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Massive Collusion at PPPoker Uncovered in China

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It seems as though there’s always something to surprise the online poker world, and the latest revelation comes from an Asian grind house. Recently, a video surfaced that displayed numerous adjacent computers all multi-tabling on the PPPoker app in China. While it has been known for Asian poker apps to have experienced similar issues in the past, with reports of collusion and lax security features being commonplace, the video that has come to light appears to show players working together as a team at PPPoker.

PPPoker Grindhouse Image

A 10-Second Video Reveals Astonishing Gameplay

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Numerous users on social media platform Twitter have found themselves sharing the video in question although it was initially posted by Joey “ChicagoJoey” Ingram. In that post, he stated that he had a lot of questions regarding the poker grind house being displayed. The award-winning poker podcast host (who has previously been critical of the Winning Poker Network’s security features) shared the 10-second-long video, which displays several people sitting at computers with what appear to be numerous poker tables open on each of their screens.

Tweet From ChicagoJoey About PPPoker

The video also allows viewers to hear whoever is recording it speaking Mandarin, leading many to assume that the building where this suspicious activity is taking place is somewhere in China. Since Ingram posted it on April 18, it has had over 100,000 views.

A translation of the Mandarin being spoken in the 10-second video states something along the lines of:

That isn’t enough. We don’t have enough computers. We’ll have to add two more.

This potentially suggests that more computers would be on the way, and consequently, more people would be hired to load additional tables up on those screens. One Twitter user going by the username of ׅ“Altia_1” commented that they suspected someone of backing all of the players in the room or that they may be hired hands to ensure a large portion of the money at the tables is won by a particular user.

PPPoker Recognized as Platform Being Used

The PPPoker app was singled out as being the poker room in question almost instantly by Twitter users. This brand operates as a major private club-based online poker platform, and it hosts users from more than 100 countries around the world.

This poker app requires that you be invited to participate in games by the host of such games or an agent in the employ of such a club host. You can’t simply sign up to play on your own directly, as you can with normal online poker sites, except for play money games, which makes the app slightly suspicious in its own right.

Mobile Poker Apps Lack Security and Fairness

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It’s not just the poker grindhouse video that has stood out as evidence of collusion at PPPoker. Among other evidence of unfair gameplay at PPPoker was a reply from another Twitter user with a screenshot included. Within this image, a list of players can be seen whose usernames are all exceptionally similar to one another – giving even more rise to the suspicion that these users are in cahoots with one another.

Tweet About Similar Screennames at PPPoker

This isn’t the first time that a poker app has been brandished as ready to be abused by players. In fact, over the past half-decade, just about all of the “social” poker start-ups featuring a club and agent model have been beset with problems surrounding collusion, scams, and stolen money. This includes PPPoker, yes, but also other such apps, like PokerMaster and PokerBros.

If the video posted by Joey Ingram is indeed a real situation, then anyone accessing the PPPoker app as an ordinary and honest player could find themselves facing off against several of the grind house colluders at once. That’s a huge issue, and one of the largest grievances of poker players is others working in collusion to try and get ahold of their money.

No Route to Take for Cheated Players

Because these apps require you to be invited to join a poker club by a “middle man” so to speak, the developers and owners have no interest in mediating disputes involving them. Unscrupulous club managers therefore have the ability to pretty much take advantage of players with impunity.

Unlike bigger online poker sites such as Ignition or BetOnline for example, these private club apps don’t provide players with anywhere to turn to in cases of collusion or scams. So, if you were a player at such an app and you suspected you were being cheated out of money, you wouldn’t be able to contact the support team and report these activities. While mainstream online poker sites have procedures in place to follow through with in order to halt such unethical acts taking place, PPPoker and apps of a similar ilk have no route for players to take.

Previous PPPoker Scandals

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PPPoker has made the news headlines multiple times before due to various scam concerns. In fact, it was only last year that the app experienced quite a wave of negativity. It was discovered that a convicted felon – Adnan “NYPokerKing” Mohammad – was utilizing the app to run his own Ponzi scheme through his PokerClub.ag.

This notorious incident saw several players who were due large five-figure pay-outs never receive them. Mohammad outrightly refused to provide the winnings and, instead, he proceeded with cutting all communication with those players. At the same time, many other people claimed that their winnings were only paid out once other players had proceeded with depositing. That’s the classic process of a Ponzi scheme in operation.

To make things worse, two of the players who were owed the largest sums of money were accused of cheating by Mohammad. He requested that any other players publicly report any kind of “suspicious activity” that they may have observed. From this, he proceeded with the accusations against users “DonkeyCopter” and “Slizzer” who were owed pay-outs of $40,000 and $20,000 respectively. Community members who reviewed the “evidence” against these players presented by Mohammad found it laughable and totally irrelevant.

Of course, Mohammad went forth and denied all accusations laid out against him, claiming in the process that he was simply the “face of the club.” In doing so, he denied having any involvement in its day-to-day running.

Collusion Rife Elsewhere Too

If you want to look further into the collusion side of things though, it’s not only the Asian poker apps that suffer from this. You only need to take a look at a recent PokerStars Turbo Series to see that potentially, the bigger sites can also be victims of this. During that series, two members of a poker stable based in Brazil raised some very concerned eyebrows over their style of gameplay.

On April 6, 2020, some players managed to spot that there were some inconsistencies that required investigating in relation to the two Brazilian players. The gamers, “BrunoBoucas” and “M Cunha G,” supposedly belong to the country’s largest poker stable, which goes by the name of the 4bet Poker Team.

During one hand, the latter of these two players opened AKo with a 21 bb stack and then folded when “BrunoBoucas” jammed pocket aces. This play instantly raised suspicions of collusion among those watching. It didn’t take long for players to spot other suspicious play choices and PokerStars to fire up an investigation.

At least with PokerStars and other reputable sites, though, such investigations are possible and do sometimes punish wrongdoers. Such is seldom the case when dealing with club/agent apps.

Going About It the Right Way

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It’s true that not all grind houses and poker stables can be considered as suspicious. There are several of these in operation around the world that act in a trustworthy and respectable way. Yet, PPPoker and other similar apps provide a tempting opportunity for those who are dishonest and greedy.

To avoid being taken for a ride by the scam teams, the best course of action is to locate a site that is licensed and regulated. There are many of these available to US players as well though their licensure comes from offshore authorities rather than from Washington. To learn more about safe places to play as an American, check out this guide to USA online poker.