Beating Professional Cheaters

The alert player who is familiar with the basic professional cheating techniques can detect any cheating, even the most skilled and invisible cheating, without actually seeing the cheating. An alert player usually can tell who is cheating, what technique is being used, and exactly when the cheating is occurring by detecting patterns and combinations of illogical betting, raising, pace, and playing style by his opponents.

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Once a player has detected and confirmed cheating in public poker, he has five options:

  1. Join the cheating.
  2. Beat the cheaters through the poorer playing, greater readability, and greater predictability that result from their cheating.
  3. Eliminate the cheating.
  4. Expose the cheating.
  5. Quit the game.

The good player rejects his or her first option as not only dishonest and unhealthy, but also as the least profitable option. Several of John Finn's encounters with professional cheating described next in this chapter illustrate the other four options.

Although John Finn played mainly in private poker games because of their greater profitability, he did recently spend several months playing public poker in the Gardena, California, card clubs and in the Las Vegas, Nevada, casinos. In both the clubs and casinos, he discovered professional cheaters operating in the higher-stake games. John's public-game experiences uncovered six common cheating methods used in public poker (see A-F on the following pages). He also learned how the good player can routinely beat professional cheaters in public poker. More important, he learned to identify those situations in which he could not beat professional cheating.

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