Cheating on BBO
It is an unpleasant topic, but you should know what the ACBL, BBO, and the Mandel JCC Bridge Club are doing about cheating in online games. It is a fact that it is easier to cheat during online bridge games than it is in face-to-face games because no secret hand signals are required. The good news is that while it may be easier to cheat online it is also easier to get caught, because every bid and play is recorded.
BBO has algorithms looking for patterns of unusual bids and plays. Partnerships who were mostly average in face-to-face events but are now consistently putting up huge scores in online games are being looked at closely. Players are the most important tool in fighting cheating at bridge. You should report suspicious bids and plays to the director in charge of the game and fill out the new ACBL BBO Player Memo which goes directly to the ACBL Recorder’s office. The Recorder keeps detailed records of all reports received on a particular pair or player. Directors monitor pairs that under suspicious by watching them closely during the game. Documenting those suspicious plays and bids is the best way to establish a pattern that can prove a pair is communicating with each other unlawfully.
The ACBL has established an ethical oversight committee specifically for online play, and hearings are already underway with a number of players being disciplined. “Discipline” can include being barred from ACBL events for a period of time or even being expelled from the ACBL which means they can never again play in an ACBL-sanctioned game, even after face-to-face bridge returns. You can see the work this committee is doing here.