Understand, why access to hand histories are the only protection against cheating for poker players.

What is cheating in online poker?

It is not only poker players, that has been cheating in poker, but also the poker card rooms. The typical methods of cheating by poker players are using heads-up displays with illegally collected hand histories on opponents, using real time poker solvers or other real time assistance (RTA) software, participating in player collusion, multi-accounting, ghosting, abusing remote desktop software and playing from super user accounts (viewing opponent players hole cards). The typical methods of cheating by poker card rooms are confiscating account funds on false reasons, delaying or denying players withdraw of money on false reasons, using unbeatable complex rake schemes, running non-transparent rakeback schemes, giving certain players less rakeback, denying players rakeback through false software problems, giving certain players a seating positional disadvantage.

It should be mentioned, that cheating in poker has nothing to do with normal variance in results, normal card distribution and downswings in poker. You can read more about this in Variance and downswing in poker.

Examples of poker cheating scandals.

In 2021 poker players at PartyPoker became aware of a fast-fold seating scandal, which meant, that certain players was given a positional seating disadvantage by the seating algorithm at PartyPoker. This was detected as an irregularity in the number of dealt hands per seating position. The scandal is still unfolding as PartyPoker is doing as little as possible to compensate, apologize and correct the cheating algorithm.

In 2020, when solvers became popular, GG Poker confiscated 1,1 million USD from poker players, who was cheating by using a real timer solver or real time assistance (RTA) while playing poker. This kind of cheating is a kind of cheat, that makes a poker player able to play perfect in strategy as well as timing against most and unknown opponents. It’s also known from modern chess and is identified by comparing the action time and win rate in certain complex spots.

In 2019, after their cheating scandal same year, PartyPoker has since denied their poker players access to hand histories. This is an absolute disgrace. Be aware, that PartyPoker is also a poker network, that is used by other poker clients, such as Danske Spil Poker.

In 2019, when poker players could download their hand histories from PartyPoker, poker players used their hand histories to identify certain patterns, that indicated cheating. Shortly after, PartyPoker closed accounts, that were directly and indirectly confirmed as being associated with cheating.

In 2007 and 2008 poker players at Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet used their hand histories to identify certain patterns of cheating and a 22 million USD scandal was revealed. The cheating was done by a super user account, which made it possible for cheating players to see the hole cards of other players.

Hand histories are used to identify certain patterns of cheating in poker.

Access to hand histories in standard game notation allow players to identify, discuss and report certain patterns, that indicate potential cheating from poker bots or human poker players in the poker player pool at an online poker card room. This can be done by any poker player by loading the written hand histories into a poker tracker software tool, such as Holdem Manager or PokerTracker. The poker tracker can be used to analyze certain lines, actions and patterns at an advanced level.

PokerTracker is a popular poker tracker, that collects hand histories for later hand reviews and database analysis.

Learn more about the importance of hand histories.