At reputable poker sites, cheating at online poker is unheard of. However, there have been isolated cases of cheating at less than reputable poker sites in the past. One notable case was the Ultimate Bet cheating scandal that severely hurt the reputation of online poker.
Luckily, the instances of cheating at online poker are extremely rare. To date, there has not been a single case of cheating occurring at a major online poker site. Cheating would be extremely difficult to get away with because every single hand is tracked by poker players with statistical tracking software.
If there was a case of players winning way more than they should be (like there was at Ultimate Bet a couple of years ago), the winrate would be noted and it would stand out like a sore thumb. In fact, that's exactly how the cheaters at Ultimate Bet were in the first place.
Overall, though, online poker is as safe as it gets. I've played online poker for years and made thousands of dollars since I got started and have never been cheated once. I've always played in fair games, my withdrawals have always been paid and my career has gone just as I hoped it would.
Sure, I've received plenty of bad beats over the years but I've never been a victim of cheating. The odds of being cheated at a major online poker site are basically nil.
But What About Collusion?
When people hear that I'm a professional online poker player, they invariably end up asking me "well, can not a bunch of people just play at the same table and talk to each other over the phone and cheat you out of your money ? "
Sure, people could do that, but it would not get them anywhere. First of all, every major poker site is equipped with security software that automatically scans every single hand played at the tables and detects signs of suspicious betting patterns ...
For example, if one person is deal KK and his buddy is deal AA, and the guy with KK folds without even putting a penny in the pot, the software would flag that hand for review by a live security expert.
But even if that was not the case, I would not be worried about collusion online. What's the worst a couple of guys talking on the phone could do to me? What exactly would they accomplish by knowing each other's hands? I guess if they were good they could save a little money by folding when the other one has a strong hand.
People who are skilled enough to make good money through collusion do not need to collude in the first place! They could make more money by themselves without having to pay out a second partner in crime. Collusion is a stupid idea and the only time it would ever be a factor would be in high stakes games where the player pool is very small. Even then, it would be obvious if anyone was colluding.
Overall, cheating in online poker is not a concern to me. I've logged hundreds of thousands of hands at the tables and never once have I noticed a suspicious pattern. The same thing can be said for every other online poker player too. If there was a case of cheating going on, the whole poker community would be making a lot of noise.