Poker players are crazy. There’s so much trust in the game that it’s ridiculous, especially when the goal is to directly take the other players money. Unfortunately, there are a few bad apples looking to take advantage of these trusting players.
Here are some common scams I have encountered during my online poker poker venture.
Mild: The side-bet scam
Watch out for the players hovering around sit-and-go tables trying to make private side-bets on the results. For example, they’ll register for a $50 sit and go and offer their opponent a $100 side-bet that they’ll win. If the player agrees and loses, he would pay him $100. If the opponent wins, the scammer would just act like the side-bet never occurred.
This is a basic scam that I’ve seen way to many people fall for. It often happens in games that they’re not involved in from the online rail (chat box). Lucky it’s usually for a small amount.
Mild: All in on the first hand scam
This is a heads-up sit-and-go scam that a high limit player used to pull all of the time. Before each sit and go started, he’d suggest to his opponent that they both go all in on the first hand. Sometimes the opponent would agree and follow through with putting their chips in on pre-flop the first hand. The scammer on the other hand would break the agreement if he didn’t have a good starting hand and continue playing like normal.
Severe: “Send me $10 and I’ll pay you back $20 tomorrow”
This is a scam that you really have to be careful about, because the scammer has their eyes on making a lot more then $20 off of you. Little do you know that when you send that first $10, you’re getting lured you into a ponzi scheme.
It starts with a small amount and usually they get a few people involved(that only the scammer knows about). He’ll gain your trust by sending the promised money back, chatting with you, and becoming buddies.
Once he has a few people involved, he starts asking for a little more while still promising a high returns. He’ll pay the money back, but with other ‘investors’ money, not with money he earned from playing poker or anything.
Once the scammer has you eating out of his hands, he goes in for the kill. He’ll make up some story, like having money tied up somewhere and needing a large amount like $1000+ for a business venture. He’ll of course promise you a high return and you won’t have any reason not to trust him, because he’s always held his word to you. Then he will just keep getting you in deeper and deeper with false promises until he disappears with your money.
I’ve seen this particular scam unfold in a poker forum. The scammer was one of the most friendliest and active posters. Everyone liked him. He ended up taking over $30,000 from 5 other active forum members using the exact method described above. One guy even trusted him so much that he convinced his friends give him money.
Severe: “You know me. Loan me $20,000 and I’ll pay you back”
There’s a lot of trust between high limit players. If a known player asks in the chat box to borrow a large amount, like $20,000, their fellow high limit friends won’t think twice about hitting a few buttons and sending it over. Usually it works out fine, but what happens if the person you’re sending money to isn’t who you think he is?
A few months ago a scammer got a hold of a high limit players password. He proceeded to go to a few different tables asking certain players who knew the screen name to transfer large amounts to him. The scammer ended up collecting over $100,000.
Severe: “I’ll send you $200 on site A for $150 on site B.”
This is another one of those scams that can get you in a lot more trouble then you think. It starts out with a player asking you to do a favor and trade money with him from one site to another. He’ll even offer to send first and give you extra money for your trouble. You decide to help out and the transaction goes smoothly… until your account and funds are suspended for being involved in money laundering!!!
Yes, the money you received was most likely stolen from another players poker account who wasn’t to careful with their password. Since transfers between accounts usually aren’t monitored, they trade stolen money on one site for legit money on another with unsuspecting players. The innocent player who now has the laundered money in their account is left in a mess of trouble, while the crook simply cashes out of the other site.
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So if you got anything out of reading this, just be careful with your online poker money. Don’t lend money to anyone unless you can absolutely confirm who they are and keep your password private. If you spot any of these scams in the making, be sure to call the person out and notify the poker rooms support team so nobody else gets scammed