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How to Tell If Someone Is Cheating In Poker

April 22, 2021 2312 0
How to Tell If Someone Is Cheating In Poker

Poker is an exciting casino game to play. It takes skills and strategies to win, making it attractive to players who want to test their intelligence. Even better, playing its online counterpart comes with various perks, such as flexibility and convenience. But before you get carried away with the thrill of playing, you need to wary of cheating in poker. 

Can You Cheat on Poker Now?

Like in any other casino games, there’s cheating in poker. Cheating in poker comes in different forms. The most simple ones include collusion, sleight of hand, or using physical objects like marked cards. Meanwhile, more advanced poker cheaters go above and beyond with some cutting-edge electromechanical devices such as shuffling machines to manipulate the deck.

While cheating in poker isn’t something you’ll encounter daily, that doesn’t mean you could trust everyone blindly. Whenever a hefty sum of money is involved, there will always be people who will do whatever it takes to get their hands on it. 

But don’t worry, when you know how to spot a cheat in poker, it minimizes your odds of getting screwed over. You’ll learn more about cheating in poker in the following sections. 

How to Spot a Cheating in Poker

When it comes to betting, the goal of every bettor is always to save and amass cash. That said, acts of cheating in poker rose as society has become selfish. 

It’s pretty hard to tell if someone is cheating in poker. Beyond strategies, the game involves luck and probability. As probability comes into play, it’s going to confuse you, and you’ll end up nowhere, even if you doubt the cheater in your group. But that’s not to say that you can’t spot cheating in poker. 

The only way you can police your own game is by knowing how to spot a cheat in poker. Here are some things to watch out for and how you can do that:

Know Your Enemy

Firstly, it’s worth noting that there’s no single magic tell that will flag up a cheat in poker. Any behavior relative to cheating will seem like a natural thing to do. That’s how poker cheaters get away—by making it look natural. 

For instance, cheaters who manipulate the deal often use the mechanic’s grip. It’s a very particular way of holding the deck, covering the front edge with the index finger. Unfortunately, some players naturally deal that way. And that doesn’t mean they’re dealing seconds or skinning the deck. 

Hunt for That Monitor Lizard

Another way to spot a cheat in poker is to look for a monitor lizard. If you’re playing online poker, check for an individual who is sitting for long hours online. That means someone who is playing for a period more than an average person can do.

If you spot one, chances are it’s a bot playing poker. But before you call it out, check for another bot-like characteristic. That way, you’ll prevent ending up accusing an innocent person.

Look For Same Patterns

Another way to check whether a bot is playing is by looking for the same patterns and game strategies. That includes being in position or out of it and being on the button. Note that the pattern should be consistent all the time. Not just sometimes. 

Check the Chips

Most standard poker conventions are now ready to prevent interference with chips. For instance, to avoid shortchanging the pot, they place bets in front of you instead of the main pot. Checking and adding chips to the pile in the middle is only done after all action is closed for the round. 

Watch the hands of anyone who touches the pot. The player who helps push a pot to the winner may have other intentions than being helpful. Also, if you’re playing with a common set of chips, look for individuals introducing chips from outside.

Strange Gameplay

This type of cheating in poker applies to both online and live poker. Look out for players who behave strangely. Meaning, those who make mistakes all the time, always betting, always folding, and so on. Then again, don’t be too quick in this observation. 

If you spot a player placing a big wager when they’re actually folding, confirm that it’s cheating. That usually happens in online poker, not on real or live games. 

Website Traffic

When you’re playing on a less-visited or not-so-famous site, the chance that other players are cheating in poker increases. That is because site reputation plays a significant role. Reputable sites have protocols in place to prevent fraudulence. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that cheaters will opt for less reputable sites and wait for a player to fall prey to them. Before playing, check the reputation of the site.

Unbelievable Wins

Another way to spot cheating in poker is to look at not so probable wins. When a player who can’t even come closer to the deal of winning ended up as the winning shark, chances are, they’re cheating. But of course, you need to look for other signs before accusing someone of cheating in poker. 

What Is Cheating In Poker Called?

Cheating in poker has many names. Getting acquainted with the most common poker cheats is a foolproof way to minimize your chances of getting screwed over. So, to learn more about that, below are some of the most common poker cheats. 

Card Marking

It may be the oldest trick in the book, but some players still use card marking to get the upper hand. Cheaters mark cards using different ways. Some mark them with invisible ink and use special glasses to see them. Casinos let you complain if you notice something odd and request a deck change.


Colluding is one of the most common forms of cheating in poker. Here, two or more players team up to beat the rest of the table. You’ll usually encounter this in tournaments and specifically at finals tables where everyone profits from the elimination of a player. 

Colluding players agree to keep each other alive. They’ll make crazy folds for a tiny river bet or refuse to call a short stack even when they have the cards and odds to do it. It’s hard to prove or do something about this type of cheating in poker. And unless things get out of hand, the tournament director will hardly do anything about it.

Signaling Cards

Sometimes, colluding players even take it up a notch by signaling the exact cards or strength of their hand to their partner(s). Knowing anything about your opponents’ holdings is advantageous. And you can only achieve that by cheating in poker. 

Skillful cheaters use different tricks to convey information to their accomplice(s) without the knowledge of the rest of the table. They usually do this through chip signaling, but there could be countless variations, such as hand positioning, card placement on the table, and poker chips, to name a few. 

Bottom Deck Dealing

The so-called bottom deck dealing is another type of cheating in poker. You’re likely to encounter this in private games. It involves the card dealer and one of the players. During the shuffling process, the dealer will set the deck in a manner that lets them deal certain cards from the bottom of the deck. 

Poker Bots

Poker is a skill game that involves making math-based decisions. Some players use poker bots, which are computer programs that play poker. That counts as cheating in poker since these bots are capable of making perfect decisions all the time. Of course, nobody wants to go up against them as it reduces your winning chances dramatically. 

Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a challenge to know if your opponent uses a poker bot. Such tools can be very sophisticated and lifelike. But there are some ways to tell if you’re playing with a bot. Look for the player that plays a perfect hand almost every time or has been in the game for an unreasonably long duration without any breaks.


You might be asking, what is ghosting in poker? In this form of cheating in poker, another player (or players) gives you advice while you’re playing hand. They do this over the phone or computer. It can also happen when two friends sit beside each other at a poker table. Ghosting counts as cheating because several players are working together in a single hand. 


Another way of cheating in poker is by creating several accounts at a single poker site. This method called “multi-accounting” gives cheaters an unfair winning advantage because they can act as different players in a game. It’s not only a problem for you but also for poker sites due to bonus fraud. Players with multiple accounts will also get bonuses on each account. 

In Summation

This article introduced you to the different ways your opponents can use to cheat you when playing poker. These methods include card marking, colluding, signaling cards, bottom deck dealing, ghosting, multi-accounting, and poker bots. Note that these are only a few examples of cheating in poker. Cheaters are becoming more creative throughout the years. The best way to avoid being cheated in online poker is by playing at a reputable site. You can learn how to tell if a site is trustworthy in this article

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