Think that poker pro you’re facing off against at the casino is an Ace? Think again. If he’s anything like Ali Tekintamgac, his winning streak might be too good to be true.
The German poker player was sentenced to three years in jail after admitting to cheating on the international poker stage. Tekintamgac worked with a fake member of the media to win hands completely unfairly. The media member would hover over the table and check out a player’s hands. He would then relay the information to the Tekintamgac so that he could play his hand accordingly and walk away with a huge win.
You can watch the cheating moves live, in action in the video below. Skip ahead to the 27-second mark to see the cheating unfold.
To be honest, I can see this happening more often than not. I’ve covered various poker tournaments, including a very big one in the Caribbean hosted by a world-renowned poker site.
The event was great, but what I noticed was that sheer intimacy at the tables. I had my media credentials around my neck, which let me get really close to the tables to do chip counts. I wasn’t close enough to read a player’s cards. Don’t get me wrong. But I also wasn’t trying to read a player’s cards.
I could have very easily taken a few steps back and pretended to take photos of the chip stacks, when my primary goal was to zoom in on a player’s cards and relay the information to a player I happen to be in cahoots with.
This wouldn’t work if I were standing far away. But if I got close enough and was standing at the right angle, I could likely capture something.
And, as this story proves, I wouldn’t even need a zoom lense. I could eyeball the hand if I really wanted to and relay the information.
So what’s stopping people from doing that? For the most part, respect for the game. Poker players, on the whole, have loads of respect for the game and huge egos that are best massaged by a massive win.
Cheating to get ahead isn’t really something most players aspire to do. Of course, you’ll find all sorts of bad apples in any sport, but I don’t think it’s something that we necessarily need to worry about.
With that being said, my story proves that cheating is relatively easy. So if you’re playing in a tournament, keep your eye on your cards. And watch out for dudes standing behind you leaning over your shoulder.