Collusion at card tables

Collusion at card gaming tables is behaviour employed by two or more people working together, with the aim of finding out information you would not be privy to without some form of dishonest/deceitful action (to gain an unfair advantage), in the hope of making more money. We explain more about collusion and how it works at casino tables.

United States Best online casino sites

Best online casino sites

#1 casino USA friendly

Online Slots Kings

200% up to $1000

Available to residents of United States
#2 Raging Bull Online Casino Australia

Top RTG casino

350% deposit bonus + 50 free spins

Available to residents of United States
#3 Ignition Casino

Start your engines!

200% up to $2,000 Pokies & Poker Welcome Bonus!

Available to residents of United States
We’re welcoming players to Ignition with a combined Pokies & Poker Welcome Bonus — our biggest ever. Get up to $3,000 when you make your first deposit with Bitcoin, or up to $2,000 when you deposit with a credit card. Full terms.
#4 Bovada Casino

Bitcoin Friendly

100% up to $3000

Available to residents of United States

Most prevalent in poker games, collusion is also employed in other card games such as blackjack and baccarat, oftentimes not just between players, but between dealer and players. Throughout card gaming history, many people have schemed together via different methods in an effort to cheat other players or the casino, and with collusion being very difficult behaviour to detect or prove, such behaviour often goes unnoticed. This page will provide you with some classic examples of player collusion in card games, typically employed in poker.

Player collusion

Common collusion behaviour that is cited across multiple online poker forums is signalling. For example, two people could sit together at a poker table and signal to each other whether they have high ranking hands or low ranking hands, and even what specific cards they have (number and suit), based on previously decided signals, such as stacking chips in a certain way, taking a certain amount of sips from a drink, touching certain parts on their faces, and other inconspicuous hand gestures and signs.

Blackjack and poker collusionSoft playing is another form of collusion in poker games – a player may deliberately choose not to raise or bet when their partner in crime is also in the hand, so their partner can also check, allowing both players to save money – what is also known as ‘checking down’. The two may then also ‘play against’ a common enemy, when another player (or more) is/are involved in the hand.

For example, following a Texas Hold’em poker game, a poker enthusiast describes how he witnessed what he believed to be collusion between two scheming players – they would check down with each other, and only ever player against other players. When either one of the partners were on the button (last to act in the betting round) with a medium to high ranking hand, they would shove their chips (go all in). If someone else called, the other partner would also call (to better their odds of success), but on most occasions, the all in bet would scare away other players, and the pot would go to one of the partners.

While this type of behaviour may be noticeable, it is often extremely difficult to prove – if you sense something is awry, it may be best to up and leave. Alternatively, if you are playing in a casino, you can quietly notify a floor manager.

Card counting in blackjack also tends to require multiple partners working together, and while this blackjack skill is not regarded as cheating, it is closely monitored by casino officials. In films such as 21 (2008 heist drama starring Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne), it is shown (albeit exaggerated), how each person works together to notify one another whether a table is ‘hot’, ‘cold’ and what the ‘count’ is.

Read up on some of the biggest online cheats and player collusions here.

Collusion in baccarat

One famous case of player collusion occurred in 2012, when professional poker star Phil Ivey won millions of dollars playing baccarat at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. In 2014, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa sued Ivey, on claims that he and a partner used an unlawful ‘edge-sorting’ technique to win the money.

The pair claimed they only ever used observation and skill to exploit a flaw in the casino’s cards to maximise their chances at winning, but in 2016, Ivey and his associate Cheung Yin Sun were ordered by a federal judge, to pay back $10.1 million in winnings to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The pair have reportedly won millions of dollars employing this technique in casinos around the world.

Sun, Ivey’s partner, reportedly spent more than a thousand hours training herself to recognise minute variations on particular cards (unmatched trimmed cards with uneven margins of 1/32 of an inch or less) – a consequence of the manufacturing processes – and then implemented her skills in the real world, with her partner in crime.

Ivey wired seven figure sums to various casinos, and bet at several baccarat tables, with Sun at the same table carrying out the edge sorting technique, tipping off Ivey as to when to wager on the banker or the player. Their total profits across Atlantic City, London and other locations reached into eight figures.

Read up on how gambling cheats are detected by casinos here.

Player and dealer collusion

Another form of collusion in home and/or casino games, is the dealer palming extra chips or players giving the dealer extra rake (dealer and player working in tandem). After the game ends, the colluding parties equally share their profits. There have been several reports of incidents where a casino blackjack dealer has teamed up with one or two players to provide them with extra chips when it has not been warranted – most cases are dealt with accordingly, however it is highly likely that there have been hundreds of cases where this form of collusion has gone unnoticed.

We recommend checking out, our top-rated casino site for players from United States, which has some excellent welcome bonuses available for new players along with hundreds of real money casino games to choose from.

Latest online casino news

More News

Latest online casino promos

More News