There will always be players trying to cheat the system to profit, on that point you are certainly correct. It's a prevalent issue in any endeavor that involves the possibility of easy profit. Casinos
are no stranger to cheating and collusion either -- they run hundreds or thousands of folks out every year, and even prosecute some.
That said, I have full confidence in the sites themselves, particularly those like Stars who go out of their way to put a stop to it. I don't for a second believe that these larger sites (Stars, FT, or even Absolute Poker/Ultimatebet) are knowingly and intentionally supporting cheats. My primary complaint with Absolute Poker/Ultimatebet was their less than earnest acceptance of the accusations early on, but the Devil's Advocate in me also understands how big corporations think. The bad PR, possible legal implications, the constant claims of cheating by bad players who refuse to accept their own faults, etc. are going to cause any corporation to be reluctant to accept the notion of rampant, high-stakes cheating without overwhelming evidence and a lot of attention, at least early on.
Many people think Absolute Poker/Ultimatebet were knowingly lying about the presence of the "back door" in their software that allowed their former employees with super-user accounts to see hole-cards. As someone who has worked in software development for 25+ years, the last 14 of which in a large Fortune 500 IS shop of over 500 people, it's not at all uncommon for management, marketing, and the spokespersons of the company to be completely clueless about the technical aspects of their own software. Combine the fact that, IIRC, AP/UB got the software through an acquisition, and didn't write it from scratch themselves, and I can totally understand the possibility of their lack
of understanding as to what their software was capable of, until they had the chance for a forensic analysis. A good developer can hide such exploits very well.
Here's an interesting blog written by Richard Marcus, who bills himself as "The World's #1 Casino and Poker Cheating Expert." While I have no clue as to the veracity of his claim, many of you long-time gambling vets may know something about him. Anyway, in his blog he covers cheating among online casinos
, poker rooms, and sportsbooks. He rates them based on their "safety" against cheaters.
Online Poker Room Cheat Ratings
Ten Safest Online Sites:
2 Poker Stars
3 Party Poker
4 Bodog Poker
5 CD Poker
6 Full Tilt
7 Titan Poker
8 Players Only Poker
9 Red Kings Poker
10 Betfair Poker
My rating system is a compilation of the three major forms of online cheating: collusion; bots and hacking. Note that hacking is rare, and it has not happened this month on any of the sites on the list.