Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Myth of the Unknown Cheater

I don't want to re-hash what's already been said, but in case you weren't aware (like any of my readers don't read Pauly or UpForPoker) there were two cases of online cheating going on at two poker sites. Both Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet (intentionally not linked) were discovered to have users capable of viewing other player's hole cards. It's pretty much impossible not to win when you have that advantage. These "super user" accounts were discovered eventually by some smart folks over at the 2+2 forums. The bottom line was that effectively millions of dollars were stolen by these accounts in high stakes games and tournaments and it went undiscovered for months.

After news of this cheating was released and confirmed, some smart folks wondered about the hypothetical "smart" cheater. Apparently, in both of the above instances, the cheating was so ridiculous that it was really only a matter of time before they got caught. But what about the cheater who only does it every so often, guaranteeing him/her a steady income of ill-gotten gains?

My theory is that person doesn't exist.

My opinion is that if you're the type of person to actually consider cheating in the first place, then you'll never be satisfied with getting away with it at a reasonable rate to deflect suspicion. Think about it this way. If you could guarantee yourself a $10k winning month each and every month, would you do it? Perhaps, but by month number three, you'd realize that covering your tracks is simply not worth the effort. If you can make $10k in 30 days, why not $20k? So you change your play. You cheat more often.

And yet you still don't get caught.

Human nature dictates that the cheater will always crave more, not less. And perhaps I'm projecting my non-cheating mind to that of a cheater; but I can't conceive of someone stealthily cheating online poker for years, and never getting any more greedy. The feeling of satisfaction will always elude the cheater until finally, they cross the line from the undetectable to the obvious.

Granted, we'll probably never know if these so called "smart" cheaters exist or not. But I just have a feeling that they don't. Eventually they'll desensitize themselves to what they're doing and increase the stakes over and over again until they get caught. Just like Absolute and Ultimate Bet.


Anonymous said...

I disagree. There are many unethical people out there who are brilliantly smart and if offered 10K a month to cheat would do so without hesitating. Those same smart people would not have to think too hard about the ramifications of trying to steal more loot. In fact, I would imagine that these people would go to great pains to make sure the cheating was undetectable. Making sure you lost your fair share of money as well as never making ridiculous calls or bluffs. Doing the necessary research on true winning players to see their patterns of winning and losing and then patterning your wins and losses to mimic those exactly (which would be easy to do).

I am 40 years old, like you, so I would never do this. But if I was the 17 year old version of me and someone offered me the chance of making 10K a month, I most likely would have gone for it and would also have put a inordinate amount of time into making it look real.

BadBlood said...

TheGroove, perhaps, but your 17 year-old self doesn't have the wisdom or ethics of your 40 year-old self.

Imagine you're swimming in money as a 17-year old, earning $10k/month. I think at that age, you'd do something we all would at that time, wonder why we can't have more.

Thanks for the reply, I do enjoy these type of discussions.

Renee said...

I had no idea! I've played at Absolute Poker but not Ultimate Bet and had no idea they were discovered to have users capable of viewing other player's hole cards. I guess it's always a chance with computer hackers out there... ai ai ai.