It really is a sad reflection on the online poker playing environment when we have to put together a website dedicated to alerting you to the less than respectable online poker sites which poison the internet.
However over the years there have been no shortage of such sites who have been ripping off and cheating their customers in a variety of different ways, and as such we are honour bound to enlighten you to the ways you could be ripped off, scammed and cheated when playing poker online.
Please do not be under the impression that all poker sites available online are shady or out to remove every cent or penny from your wallet, as nothing could be further from the truth, but there are lots of poker sites who will sooner take your money by foul means than give you a fair and honest game.
What are Poker Scams?
Poker Scams can and do take many different guises, there is no hard and fast set of rules a cheating online poker site will put in place to ensure you can never win or cash out any winnings if you do win, but some of the most common ways you will be relieved from your poker bankroll are listed below.
Super User Accounts – This is one of the most shocking ways a poker site will rip honest players off, and there have been several online poker sites found guilty of using this method recently.
A Super User Account is a way for a set of cheating employees or ex-employees of a poker site to be able to log into the poker site as normal, deposit funds and withdraw any winning quite normally, however when they actually sit down to play poker in any poker room at the cheating poker site they are able to see what every other players cards are.
Withdrawals Never Get Sent – One of the most simple ways in which an online poker site will scam you is the Bet Online Poker Scam who are offering fair games, plenty of poker variants and well populated tournaments, and on first appearance these sites will seem perfectly legit.
However the problems will start to arise when you have requested a cash out, due to the nature of processing gambling funds to some countries, who have confusing or contradictory online gambling laws, these sites will claim to have sent you your withdrawals, however in reality they never have done such a thing.
They will then have you chasing your tail contacting your bank repeatedly trying to trace these supposedly missing bank wires, however due to some countries deeming online poker illegal these shady poker sites know you are not likely to contact any law enforcement agencies to alert them to this rip off, for fear of your being implicated in playing poker illegally!
Deposits Taken But Not Credited – Another scam is the Cake Poker Scam, this one is where you make a deposit into this poker site, your transaction is processed and removed from the balance of your credit or debit card, but never appears in your poker room account.
What will follow is then a long and drawn out procedure where you have to jump through hoops to try and get the poker site to listen to your complaint or get the money added to your account.
Affiliates Get Cheated - Many websites will promote poker sites via several different methods, this could be a simple text link which is placed on their website or a banner or set of banners will be dotted around that third party website.
The poker sites will then send the affiliate as they are known, a small commission for each real money player who joins that particular poker site and makes a deposit and plays.
However the Lock Poker Scam is one whereby the particular poker site will give affiliates special little promotional offers to list on their websites as a way of giving their website visitors more reason to follow those text or banner links and join up.
However when those players then try and claim those little extras, which could be an increase in rake back, special exclusive tournaments or even bigger welcome bonuses the poker site will flatly refuse to honour them.
Anonymous Poker Tables – The Bodog/Bovada Scam was quite a shocking one which was discovered by some online poker players. This online poker site was proudly proclaiming that their poker tables were now completely anonymous, meaning it would be impossible for tracking software and the such like to pin point players and would make playing much fairer.
However it was soon discovered that their poker tables were far from anonymous, and once you knew how to do it, you could see which player was who and use the tracking software which makes spotting weaker players and the such like much easier.
How Can I Protect Myself From Poker Scams?
You need to be careful when choosing an online poker site at which to play, whilst you will find plenty of top rated and highly respectable online poker sites who will give you a first class poker playing experience, some sites need avoiding like the plague.
We would strongly advise that you spend some time studying our What To Look For In A Good Poker Site section of our website, as you will find a step by step guide in regards to easily spotting a site you can trust, and a site which will never pull any kind of stunt when it comes to giving you fair and random games.
We have a section which will answer that age old question: What Poker Sites Can I Trust? take a look at it as the sites listed on that web page are the cream of the online crop and you will be guaranteed of fair games, on time cash outs and a completely scam free experience.
Another information article we have compiled is titled Signs That It’s Time To Withdraw My Funds and this will give you a few pointers in regards to when you should be getting your funds out of a poker site, for a myriad of different reasons.
Be very wary of an online poker site whose only available way of funding your account is by using a money transfer service such as Western Union or Money Gram, or sites which only allow you to fund your poker account using a prepaid voucher such as Ukash or PaySafeCard, as these could be indicators that the site in question is upto no good!
How Can I Report a Poker Scam?
There can be no worse feeling than the one you get once you discover you have been ripped off by any one of the numerous poker scams which are doing the rounds. Whilst most players who have been victim to such a crime will remain silent and take the loss, you really should report a poker scam if you have been a victim to one of them.
However the difficult part is knowing who to tell or who to report a poker scam too. The internet is a powerful tool and as such you should spend some time looking for poker message boards, poker forums or even social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, as these are ideal ways to spread the word.
Word of mouth is a very powerful tool, and by googling the name of any poker site with the word scam or cheating at the end of it when using a search engine will often soon alert you to the trustability factor of any particular online poker site!
In regards to the licensing authorities who issue the online gambling licenses to many poker sites, you are often in the lap of the Gods in regards to getting help from them, some offer a fully comprehensive player complains procedure and some simply will ignore your complaint and toss it in the trash can!
The way in which you made your deposit into the poker site that has scammed you is often a way of reporting such a scam. If you have used a credit or debit card then complain to the issuing bank or financial institute.
Should you have used one of the many different web wallets which are available to online poker players, then a strongly worded e-mail or telephone call to the online money transfer service may just yield results.
The best way to report a poker scam is to never be victim to one in the first place, that is going to require you to spend a lot of time researching each and every poker site at which you are thinking of playing, and whilst this will be a long and drawn out and also time consuming thing to do you really do need to ensure you are playing at first class poker sites, or sadly you may just get ripped off.