The Ugly Truth: Understanding Cheaters, and How to Combat Them

Discussion in 'UG Article Talk' started by Kettler, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Kettler

    Kettler Active Member

  2. baby_mario

    baby_mario Doesn't even care

    Very . . . topical. And necessary.

    The part I liked best was the part about insistence.

    So many times I have heard people say that their opponent was cheating but they didn't want to make trouble, didn't have the confidence to stand up to a more experienced player, or let it go because they knew they had the win anyway.

    I wish these people would realize that all they are doing is making sure the next opponent gets cheated . . . and the next etc.
    dadoc and Adam like this.
  3. Crawdaunt

    Crawdaunt Active Member

    I wasn't too thrilled at the topic to be honest, but you've covered it in a proper fashion so props to that.

    One issue I think you could have discussed regarding the de-clumping debate is the nature of Pokemon search effects. It's not like search effects don't occur in other card games, but Pokemon does have easy access to search effects. More importantly, if a player takes a card from their deck and places it in their deck in a different spot, there can be two reasons for this.

    1. The player is taking cards they are considering grabbing and placing them side by side (often on the "bottom" of the deck) for direct comparison while mulling things over.
    2. They are intentionally removing cards from clumps of same/similar cards in the deck.

    The ethics of de-clumping/stacking (whatever your opinion on the topic may be) aside, there is a clear-cut difference to distinguish the above 2 behaviours.

    Do they

    A. place the cards on the bottom of their deck?


    B. place them back in the deck somewhere in the middle?

    If it's A, then there's nothing you can do about it, nor do I think you should if they've shuffled sufficiently to your liking afterward. If it's B, then you can bring up that concern with the other player (or a judge if necessary) immediately, and should especially do so if they do not shuffle sufficiently for your liking after the search. I think this is also the most relevant concern in any player's handbook, as completely honest players will undergo a declump as a knee-jerk reaction to seeing 3 Junipers next to each other in the deck, or 5 Energies all bunched up. I could write plenty on the subject (especially due to the term sufficient being subjective), but that's another topic in and of itself.

    Curled Cards and Marked Cards:
    One thing I'd like to have seen mentioned is a common courtesy in prize-taking. Simply put, take your prizes 1 by 1 from the bottom-up every game. It irks me greatly to see someone pick out their middle-left prize as their first prize taken. Unless there is reason to suspect marked cards in some fashion, nothing should be done about it. But if the prizes are unknown and randomly distributed to both players, then there is no reason to select a particular prize from the middle of the pack. It also is reason enough to begin suspecting marked cards! So a common courtesy I'd love to see endorsed and practiced is to take prize cards from the bottom up in the same fashion every game. That way even if you're forced to run a curled card, and even if you can't help but notice it in your prizes as prize #3, you haven't gained much of/any an unfair advantage from having the curled card.


    Overall a good article John. Certainly one that handles the subject matter well.
  4. PP101

    PP101 The Swarm for 3 seconds then accidentally left

    Question: What do you do if someone accuses you of cheating, but you, in reality, didn't?

    I was shuffling my opponent's deck in a tournament game at my last League Challenge, and my opponent said I was stacking. I figured he was just joking, as he didn't call a judge over or anything, but it made me think: what if someone actually did think I was cheating?

    Also, the article pointed out a couple things that surprised me: drawing more than one card at a time and having your deck upside down. Is this illegal? Because I do both, not to cheat, but just because it's easier for me. If it's actually against the rules, I should probably stop doing that. :p

  5. thematteo0

    thematteo0 The quintessentially British gentleman.

    Certainly some interesting points raised. I did disagree with the Prize thing though (it being suspicious if the opponent takes the middle-left prize first or something like that) because honestly I never even think when I take a prize I would just take the first card which my hand grabs ahold of and I would never have personally considered it suspicious if my opponent did that either.

    If I were to take a prize in any particular order I would probably go from the top down anyway rather the bottom down as that would seem more logical to me as you would be taking the 1st prize you put down first so I don't see why it should be common place decency to take the bottom one first (mainly aimed as a question to Crawdaunt).

    I agree with the other points about prizes and would certainly raise attention if the opponent either took time to consider which prize to take.
  6. NJ_Bob

    NJ_Bob Member

    I thought it was a timely well handled article. I don't play very serious anymore because I only get the left over cards from my boys. But when I did, it took me a long while to actually notice that I was being cheated much more than I ever suspected. The biggest form of this was deck stacking. I once played a well known winning player in our area. He 6 piles his deck and then block shuffles 2 halves. I'm guessing he thinks poke parents just won't see this. His start confirmed what suspected. I was in such shock I didn't call a judge.

    Then there is the attitude I generally have. If some young master cheats at a kid's card game, he isn't worth my energy calling a judge because he is already suffering a pathetic existence.

    I had a problem once where a young man was playing chandelier extremely slow. I don't care and he can have all the time in the world to play his deck. But at the of each turn he would say, "can you please play fast as possible" as if I were slowing the game. After a while this really gets under my skin, and I explain how he is the slow one and if he asks me again I'm calling a judge. We finish a good game though, and everything is cool.

    The only other time I threatened to call a judge was when playing the recently banned national champion in a regionals 2 years ago. He was trying to intimidate me with several tactics complaining g about my sleeves and just about everything else he could think of. I asked him if he wanted me to call a judge to address all of this things against me, and it was a very quick no. I now recommend calling one anyway when be intimidated.

    That is one area that I would have like for you to cover. Once at regionals prior to registration, I happen to be sitting near a master and senior while making deck lists. The master is instructing the younger player how beneficial it is to put one's opponent on tilt, and he is going through a long list of things he can do toward his opponent to do just that. I should have gone straight to the head judge on this, but again most of us never do.
  7. NJ_Bob

    NJ_Bob Member

    I grab my prizes in random order for the fun of it, and so does my oldest son. Rarely do I pick them in order. This would look like cherry picking. You can never call a judge on this unless the cards are marked. Calling a judge because an opponent doesn't pick the corner card or go in order would be very low in my opinion.
    webjefita likes this.
  8. Kettler

    Kettler Active Member

    Crawdaunt (and through extension Matteo and NJ_Bob): You raise an interesting point. Either way, you can always shuffle the opponent's deck...which should be sufficiently to your liking, haha.

    Re Curled cards and marked cards: Even though I advise that players be highly skeptical and call their opponents out on strange prize-drawing, I wouldn't advise on a uniform method for a few reasons. First, players don't always order their prizes uniformly; second even though it's really freaking's not illegal. It's just worth bringing up, although I should add that you should do so tactfully.

    PokemonPlayer101: Remain calm.

    In the situation you described, I felt you handled it fine. But in general, I say you just stay as calm as possible, don't panic, and concisely and accurately explain your side of the story. As for those things you mentioned, those were pointed out by my Expert Judge X. I'm pretty sure he wasn't suggesting that those weren't illegal -- just that they both were methods used to cheat. I wouldn't say you should "stop" doing those things...just keep in mind that there can be serious problems resulting from them. I clump draw a lot myself, but one thing I'm in the habit of doing is fanning out the cards for my opponent to see. So say I use a Juniper...I'll fan out all seven, and my opponent has confirmed that I indeed drew seven.

    NJ_Bob: Haha, I share your attitude to an extent. It's also kind of ludicrous he would do that, since the very sleeves they handed out at Worlds '09 gave him a pretty unfortunate game loss. But then again, I'm lazy about my sleeves, and therefore I'm pretty lenient when playing vs others.

    Thanks all!
    PokemonPlayer101 likes this.
  9. Adam

    Adam Noice bruv, innit.

    Honestly there should definitely be a uniform rule about how your Prize cards are to be laid out to keep thing consistent for everyone (and prevent possible cheating). Like if they were put out like this maybe:


    And then you have to take the topmost layered card each time. I can see how this might be confusing, inconvenient, or annoying for some players, but it would be an excellent preventative measure to preserve the integrity of the game. Firstly, it makes it more difficult to tell if a card is curved. Secondly, card backs get partially covered up, making it harder to see a marked card. Thirdly, the Prizes have to be taken in order, so manipulation is more difficult, even if you knew what a card was.

    A pile of 6 would be ideal, but then neither player would readily know how many Prizes are remaining and players could mistakenly draw more than 1 Prize without their opponent noticing.

    It blows my mind that this issue has never been addressed after all these years. It's such an easy way to cheat.
    Crawdaunt and JayHornung like this.
  10. CynderStorm

    CynderStorm New Member

    This was my first thought too. I love picking out prizes at random because it makes me feel like the game is more "random" even though I know it clearly isn't. If someone called me out on cheating for picking Prize cards at random, I don't really understand how I could prove them wrong other than to explain why I do it.

    The rest of the article was great though. People should always know how to avoid hand, field, and deck manipulation as well as people misusing abilities.

    Edit: I wanted to add that maybe instead of focusing on what order they pick the prizes in, we focus on whether or not the prizes look different to us when they're placed?
    webjefita likes this.
  11. cabd

    cabd Taking over for Tamoo as the girly looking mod.

    Adam, your solution fails to account for cards like town map; though.
  12. Adam

    Adam Noice bruv, innit.

    This is why it's so easy for someone to cheat (because other people genuinely take Prizes at random). It's going to be incredibly difficult for you during a tournament match to A. notice if your opponent takes a suspicious looking Prize card, and then B. prove anything to a judge. Your opponent could easily claim they took the Prize at random. Judges would have to watch the player all day to see if they consistently change their Prize drawing order or maybe hesitate when drawing the Prizes, and by then you've already finished your match with them.
  13. NJ_Bob

    NJ_Bob Member

    My opinion is that deck stacking is a much larger problem than marked prizes.

    The only thing to do here for prices is to watch if your opponent spends any time studying the sleeves for marking at any point in the game. Even though I draw them at random, I never look at them when putting them down, and I grab them instantly when taking prizes.
  14. baby_mario

    baby_mario Doesn't even care

    The problem with upside down deck is that some people will 'absent-mindedly' flick their deck constantly during a game. Being upside down makes it easier to tell at a glance what the top cards are because a) there is no seam and b) it's easier to tell what a card is from the very top part.

    The Prize issue is unique to Pokemon and it's pretty important. It's one reason why our sleeve rules are so strict compared to other games.

    If you think about in, 1/10th of every deck is Prized at the start of the game. Knowing exactly what cards are there is a HUGE advantage. I completely support Adam's idea of having a system for taking cards in the game rules. People can be very sneaky about locating cards in their Prizes and don't do obvious stuff like hesitating over them. A tap or two on a face down card during an opponent's turn to see if it is a curved holo isn't always going to be noticed.

    Yeah, it could be annoying for some people and involve changing the way we do things, but if it prevents cheating (and the false accusation of cheating), then it's worth it every time. Let's face it: holo cards bend and can be identifiable. That's not anyone's fault but you can see why it raises suspicions. With a Prize taking system in the rules, you just cut that out and this benefits everyone. It's not really SUCH a big deal for such a big gain, is it?
    PokemonPlayer101 likes this.
  15. Kettler

    Kettler Active Member

    Again, I should clarify that the article merely suggests you be skeptical -- not automatically suspect cheating, and not aautomatically call a judge. To communicate myself better, this section should be kept in mind when reading just about any other section in the article:

    "3. Rules Lawyering is an unnatural insistence on following in-game procedure. [...]In short, this is what you do NOT want to be as a self-advocate, and is what a player could easily become if [he or she] took the advice in this article without flexibility."

    Off the topic, Adam's editing really shined in this article. I would advise that everybody click his Pokegym link under the Shedinja to read a very important cautionary tale.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
    Crawdaunt likes this.
  16. Crawdaunt

    Crawdaunt Active Member

    @thematteo0 Well bottom-up or top-down doesn't matter, but being consistent in how you take your prizes does. Grabbing from the middle does not come naturally as you have to avoid moving your other prizes when picking it up. It lacks order (inherent idealism is the only reason here) and thus raises suspicion. That's all.

    @NJ_Bob, You can understand how it's suspicious though right? Just because I can't pick up what you seemingly could, doesn't mean I shouldn't try to protect myself from potential cheating. But as John said, you've got to do it tactfully. I'd first just ask if my opponent could draw in uniform fashion and explain my concern, and if they refused I might call a judge.