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What Is Collusion In Poker?

What Is Collusion In Poker?

If you’re a seasoned poker player, you’ve probably encountered the term ‘collusion’ at some point. However, if you’re new to the casino game, this may be an expression you haven’t come across yet.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss collusion in poker and answer some frequently asked questions regarding collusion.

What Is Collusion In Poker?

Collusion in poker is when two or more players at the same table work together for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage. Note that poker is meant to be a solo game, so collaborating with fellow players is against the rules. Examples of collusion include; chip dumping, soft playing, or sharing a hole card.

  • Chip dumping is a term used to describe when a player purposely loses their money to another player at the same table.
  • Soft playing is when one player intentionally plays with a weak strategy.
  • A hole card is one that poker players keep secret. It refers to a private card which should be viewed only by the player. 

The above are all different types of collusion and can potentially lead to a permanent ban in a casino if used.

How Does Collusion In Poker Work?

Every player conversant with poker table rules knows that everyone plays for themselves at the table. However, this doesn’t stop a few players from trying to use treacherous means to get ahead. 

For example, some players may work together covertly to gain an advantage over the casino. Note that this is against poker rules at any physical land-based casinos, live games and online poker rooms.

The goal of collusion is to increase the winning pot by sharing confidential information about the cards in hand among players. Then, the players share the odds of the hands to squeeze others out of the pot and potentially win. Later, they typically split any winnings among themselves.

How Do Online Poker Sites Prevent Collusion?

Online poker sites are against collusion because it undermines player safety. So, they’re always on the lookout for potential colluders and can use the following methods to try and root them out;

Limiting table access for the same IP

The poker site cannot allow two people under the same IP umbrella to play at the same table. This is because these two players might be in the same area and attempt to collude.

Tracking suspicious behaviour

Tactics like setting up bots can set off alarms in online poker sites. For example, some players may be handling multiple accounts. This strategy may occur in a poker tournament where players attempt to increase their chances of winning by using multiple casino accounts.

When poker sites suspect certain players are colluding, they usually start to examine them more closely. First, they may look at how their accounts are performing against other players. For example, are these accounts always on the same table? Another red flag would be if the players often pick a soft play against each other. That is, these players don’t play aggressively against each other.

Is Poker Collusion Illegal?

Not only is poker collusion against the game rules, but it is also illegal. Colluding in poker usually results in a casino ban both at physical and online casinos.

How To Spot Collusion In Poker

Several poker moves can alert casinos of possible colluding. Some examples include;

Consecutive Unlikely Wins

A pattern of unlikely wins could occur in in-person casino games mostly. For example, a player usually wins consistently, the same as the dealer. The player could be avoiding basic poker strategy but somehow ends up winning.

Confident bets despite falling behind

Aggressive betting can also raise a red flag, especially when you’re an obviously bad poker player. If you see someone at an online poker table continuously making confident bets despite their losing streak, this could be a telltale sign of colluding.

Sticking to soft play

Soft play is when a player fails to take an action like busting a shorter stack or not making a move that would obviously put them at an advantage against the other players. It can sometimes be a common tactic among players in a tournament. For example, one of them might fail to make a move since it goes against their teammate.

Two players always at the same table

One obvious sign of colluding is when two players are always at the same table. Since collusion can occur among multiple players, they must operate together in close proximity. For example, they’ll be at one table in a physical casino and join the same tables at online poker sites. You might even notice them making the same gestures at an in-person game, i.e., player signals.

Chip dumping

Chip dumping, or chip transfer, can occur if players deposit money using a less reputable method to join an online poker table. Once they deposit the cash, they go on to lose the game transferring the win money to a secondary account. This is a common way to launder money via a poker site.

Additionally, chip dumping can be popular in tournaments. Players use the tactic to help their strongest team member gain an edge. For example, they may go all-in to increase the pot size, or give the main player as many chips as they can.

How Common Is Player Collusion In Poker Games?

Collusion seems like an easy strategy, but both physical and online casinos have put in aggressive measures to catch anyone who practises it. For example, anyone suspected of in-person colluding is always asked to leave the table immediately and swiftly banned from the casino.

Online casinos also ban players permanently if they catch them colluding. In addition, pay by mobile casinos can freeze their accounts and seize all potential assets.

Although collusion can be common, casinos constantly use the latest technology to root out possible cheaters. So, in the end, those colluding probably won’t be doing so for long.


Collusion in poker can be a damaging practice for legitimate poker players. However, since live casinos want every member to enjoy their time, they always ensure to bring colluding poker players to justice.