Classic Poker Cheats


Cheating at poker is defined as behavior contrary to the rules of the game that gives a player an unfair advantage. More common than people may realize, cheating at poker can be accomplished by using sleight of hand, such as dealing from the bottom of the deck, collusion, usually aided by accomplices, lying about the cards you have or by using cheating devices such as mechanical card holdouts or marked cards.


The easiest and probably the most common type of cheating is simply lying about the cards in your hand. All one has to do is claim to have a winning hand, such as a full house or straight, when the player hasn't got the cards to back it up. The player then simply counts on the other players not checking to see if he is telling the truth. The best way to avoid this type of cheating is to simply look at the cards. The other players at the table have essentially 'paid' to see the hand and they should check it and see for themselves.


Collusion is a form of cheating that is done with a partner. This can be done a few different ways. One way is to play differently against one player than the other players in order to give your partner a winning hand or a larger pot to win. The players in cahoots with each other can raise and call and re-raise each other until the pot is as high as they want, trapping a player in between them to bet him out of the game. This is called ‘whipsawing’. Once the player finally folds, the pot is either of the two player's cheating together and once the game is through, they leave and split their winnings. Another way is much the same with one player deliberately losing to the other after bumping the pot up a generous amount.


Another form of collusion is when players are working together and sending signals to each other in the form of hand signals or some other secret communication. They are essentially trading information on their hands and what the other players might have.


Sleight of hand is another classic poker cheat. This is done by dealing cards that will help a player, usually from the bottom of the deck where they have been conveniently placed, or by pulling cards from another hiding place. There have even been devices invented which can pop a card into a players hand just when he needs it. These kinds of holdout devices are not as common as other forms of cheating, but have been a part of the game almost since its inception.


Another form of sleight of hand cheating is call hand mucking. The player switches the hand he was dealt with one that he had hidden somewhere. Another method of cheating involving the deck is the use of a ‘cold’ deck. This is a deck that has not been played yet and therefore has not had the chance to get mixed up through play. These would usually be pre-stacked and ready-made for cheating. The cold deck may be introduced before or after the cards have been shuffled. If it is brought out before the shuffle, the dealer would fake the shuffle, which is its own form of sleight of hand.


Cheating at poker is a common practice that dates back to the beginnings of the game. The classic poker cheats are often hard to catch, even if you know what to look for. The best defense is to be aware that cheating is always a possibility and keep your eyes open.



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