how often do you suspect cheating by collusion?

BobSaginaul
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how often do you suspect cheating by collusion?

Post by BobSaginaul » Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:46 am

I've been playing at Hardwood Hearts on and off for a few years now. And when I play, I play mostly for fun with a competitive edge. My rating fluctuates from the low 1300's to just below 1500. And I've found that lately, I've really had to struggle just to keep my rating at around 1450. I've even taken to keeping track of how many cards in each suite have been played by actually writing this info down. And still my rating stays below 1500.
Tonight I was in a game where there was no doubt in my mind that at least two of the other three players were in collusion to cheat. First of all, when I played, there were only about 100 players online in Smoot's Cavern. And all three came into the game I was hosting at exactly the same time. And all three were constantly dumping the Q on me, even when I had hands where I figured that I shouldn't or wouldn't get the Q. And another give-away was that there were frequent pauses during the game (I'm guessing that they were passing info to one another).
I wonder just how hard would it be to get two or three players sitting close to one another to take advantage of some unsuspecting player or two? My guess is not hard at all. They could be students in a computer lab at some school, college, or univerisity. Or they could be in a cyber cafe or library for that matter. Or they could just be using Instant Messaging to pass info to each other.
But nothing is more infuriating than to be powerless to have to deal with this type of situation. It is extremely unfair to players who play fair and by the rules. And I rather suspect that this type of cheating happens more often than one would naturally suspect, given how easy it is to cheat this way.
I wonder how many others who play hearts suspect cheating by collusion and if anything can and/or should be done about this. Of course, it's not like we play for money, but this type of cheating does affect one's rating.
I've noticed that on some poker sites like PartyPoker.net, that they do guard against cheating by collusion even when real money is not involved. I wonder if the same should be done at Hardwood Hearts.

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Re: how often do you suspect cheating by collusion?

Post by Lace » Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:05 am

BobSaginaul wrote: I've even taken to keeping track of how many cards in each suite have been played by actually writing this info down.
And another give-away was that there were frequent pauses during the game (I'm guessing that they were passing info to one another).

I wonder how many others who play hearts suspect cheating by collusion and if anything can and/or should be done about this.
Wouldn't taking the time to write down each card played cause frequent pauses? I've tried it and you just can't pick up a pen, write that fast, put the pen down and get back to your mouse to play quick enough. I would hate to think you're suspected of cheating because of this? Check someone's ping before you accuse. Some are on dial up, some just have a slow connection. Sure, there are probably those that for some unknown reason feel they have to cheat to "win" (not sure what they are winning really), but the majority I hope play fair and do so because they enjoy the game.
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Post by BobSaginaul » Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:31 am

I'm writing down only the number of cards played in each suite, not each particular card that is played, and I (and I guess most people) can do this without having to slow down the game. This is what I do:

C D S H
4 (C=clubs, D=Diamonds, S=spades, etc.)

If 4 clubs are played on the first round, then it looks like the above.

And this doesn't take any time at all.

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Collusion in Hearts

Post by Joe Andrews » Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:29 am

This is a topic which I included in my book, "The Complete Win At Hearts".
It is a frequently occuring motif in "on line" games, as two "comrades" can arrange a game by sitting adjacent to one another at a table, and then lure in two unsuspecting random players. Then the "Team" players work together to ensure that one of them wins First place, and if possible, the other comes in second. They usually have several nics, and can help each other to boost up their ratings or win a Tournament, by pulling the same scam at other tables. Hearts is supposed to be a "cutthroat", solo game, and not a Partners game (unless, of course, that variation is designated in advance).

In "live" Hearts, this is much more difficult, as the pairings are random for each round, and two players will only be at the same table one time during the course of the qualfiying rounds. When I conduct the Grand Prix "live" Hearts events, players draw numbers for seats. The Match Point scoring system discourages "tanking" of games, as well as helping a friend to win First Place.

My suggestion and "cure" for this "psuedo team" problem at HW is to let the computer randomly pair four players at each table. A Ratings Range in increments of 100 points would be the basis of seeting up each table. As soon as 30 or 40 or more players entered the room, the computer would then pair them together in groups of four. Yes, there would still be the possibility that colluding players could still be together at a table; however, it would be by chance, and not by design. And it would stop colluding players from pre-arranging a table in advance, and then advertising for opponent in the lobby.

Once again, we have the ego problem of some dishonest players trying to manipulate the system and bastardize the game in their zeal to satisfy their egos! Thank God that most players are here for fun, and play ethically.

Enjoy life, have fun!

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I believe that it happened again!

Post by BobSaginaul » Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:52 am

I was playing hearts tonight, 1 March 07, about at 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time. There weren't but about 150 online at the time. There weren't any games open that I wanted to play in, so I hosted one. Soon after I hosted the game, 3 players came in all at once, all at the same time, which is rather unusual at that time of night and with less than 150 players online. Usually, one has to wait several minutes while players drift in one at a time, and I as the host have to advertise the game in the lobby, asking for more players.
And I saw the strangest plays occur during this game! The other 3 players all directed the Jack of Diamonds (worth -40 points) to one particular player (and it wasn't me), and I got the Q dumped on me at every single turn. Now like I said before, there's no doubt in my mind that these 3 players were in collusion with one another, possibly to boost the player rating of one of their own.
I didn't note the names of all three players, but next time I will, and I will post those names in this forum.

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Post by grandmaS » Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:39 am

Do not post the names in the forum, it will only be removed as it is against the rules of the forum.

Instead send a report to admin so they can review the game.

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BobSaginaul
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How do I do that?

Post by BobSaginaul » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:57 am

How do I send a report to Admin?

I've tried to find a way to contact SilverCreek/Hardwood Hearts directly concerning this matter because I think that it is that important, but there are no links showing ways to contact them.

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Post by grandmaS » Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:05 pm

support@silvercrk.com or you can just file a report in any of the lobbys using the file a report system :)
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Post by HEXA » Wed Mar 21, 2007 7:11 pm

Wouldn't taking the time to write down each card played cause frequent pauses? I've tried it and you just can't pick up a pen, write that fast, put the pen down and get back to your mouse to play quick enough.
Unless you can write with your free hand. I dont know about you, but i can write letters and numbers with my left hand, even though i'm right-handed. lol ofcourse it isnt that readable.


I am just mentioning this because it could cut out several steps in your scenario above, and may not cause pausing.

:)

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Post by Dust In The Wind » Wed Mar 21, 2007 7:23 pm

Personally I don't need to write them down........


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Post by psunuke » Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:12 am

Well, my thoughts here are that I've played here at HW for over 6 years . . . maybe 7, who's counting. I have also migrated to spades a couple years ago as well as hearts, and while I do think that collusion exists as does other forms of cheating I firmly believe that they are not a widespread problem.

But I just want to comment not as a retort to the cheating itself, but your belief that your rating and your counting the card method leading you to believe there is more collusion. I personally have not had a nic below 1500 in 4 or 5 years, and rarely get to below 1600. I have actually found that many of the "experienced" players have actually left or dont' play so much anymore and actually found it easier. I play all formats including my most hated 300 NS which has become the rave for some reason I don't understand.

Keeping track of the cards is VERY important, but knowing what to do with that information is paramount in the outcome of the game, not just the information itself. I suggest you rethink the strategy a bit. There are simple things that people do over and over and over that just will not aid you in winning, like playing your "outs", commonly a 2, at the wrong time, and a good player counting cards knows they now have the upper hand. In any case, same with spades for me. I find it no problem to do well, and even if there is collusion, there are only 13 cards per player and I feel with a firm grasp of the game, they (those in collusion) still have to play well to beat good players.

My 2 cents

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Post by gecco » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:40 am

Oh, there is collaberation going on, Jerry!

To think otherwise means you are in denial...

I cannot add any more to what has already been said... but there are way too many tables where un-natural plays keep occuring. Cards, by definition, are random ... and there is no way three players can play the hand perfectly to keep nailing the same player, hand after hand, without some sort of inside information, or atleast, pre-determined agreement

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gecco, I couldn't agree more!

Post by BobSaginaul » Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:13 pm

Gecco, I couldn't agree more with what you just said. Anybody who says that cheating by collusion doesn't happen is simply in denial. And the dead give-away is that unnatural play that occurs too often during the course of the game. I was just in a game where one player openly admitted that he (or she) was throwing the game just so his (or her) friend would come in first. And during the course of the game he (or she) said "they don't have a clue." Well, the fact of the matter is that I do have a clue, and there was absolutely no doubt that these two were in collusion.

And HEXA, you bring up a very good point which I hadn't thought about, but the fact of the matter is that I write with my left hand (as well as eat and throw). Everything else I do with my right hand (including using a mouse). Many lefties do one or more things right-handed as a result of growing up in a right-handed world.

I like to think that I'm of at least average intelligence, but I will have to admitt that I'm not smart enough to remember each card as it is played during each hand of each game. There may be some who can, but I believe that there are very few who actually can without confusing the current hand with a previous hand played.

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Post by sandbar » Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:54 pm

I was in a pards game yesterday and one of the other team, in the middle of a hand, soap foomed themselves and lo and behold out came the lead to capture the jod which she had. When challenged, one of the other team said, 'so what, if you were playing in real time, you would raise your eyebrows or something to signal your pard, what is the difference."
He wouldn't accept it was cheating.
My pard and I have ethics and no way would we allow anyone to cheat, we don't do it, and we expect other players not to.
That said, it's very hard to prove anyone is cheating, if they don't foom they use im.
On the subject of pausing, I am guilty of that, because I am not a fast thinker, and sometimes I stop and wonder what in the heck am I going to throw next.
This is only a game, how many times have we read this in the forum, what do cheaters achieve apart from a high score, which they have only come to because of their cheating, not because they are excellent card players. :roll:
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Post by grandmaS » Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:23 pm

Well said Sand, at some point you have to say to yourself I acheived the rating I have fairly and while having fun. And that is what is most important. I know I and most others can look themselves in the mirror and know its a game, we played fair and win or lose we had fun.

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