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Poker Stories: Chasetheriver’s collusion facts

March 26, 2019

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In our last article, we shared a bit about Chasetheriver’s poker history. Now our Poker Operations Manager talks a bit about collusion and online poker. If you’re curious about collusion and its effects, even when it comes to recreational, free-to-play poker, read his take below.

“A real-money poker collusion agent’s time is mostly spent checking gameplay for accounts that make withdrawal requests. Fraudsters try to launder stolen money by dumping cash across online poker tables from one account, funded with stolen credit cards, to another account for withdrawal.

Teams of players (as discussed in urban legend) sitting in the same room, accounts operated by a single person, or friends chatting on mobile phones or voice chat are a much smaller threat to the regulars on a poker site than these professional fraudsters.

That said, there are still plenty of cheats who can’t resist polluting the games at all levels with their underhanded activity. One maxim does hold true, both from my experience in live and online poker: Cheats are usually terrible poker players and that is the main reason they need to cheat. Very few are capable of actually making a decent profit and getting away with it for a prolonged period.

Clearly, colluding to the detriment of other players is wrong. But there are other types of less malicious collusion which are also not allowed.

I’ve frequently seen circumstances where a player deliberately gifts their chips to a friend. For them, it’s easier than going through the trouble of withdrawing, transferring the funds to the friend, and then re-depositing. It may have been done as a gift, to pay off a debt, or they had a monetary interest in a recent poker win. Usually, one of them was doing well and wanted to help the other out during a bad run. We called this “soft play,” or when a set amount is agreed and transferred as “friendly dumping.” While it’s not necessarily harming others, it is discouraged for valid reasons.

Why transferring in-game currency is not allowed in online poker, including Replay Poker

Poker is supposed to be an individual game (with the exception of very rare formats). When in-game currency and possessions are non-redeemable and non-transferable (“soulbound” is a term used by some sites), altering the value of an account’s assets defeats the purpose and misleads other players who are able to see their bankroll (or gear, etc).

Gaming sites usually allow a player to purchase new possessions, currency, or “product” — this is how they pay for the software, the staff, and the servers to run things. They may even allow purchases for friends’ accounts, too. But allowing a “Black Market” to flourish where successful gamers can redistribute their belongings at a discounted price to others would have disastrous consequences for both the company and the players who want to test their skills against others on a level playing field.

Helping a friend with your excess or unwanted chips may seem like a harmless thing to do, but ask yourself how you would feel if you knew the chips you just lost were immediately gifted to another player who also lost. Now you have to either drop down to a lower stake, or consider making a purchase to keep your balance up, whereas they go unscathed.

This also raises the issue of soft play between players who are effectively sharing a bankroll when they end up on the same table, even by chance. A benefactor who recently subsidized another player to play in the same tournament may be less inclined to knock out the other player if it means they’d need to make another “donation.”

If someone approaches you in an attempt to get you to share your chips, you should ask yourself why they’re struggling to hold on to theirs — especially in a free-to-play game where the standard of poker play is notoriously easy to beat. Chances are they are over-betting their bankroll, playing recklessly with their free chips, and will frequently become a long-term drain on your hard-won assets.”