Cheating at the virtual poker tables
Fraud in online poker in the form of creating multiple accounts and using third-party data is a problem that is not uncommon. This practice tends to be seen when someone is already registered with a specific poker room and doesn’t want to miss out on rakeback and access to exclusive tournaments and promotions such as those offered by YourPokerDream or other affiliates. Despite this not being a serious kind of fraud in the great scheme of things, it is still a kind of fraud nevertheless, and therefore not allowed. Of course, online poker rooms are aware of this, but it can be very difficult to police and doesn’t impact too negatively on either the provider or other players.
Some providers literally invite players when it comes to multi-accounting and identity theft
It looks a little different at poker sites like iPoker or GGPoker, for example. The in-house PVI system simply invites fraudsters. Now, of course, you can argue whether PVI or SBR itself is unfair, but this is not the question we’re discussing here. It is a part of of them and both players and affiliates must accept this fact. Clearly, from a professional poker player’s point of view, it is all about profit maximization, which is perfectly legitimate. Due to a low PVI or SBR, which is standard for a regular, full rake is no longer counted, which means less rakeback for the player. Usually this is a PVI between 0.4-0.6 for a good player and SBR Rake was always 50% of the real generate rake.
GGPoker: As an example, let’s take a PVI of 1, where every player starts at GG, and then a PVI of 0.5. A player generates $20,000 in rake and receives 60% of the Fish Buffet, which is $12,000 in cashback. At 0.5 the player generates $20,000 in rake but GG only evaluates 50% of that, so the calculation changes significantly. $10,000 rake and again 60% from the Fish Buffet would be just $6,000 cashback. So in this example the player rakes the same amount but gets back only half the rakeback, even though the poker room has the same earnings. And we have only dealt with the Fish Buffet… less rake is also counted for the affiliate, which means that the player collects fewer points for promotions such as rake races, and also loses a lot of money.
iPoker Network: Same example. Let’s say a player generates $ 10,000 in rake and iPoker is worth 100% SBR rake. With 50% rakeback, the player receives $ 5,000. But if only 50% SBR rake is counted because this is a good player who makes a profit in the long run, the calculation would be $5,000 rake and 50% rakeback would only be $ 2,500. Again, the player loses 50%.
It’s not just the player who loses here. This applies to the affiliate in exactly the same way, the PVI and SBR are a disadvantage for everyone involved (except for the poker room)!
This, of course, invites players to cheat, leading some to create a new account under a different name every two weeks in order to make sure that more rake is counted and that they earn more rakeback. Now, many think that the players are cheating only the poker room, which is primarily the case. The poker room does lose a lot of money, but on the other hand one can also ask the question whether the poker room is not cheating players and affiliates with such calculation models as PVI / SBR?
it is in their own power to put a stop to it. The easiest way would be to simply remove the PVI and SBR system. Pokerstars, Partypoker, Bwin, Unibet, Winning Poker (WPN) and Chico can do it too. At the end of the day, $ 1 rake is $ 1 rake and everyone is happy. The world could be so simple!
Nobody is happy with the non-transparent PVI or SBR system, but not everyone immediately takes such drastic illegal measures. Poker sites could have addressed this serious issue for a while but have not (yet) done so. At this point we have to positively mention iPoker, who have adjusted the SBR a little to the advantage of the players and have increased the minimum SBR rake, from 50% for good regulars to 60-65%. GGPoker could take an example from that.
Every week we receive numerous messages from players asking us to write an article about it and to address the topic. Some feel strongly disadvantaged by certain players because of these activities, because they play honestly themselves, stick to the rules and therefore angry at certain providers that they do nothing about it. However, it must also be clearly stated that other players are not actually disadvantaged. Even if a player uses 20 different accounts, it remains the same player. It’s not like he is using any illegal tools to make better decisions at the table. But that does not mean that it is okay to go such a way.
There are enough ways to solve this problem, but that is not the job of YPD as an affiliate
We understand the point of view and the anger of different players. There are enough ways to solve this problem, but it is not our job as an affiliate to concern ourselves with it. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore all the requests and calls for help from honest players, and we have to respond and pass them on.
It is not our job as an affiliate to educate poker rooms and point out such problems and how they can be addressed. However, we would obviously help with various matters if our support was asked for, and the same applies when players come to us, which is what prompted our wanting to discuss what we believe is a very serious subject. During the last two months alone we at YPD have received over 20 complaints from our players.
As we tell all players who contact us, it is always helpful to send a detailed report to the security department of the responsible poker room. This can also be done to normal support and they will then forward it.
The problem of two or three players sharing an account in order to win a rake race
Account sharing is a problem that affects many online poker rooms. In order to increase the likelihood of achieving success in rake races, some players elect to share an account. This, of course, affords for accumulating a much greater long-term volume of games than is the case for an individual and, therefore, constitutes a decisive advantage. It has to be said that partypoker has managed to get the problem under control very well. A few months ago they had daily rake races together with Bwin, and a number of players had tried to beat the system by sharing a single account in a bid to reach the top places. The security department reacted very cleverly by requesting a video of several hours worth of play from suspicious accounts, whereby it was necessary for someone to film themselves as well as the monitor showing open tables, and the mouse and so on. On the one hand, it was possible to determine whether it is actually the person to whom the player account is registered and also see the gaming behaviour of a player and whether they can play such a long session, whether it matches the data collected on the account etc. But it’s a difficult subject on which to garner definitive evidence as we can’t always rely on what we see with today’s technology. For security reasons we do not want to (and, in fact, cannot) go into the topic in any more detail, even if we partially know which methods are used to expose fraudsters.
Illegal activity in online poker is a part of the game, but there are ways to achieve protection
We have to be realistic and understand that when money is involved there will always be people trying to gain an unfair advantage. We simply have to accept this fact. However, with today’s technology it is not that difficult to engineer protection from such fraudulent activity. The problem here is often that some online poker rooms do not have people on their team who have played online poker professionally or who understand the game well enough to spot if something is going on at the tables that is not right. Moreover, it doesn’t even require an expert to recognize dubious activities!
Ultimately, of course, it is up to individuals whether to play honestly or to cheat. When it comes to money, many players forget things like morality and fairness, which is a shame. On the other hand, online poker rooms are also to blame if they operate in such a way as to effectively invite players to cheat, and then compound the problem by tolerating what happens and not taking the necessary measures to fix the issue.
Partypoker has shown, in many ways, what can be done by having the right kind of team of professionals on hand to help quickly identify illegal activity so that action can be taken accordingly.