How can casinos/players curb/spot collusion between a group of player (i.e. playing as a team in the same table)?
Firstly, just don't. People tend not to take too kindly to cheaters, and even more so when the cheaters are taking their personal cash. If and when you'll eventually be caught you'll likely end up in some trouble. Not to mention it's considered stealing and you can get in legal trouble.
It depends on many things really, such as:
- How good you guys are at it
- The type of players your playing against
- Casino staff experience
- Type of casino
For how good you guys at I mean your system of collusion, giving each other a wink when you have the nuts seems like it'd be pretty easy to spot by anyone paying attention. Whereas say doing a specific chip trick when you have the nuts might be harder to spot. It will eventually be spotted I guarantee you of that.
For types of players, if you're playing at a local bar, small card room or a private game with recreational players they'll probably never notice. If you're playing at a big casino with grinders and experienced players they'll 100% notice it eventually. It's a pretty important aspect of poker to be able to pick up patterns of players and break down their meanings. Good players will pick up on it very quick.
Casino staff experience is a big one. I'm not just talking about the dealer, but floor staff too. This links into the type of casino too. If you're talking about a Vegas strip casino or a big one like that they are trained and have systems in place to pick up on cheating. Trust me, I've worked in the industry for several years, they're damn good at what they do. There is a reason you don't hear about the likes of the MIT Blackjack Team or Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo, etc happening anymore. While a lot of these guys didn't get into legal trouble and many made a killing their methods were discovered, countered and ultimately most of these people aren't allowed into any casinos were you could make some decent money in. There is a Black Book in the gaming industry, you get into that good luck getting near any big gaming floor.
Smaller local casinos or cardrooms, yeah ok they won't have the experience nor the security systems in place, but they also don't have the amount of money that is worthwhile cheating for.
I really wouldn't recommend it because the type of casinos or cardrooms you could get away with it aren't worth the effort of developing a system. If you're caught too there can be serious repercussions.
B&M Casino's really do not protect you from collusion. I have played and worked in many poker rooms and the simple fact of the matter is that they do not bust people for collusion.
People are not busted for collusion because it is simply so difficult to prove, and casinos do not have a vested interest in the game. When they 86 players they 86 paying customers.
Low to high levels of collusion is present in every poker game. When a couple of friends chop blind or do not play against each other that is a mild form of collusion. If you watch the Atlantic City scene in "Rounders" Matt Damion describes a basic mild version of collusion. There is more series collusion going on, flashing cards, acting out of turn. Some of it is just rude by a rude player, but a lot of it is part of team play. And yes strong collusion, where signals are going on and your being cut up by pros is not uncommon.
The casino cannot help, they do not have the means prove collusion. Only you can protect yourself by getting out of the game.
Online one might argue has better ways to spot collusion. However they are not going to bust a determined team, and if they do, they really cannot do much accept close accounts and perhaps seize won money. But that is not a big deal to a determined cheater, new accounts are opened, other sites are hit and it just goes on.
The bottom line is that you need to be able to defend yourself by getting out of the game, or make some new friends. Online or live, your ass is in the wind and you need to be a little paranoid and move on once in awhile.