Join Date: Jun 2008
Shills/Props playing on Cake Network
Since Cake is pretty much the only place for US O8 players to get any online action now, I've been playing there quite a bit over the last year. Of course there are issues with Cake (propper) paying out timely, which is why I opened an Intertops account a few months back, but that's nother story.
Over this year+, I've played enough to identify a couple of bots (one of which was eventually banned). While bots are disturbing to some degree, they are for the most part very beatable once you recognize what their parameters are. Understanding that they make their money off sheer volume (rewards, bonuses, etc) because a record check will always indicate they are around break even or slightly +/-.
However, a much bigger concern in my mind is what appear to be multiple shills playing on the cake network. I've seen them primarily in Cake's O8 R&A MTT's at 10am, 1:45pm and 5:08pm (pacific time) but Im sure they are elsewhere as well (this is just what I play for the most part). After a lot of experience tracking player stats and playing styles, I've come up with a pretty good method for identifying these cheaters. Basically, you look for donkey-like stats... like over 50% VP$IP, super-high aggression factors, and what kind of hands they show-down with. Typically, like any donkey, they will get a lot of money in bad, many time Pre-Flop. So far, this would be pretty much like any donkey... however, the one big difference is that these "players" suckout wins or splits at a MUCH higher rate than would be possible under normal conditions. And Im not just talking about a few suckouts here and there... I mean like consistently winning pots after getting in bad hand after hand.
Then, the ultimate test is to look up their stats on Sharkscope or the like. Normally a "player" with these playing tendencies would run between -50% and 0% ROI. So, if I see something reasonably profitable, say 20%, that's almost a sure sign that "player" is a shill/prop.
Just so we're clear on terminology, since neither technical definiation of either term may fit exactly here... I'm talking about players who are essentially on Cake's payroll in one way or another... most likely playing with their own money... but recieve preferential treatment from Cake's "RNG", which enables them to hit miracle after miracle and finish artificially high in these MTT's. My suspicion is that they player gets to keep a certain % of the bogus winnings, and Cake retains the other portion. The benefit to cake is obvious... they don't have to pay out the full portion of prizes promised (these are all garuntee tourneys).
As I said, I have suspected a few of these over the last year, but by far the most prevalent is called "jhricharde". This guy is a real piece of work. In the rebuy period, he is literally one of the worst players around... pushing with complete junk nearly every hand. Granted, these R&A's are most definately one of the biggest donk-fests online, but even with that said, this guy stands out for his purely horrible play. I'm talking around 60%+ VP$IP and well in excess of 33% PFR rates. After the rebuy period ends, he does tighten up somewhat, but not much to be honest. Still WAY overly agressive with junk hands over and over again, hitting suckouts well more than should be possible using a true RNG with no tweaking. This has pretty much been standard fare for close to a year. I've literally seen this guy push hard with junk, get all-in PF as a huge dog, and continue to suckout scoops or splits 1round 15 straight times... on multiple occassions!
Just today was the most recent example... at the final table, he survived several all-ins as a dog to big dog, evenutally amassing the 3rd highest stack. I had the 4th highest and end up all in PF with him... my AA4T(ds) vs his junk crap 3477 (dead suited due to my AT of same suit). Flop comes K4J rainbow, Turn is a 9 (again no flush draws)... and yup, you guessed it, the guy hits a joke 2 outer 7 on the river to scoop. Takes that gift and goes on to take 2nd place.
Another thing that I've noticed is this, jhricharde has MUCH higher cashing rates when Cake doesn't make the garuntee. take today's 10am tourney... they had about 130 total buy-ins for a total of ~$900 but the garunteed pay out is $1000. So, they're $100 short and amazingly, end up awarding thier own player 2nd place, which paid $200. So assuming a 50/50 split with this guy, then end up breaking even after all... imagine that! I dont have a huge sample size but my calculations show this guy's ROI at close to 90% in tourneys where cake doesnt make the garuntee... and barely above break even (less than 10% ROI) when they exceed that amount. That cannot be a coincidence!
If you look him up on SS, he's running about 45% ROI but he's won over $13k in 1,800 tourneys and was apparently top 10 in some cake profit leaderboard for 2011. He's also got an 88 player ability which is BY FAR the highest I've seen for an Omaha player. All this from a player who, as I've said, plays literally like a completely clueless donkey. To me, it's plainly obvious something is awry here.
Unlike bots, cake is obviously not going to do anything about it's own shills/props. In fact, a few weeks ago, I was sitting at a table with this guy and just starting spouting what my theory was about him being a shill, and he got freaking livid lol! Threatened to get me chat banned, etc, etc. Well, what do you know? Not 10 minutes later, I was chat banned lol! Now, let me say that I have went on more than my share of rampages about donkey bad-beats etc... including saying some pretty horrible things, including lots of profanity. Despite all of that, I never once even reciieved a warning about abusing chat. Yet, in a matter of minutes after making my case for this guy being a shill, he reports it to his bosses at cake and whomp! chat ban for me? I'm sorry but it that's not just an additional piece of proof, I don't know what is!
anyway, would be very curious to see if any of you have encountered this same type of thing going on.