furbster: They both realized that cautious play is objectively the best strategy. As long as they're both healthy and feel capable of playing on for many years, there's no need to start playing more recklessly.
cookie monster: I don't think anybody suspects cheating or anything remotely close to that. People get away with things that are much, much worse (and btw., it's obvious that a professional translator could have done a better job with the different versions of those rules).
I had to say though, that if I had a choice I'd rather play against happy hermit than cookie monster. I know I'm a bit strange that way, but I do care about my ratings ;-)