Let’s face it, poker is played by humans for money and sometimes very substantial sums of money. This is the case be it live or online. Unfortunately, my understanding of human nature tells me that there are too many people out there who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a slice of that money and they won’t give a hoot about cheating or breaking the rules.
The reason why these people don’t give a damn about cheating and the possible consequences of it is based around the fact that most of them rationalise it in their own minds. They say things like, “It’s every man for himself,” and “Get them before they get you,” and “The mugs will lose their money sooner or later anyway.” Whatever the reason, you can rest assured that these guys will have a reason for cheating people that they have already validated in their own mind.
In recent times, we have had major online cheating scandals at places like Ultimate Bet, Absolute Poker and Party Poker. But if you think that these cases are the exception then you had better think again. I believe that the rate at which online games are getting tougher may lead to more and more players cheating at higher levels in order to maintain an edge.
Many people may find this statement controversial but the way that I see it, the word inevitability springs to mind. More people will resort to cheating because they will have three basic options if their earnings dry up.
1. Stop playing
This is not a very palatable option if you have been earning a substantial amount of money from the game.
2. Become a better player
This is an option but the problem with this is that it is very time consuming. Plus, many people simply do not have the personal skills to ever be able to play successful poker full-time. But when you factor in the expense of say joining coaching sites and the massive amount of time then many people will simply refuse to go down this route.
Unfortunately, the amount of money in poker both live and online attracts some people of shall we say, I’ll repute, like moths to a light. This may be the only viable option for many people if they want to make poker a revenue stream.
I even know people personally who have cheated and their view is that the real suckers are the ones who spend month after month trying to grind money out in online and live games.
Don’t get me wrong here, bad cheats and unsophisticated cheats will either still lose money or they will get caught. But this will not stop them from trying and the situation with regards online poker may leave them having no option. If they get caught then they will not repeat the same mistakes again next time. This is a process that gets replicated in many other fields and even in sport.
In my opinion, the level of cheating in certain online limits is far more prevalent than the poker aficionados would have you believe. The UB and AP scandals are far from being isolated cases and have merely been the tip of the iceberg in my opinion. In days gone by, it was possible to make a substantial amount of money yearly in online poker by being a very good player.
Now once you get beyond certain levels, very good players are ten a penny and the edge simply isn’t there unless some value just happens to drop in from somewhere. I remember years ago when there were numerous people all crying foul of online poker who were losing money and this wasn’t because they were cheated, it was merely because they were bad players and never realised it.
But the poker sites are going to cry foul when their sites are populated by cheats and bots but yet they have been responsible for making this happen. Offering free coaching and tracker software like Poker Office, Poker Crusher, Sit and Go Shark, Poker Tracker, Texas Calculatem and Hold ‘em Genius etc has led to even mediocre and poor players suddenly taking the game far more seriously.
This may be great for them and they may be making more in rake but how long can that last? I hope to god that I am wrong but this seems like a natural evolutionary process to me. If you can no longer beat the game then either get skilled, get out or DON’T GET CAUGHT.
Carl “The Dean” Sampson can be seen at his blog at www.pokersharkpool.com.