Poker Is a Scam
This hub will be the subject of much debate
There are millions of people across the world who put their money at risk at the poker table. The allure of winning a fortune on the felt is very appealing to any one with an opportunistic mindset. Even for those who are not so opportunistic, the poker table provides an excellent place to sharpen your analytical skills and increase your ability to think under pressure. With that being said, I have always been a fan of the game. Long before it was a popular hobby, I was interested in what appeared to be a fantastic opportunity. However, like a lot of things in life, everything was not as it seemed. There are few places in the world where money is at stake that people will not try to beat the system, and poker is no exception.
Cheating in poker takes many forms.
That is one of the reasons why it is so hard to catch. There are players who collaborate, mark the cards, pass cards, and so on. Then, you also have cheating that is being perpetuated by the house or poker game provider. This type of cheating comes in the form of set decks, predictable card shufflers, "juicing the deck", dealing seconds, chasing the cut, and collaborating with shills or players who will be the benefactor of these techniques. As part of this hub, I will go into detail on both sides of the coin.
Player cheating is something that every one watches out for.
When you play a game in which the best liar is the winner, you learn to look at every person at the table with the mentality that this person is here to be dishonest. Once you accept that, you then start to keep an eye on the people around you at the table. In my experience, I have found that here and there you run across a team game, (two or three players working together), and marked cards are quite common. Depending on where you are playing, deck manipulation is also attempted frequently when the players are shuffling the cards. An old gambler once told me that if you are not a card mechanic, playing in one of these games is a good way to get cheated and lose your money. The activities I spoke of are monitored and protected against heavily in casinos and the like. I have found player cheating to occur more frequently at home games and locally run facilities. They offer a place to play poker and Texas hold 'em, but rarely have the type of securities measures in place that would catch an experienced cheater(s). You will do well to choose who you play with in this type of environment carefully. If you know the people in the game personally, they will usually not be willing to sacrifice their reputation (provided they have an honest one) for a hand of poker. There are down sides to playing with your friends as well, but you usually will not have to have a lot of concern about getting cheated.
It's the cheating that you can't see that will get you!
This portion of this hub must come with a disclaimer. The information that I am about to lay forth will be highly controversial, and there will likely be a lot of angry people by the time all is said and done. That is ok. I am writing based on MY experience and beliefs, not yours. The worst kind of cheating is being perpetuated by the sanctioned poker rooms. Over the past 10 years, automatic shufflers have been put into place in order to "stop" the dealers from cheating. The incredible precision with which a skilled dealer can locate, place, and distribute the cards from a hand shuffled deck is simply amazing. From what I have read and been told, this is so easily achievable due to the standard method used to shuffle in these facilities. Three shuffles, a few cuts, one more shuffle, and then a cut is widely known to not create randomness in a deck of cards. For those who do not know, it takes at least seven riffles (shuffles) to achieve "randomness" in a deck of cards. One might would believe that this cutting of corners is done for the sake of saving time. I believe it was done to allow the dealer to keep "control" of the game. The "dealer controlling the game" is usually represented as the dealers ability to move the game along, but I believe that it is something more sinister.
I believe it is something different.
Just like in online poker, it is in the house best interest to keep the game running as long as possible. The easiest way to achieve that is to control who's cards are winning. This is done by dealing winning hands to the players low on chips or short on experience, and not dealing additional winning hands to those who are already ahead or know how to keep the money. I have also found them to deal disproportionately well to friends and family members. That all should have stopped with the installation of the automatic shufflers, right? Wrong! It just got worse. I believe without any doubt that the automatic card shufflers in use today are far too predictable. An average dealer can predetermine the ending position of several cards based on where and how they put them back into the deck at the end of the hand. Once this "first act" has been achieved, the dealer must "chase the cut" in order to access the appropriate location in the deck. The shuffler always seems to leave a break in the cards when it has done it's task, and then the dealer cuts right to it. Even if that break occurs nowhere near the middle of the deck, I have found 80-90% of the dealers cut right to that spot. If both are done correctly, the results are mind blowing. The player who was just about to leave loses half of his chips with pocket kings against pocket aces, or any other variation of a bad beat at an incredibly improbable time. There is even a name for that specific occurrence. I heard it called the "rack curse". Meaning that when a player places chips in a rack in preparation to leave, playing one more hand will be your demise. There are other uses for the deck control, but this is the simplest to describe. It is so hard to believe that you are being duped and can't catch it yourself, but I have seen enough to draw my own conclusion. The Deck Mate automatic shuffler, and all of the other models in use today are not being used to randomize the outcome of a poker game, they are being used to manipulate the poker players who trust them to ensure fairness.