How secure is online poker?

When depositing larger or smaller sums of cash with online poker providers, one wants to be certain that their data and money are handled properly. Furthermore, they want assurance that the game is fair and that they have real chances of winning. Everything should be done aboveboard. But which providers can be trusted? How do online poker rooms take care of player security and what do they do to combat fraudulent attempts? Who ensures that the random number generators work correctly when dealing cards? Who guarantees that no other player cheats at the online poker tables? Let's take a closer look at the safety and integrity of online poker.

Is cheating common in online poker?

A sentence that is well-known among the poker community is: "Online poker is manipulated!" This sentence refers to the suspicion that the game on the internet is rigged. It gained notoriety when many players had to endure brutal bad beats during the game. However, variance and bad beats are part of the game. In 2011, the website examined millions of online poker hands and found no statistical irregularities or other peculiarities.

Dangers while playing online poker

However, online poker poses several risks that players need to be aware of. The main hazards in this realm include the deceptive practices of "multi-accounting," the collusion of players to gain an unfair advantage, the potential threat of hacking, and the presence of automated "poker bots." It is crucial for players to educate themselves about these dangers and take necessary precautions to protect their online poker experience.

When it comes to "Multi-Accounting," an individual creates multiple accounts on a poker site. By utilizing different accounts, the player gains access to more than two hole cards in cash games and has multiple tournament lives in MTTs or Sit 'n' Go games. Nearly all poker rooms make an effort to prevent multi-accounting. They have implemented a technical barrier in case a player attempts to enter the same tournament or table from the same PC using two accounts. In this scenario, each IP address is limited to playing only once.

Collusion refers to the act of two or more players colluding at a poker table. These players may collaborate in order to protect each other, transmit the value of their hole cards, or intentionally exploit specific opponents. Despite the implementation of anti-collusion programs by all major poker rooms, it is technically challenging to completely eliminate or prevent teamwork. Players can communicate with each other regarding the happenings at the poker tables through various means like phone calls, mobile devices, Skype, or messaging programs.

When it comes to hacking, criminals infiltrate foreign PCs using viruses, keyloggers, or Trojan horses. This enables them to log all keystrokes made by a user, including passwords and credit card numbers. Furthermore, hackers can gain access to a player's hole cards and screen. There is no foolproof protection against such programs. While various security tools can detect known viruses and Trojan horses on your own PC, they are ineffective against newly programmed Trojan horses. It is advisable to always use an updated antivirus software. Additionally, one should never disclose passwords or open links or attachments in spam emails.

Poker Bots present yet another menace. These computer programs engage in online poker in place of real players. Particularly effective when it comes to clearing poker bonuses in conjunction with a rakeback deal. The use of Poker Bots is strictly prohibited on all major poker sites and is met with severe penalties. Most providers are said to have dedicated departments tasked with detecting Poker Bots.

In general, it is a fact that there will always be individuals who attempt to circumvent the restrictions and safeguards imposed by poker sites using their skills. Consequently, players must remain attentive and vigilant while at the tables. Should any irregularities or anomalies arise, it is imperative to cease playing immediately and notify the poker rooms accordingly. Furthermore, it is advisable to inform the popular and prominent poker communities about any urgent suspicions so that other players do not fall into the same trap.

What do poker sites do to prevent manipulation and fraud?

Most online poker rooms provide information on their websites about the measures they take to combat fraud. However, only the operators themselves know how well the random number generator works and how secure their clients are against collusion, multi-accounting, or poker bots. One reason for the providers' reluctance to disclose this information is undoubtedly "confidentiality." Otherwise, hackers would know what security measures the providers use and could find ways to circumvent them more effectively.

PokerStars, the world's largest online poker room, is the first and only poker site to offer a behind-the-scenes look through six video sequences. Ensuring a seamless gameplay experience is the utmost priority at PokerStars. The provider's headquarters houses over 800 servers, with access limited to a select few employees. These servers and the data stored within them are safeguarded by state-of-the-art security systems of the highest quality.

PokerStars delves deeper into various topics surrounding online poker security in its videos: "How does PokerStars protect customer funds?", "How do random number generators ensure fair gameplay?", "What techniques are employed to safeguard the integrity of the poker game and prevent fraud?", "Where do the poker games take place?", and "How secure are the servers?". Approximately 80 employees are responsible for "Game Integrity." "Collusion" is the most common suspicion of fraud, but combating poker bots is of utmost priority and is executed using cutting-edge technology. While the six PokerStars videos do not address all the burning questions poker enthusiasts may have, these video sequences do provide a glimpse into the microcosm of an online poker room and offer answers to some fundamental inquiries about player safety.

The Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet scandal.

Our experts firmly believe that the poker rooms we have tested are so secure that any form of manipulation is completely ruled out. However, there have been instances where unsuspecting online poker players have fallen victim to fraudsters. Undoubtedly, the most notorious case in the history of online poker is the scandal involving "Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet."

Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet were online poker rooms licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC). Ultimate Bet launched its platform in 2001, while Absolute Poker followed suit in 2003. As the poker boom took hold, Ultimate Bet emerged as one of the leading online poker sites globally in the subsequent years. However, in September 2007, players in various forums and communities began raising concerns about irregularities at both Ultimate Bet and its sister site, Absolute Poker.

According to the investigations carried out by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and Ultimate Bet, it was revealed that a total of $22,054,351 in damages were incurred from June 2003 to January 2007, through the use of 23 superuser accounts and 117 usernames. Several accounts, particularly those with the nicknames "Nionio" and "POTRIPPER," exhibited winnings that were beyond all statistical probabilities. Upon closer examination, it was discovered that these accounts were able to obtain information about their opponents' cards through a security loophole. Russ Hamilton, an employee of Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet, was identified as the main culprit. However, there are said to be 31 other individuals who collaborated with Hamilton. Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet closed the security loopholes, paid hefty fines, and compensated the victims. In addition to Hamilton, Brent Beckley, the Vice President of Absolute Poker, also found himself behind bars.

To this day, it remains uncertain who else was involved in the Superuser scandal alongside Hamilton. As a result of the Black Friday incident in 2011, both parties were shut down and subsequently filed for bankruptcy. Thanks to vigilant online players, who were attentive and watchful, the scandal came to light, was thoroughly investigated, and the cheated players were able to receive compensation.