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Online Poker News Archives - November 26, 2005

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Copyright 2005 the Inquirer

November 26, 2005

The best way to cheat at poker

Author: Stuart Gorman

THE POPULARITY of poker has flourished in the past couple of years. Viewers are mesmerized by their omniscient seat during tournaments on cable. The fuzzy spy cam showing all the blinds makes them feel like God.

To further account for its recent glamor, is the fact that cowboys play poker. You can't argue with a lawless man holding a pair of six-shooters. Also, "cowboy" is one of the archetypes in Jungian typology. Its purity is magnetic.

Texas Hold'em is the variant of choice. It's streamlined and simple enough to quickly learn the basics, yet it's involved enough to allow endless outcomes and variety. People play it on TV. We play it in the social circles that I'm a part of, and people play it online, the faceless world of cyberspace. Anonymity attracts thieves, like cops to a red Corvette filled with glazed donuts.

Some folks shout that internet poker is dirtier than an antediluvian New Orleans. But I don't think so.

Collusion (a group of people playing together, sharing information about their blinds) is too easy for servers to detect. Let's see now, these six guys always play together and are logged on from the same IP... hmmm, I wonder.

Cracking the dealing algorithm is one way to gain an advantage if the software is flawed. That is, if it puts the deck in certain orders more often than others, then you can figure out what cards everyone has. But it's completely preventable on the server side, as long as the software is well programmed and the pseudo-random number generator is provided with an unpredictable seed.

But if you're still worried about playing online, consider the Gambler's Universal Rule of Thumb: if you're losing money, you should quit and move on, because either you're bad at the game, or someone's cheating.

Know when to fold 'em.

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