online poker

Every player has wondered if they are being cheated when they play online poker. And more still might be wondering ‘how can I cheat in online poker?’ Online poker is known to be very safe and secure, but of course, some cheating happens in the online gambling as well.

There are a lot of different strategies poker players use to cheat online. Some methods are more aggressive than others, but all these tactics are always ongoing at online poker sites.


Ghosting is a cheating technique in which an experienced player gives advice to another player. This can be done through multiple ways, including the players sitting next to each other, chatting through Skype, or using Teamviewer.

This cheating method is called “ghosting” because the “coach” is sitting in on a game that they’re not taking part in.

The most common scenario for ghosting occurs when a player makes a deep run in a big online tournament. They’ll then ask their coach to guide them through this crucial stage.

Ghosting is among the lightest cheating methods in poker because it only involves a one player receiving advice from another. Nonetheless, this still gives online players an advantage that they wouldn’t normally have.


Multi-accounting involves an online poker player opening several accounts at the same site. They can then use these multiple accounts in the same tournament or cash game, giving them the advantage of seeing multiple sets of hole cards.

Online poker sites have rules against multi-accounting and will suspend or ban these cheaters. Nevertheless, this remains a big problem in the internet poker world.

Justin Bonomo was behind one notable instance of multi-accounting. He was caught using multiple accounts in 2006 and was subsequently banned from a couple of major sites.

Bonomo was only 19 at the time and apologized for what he’d done. The Canadian has since put the incident behind him and gone on to a respectable and successful poker career.

Some pros use multiple accounts because they don’t want other players to know whom they’re competing against. Although still against online poker rules, these types of multi-accounting issues result in a short suspension rather than a ban.

The reason is because the player isn’t technically gaining an advantage by hiding their identity.

Poker Bots

A poker bot is a program that’s designed to automatically play online poker for a user’s account. The advantage to bots is that the account owner doesn’t have to play hands themselves – they can just sit back and let their program do all the work 24/7.

Few people worried about poker bots several years ago, because they weren’t skilled enough to beat cash games on a regular basis. But bots have improved to the point where they can win consistent profits for the users.

This is obviously a problem because internet poker is meant to be played between humans, and not computer programs that win on a consistent basis.

The good news is that online poker sites commonly look for bot-like activity and ban those using these programs. But sometimes it takes players themselves reporting these incidents to get anything done on the matter.

Teaming Up

Online poker teams can gain an unfair advantage by entering the same cash game or tournament. They then share details on their hands via Facebook Messenger, Skype, or texting.

Just two players can be considered an online poker team. But the team gains a larger advantage as they grow to three, four, or more players.

This gives them a greater ability to affect the outcome of the game. For example, 5 players sitting at a 9-player cash table gives them the ability to see over half of the hole cards.

The team can then split the profits afterward, which are almost guaranteed when this many players are cheating together.

Trojan Viruses

Certain high-stakes online poker pros have been victimized by Trojan viruses. And these viruses allow somebody to see another player’s hole cards via screen-sharing software.

It’s not uncommon for PC/Mac users to pick up Trojan viruses when visiting nefarious websites. But these screen-sharing viruses are often installed manually.

This means that the perpetrator would have to either know the player personally or break into their house and install the virus.

Finnish high-stakes poker pro Jens Kyllönen dealt with an incident like this when he was staying at a hotel during the 2013 EPT Barcelona event.

Kyllönen left his room, and somebody snuck in and installed a Trojan virus so that they could see his screen. Luckily, he noticed right away that his room had been broken into and took his laptop to an expert, who found the virus.