Online poker collaboration

I’m talking about real money online poker. Does anyone else believe there may be several people on the table collaborating with each other (via IM, PM, or whatever)? If two or three (or more) players are telling each other their hands, and splitting their winnings, I think they would have a very lucrative business, and I do belive it is happening.

Considering there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of online poker players, it can’t be disputed that collaboration is occurring. How widespread or effective it may be is another matter.

Let me add that I’ also believe it is a fairly rare occurrence, and anyone smart enough to do it on a long term basis and not get caught is also probably smart enough that he could make money at poker without cheating at all.

Roy Cooke writes quite a bit on the topic of online poker integrity.

Althought we are on AIM, I just want to let you know that the SDMB group at Pokertropolis does not do this during any ring games that we happen to be in. It’s just bad etiquette and dishonest, IMHO. We do on occasion tell the other Dopers what we had in the hand if it wasn’t revealed in a showdown (or a good laydown), or if only one Doper has a live hand in a particualr game/tournament, so the others can root the Doper on, but we never collaborate against any non-Dopers (or against other Dopers as well).

There are actually programs out there that enable online collaboration (cheating). Run the program, have your buddy run a copy, and if you’re both in a game together it will automatically show you each other’s hands. I’ve never seen it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it also updated all the odds calculations based on that extra information.

In a no-limit game, colluding like this can be devastating. I was centered once in a live game by two guys who were colluding. Not fun. Unfortunately, they were also members of a local asian gang, so I didn’t have much power to do anything about it, other than to make sure I never, ever played with them again.

In limit ring games, the power of collusion is diminished somewhat, but it still gives the colluders an advantage, provided they know how to use the information correctly.

The prospect of collusion makes me very nervous in higher limit online games, simply because I have no way of knowing how widespread it is or how much of an effect it has on my bottom line, and I just hate unknowns like that.