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For many, and from an early age, the temptation to cheat is as alluring as the urge to choose the right path. Be it in school exams, on video games or in Olympic track events, that desire to be the best - no matter what the cost - rests in us all. In this respect, we are at our own mercy. Only our willpower and collective search for truth protects us in the “real” world. However, for those who gamble in the arena of an online casino, that temptation has been removed completely.


In its truest sense, cheating in gambling is an attempt by a player to gain an advantage over the “House” by loading the chips in his or her favour. In a casino, for example, loaded dice or rigged equipment could give the perpetrators a superior foothold in any game of Roulette or Craps. Historically and culturally, though, the supreme form of cheating is centred around that most salacious of games: poker.


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Such is our cultural fascination with poker that we are entwined with it. We play it, read about it, learn it, teach it and even watch it on TV and in cinema, and it is in the romanticism of Hollywood legend that poker fulfils its own legacy.


In Hollywood, if there is a poker game, there will be a cheat. There has to be. It is an unwritten screenwriting rule as filmmakers retell classic myths and archetypes in ever more dazzling scenarios. Ergo, in 21 (2008) a group of MIT students are led by their professor (Kevin Spacey) into an elaborate system of counting cards that sees them fly weekly down from Boston to Vegas to cheat the casinos out of millions of dollars.


Bringing Down the House:

The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, by Ben Mezrich. Represented as being based on a true story, many of the actual events in the book were either heavily exaggerated or entirely fictional, but therefore perfect for Hollywood, which (by its own admission) is not necessarily concerned with the whole truth, but more with the excitement generated by powerful and emotive narratives and characters.


Small wonder, then, that it should capture our collective imagination, grossing over £5million in the UK alone and many times more in the United States. Popular though the idea is, very few of us take the thought of cheating to its final stage and, as more and more of us head towards online casino games, in fact remove ourselves from the possibility entirely.