How Stars checks for collusion

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Alon Ipser

Alon Ipser

Cardschat Elite
I played a SnG earlier this week at Stars and ended up a table with 2 people with very similar names both from Beruit, Lebanon. I didn't like the idea of possble collusion so I e-mailed cutomer support. It turns out they probably weren't colluding but thought I would post the reply back from Stars support so you can see what they do when this type of thing is reported to them.

Thank you for taking time to bring this matter to our attention. As you
know we are well equipped to review reports such as yours. PokerStars
employs a team of poker specialists who's job it is to review suspicious
activity identified internally and to follow up on reports such at yours.
We have all played poker for years and have been trained to recognize the
methods used by poker cheats. With that in mind I have completed my review
of the accounts 'kharouf' & 'kharouf1'

In situations of this nature, we begin by reviewing the accounts of the
players involved to determine what, if any, relationship exists between
them. In this instance they are from the same country and account activity
wouldindicate that they know each other. That in itself is not a crime
though providing you play against them as you would anyone else.

When checking for collusion we simply replay the tournament with the cards
face up. We look for several things which include, but are not limited to:

1. Squeeze play - the players reraise each other in an effort to drive
a third from the pot.

2. Pot building - the players put in small bets that entice others to
call when one of them makes a big hand, in the hope of building a larger
pot, and perhaps commit a player.

3. Stack balancing - the player with the larger stack purposely loses
to the smaller stack to ensure both players remain in the game.

4. Softplay - this is where one player who holds a really strong hand
decides not to bet his hand against another. It is very similar to (3)
stack balancing, and many stack balances are also softplays.

(1) and (2) above usually requires the sharing of hole card information
externally to the game, however for (3) and (4), if two players just
happen to have a policy of not clashing against one another, then they do
not necessarily need to have any knowledge of one another's cards.

Despite the fact that you reported them for collusion in a Sit and Go I
looked into their ring game play together and noted that they have not
crossed paths this month. this is also the 1st SnG they have played
together in the last month. Please bear in mind that players colluding
will have higher than average play rates.

To be honest there was very little to go on in this tournament as they
were both outvery early. I will say however that a review of these players
has been done a few months ago and there was nothing found to indicate any
sort of collusion. Based on that and the lack of evidence here I can only
state that there was nothing suspicious found. I have however placed a
note in both accounts of this investigation for future reference.

As you can see, we have a lot of tools at our disposal which help us keep
our games honest and fair. In addition, the thousands of honest, vigilant
players who point out situations that merit investigation - which are an
important part of our arsenal. Thank you for doing your part to protect
the integrity of our games.

Please let me know should you wish to discuss further.

Regards,

Ed
PokerStars Support Team
 
Dennis C

Dennis C

Guest
I always wondered how they policed this and now I know. Great post Alon. I'll have to watch for some of the little things that were described.:)
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

HELLO INTERNET
...and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Stars support truly owns.
 
buckster436

buckster436

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Very good post Alon, and very good information to know also, for this i gave you a reputation point, thats how good i thought it was, you deserve it for this post.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> buck:hello:
 
Kenzie 96

Kenzie 96

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Very nice post Alon, appreciate the info. Hey, Buck I see they still haven't caught on to your daughter dealing games you play in so keep on keepin on lol.
 
tenbob

tenbob

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Nice post Alon. I agree Stars support is second to none, I got some serious abuse during a sit and go this week. While im well used of it, i felt that this guy was crossing the line, i reported him during play, and his chat was suspended mid game.
 
Kj Sexton

Kj Sexton

Guest
Well this also answers the all important question, there IS a form of software that views all the cards face up. Now let's just pray there isn't an ex-support member of pokerstars with a grudge or just greedy/evil...
 
Gizzi315

Gizzi315

Guest
Very good info and, as others have said, GREAT support form Stars! I am glad to see that sites have the ability to check into this and take action. I know alot of sites won't let you play at the same table if you have the same IP address, but I was wondering how they could keep people from cheating using messenger programs or cell phones or something like that. Good to know that there is a system like this in place! Thanks for sharing!
 
dinosdynasty

dinosdynasty

Rock Star
Interesting read. That is why Stars is the only site on my computer now. I have had dealings with Pokerstars support before and have always felt them to be swift and fair, even when I received a warning because I stood up for someone that was being abused by some idiot who crossed the line.
 
Tammy

Tammy

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That is impressive support! Makes you a whole lot more confident in playing at Stars, doesn't it. Very nice post, AI--rep'd! :)
 
holduplaya

holduplaya

Guest
Very nice post. This is why pokerstars players never play anywhere else. The sweet thing to know is if this was a real money SnG or a playmoney one, if it were play money it would be even sweeter....;)
 
buckster436

buckster436

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:D
Kenzie 96 said:
Very nice post Alon, appreciate the info. Hey, Buck I see they still haven't caught on to your daughter dealing games you play in so keep on keepin on lol.
LOL, good one Kenzie, good one,LOL,LOL, :hello: >>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<< buck:D
 
joosebuck

joosebuck

Legend
I play SnG's with my friend 3vi every now and then. We don't collude per se', but I don't go out of my way to knock him out of the tourney like I do everyone else.

Mainly because I like crushing him heads up :D
 
DESSERTLADY

DESSERTLADY

Legend
Great Post Alon,

We noticed a similiar situation on JetSet the other day and emailed support over there.

This is their reply:

Dear Tina [DESSERTLADY],

Thank you for contacting JetSetPoker Support.

We would like to assure you that once accusations of collusion or
softplay are brought to our attention they receive maximum scrutiny
from
our security staff; finally, to be reviewed by the CardRoom Manager
along with the Tournament Director for completeness.

For this particular issue, all specifics are currently under
investigation with regards to Mac12 and Macleod; the appropriate action
will be taken based upon the outcome of this thorough review of all
aspects of their accounts and play.

Rest assured there is a perpetual record of every hand dealt since
inception. Our collusion and softplay monitoring constantly examines
these deal records and constantly assesses betting anomalies relative
to
the distribution of hands dealt to the table.

JetSetPoker takes pride in its policy of upholding the integrity and in
creating a fair and honest game by ensuring that each and every player
has the same chance and opportunity to win. Conduct or actions in
opposition to our Rules of Conduct and Tournament Rules are not
condoned
or tolerated, and all such allegations are completely investigated.
Appropriate action is taken on a case-by-case basis.

Once again, I assure you that the appropriate action will be taken. We
are very fortunate to have discriminating members, such as yourself,
who
expect the game of poker to be conducted according to the highest
standards of fairness.

Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to assist you.

Best regards,

Brendan
JetSetPoker Support Team
support@jetsetpoker.com

It isn't as detailed as Stars. But they sure did get back to us pretty quick.
 
lightning36

lightning36

Visionary
Ahh ... but tricky guys can still get past ... at least for some time.

ZeeJustin got caught playing on six accounts on partypoker.com, which then caused PokerStars to investigate and suspend him. And this is just after the big fiasco on partypoker.com, where JJProdigy was caught playing two accounts - and was claiming that he "took over" for his grandmother on one. If you are good enough to win $140,000 in a tournament you shouldn't have to cheat ...
 
DESSERTLADY

DESSERTLADY

Legend
lightning36 said:
Ahh ... but tricky guys can still get past ... at least for some time.

ZeeJustin got caught playing on six accounts on PartyPoker.com, which then caused PokerStars to investigate and suspend him. And this is just after the big fiasco on PartyPoker.com, where JJProdigy was caught playing two accounts - and was claiming that he "took over" for his grandmother on one. If you are good enough to win $140,000 in a tournament you shouldn't have to cheat ...

True Lightning!

I wonder if this will mean any household that has more than one account(like ours) can be banned?

We have 2 accounts on a few sites Larry's and Mine on some sites. We usually dont use them both but hmmmmmm makes you wonder though.
 
robwhufc

robwhufc

Cardschat Elite
Very good emails from Pokerstars and Jetset. Now a question. Has anyone ever had money refunded to them after opponents have been found out for colluding? We've had numerous Royal Flushes on site, 3 sets on same hand, 2 identical hands being dealt same time on 2 different sites - all many hundred thousand to one occurances. Anyone got proof that sites are actively investigating and spotting collusion? Didn't think so.
 
DESSERTLADY

DESSERTLADY

Legend
Rob,

I haven't deposited on my sites so right now it really wouldn't affect me but has anyone contacted them and asked them?
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

euro love
This topic is interesting in light of what just happened with ZeeJustin.
 
robwhufc

robwhufc

Cardschat Elite
F Paulsson said:
This topic is interesting in light of what just happened with ZeeJustin.
But that, the JJwhatever one and the ones that Alon and Dessertlady mentioned were ALL picked up by players, not the sites. I'd be curious to know how many cases of collusion are picked up by the sites without tip offs, and how many people are compensated because of it.
 
lightning36

lightning36

Visionary
I can't see the poker rooms actually going back and refunding money - unless the siyuation was so obvious and recognizable, like with JJProdigy. At least that situation was corrected and everyone else moved up in the money. Imagine having been on the bubble, only to learn that you now were in the money. :)

Tina, I would think that your situation could potentially put you at risk. I would just hate to give anyone the possibility that they might shut me down. You know it is innocent, but they really don't. Of course, unless you were playing at the same table and did something suspicious, why would anyone even think that two people were from the same household?
 
robwhufc

robwhufc

Cardschat Elite
lightning36 said:
Tina, I would think that your situation could potentially put you at risk. I would just hate to give anyone the possibility that they might shut me down. You know it is innocent, but they really don't. Of course, unless you were playing at the same table and did something suspicious, why would anyone even think that two people were from the same household?
I dont, not at all - if there was a problem with households having more than one account sites wouldn't let multiple accounts register from the same ISP address - husbands and wives must have account in thousands of households. The problem is only when they play in the same tournament at the same time.
 
DESSERTLADY

DESSERTLADY

Legend
robwhufc said:
I dont, not at all - if there was a problem with households having more than one account sites wouldn't let multiple accounts register from the same ISP address - husbands and wives must have account in thousands of households. The problem is only when they play in the same tournament at the same time.


I was thinking the same thing Rob. If they allow multiple accounts they shouldn't have a problem with it. Now the only time I have been in the same tournament with him is when he was sitting out and I was playing or vice verse and since we don't have any money it was in freeroll situations.
 
Irexes

Irexes

Legend
Really old thread with info that may be out of date, start a new one if you want to discuss
 
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