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Cheating in poker is when a human, or pokerbot, or team of humans and/or pokerbots makes use of techniques that violate the rules of the poker game or provide them with unfair advantage against his/their opponents from game theory standpoint.

Techniques (in online poker) that lead to unfair advantage include:

Pokerbots: Discussion

The in Poker article tries to give an alternative definition of cheating. The current status quo on Wikipedia is that using bots is considered cheating, based on the fact that using bots is against the end-user license agreement (EULA) of some poker rooms. In fact, the initial claim of Wikipedia authors was that all poker rooms prohibit bots. The definition that "using pokerbots is cheating because bots are against EULA of some of the casinos", instead of the definition given here, makes the Wikipedia article infeasible in several ways:

  • Makes the definition of cheating depending on particular EULA of particular casino (or market segmentation of casinos).
  • The underlying assumption "something is cheating because it violates EULA of a particular casino" makes other cases also look like cheating (for example "playing online poker professionally", which is also forbidden by some EULAs). Even on the biggest online poker sites, for example Party poker, it is fairly easy to classify almost every poker player as a cheater (under the Wikipedia's definition), due to EULA stipulations like, for example: "one should not make damaging comments with regard to the Company's operation in any media or forum".
  • There are internal contradictions in the article. For example, in its reference section the Wikipedia article provides reference to [1], which states, quoted: "I have no moral objection to any player creating a bot to play and using his bot in the public online poker rooms. I admire such players for their ingenuity. Unskilled players have to learn to play poker, and whether they are schooled in the fundamentals by a bot or a human who plays like a bot makes very little difference. The lessons cost the same."

There is currently ongoing discussion on the above matters, and attempts to bring the article into a feasible state have been initiated. At this point of time it is not clear how much censorship is going to be applied for the particular article. In the Wikipedia Talk:Cheating_in_poker, an active Wikipedia user stated that there should be no discussion on this matter; it is not currently clear what community or position he represents.

Legal consequences of cheating

There are no known cases of legal consequences due to online poker cheating. This article "Legal Consequences of Cheating At Poker" [2] discusses extensively the legal options (for bringing civil action or criminal charges) in the case of cheating, quoted:

"In order for a person to bring a civil action, two elements are crucial; someone to sue and a court to hear the case. Even if an online poker cheat admitted to cheating to the other players at the online table, it would be nearly impossible for the victims to obtain the cheaters name, address, and other information necessary to bring the action. Assuming the cheater refused to volunteer their identity, victims could attempt to gain this information from the online poker site, but as mentioned before, these sites do not always require or verify these vital pieces of information. Furthermore, even if the cheater was tracked down to an apartment in Los Angeles, would a court even hear a case regarding quasi-legal online gambling? The answer is that there is no answer because it hasn’t happened yet, but assuming that the state hasn’t expressly outlawed online poker, a court may handle this type of case the same way it would handle a civil action for fraud or conspiracy to defraud in a home game of poker."

"As far as criminal charges for online poker cheats go, there are no statutes or laws in the United States specifically related to cheating at online cards. It seems more likely that a poker cheater would be criminally liable for simply playing online poker, rather than for cheating at it. Even in a state such as California, where online poker is tolerated and poker cheaters can be prosecuted regardless of whether they play in casinos, clubs, or home games, law enforcement agencies have no authority to prosecute an online poker player for the specific act of cheating. Until the United States government takes a stance on online poker and perhaps sets up a commission to supervise and scrutinize online gaming operations, victims of online cheating will have limited legal recourse."

See also


  • Arnold Snyder, "Poker tournament cheating and semi-cheating" [3]
  • Early PokerAI Pokerbots FAQ [4]
  • High stakes cheating, Robotpoker blog
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