Poker is a game built on skill, strategy, and ethical gameplay. So when players resort to cheating tactics like chip dumping to gain an advantage, it damages the spirit of the game. But what exactly constitutes chip dumping, and why do some poker players cross ethical lines to do it? I answer that question in this blog post.
What is Chip Dumping?
Chip dumping occurs when a poker player purposefully loses chips to help another player accumulate more chips and last longer in a tournament. It involves intentionally poor play and intentionally losing hands. The beneficiary of the chip dump then uses their new abundance of chips to gain leverage over honest players who have accurately earned their stacks.
Some common signs that chip dumping may be occurring:
- A player makes very loose calls and keeps calling with very weak holdings
- Two players consistently playing against each other
- A player exposes his or her cards to another player or tablemate during play
Is Chip Dumping Illegal?
Technically it violates poker tournament rules about collusion and unethical gameplay. Major poker venues and online poker sites clearly define dumping chips to another as cheating. And they penalize perpetrators by disqualifying them and confiscating any prize money.
Additionally, since poker venues and sites offer games of chance for money, cheating contravenes gambling regulations. So dumping chips could potentially carry legal penalties. However, local laws treat poker cheating very differently depending on jurisdiction. Most do not pursue legal action but rather enforce poker venue penalties.
While less widespread today, especially with increased security at major tournaments, chip dumping scandals have smeared some legendary names. Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim, two poker Hall of Famers, faced accusations of being involved in chip dumps decades ago, although unproven.
Haseeb Qureshi openly admitted to chip dumping more than $100,000 to Macedo back in 2011 in an interview with Bluff Europe. Macedo was later disqualified from the event.
Why it Should be Avoided
For competitive poker players, chip dumping feels akin to athletes doping or games fixing. It destroys integrity and fairness. The skills that poker demands – calculation, composure, strategy, observation, and deception – become irrelevant when cheating enters the equation. For these reasons and more, it has no place among respectable poker players who value ethics.
Additionally, getting caught chip dumping can ruin a player’s reputation and ability to play in major tournaments. It also sets a poor example for recreational players who may then see cheating as an easy shortcut.
Chip dumping in poker contravenes guidelines, regulations, and laws set to ensure fair games of chance. And it remains one of the most unethical forms of cheating and collusion. While less prevalent today, it still threatens poker’s reputation and spirit when it occurs. Fortunately poker’s governing bodies take swift action to identify perpetrators and enforce harsh penalties as a deterrent.
With increased security measures and punishment for offenders, poker tournaments take integrity very seriously. I hope this article goes some way to discouraging readers from considering this ugly form of cheating.
If you enjoyed this article, perhaps you’ll be interested in my top 10 rules of poker etiquette.