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March 25, 2005

Poker Conspiracy Theory

Posted at March 25, 2005 10:37 AM in General Discussions , by Greedy Gecko.

If you frequent any of the existing poker forums or chat rooms, you will undoubtedly hear numerous posts discussing possible conspiracies on various poker websites. Are these individuals being paranoid, or is there some truth to the claims?

Cash Out Curse
The “cash out curse” is a common conspiracy touted by relatively new online poker players. The premise is that these individuals deposited funds into a poker account, grew their bankroll enough to warrant cashing out a portion of their funds, and experienced a severe losing streak subsequent to the withdrawal. They are essentially implicating the online poker websites in trying to dissuade people from withdrawing or in redistributing cash won by winning players to losing players. I propose the following, more reasonable, alternative: large swings are commonplace when you play poker. These individuals, regardless of whether they are long-term winning or losing players, experience a large winning streak followed by a losing streak. In other words, nothing out of the ordinary is occurring. On the flip side, there are probably many individuals who win, make withdrawals, and then continue to win. Understandably, however, these players are not flooding the poker forums with a “cash out blessing” conspiracy.

Programs Exist Allowing Others to See Your Cards
Occasionally, posts will surface linking to websites selling software that will allow you to hack the online poker site, and see your opponents’ cards. These programs are typically for sale for ~$200-$400. Now let’s think rationally about this. I do not want to discount the abilities of hackers out there. However, if someone was able to hack the security of an online poker site, why in the world would they share or sell that information? You could make infinitely more playing with this advantage than you are likely to make selling the program.

Poker Sites Plant Players
Another common complaint is that poker sites plant players on the tables who can either see your cards, or who know what cards will follow. Evidence is provided by showing hand histories where players make ridiculous calls and end up winning the hand. I prefer a simpler answer: there are stupid poker players out there, or careless ones who occasionally push the wrong button, and they will get lucky from time to time. You WILL be handed bad beats throughout your poker career, and you will see unexplainable bets or calls by other players, but I think these occurrences are normal rather than driven by fraud.

Why Trust Online Sites?
Quite simply, they have too much to lose. If you restrict your play to recommended, established poker sites, they will have thousands of individuals playing at any given time. The amount of money they are making via rake and tournament fees on an hourly basis is absolutely astounding. If any proof, or even credible rumors, were to surface regarding their integrity, players would simply play elsewhere. So I would recommend you choose your preferred site carefully, based on their history and recommendations from trusted sources, and then have fun. When you get handed a terrible beat, and you can’t understand how a player could be so stupid as to make that call, don’t get upset. Just be glad that you aren’t as dumb as he is, and know that players like these will pad your wallet in the long run.

The Greedy Gecko