Huge jump from 2021
888poker reported last week that it refunded players nearly $300,000 it confiscated from cheaters in 2022. The online poker room specifically went after players who violated the site’s fair gaming policy, recovering $287,292 and distributing it to opponents who were affected by the cheaters’ actions.
A total of 6,801 players received funds, though 888poker did not say how many accounts engaged in cheating, but 252 accounts did receive permanent bans.
“At 888poker, we take the issue of game integrity very seriously,” said 888poker’s head of poker offering Matan Krakow in a statement. “This year, as a result of our continued investments in technology, cooperation of our players, and hard work of our teams, we have increased the detection rate of bot accounts, RTA and collusion to give back almost $290,000 to players. In the year ahead, we will continue to focus on this area to ensure that customers have a fair, safe, and entertaining experience when they play with 888poker.”
The sum was the highest ever for the operator, a 32% increase over the previous year.
Just play your own hand with your own brain
Cheating is always going to be an issue in online poker, though the operators improve their detection capabilities every year. Of course, as they improve, the cheaters will make adjustments. For those who do not know what collusion, bots, and RTA are, let’s go over them briefly.
Collusion has been a thing since the game of poker was invented, when two or more players secretly work together to beat the other players at the table. It could involve communicating to each other what cards they have, playing soft against each other, or teaming up in their betting to force others out of the hand. Collusion is easy to do online, as players can talk or text on the phone, but at the same time, the poker rooms have gotten good at spotting betting and winning trends when the same people have played with each other repeatedly.
Bots are computer programs that automatically play on the user’s account. Sometimes they actually play very well, sometimes they are just average, but the big thing about them is that they don’t get tired and they don’t let emotions affect their decisions. A bot that can grind out a tiny hourly profit can be quite profitable.
Real-time assistance (RTA) programs are in a similar category as bots in that they are programs that calculate the best decisions at the poker table. The user, though, still has to be present and do all the button-clicking. Some RTA programs scrape the screen to get all the information (chip counts, cards, bets, etc.) and then feed the move to the user, while others require the user to enter the information manually.
These differ from heads-up displays (HUDs), which are allowed in many cases, as HUDs only provide statistical information on opponents, based on data the user collected, and the user must still make their own decisions. If you want to use third-party software to help your poker game, be sure to check with the poker room to make sure it is allowed. If you are unsure, your best bet is to only use it when your poker client is closed.