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July 1st, 2011 at 8:55:56 AM permalink
I don't play poker, so this question may sound naive
Has anyone ever written a computer program to simulate four guys (out of a table of N) who are colluding in poker? They develop a series of signals so that someone can indicate what he has, and the other player could indicate if they have the cards to block his intended hand. If the four guys are playing as a team, it seems to me that they could quickly have an advantage over the other players.

Although it is certainly unethical, is it illegal? Do casinos watch out for teams of players? It might take some work to distinguish a coordinated team from a group of guys who like to play together.

What about online poker where each person has their own broadband connection? Can four people easily specify that they want to play together? I would imagine draw poker would be the best game to play since you would maximize the number of cards you can see, that the non-team players can't see.

What I am imagining is a setup where each player has three cheap computers around him that are set to mirror the screens of his teammates. They also have a separate audio link so they can discuss strategy.
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July 1st, 2011 at 9:06:13 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

What I am imagining is a setup where each player has three cheap computers around him that are set to mirror the screens of his teammates. They also have a separate audio link so they can discuss strategy.

Online it would be far more simple than that. All you need is a 4-way conference call. They can all simply say what their hands are.
Donald Trump is a fucking criminal
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July 1st, 2011 at 11:29:39 AM permalink
All of what you have stated not only can happen, but does happen. And all too often on line. Every once in a while an on-line poker room will refund players a small amount as proof of their vigilance. But these rooms have no regard for American laws and exist for only one reason. To make a profit. It is simply impossible to detect on-line cheating when done properly. A good player only need to have knowledge of one partner's cards to turn a losing night into a winning night. Only the incredibly stupid get caught. A major trouble has recently surfaced in on-line tournaments is ghosting. That is having a better player substitute for a poorer player who has lucked his way into the final stages. As for most of the so called stars, with rare exception, their profits come from sponsors or outside interests. The only reason to play-on line is if it's the only game in town.
Speaking of that, anybody know what the average rake is on a $2-4 or 3-6 in Vegas . Colorado casinos are now raking $5 on a $50 pot, plus a $2 bad beat rake. Rather try and avoid on-line cheats than pay such an exorbitant rake !!!
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July 1st, 2011 at 11:34:14 AM permalink
I recommend the book Dirty Poker by Richard Marcus for anyone interested in the topic of cheating in poker. It is a confessional by a former professional poker cheat. The most common form is collusion, which indeed used hand signals. After reading it, don't be surprised if you're afraid to play poker with strangers ever again.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
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July 1st, 2011 at 7:23:38 PM permalink
Sounds like a good book, I will definitely look for it.

As far as being afraid to play poker with strangers, in my experiences, it's been fairly easy to spot colluders at the table. Granted, I'm not sure about online poker, but I stay away from that anyway, simply because my poker playing style does require the ability to look someone in the eyes.

But colluders really are easy to spot. Simply look for people that are always in hands together. I'm not talking about people that are always calling because you're playing low limit poker and that's how low limit poker players play. I'm talking about players that are always in hands together, but never seem to have a good hand, or show down their hand. It doesn't take long to spot a pattern. Once you have a suspicious, you can start watching their play, and you'll see the signals.

Again, in my limited experience, I've noticed that most players, when dealt their cards, look at their cards. This is a mistake. You should be watching the other players, and how they look at THEIR cards. Usually, right after this is when the signals are made. As the dealer is dealing out the flop, you should not be watching what the cards are to see if you made your flush. You should be watching the players to see their reaction to the flop. But if you are watching the players, you will also notice the signals that get passed.

There was only a few times that I suspected some colluders of working a table, and they were always in pairs. I never saw a larger group. Obviously, nothing could be rigorously proven, and I wouldn't try anyway. With enough suspicion on my part, I simply leave the table. I tell the floor person my suspicions, and let them deal with it however they may.
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