What is team play and how to deal with it


One of the most widely used swindle technique in real and online poker is team play. It is very various and educing it is not the simple matter.

Profit achieving is the main goal for any professional player. And sometimes you can face different methods of advancing including the illicit ones.

Pro players make their bread with poker, so when they are really hungry nothing will stop them and critical situations will only make the matters worse. Again, team play may yield a great profit. Of course, it is never too much money…

What is team play?

There are usually 2 or 3 hand in glove players. They are not a legal poker team. Using a proper signal system they share information right during the game, tell each other what cards did they glanced, what combination is on the post-flop, which will be the next actions, etc.

This kind of information offers great advantage and therefore levels up the win rates of all players of the bunch. Besides card-sharpers can easily exchange with checks, hold out their opponents by rising (making them sluff) and hold back each other.

Team play may be used by both friends playing around and professional swindler players.

Holding out a player is the most evident team play example.

One of the most effective team play methods used is called “sandwich”: there are three players two of which are in collusion with each other. One of them raises the bet, the other makes the 3-bet. This can result 4 or 5 bets. The point is that a victim would not be able to continue betting without a good hand which happens quite seldom; besides the swindlers themselves may have good starters.

If you notice that two or three opponents of you often “fight” at the preflop and one of them snatches the pot, the possibility of team play is more likely here.

What limits are reserved by team players?

Casino or club rules violation always leads to severe implications down to criminal liability no matter what kind of limits were there – low or high stakes. Owing to this, the highest possibility to face team playing is being at medium and high limits (at least it is true for foreign clubs). This refers to bets like $5/$10+ in no-limit variations and $15/$30+ in limit ones, may be less.

Las Vegas is the most popular location for team players. Every city that lives off tourists divides people into us and them: all tourists are “them”, everybody makes money on them; and the locals are “us” and they try to help each other.

In CIS poker clubs you can meet team players at lower bets, e.g. $1/$2, $5/$5 in non-limit varieties.

It’s obvious that possibility of facing team playing at highest limits ($25/$50+) is lower because everybody just knows each other by sight and gaming level is too high for this.

Really low limits are not attractive for swindlers as they do not return the desired profit the most part of which is cut by rakes.

How can team play be detected?

Each pro swindle team has its own signal system. The most primitive ones are word and sign combinations. For example, hacking cough may mean combinations like  АК or АQ, stronger cough may indicate stronger pairs like QQ-АА. Guys using these signals usually work at rather dingy clubs and casinos that seem to spit upon their players’ fairness.

More skilled swindlers may demonstrate signals using their cards and chips which are the most obvious means. For example, a green chip placed right in the center of cards may tell you a player has the AA combination, if it is placed to the top left corner then the combination is KK, and so on.

An experienced swindler will never cough, blow his nose or perform any other strange signs. Moreover any system that is not effective at the moment can be changed by the stand-by one and there are variations.

Hand in glove players often fold at river after they were gaming aggressively right before that. You can seldom face this in professional poker as it may indicate the chip leakage.

Generally speaking in order to detect team players it is necessary to watch their movements, chips, cards and look for a certain system.

What should one do incase team playing is detected?

There is no special instruction if you see violation of team poker rules. All hunches should be first directed to providers, managers or other people who are not related to the game. Don’t discuss it at the table decrying the potential delinquents. By doing this you may frighten the swindlers away and it will be impossible to prove anything later. Anyway mere mistrusting should be reason for checks in reliable clubs. I witnessed a husband and wife were placed at separate tables in one of the clubs in Minsk.

Either way, the most effective method to avoid this is to change a table or even leave the club. It is very difficult to prove team playing in live poker where the hands are not recorded unlike the online variations of it.


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