally, but the two players in collusion have made you do so. On the last bet one or the other would make a large $50 bet forcing players with moderate hands who have just contributed $8 to fold. They would not do this often; only when one or the other had a very good hand so calling the large bet was always a bad decision.

All you can do in this case is report the players (and I did). I also asked the representative I contacted for his name and to keep me updated on what happens with the players. If the site is dedicated to stopping this kind of cheating they should be able to go back over hand histories and find other instances. People generally cannot help themselves when they find an easy way to make money so they tend to use these schemes on a regular basis. I have not seen any sites that prosecute players for collusion. They simply kick the players off of the site. The players can then move to any of the other 50 online poker sites out there. Just be careful as a player and be sure to report any suspected instances of collusion. Usually the schemes are obvious if you are observant.

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