Posts Tagged ‘cheating’

Cheat or treat?

Monday, March 10th, 2008

Cheating in gambling isn’t the best of ideas, and when it comes to cheating in professional poker it is down right damn risky. That doesn’t change the fact that it does happen. And it isn’t always that easy settling what is cheating and what is not. After all, poker is a game that is partially based on dishonesty and bluffing. We are trying to create the illusion of disappointment when looking at our Royal Straight Flush, in order to make the other player bet higher. In the same way we act confident however cold cards we are holding.

I don’t suggest cheating – on the contrary I recommend strongly against it. But to be able to spot cheaters, and just for the fun of the observation, let’s take a look at how poker cheating can be performed.

It is generally much easier to cheat when you have a partner in crime. If you are two that are playing unfair, then one of you deal good cards to the other and then the pot is split between you.

Note that there are a few different kinds of cheating, where “soft play” is the mild one whereas so called “sandwiching” is a bit worse. “Soft play” is just to be nicer to one of the other players and not betting against him or her. This can even happen when it is not deliberately, like if your spouse or sibling is at the table. However, that is not allowed in professional poker in some places in the U.S for example.

“Sandwiching” is when two players at each side of the table take turns raising the pot. If you get a winning hand and manage to signal that to your co-player, then the two of you can start to bid over each other and make the other players do likewise.  

This brings us to the signalling systems that cheating poker players are developing. To use signals is probably the most effective way of cheating, but also one of the most dangerous ones if you have attentive players at the table. A signal for a certain card or a certain combination of cards could have almost any shape. It could be a word, a gesture, a frown or a tap. The only real requirement is that it is possible to do it over and over again without anyone else taking notice, which makes a certain sentence, melody or dramatic move too obvious.

You can be more than two to cheat, but at this point it is starting to get highly immoral. If you really want to scam someone, the fastest way would be to collaborate with all the other players at the table but one. It would naturally not be as profitable as cheating alone or in a pair, but it would work gruesomely well as, say, revenge.

The most famous, or infamous, ways to cheat is to fiddle with the cards. This calls for some practise that definitely should be performed in solitude. There are different kinds of trick to be pulled, all of which goes under the name “sleight of hand”. A sleight of hand could be dealing from the bottom of the deck, cutting it in a certain way or hiding cards. 

Regardless of who your fellow players are, you don’t want to get caught cheating. But if you do, remember the old saying:

Denial is, at all times, bliss.

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