Cheating at poker . . . Sure, I still care!


Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was originally published (1992) in Card Player magazine.

Updated and enhanced in 2014.


I’ve spent much of the last 10 years developing what I believe is a revolutionary system to combat cheating in online poker. I’ve been working with Bill Handy and we have a working prototype that not only flags people with the “keys to the store” that might know what cards opponents are holding or might know what’s about to be dealt, but it easily spots poker partnerships.

It’s based on my own methodology. And the concepts are so obviously powerful that you’d be wasting your time arguing against them or even trying to improve my methods. Bold words, I know, but so what? True is true. The system is called COPS (Caro Online Poker Solutions) and should be fully tested and ready to implement by January, 2015 — just six months from now.

One of the reasons I’m telling you this is that I just came across this long-lost column from 1992 and added it to Poker1. Let’s take a look together…

You know what really hurts? Not the fact that I had two dogs die on me recently. I can, take it. Not the fact that Bill Clinton is probably destined to secure the Democratic nomination for President even though I’ve been betting against him. It’s only money. Not the fact that I’m late getting new products to market. I like to be late.

No. I’ll tell you what really hurts bad. Tuesday a guy says, “You don’t care about the players anymore!”

He was 37 years old, by actual estimate, and he looked like an experienced player to me. I figured, hey, this must be a joke, there’s going to be a punch line.

“What did I do this time?” I kept my voice deliberately playful so the man couldn’t possibly take offense.

Oops! A severe miscalculation on my part. “You try to make a joke out of everything!” he fired into my face.

So, feeling both surprised and sympathetic, I guided him over to a couch in the Bicycle Club casino. The gist of his criticism? One, I used to head the Cheater Monitoring Service, my one-man operation that gathered information on unethical conduct in gambling, but I never talked about that anymore. Two, I seemed too closely affiliated with casinos, and he assumed there was a conflict of interest with players’ objectives. Three, I have too big an ego to care about ordinary players.

How I Feel About Cheaters. After making these points, the guy stormed off, waving his hands in disgust before I could reply. Oh, well. Maybe he’ll read this.

Point one rebuttal. I let Cheater Monitoring Service fade because I believed it had served its purpose. The information received was very helpful in dealing confidentially with players and concerned casinos. I still care about integrity in gambling. So, if you have any facts or suspicions to report in confidence, or you just want to share your opinions on anything, write me through the contact form at the bottom of this Poker1 page. What do I really think of card cheats? As I’ve said before, they should be boiled and eaten. And if you think that’s a joke —well, you cook ’em, I’ll eat ’em!

Point two rebuttal. The true interests of honest casinos and the true interests of honest gamblers are married. That’s why I’m happy as an informal ambassador for both groups. But, if it makes you feel any better, when confronted by a choice between what’s good for the management and what’s good for the players, I’ll side with the players always! Trust me.

Poker can be a treacherous playground. I believe every honest player has an obligation to report suspicions to management. It isn’t enough to walk away from a potentially crooked game. You owe it to other honorable victims who might sit down after you to at least try to do something. Repeating: If you suspect something, report it! This might not make you popular, but you’ll feel better when you face yourself in the mirror tomorrow morning.

Point three rebuttal. I’ve carefully examined both my ego and my abilities, and I can state conclusively that they are precisely proportional.

I gotta go. — MC

Published by

Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

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