This week Dr. Robert Samuels returns to the Zoo to talk about the latest round of poker cheating accusations and scandals. Robert recently polished up an old solution – can the online game operators work together to fight cheats? Can there be a governing body to adjudicate poker?
While I cynically don’t find this sort of organization feasible, Robert makes some compelling points. He also reminds us of the symbiotic nature of online and live play – it’s important for each to be healthy for the sake of each other. This seems important, whatever we do – or if we do nothing.
Mason Malmuth’s thread on preventing cheating in live games.
RTA software example.
Dr. Samuels is the author of Bad Beat Therapy: How to Be a Better Poker Player and Person, and appeared on the Zoo last year in episode 67. Connect with him here.
Most know what multi-accounting is and why it is obviously against the rules, but RTA or ghosting may be new terms to some.
RTA, or real-time assistance is any chart or program that helps a poker player with their decisions while a game or hand is in progress.
These RTA programs use a game theory optimal (GTO) approach to the game, allowing players to stay perfectly balanced and make mathematically-correct and unexploitable plays. This results in an edge that can add up to millions of dollars each year in these high-stakes games.
While RTA programs that scrape the online poker site for data have been easier to detect, players can make it tougher for sites to spot by using a separate computer and manually inputting the cards themselves to find the answer they are looking for.
Ghosting is a form of collusion when one player takes over for another in either a cash game or a tournament online. Sometimes a better player will “buy” the account from a weaker player, or a coach will just instruct their player on what to do. Other times a player will simply use a different account to hide their identity.
Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates was accused of ghosting in 2020 by fellow high-stakes cash game player Bill Perkins. Cates would eventually admit the wrongdoing, but stated that the practice was rampant on the sites the games were running on.