The Final Showdown

In the past few years, the quality of poker players has improved markedly, especially in public casino poker. But the Advanced-Concept (A-C) player is still very rare. And although more Advanced-Concept players are developing, they probably will always be rare because full application of the Advanced Concepts requires hard work and constant discipline (but actually, little skill). In private games, the Advanced-Concept player patiently develops control over the game, the rules, and his opponents. He invests many hours in studying, analyzing, and taking notes about his opponents. He develops his games over long periods of time, even years, to steadily increase their pace and stakes while striving to reach the full profit potential of each game. He works hard for his winnings. ... Most poker players, however, would rather take their chances with more luck and less work. Who wants to work that hard to win when it]s time to relax? most players subconsciously rationalize. That is why Advanced-Concept players are rare.

The Neocheater, on the other hand, will become increasingly common because Neocheating is easy and requires little sustained effort. Moreover, the Neocheater can move into any private game of any size and start winning immediately. Neocheating is a comfortable, fast, and easy way to make money or gain prestige. Many cardplayers, therefore, will prefer to use Neocheating to extract money rather than to put forth the effort required to play well enough to win equivalent money.

Thus in private games, players will encounter Neocheaters with increasing frequency. And Neocheaters will multiply so extensively that they may eventually link together in collusion pacts among private games as they are already doing in public poker. On the other hand, players will seldom if ever encounter the rare Advanced-Concept player. Nevertheless, if a Neocheater did run across an Advanced-Concept player in a private game, he would find that the game belongs to that Advanced-Concept player who usually has a substantial investment of time and effort in tailoring that game to his maximum advantage. Indeed, the Advanced-Concept player will strenuously protect his game as his most valuable asset.

Neocheaters are the only cheaters the Advanced-Concept player fears. He fears Neocheaters because, if they choose, they can quickly drain money to break valuable players and destroy the game. In addition, the Advanced-Concept player cannot beat certain Neocheaters. He will, therefore, try to drive them from his game using white-hat Neocheating or the harassment methods described in Chapter X.

Most Neocheaters will quickly leave private games in which an Advanced-Concept player is pressuring them because playing under constant stress contradicts their nature of seeking easy money. Instead of taking the abuses and pressures applied by the Advanced-Concept player, most Neocheaters will simply find other games that have no Advanced-Concept player to interfere with their easy-going money extraction.

But what happens when the Advanced-Concept player encounters the Neocheater in high-stake public poker? Consider the following situation in a world-class poker tournament played in a Las Vegas casino:

Forty-two players have entered the freeze-out hold 'em tournament, each paying a $15,000 entry fee. The last surviving player wins all the money -- over one-half million dollars.

After three days, only two players remain in the tournament -- an Advanced-Concept player (John Finn) and a well-known professional poker player. That professional player is also a Neocheater who has made a colluding arrangement with one of the dealers involving an unbeatable form of Neocheating (as described in anecdote B of Chapter I). Through memorized cards, invisible blind shuffles, false riffles, and false cuts, the dealer always knows the nine cards to come off the deck for each round of play. During the play, John can sense their collusion, but cannot accuse them because their cheating is invisible and appears completely natural. Moreover, John realizes that even if he could crack their collusion code, he would still lose because unlike most collusion codes that are one dimensional (codes that indicate only present values of hands), their code is two dimensional in that the dealer not only knows both the Neocheater's hand and John's hand at every moment, but he knows all the cards yet to be dealt. Thus that dealer can plan ahead with perfect knowledge and guide the Neocheater with flawless strategy.

Without knowing the cards to be dealt, John has no way to read or forecast the dealer's strategy. Indeed, in such collusion situations, the Neocheater becomes a more-than-perfect player because his moves are perfect through the dealer's knowing every hole card, and his strategy is flawless through the dealer's knowing all the cards still to be dealt. To beat that kind of cheating, a player must not only read everyone's hole cards perfectly, but he must also precisely foretell all the cards to be dealt. And no one can precisely foretell cards without cheating. Thus, John concludes that against such Neocheating collusion, he cannot win. And how can he accuse his adversaries of invisible cheating? No evidence exists. The only possibilities that John has of winning are to (1) refuse to play when that dealer takes his turn, insist on another dealer, and hope that the new dealer will not collude with the Neocheater,

  • 2) meet privately with the dealer during a break and ask him to stop colluding, or
  • 3) find the dealer's price to flash false signals at crucial moments to bankrupt (tap out) the Neocheater. In other words, neocheat the Neocheater. ...John Finn selected option 2 and lost the tournament. He resolved to use option 3 next time.

Neocheating begets Neocheating, and Neocheaters beget Neocheaters. Where will it end?


  • 34 1 The Advanced-Concept player is also referred to as the A-C player.
  • 35 1 The Neocheater may use his full power as in Example A if the game is a onetime affair, or if he is facing a one-time opponent, or if the game is destined to permanently disband anyway. In such cases, the Neocheater would choose to win maximum money -- the $1000 -- in one night rather than, for example, $300 per session for only one or two sessions. Or he may selectively use his full Neocheating power to drive potential troublemakers, cheaters, or even another Neocheater from the game.

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