With the anonymity of online poker rooms you could have the misconception that playing online poker isn’t very safe and you should only play poker at a brick and mortar casino where you can see the cards being dealt and actually see your opponents. Whilst it’s good to be skeptical, there are safe ways to play poker online.
Some online poker players are worried about hackers who could potentially see hole cards. With the advancements in internet security technology there are obstacles like SSLv3 and TLSv1 encryption and lots of multi-layered random number sequencers which prevent cheating. With the encryption advances it has basically made it impossible for hackers to exploit the game. The most recent poker scandal involved two partner sites, Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker, which didn’t involve random players hacking the site at all. As it turned out certain individuals involved in the site development were given special privileges and were playing high stakes games with the ability to see whole cards. To prevent yourself from getting caught up in something like this, it is recommended that you only play on popular sites that have credibility. Online poker rooms like Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker are very safe to play on.
The most common form of cheating which happens at the tables is collusion, which is against the poker rooms TOS. This can happen when two or more friend’s site at the same table and reveal to each other what cards they hold. If collusion is occurring they are at a distinct advantage in the game for obvious reasons. One way to prevent you from being involved in a game where collusion may be taking place is to be observant of what’s being said in the chatbox. If you see players talking in a different language and always folding to each other’s raises, you may have reason to be suspicious and it would be a good idea to change tables. Whilst collusion is not a big problem with online poker its something you should be aware of. Online poker rooms have security in place that is capable of detecting any collusion type of behavior.
It’s very rare for some poker players to even attempt cheating with online poker, but there is no benefit in being naive and to think it could never happen to you. You should never accuse anyone of cheating. If you experience suspicious activity you can either contact the online poker room’s customer support. The most immediate action you can take is just get up and leave. There are plenty of other games you can play for honest poker.