Collusion and Chip Dumping

A lot can be learned about collusion and chip dumping on this site, notably from Replay’s Poker Operations Manager’s profile, @Chasetheriver, and his great new article on Replay’s blog.

I have questions about specific cases, and thought I’d post them here, first to hopefully get answers from @Chasetheriver and/or staff members, and second for anyone interested to also benefit from them.

As Rob said in his article, “Poker is supposed to be an individual game”, and working together at poker tables is obviously against the rules.

But sometimes, there are harmless situations that occur when playing with friends, or even strangers, and I would like to know whether they are considered as forms of cheating and colluding, or are allowed and do not violate any rules.

A situation where for example, I am in a tournament, at the same table with a friend and a few others, and I have more tournament chips than the friend who is probably about to bust out. In a hand where I have the nuts and I’m betting aggressively, everyone folds except my friend. So I decide, without my friend’s knowledge or request, to either stop betting so that he/she doesn’t lose any more chips calling my bets, or to fold and let them have the pot. Is that considered cheating?
The person doesn’t even have to be a friend. It could be any player I sympathized with during that one hand who isn’t an accomplice or even aware of my decision.

Another example is a situation where there’s a split and I decide to fold. That would benefit the other person I’m splitting the pot with, but that would be my own decision, without their knowledge or even approval. Is that considered cheating?

I’m asking because these situations happened before and could happen again, and some players at the table weren’t happy with it obviously, and threatened those who did it with reporting them etc… Although it was just one or 2 hands and there were no visible signs of teaming up or planned collusion.

There are other examples I’m sure. I’ll post other ones if I can think of any, and if anyone has any similar situations to share, we could all learn more about what is considered cheating and what isn’t.

Thanks :slightly_smiling_face:

I would consider that to be very close to cheating in a tournament setting. Not quite, but close. It’s really not fair to the other players. If you bust someone out, everyone moves up a step, and that’s the goal of tournament poker.

To me, this is cheating. As Rob pointed out, poker is not a team sport. Again, you help your friend at the expense of everyone else.

I don’t cut my friends any slack, and don’t expect them to cut me any. It’s a friendly competition, so let’s be friendly, but compete. Don’t cheapen the whole thing by giving me anything I don’t deserve.

My goal is to win a tournament, otherwise, why enter? In order for me to win, I have to take all of the chips from everyone. Why pass up on a chance to do it now? You might not get another chance.

Yet another example I just witnessed tonight and have seen several times before. A player announces “I got to go, take my chips”, and also announces his hole cards in the chat pre-flop. Then proceeds to go all-in and if there’s no callers, repeats the same until someone calls.

I’ve wanted to call them out on it before, but I end up just shaking my head and ignoring it. I never seen anyone say anything negative about it, and also have seen it encouraged.

Both of those situations given by Maya are considered “soft play” and are against the rules set by RPP.

@Larry_Laffer’s scenario is not collusion, by its definition, but it’s also against the rules set by RPP to reveal your cards through the Chat before the hand is over. I’ve done this before, and it’s always been because I’m absolutely disgusted with the game because I’ve lost a hand I needed to win, and now want to get away from the table as fast as possible. It’s wrong, and I shouldn’t have done it. I won’t do it in the future. At the time though I just felt like telling the table I was shoving garbage would help get a call so I could get away from the table as quickly as possible, not to help anyone specifically. The chips still went to whoever had a good enough hand to call and win against whoever else was in the hand.

What’s bad about this is, it ruins the legitimate play of the hand. If I’m telling the truth, people have an information advantage knowing that two possible out cards are not in play, and this can completely alter the way the hand plays out. If I’m not telling the truth, no one really knows for sure until the hand is over, if they get to see my cards.

If you want to donate your chips to the table, shove them and don’t tell what you have. Or mark yourself Away and let them bleed slowly into the table until you’re out. You might even place higher than you otherwise would have.

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If they have to go, then there ought to be a “donate chips” button.
And then they are evenly spread to every player in the ring.
The request may have to go admin first, not actually donated straight away. Admin will review the request, and presto, you get a message next time you log in, “donated chips approved”.

On the question of collusion, I’ve seen it happen in other places of free poker. They obviously know each other, skype each other, all-in the game, some fold, then the “donater” folds when their “partner” is the last person standing.
lol, I think it’s funny in a way, but puts a negative slant on the entire game. It’s boring to watch actually.

I just leave, make a coffee, check e-mails and on with the next game.
But it happens again…don’t know what the solution is.
10,000 free chips, it’s not like 10,000 real dollars.

Hi Maya, glad you like it.

Short answer: It depends, but context is important.

  • Bad: Two or more players are looking to gain an advantage and they are concealing the activity.
  • Not so bad: Two acquaintances who are faced with a decision about impacting on each others enjoyment of a Play Chip game, without proper consideration to the other players who may/will be affected

I would like to see some discussion about specific scenarios but lets not ask If specific players are crossing any lines.


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Hi Larry_Laffer

In live games this is known as coffee-housing and is most commonly bad etiquette rather than cheating. Mike Caro has the term pokerclack where they sigh or tut as they go all-in with AA.
They only have to do it once and they give the game away.

If players really have to leave, why not just log off? Some genuinely believe they are giving away chips and don’t think about messing up the flow of the game.



Here’s a specific incident, please tell me what you think.

We were playing in a MTT, 6 seats, 6 players. X and Y are my friends and 3 other players. I had the smallest stack. During 2 consecutive hands, only X and I were left with the pot while everyone else folded. At the turn (or the river, I don’t recall exactly), X folded and let me have the pot.I didn’t ask, didn’t expect it to happen, and there was no teaming up or anything. It was his move, and he decided to fold. This happened in 2 hands and that’s it.

My other friend Y didn’t like the gesture. She complained and said that X was cheating and it’s against the rules and called him a cheater for the rest of the game.

Now those were tourney chips, so it wasn’t even chip dumping. And there were still other tables in play, so it wasn’t like it affected the game much. It did help me stay in the game though for longer than I was expected to stay.

Was X really cheating? I know it could be annoying to other players and might see unfair to others, but is it illegal? Is it collusion? Is it against the rules?

I believe this applies here. But would it be considered a violation of some sort? Is it a punishable offense or forgivable soft play?

X and Y argued. X refused to be called a cheater and said he plays nice with friends and it wasn’t against any rules. Y insisted that X was a cheater and that what he did could be reported. Who’s right?

I don’t think they are. The’re definitely frowned upon by some, but they don’t match the definition of collusion and don’t really violate any explicit rules set by Replay, mostly because they’re not done in coordination between 2 or more players, but are the actions of one player who decided to “play nicely” with other unsuspecting players.

Getting shot in the chest is bad. Getting stabbed in the arm is not so bad.

We want to know if an action violates the site’s rules, not the relative merits of each.


Rob did say that it depends on the context. So better ask about specific scenarios. Let’s start with my example and see if it’s against the rules or not :slight_smile:

Do you have any other scenarios we can learn from?

Sure. Someone has pocket aces, when it’s his buddy’s turn to act, he says, “careful” in chat. One of his friends folds, the other calls. After the hand, he says, “I tried to tell you,” and the folder says, “Yeah, I listened.” Aces guy says, “Yeah, but caller didn’t.”

To me, this is cheating.

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I sure hope there’s nothing wrong with doing this because I do it all the time at the 5/10 rings.
Not because I’m chip dumping or being generous but because I see my hand is not going to make and just want to get out of the way of the others and get on to the next hand.


Yeah I see your point. In this scenario there’s some kind of coordination and cooperation between them. One warns the other, the other listens and acts accordingly.

But then again when he says “careful” it’s to the whole table, not just his friend. Would that still be considered as against the rules? Maybe Rob could weigh in on this one?

I don’t see anything wrong with that. I also fold when I know it’s absolutely pointless to stay in the hand.

In the scenario I’m talking about it was more generosity than anything else.

I very rarely post in the forum regarding this subject, but I want you all to consider that being kind to a friend can mean that friend takes your donated chips to another game and uses them to take out another player who has earned his chips by hard work on the site or by purchasing chips legitimately from the site. Yes it is hard to bet against a friend,but in my experience there can be consequences you did not think of when being friendly.


Very true. In ring games, it would be a direct donation.

However, it’s a bit different in tournaments, as one wouldn’t be exactly donating any chips if they help a friend stay in the tourney for example. Unless it’s done at the final table or in SnG’s, the friend would still have a long way to actually win any chips.

I think it means a lot less in ring games. There can be different reasons to fold. For example, you might just want to get to the next hand, you might not want to show what you were playing, you might be helping your friend, and so on. Unless they confess in chat, it’s impossible to determine motive and intent.

In rings, that kind of stuff doesn’t really affect anyone else. This isn’t the case in tournament play though. Still, unless one can determine intent, any rule designed to prevent this sort of thing would be difficult or impossible to enforce.

is not

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In tournament play, it’s common to check down a hand when there’s an allin and no side pot. One could probably make a case that this is a mild form of collusion, but it’s just an accepted tournament strategy. Bluffing a dry pot when there is an allin is just bad strategy, but there are plenty of “grey areas” too.

I don’t consider this to be collusion, what do you think?