In this post I will attempt to address every argument I’ve ever heard regarding online poker being rigged. Mind you, I do work for a company that develops online poker software but my motivation is not to convince people to trust *my* employer’s software, rather it is to have a central place where people can point misinformed message board and blog posters who think somebody is pulling something on them. Just point them here and end the thread. If you have heard an argument or have your own argument not covered in this post, please email me and I’ll add it to the list.

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arrow 3 Why Online Poker Is Not Rigged

Though it’s more than obvious to many people that most of the major online card rooms are legit, the internet is littered with literally thousands of claims that they’re somehow rigged. Regardless of how many people point out obvious counter-arguments such as the fact that most online card rooms have their games audited by well respected firms to ensure that the games are fair, people continue to insist that online poker is rigged.

Almost without exception, claims of online poker being rigged fit pretty consistent patterns. For instance, nearly every accusation is presented void of any sort of empirical evidence. Perhaps someone will post a particular hand history of a bad beat but I have yet to see anyone post the results of analyzing 10,000 or 20,000 hand histories to show a true statistical anomaly worthy of further research. Readers are asked to take a leap of faith that this person’s bad beat or his gut feeling about how often certain things happen are indicative of long-term trends.

This lack of empirical data should be the first clue as to the strength of the argument. First because with a large enough sample size (20,000 hands or more) one not need make any argument as the numbers will speak for themselves. But more importantly, it’s the fact that those making accusations don’t even collect hand history data which exposes a fatal flaw in their argument because nearly every serious online poker player uses a software package like PokerTracker to analyze their play. Not using a tracking software package immediately casts serious doubt on claims made by most accusers that they are experienced, savvy, online poker players.

Another common characteristic of online-poker-is-rigged claims is a fundamental misunderstanding of probability. Just because something has a low probability of happening doesn’t mean that when it does, something is wrong. In fact, in many cases, quite the opposite is true. Low probability events are expected to happen given a large enough data set. For instance, if you flip a fair coin ten times, the chances of having a run of ten heads (or tails) is .09765625% (0.5^10). However, over a million coin flips, regardless of how seemingly low the probability of a run of ten heads in a row, you expect to get nearly 1000 runs of ten heads in a row. Unexpected things do happen. As long as the chances are above 0%, there’s a chance that it can happen.

Obviously, this doesn’t apply only to online poker. At the 2005 WSoP, during a televised event, Mark Seif, in two different hands, faced opponents with quads. One flopped quad fives and the other flopped trips and made quads on the turn. The odds against this happening in so few hands that are dealt at one final table are fairly high. Yet it happened. In the 2004 WSoP Gallagher flops quad fives, his opponent with pocket nines pushes all-in and Gallagher obviously calls. The turn and river come 99 giving Gallagher’s opponent quad nines and the winning hand. According to PokerStove, Gallagher was 99.899% to win that hand. Both examples demonstrate that the improbable is not the impossible.

Yet another common type of accusation is that from a player who has recently changed sites or is relatively new to online poker (though they claim decades of live poker experience). In other words, Party must be rigged because I was a winner on UB or I’ve been playing at Commerce for 25 years as a winning player but I can’t beat the $2/$4 at Paradise. Usually buried in this accusation is that the card room purposely rewards poor play. Since the accuser obviously plays excellent poker, the only explanation for losing at this particular site is that the game must be rigged. The glaring flaw in this argument is that there are many, many solid players playing on the same site and winning. If the deck was being stacked in favor of the fish, how do other players work their way up from .05/.10 micro-limits to playing the $30/$60 game? Based on the accuser’s argument we would have to believe that their consistent winning is due to how poorly they play. That’s an easy argument to refute if you’ve ever read their posts on forums like 2+2 and elsewhere. They are anything but fish.

But rather than continue with generalities of the accusations being made, let’s jump right into it.

Claim: More (Quads/Flushes/Straights/Full Houses) get dealt online than is normal.

Fact: Completely false. As this link points out, and as many hundreds of regular online poker players have confirmed for themselves, given a large enough sample size of data, the numbers are within expected statistical norms.

Claim: Online card rooms stack the deck in favor of poor players to keep them playing while allowing better players to be sucked out on.

Fact: Completely false. Again, go look at the actual numbers. Over tens of thousands of hands analyzed by hundreds of people, high card holds up as often as it should, top pair holds up as often as it should, two pair holds up as often as it should, etc. There’s a simple and easy way to test your accusation, use hand histories! The numbers will either prove or disprove your accusations very simply.

Claim: Online card rooms deal action flops to get more money in the pot so they can make extra rake.

Fact: Completely false. One more time, go look at the actual numbers. Use the stats from any casino. They’re all going to come out about the same and that same is right about what they should statistically.

Claim: If online poker rooms were legit they wouldn’t need to base their operations in offshore countries.

Fact: False. Due to the legal climate in the US regarding online gambling, no site can be hosted or have a base of operations here.

Claim: If Enron teaches us one thing it’s that corporations are just out to screw people and this makes them prone to rigging games.

Fact: Debatable. While I, nor anyone, can debate the morality and ethical standards of every casino, the incentive structure for the online casino is highly weighted towards offering a fair game. Fist off, the profits are huge. Go look at Party’s financial statements. Why would one risk the almost instant death of their business if they were found to be rigging games just so they could rake an extra .50 a hand? They would be far more incentivized to just raise the rake than they would be to rig the game. Additionally, there’s far, far more money in going public or being acquired by a larger casino than there is in nickel and diming games. Of course, the most compelling argument is that enough smart people (mathematicians, computer scientists, etc) play poker and religiously track their results that any poker room that was doing something out of the ordinary would be quickly and easily caught thus providing sufficient disincentive.

In summary, the vast majority of online-poker-is-rigged arguments can be easily resolved by allowing others to view your hand histories. If anything it seems painfully odd that in the thousands upon thousands of claims of online poker being rigged, not one single person has offered compelling data which could be scrutinized by others. Poker is a numbers game and the simplest way to test a hypothesis (say, that online poker is rigged) is to compare the numbers against the expected outcomes. And since many people have and continue to monitor such statistics without discovering evidence of any serious anomalies, the burden of proof rests with the person making the accusation. Simply inferring motives or dispensing anecdotal evidence is not likely to receive any sort of serious consideration when access to empirical data is readily available. The lack of empirical data in any claim that online poker is rigged reeks of suspicion.

Links to additional resources:

Perry Friedman and Howard Lederer on Full Tilt’s random shuffling

PokerStar’s description of their random shuffle

PokerStar’s independent auditor’s opinion on their shuffle

Paradise Poker’s independent auditor’s opinion on the fairness of their shuffle

PartyPoker’s independent auditor’s opinion on their shuffle

Kahnawake Interactive Gaming Regulations (Kahnawake regulates many of the most popular card rooms)

How We Learned to Cheat at Online Poker – Though this article is how a security team broke PlanetPoker’s random number generator (RNG), at a higher level it demonstrates that despite a poor RNG the researchers didn’t discover any intentional rigging of the game.

Fluctuation and the Rigging of Online Poker by Bob Dainauski – Although his intent was to prove or disprove theories regarding the cash-out curse, one can easily see why players who start playing on a new site, perhaps underfunded, experience similar results.

Shuffling and Randomization by Daniel Kimberg (CardPlayer Magazine)

Updates

Eddie points out that bot software is used on some sites. True. However, most bot programs are specifically banned by nearly every cardroom. PartyPoker and others have specific policies geared at stopping bots from playing on their sites. Most sites have adopted terms of service agreements that allow them to freeze the accounts of anyone suspected of using bot software on their sites. Obviously, for every move that the cardrooms make to prevent bots, bot writers will try to come up with a counter-measure.

There have been some rumors about smaller sites using bots to fill tables but anecdotal evidence suggests that the bots play softly and usually leave as soon as the tables fill. Not exactly above board but if you stick with the larger poker rooms you can avoid such practices.

10.12.05 I recently saw someone argue that one cannot prove online poker is not rigged. This person is correct. However, one can prove it to be rigged very easily. Since there lacks any crediable proof of it being rigged, despite the ease of proving it rigged via statistical analysis, one can correctly assume it is not rigged. If it were difficult to prove online poker being rigged then I could see the difficulty in the argument that it can neither be proved or disproved (like God) but this is not such a case. This is more like the theory of relativity in which scientists may not be able to prove it to be valid but they can devise plenty of experiments that would prove it to be false.

On a side note, despite readers of this site posting the link to this thread on message boards all over the place (usually in threads where some yahoo is claiming online poker is rigged) and plenty more coming to this site to debate me personally, NOT ONE has accepted the challenge of providing their hand histories as proof of what they claim.

Ship It Holla Ballas!

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About Author

Bill Rini has been working in the online poker industry since 2004. He was a product manager for poker at Full Tilt and was the poker room manager at PartyPoker. Currently, Bill is the Head of Online Poker for WSOP.

 

Bill has been blogging about online poker since 2003 and is considered one of the leading authorities on the online poker industry.

 

“I like What Bill Rini said in his blog” – Doyle Brunson

 

“In other news, we had Bill Rini write an absolutely home run blog.” Daniel Negreanu

 

“Industry insider Bill Rini has one of the most popular blogs in poker, with thousands of subscribers and fans regularly coming back for his universally respected insight into the industry” – Barry Carter (News editor for PokerStrategy, Co-Author: The Mental Game of Poker)

(152) Readers Comments

  1. I would very much like to know how much this asshat got paid to write this.

  2. It’s so completely obvious that all poker sites are rigged. They make money by taking a small rake, which over millions of hands can build up to a significant amount of money. There fore, keep the players depositing in order to keep the rakes coming in. The action flops, impossible bad beats, and the extremely odd play prove there is nothing straight about any of these sites (Lock, Pokerstars, UB, Absolute, Full Tilt, Doyles, Tony G’s, Bull Dog, Paradise, Bet Online, Carbon, and the hundreds of others all follow the same pattern). I put in $20 into Juicy stakes once, built it up to $367, the blew it all in about 5 hands at the roulette table, just sick.

  3. online poker is rigged for sure. your argument is wrong. maximizing profits is all that a corporation is interested in. and the means at which this is done is at any cost. these sites purposely place their servers in places where there are no laws involving regulation. i will provide u with 10k hands and show u how foolish your statement is. i play about 500 a day. so it wont take very long. the software is designed a certain way. one thing they program is in action. over and over again u will get an ace preflop or a pocket pair and someone else will have one. the chance of this happening over and over again is very slim. yet i have seen it happen 25 times in a row. there is also action programmed in. 1 or two people will almost always hit the flop, and if there are multiple people in the hand post flop someone will almost always hit a card on the turn or river. the reason to rig it is psychology. 1. it keeps everyone playing hands they should probably stay out of. 2. it creates anger. angry players will continue to play. they can tell you are angry based on how many bad beats they dealt and looking at how your spending your money. are u going into higher buy ins. are u going all in alot. etc. they will rig the software to continually have you dominated preflop or losing on the turn or river. they change the cards as they come out. some of the players are fake players who work for them or are computer generated players. after playing 15 years of poker live and 10 online there is 0 doubt that lock poker is fixed. in reality it makes 0 sense not to rig it. not the other way around. if you can making alot of money you can always make more. by rigging it you can make a ton more. invisible un regulated computer code on a server on an island off of columbia. why would you place your servers there? the family that owns lock is from the netherlands. party poker is on the isle of mann. many of the servers are also on indian reservations. ask yourself why this is. these site fight to be unregulated and refuse to give out hand histories. nobody audits anything they do. if you can find proof of this data please post it. your more likely to find documentation of their fight against regulation. if you do not understand computer science and mathematics your ability to analyze the truth in the numbers and reality is meaningless. would you ask an alligator wrangler how to throw a baseball?

  4. Online poker is full of bots and player collusion, as for the RNG’s whats to say that they can’t be rigged?

  5. I’ve just come off a week of playing 7 -8 tables on average at a 1/2 cent ring game just for fun. Waste some time. At these stakes, you tend to see almost all hands down to teh river because no one folds……you would have to be a downright idiot not to see a pattern of hands which come up frequently. This past week most people myself included kept getting the same pocket pairs over and over and hitting sets with them about 80 percent of the time. It became so obvious at times which cards who had the way they bet and the way the board read, that I would call just to see if I was right and sure enough. It became predictable. Anytime I had pocket 5′s, 9′s or Jacks, Id move all in……I knew Id hit a set about 80-90 percent of the time and I would. If I had pocket queeens Id literally fold pre flop if I bet came …….Someone always always had KK or AA. If I had KK 80 percent of the time I was up against AA. I play on occasion, but I swear on everything I have whenever I play I start seeing patterns of cards which come up. It differs from time to time……but you would seriously have to be a huge idiot to think online poker is no different than live poker. Just 7 or 8 table the lowest micro stakes and play for an hour…….thats all it takes to see which cards frequent more often than others. ıt is right there in your face. screw stats……hand history etc. you can see it outright when you play. Im a live player…..and I can tell you this much……there has never been a time where Ive said wow these hands come up more often against those hands with that flop. whatever man……..to each their own……play have fun do what you want but online poker is program based……and obvious that it is. enough said.

  6. Great post, really enjoyed reading it.
    One thing to note, a lot of people in a situation where they believe that they’re getting screwed over, could be simply because they have had a bad experience with any online poker site. When the whole game isn’t in front of you, its important to note that anyone could claim that it is rigged because they cant physically see what’s going on. Any reason to complain because they lost their money.

  7. I’m sick of people arguing their emotions or theory on here of why they believe it’s rigged.

    As Bill stated, I’d like to see a hand history with a statistically significant hand size (10K+) to prove this theory.

    To reiterate what he says: NOT ONE has accepted the challenge of providing their hand histories as proof of what they claim.

  8. first off I by no means think I am a pro player but did fairly well playin at FTP when they were still a legal site in the US since then I have tried hi-life, betonline, and ended up at lock, as I said I am just a recreational online player, currently on house arrest so no casinos for a sec. I believe I am an above average player put 50 bucks on account and can play for months going up to 250 and back down. So to the point it just seems online poker doesn’t resemble real life odds, theres way to many KK against AA and AK of clubs being dealt twice in a row in a six man sit n go the emotional rollicoaster ride from the bad beat after bad beat is to much! here is an example from todays sesh that made me sit down and write. I put $25 on lock and played 10 + 1 HU sit n go we play for a while and are even in chips flop come 6,2,7 of hearts dude pushes I put him on a draw & call w/ J7 he flips 9 6 off( no heart) turn is a 6 I loose! ok fine bad luck, next HU sitn go 10$ different player bak & forth for a sec im a lil down all in situation again dude is out of control aggression pre &post flop he pushes pre flop I have 55 I call turns over 8 6 off nothing on flop turn is a brick river 6 I loose next its a $5 HU (I have some change from last sesh) so same hyper aggrs playr I have A10 on But.I raiz 3x the blind he calls the flop is J 6 A rainbow he pushes I snap call he turns over K8 turn comes Q river comes 10 idiot hits a str8. Sware thats the truth and I just dont know luck is deffinatly a factor in poker but????/ f–k it seems like it runs in patterns too. Oh well ill be back in the casinos soon FU LOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ONTILT4NOW

  9. @ Yeppers: It appears (and you mentioned it) that you play at Club WPT. That site is completely illegitimate. They use thee most faulty software (former Ultimate Bet software) of all the online poker sites. I was able to decifer some of the coding and a lot of it still actually reads “Ultimate Bet” and they have some sort of “God Mode”, but I cannot conclude how they use it because the coding is simply too difficult. I have found and noticed that on Club WPT, your position and stack size has almost everything to do with winning/losing. Large stack wins over 70% of the time. You also have a 20% increase in chance of hitting the flop, turn, or river if you raise from UTG. The earlier the position you raise from, the site has built in a handicap that gives you a slight advantage. So to Yeppers, you are going to continue to be frustrated if you stay with that site; it is the furthest away from actual poker on the net.

    To the previous user(s) commenting on variance, it is important to grasp a full understanding what ‘variance’ actually describes (and djiperfection briefly touched upon it). The actual definition of variance is “a measure of dispersion obtained by taking the mean of the squared deviations of the observed values from their mean in a frequency distribution”. The explanation that bad beats occur and using the total number of hands played as a detractor to the actual point, is false and is not coming from a mathematical perspective. Variance amongst players (individual results) should ‘vary’, but it does not. The poker sites have a regular ‘set’ variance in overall statistics of ‘all’ players combined. It is extremely unlikely to happen this way. The only logical explanation is that the sites control these ‘variance’ anomalies. @ Mark, they do not ‘rig’ for one person. They ‘rig’ so that the same ‘one’ person is not continuously winning; It is a “redistribution of wealth” of sorts. And your point about buying more chips was completely backwards, lol. The good player in real poker is going to rid the bad players of their chips time after time, thus the bad players are eventually running out of money to buy chips. The sites would not be successful if this were the case. How do they make money? They allow ‘all’ players to have success at some point(s), to keep them coming back and having hope because they have won before. Your point explains exactly why the sites do this.

    Come on’ poker community.. use logic! The sites are not legit, and if you are fairly successful on them or simply enjoy them, that is perfectly fine; but let’s stop saying that it is ‘real poker’ and that it is ‘not rigged’. It is 100% rigged. The only actual debate existing, comes from who is ok with it and who isn’t. Their odds and numbers certainly add up to normal odds and probabilities over the grand total of hands played…. this is the exact act of rigging, and furthermore why they are even allowed to exist!

    Thanks for the time

  10. Reading through most of the posts here, I feel I should point out some facts. I witnessed several people including the mighty Bill say Full Tilt is legit and a place where you do ot get cheated. All I have to say is LOL.

    Also Bill in post 39 you describe smart poker even though you did not witness any of the poker played that Matt was talking about. That post made me laugh, how much are you paid to side with the online pokersites?

  11. I wouldn’t call this an example of a game being rigged…I would call it an example of an extremely aggressive player taking advantage of a lot of other poor players. And a little bit of dumb luck. Notice in most of these, he went in huge before the flop to narrow the playing field…oftentimes the only ones to “call” had absolute trash. That’s just dumb. I would love to see this guy play some real pros who are patient and wait until they have great hands to call this guy.

    Let’s look at a few of these examples…
    First hand – I bet someone who folded had the straight, but he bet big before the flop to push those people out. Big deal.
    Another hand, QuadCommand goes all-in with 77. Terrible play no wonder this guy won in a heads-up vs that. Someone who folded probably had the Q and would have had the straight.
    Next hand after that, everyone folds except 1 other person…again, big deal, he was aggressive and got others to fold.

    Also, I’m skeptical this video is really chronological…at 3:27 he goes from 2M down to 1.3M. Did he lose one in between or is there a series of hands we’re not seeing?

    Another hand at 4:23, someone else goes all-in with 9-7 unsuited. REALLY?

    Next hand after that, someone goes all-in with 3-6 against him. REALLY?

    I could go on, but the only pattern I here is that he is extremely aggressive, and everyone else is dumb and getting impatient. What do you expect to happen if you go all-in with 77, 9-7 or 3-6? I only saw a couple hands where others got genuinely robbed (the KK for example), but that happens even in WSOP.

    Not rigged…just a combination of luck and poor plays.

  12. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkZM6osRxYQ

    LOOK AT THIS PLAYER AND YOU TELL ME THAT IS NOT RIGGED!

  13. Thank you for this insightful article! I fully agree with you. I especially like the examples from WSOP.

    Another argument most don’t take into consideration…maybe you can speak to it since you work for these companies. If you were going to “rig” the game, the logic & mathematical complexities of deciding who to favor and how to “rig” for one person I would think would be near impossible. For example, you have 9 players. They have all varying levels of cash, skill, length of time playing and how many chips they have purchased. What logic would the game creator use to choose who they want to win? Also if one person gets beat for the reason the game wants them to “buy more chips” they don’t take into account that someone else just won all those chips, thereby negating the purpose. It just doesn’t make sense…there are too many variables.
    Much more logical is these people are just playing bad poker.
    Lastly, do you people not think about others people’s cards? If you have the nut flush but there are 2 of the same card on the board, and your opponent goes all in, isn’t it obvious they likely have a full house or 4 of a kind?

  14. Tried WPT tonight. Got rivered 95% favorite by a larger stack, because, lets hear it, IT WAS REBUY TIME FOR ME. Man, these players, they build their massive chip stacks making mistakes and bad calls that somehow hit the turn right after they dump crushed. This one player dumped and called with 3 dominated aces, and won every hand. If I make one mistake, Im done. Its amazing, honest to god. I lost my stack, he had to have an ace on the river, or I double. One snap of the rebuy button, and say goodbye to this very new but already disgusted customer.

  15. Im with jam. Its all about code manipulation. I also have a degree in mathematics and i write programs. We know that all casinos rig their games. think about progressive slot machines for example. Ok, these are real places we can go and there are people watching what they do. when talking about cyberspace. What would stop them from rigging the software? There is nobody to watch it. And as jam said unless your an expert in encryption nobody could ever figure out what was going on. And if they hired an expert encrypt-er to encrypt the software there is a very slim chance even cia coders can break it. It would be bad business to not rig the software. As it would be bad business to not rig slot machines at casinos. I once lost 27 times in a row with aa and kk on poker stars. That’s not variance. the fact that bad beats happen so often makes it a normal occurrence. Variance explains variations in norms. the fact that there is no variation in these bad beats is actually proof that variance cannot explain it. Plus if u go and track down experts on the poker algorithms or people who wrote the programs for pokerstars and merge you would find out why its rigged. Of course all of them have been paid millions and had to sign nondisclosure agreements. Why would u need to sign a non disclosure agreement if everything was legitimate? Humans are very good at ripping off other humans.

  16. Oh forgot to mention the guy on my right who sat down and raised every hand pre flop and hit four card flushes with his crap so often he was chip leader real quick. He would raise his 5-9 into my AJ and I could only call to watch him hit four card flushes and whatnot over and over again. So, I sat back and used discipline even folding my weak aces over and over again, until ok, I get A8 and Im smoking him here. I call, ace XX on flop. Pot sizer, he calls. X on turn, another pot sizer, he calls. Four on river, I dump, and no way, he calls, and the cards turn over, and he holds A4..man o man what terrible “LUCK”. Like wow man, like ever since I started winning money like 5 years ago, like dude, I can’t do jack no mo. Its like, kinda freaky you know that I can call exactly which seat will bust me before I even play a hand, and he rivers me twice in a row? Like, wow man, like what coincidence.

    Yeah right.

  17. Not too mention if you sit at a six seater you can usually watch two three hands and pick out exactly who is going to river you for your stack with horrid calls even before you play a hand. It took the seat I called two hands to do it, as I look back, he made 4 bad calls, and hit the nuts both times. The magical rape me, deal me AJ with small stack rig, I push, big stack calls with A8 I mean this is how he built his big stack right, calls like these, and his A is a heart, and well its rebuy time for me baby here comes the all heart flop with the heart turn and bammmmmm. Man, these sites are so crooked, so ridden with small time criminals why the hell do you think MILLIONS OF PEOPLE SUSPECT ITS RIGGED, bill? But it must not be because you said so. Show me how many times your K hand sees an ace on your left, show me how many times your donkey ace hits the nuts, stuff like that. Compare it to a real game. Then come back to me and apologize.

  18. They take prime poker situations, lets say folded to you QQ one on your left, you make reasonable 3x raise, he pushes, you snap call, he holds A7 and flops 776. This is probably the biggest scam they run. If you looked at the percentage of times a donkey ace hits the nuts online, thats evidence enough. Keeps the donkeys around. Tonight I had a nutcase on my left, cbetting maniac. Every hand, I fold where necessary not losing too much. I wait for a hand, it comes 10-10. Its folded to me, I should be confident enough to raise this hand, but, instead, I slow play it. Because I KNOW. Flop comes, I dont care what it is. I call him down, I dont care. This hand will hold, he is an idiot and he has no clue. But of course, and RANDOMLY we might add, he holds AK suited and flops the K. Wow. Shit, now normally Bill, you see, I would raise pocket tens with one on my left. Are you seeing what Im getting at here? I know enough not to raise pocket tens with one on my left, based on my viewing of what is happening with every hand being played. Play poker, bend over. Call pre flop raises with shit hands, suckouts galore. Bill, its the players like yourself that are too blind to see that ruin it for the players who want a random game.

    That makes me sad.

    Not only do they rig the cards, brother, when players in free rolls are sitting out and finally get blinded in, and they start flopping quads, you gotta look at things and ask some questions. Figure out the odds of someone folding all those hands, being FORCED to play this one hand, having a pocket pair (hard enough in itself, correct?), and flopping quads. You sit there and do this, and call me when it happens. Someone will just keep dealing you cards, and you fold until you have the pocket pair, without looking, and then you flop quads, go head.

  19. Why are people still claiming Online Poker is legit? I’ve shuffled (poker-sites should try it) through many of the posts; And the “poker is rigged” arguments almost make TOO much sense, its hilarious!

    ..Am a Doctoral student in Mathematics, specializing in Number Theory (prime numbers, cryptography, etc), but I also have an extensive background in the creating and use of algorithms. I GARUNTEE that, given about a month/two and resources, I could develop a base program that alters cards in whatever way I want, and could hide the coding so that, when viewed by anyone other than the CIA, reads “pizza is good”. These poker sites are not “legit”.
    To anyone that might get this reference; “Have you every played MarioCart and been in last place……?”

  20. proof?
    1 shills
    2 bots
    3 collusion
    4 failure to act on complaints of above
    5 do we get to cut the deal? – no

  21. Do u know what is funny about this article. You write, fair practices and firm in the same sentence. Corporations are not honest. A 32 bit computer cannot even store all the hand possibilities to begin. So at best their game is extremely flawed from the start. I would argue the opposite. I would say a corporation in the position of full tilt and pokers stars would be clueless fools if they were not rigging the system to maximize profits. We all know all real casinos are legit, lol. So one that exists in cyberspace would be very likely to never cheat people. Irony is ironic.

  22. I dont trust online poker at all . I keep it small , 1 or 2 dollar games …Ive played live poker tables and tourneys for 15 years, and yes bad beats happen, but when i strated playing online 5 yrs ago , I couldnt believe what I was wittnessing. I’ve played every site out there…and I laugh at them all. It does seem like the idiots catch all the turn and river cards they need to lay a bad beat on you…15 yrs on live tables I’ve profitted lots of money…online poker I’ve been donked out of every big tourney ive played …..I pretty much deleted all the sites from my comp cause Its rediculous…I still play a bit cause I love to play , But these online players that play everyhand and hit everything with nothing are giving this game a bad rep…I blame the sites for this…..last hand I ever played on pokerstars was in a big tourney…we were in the money i was 3rd in chips had the guy who was 2nd in chips at my table ..he was first to act and he raised…I had AA in the small blind I decided reraise all in …he snap called me with K 4 off and flopped quad fours …Ive seen this over and over and over online so that was it for my online poker play….just dont trust it !!

  23. @Joe

    Pro tip: 10^4 hands isn’t remotely enough to prove statistical significance.

    Try 10^6 or, even better, 10^9.

    Consecutive hands, mind you – not selective examples.

    As far as anecdotal evidence goes, I’ve gone for 3 years on the same deposit and cashed numerous times without having a “doom switch” thrown on me. Thus it follows that people either:

    a) Don’t know how to play poker profitably.
    b) Don’t practice proper bankroll management.
    c) Don’t understand variance or long-term win-rate models. [this is a direct corollary of item (b)]
    d) Aren’t distantly related to the CEO of the parent casino company as I so obviously must be.
    e) A combination of the aforementioned.

  24. If you believe that 10,000 hands or so is enough data to prove a statistical anomaly then I can oblige. As an example I have history of over 14,000 hands at Full Tilt that show that on FT when dealt KK it is 3 times more likely for an opponent to have AA that the true probability, i.e. when I had KK I ran into AA 3 times as often as I would expect to. Let me have an email address that I can send my data to if you wish to see it.

  25. This post is old.
    But it is so relevant to a little study I did using 1,5 million hand histories.

    Here is the link:

    http://intellectrush.blogspot.com/2010/12/busting-online-poker-myth-pokerstars.html

  26. 1. 2 million wouldn’t even be a significant test. They could provide billions of hand histories.

    2. When have they refused? Who is going to verify that the play is fair? You? What are your credentials? Why would anyone believe whoever it is that is verifying? Couldn’t they be paid off or in on it too?

    3. Because it’s two different problems. They modified their software to be able to catch certain behaviors. Things like too many hours without sitting out a hand, same amount of time to act in every situation, etc. What modifications are you talking about?

    4. Why does your question make any more or less sense than mine?

    5. Again, wrong problem. Rigging the game and players cheating players are two entirely different issues. Yes, individuals will always have a motive. However, a large organization would never be able to keep a secret. And who was it in the Absolute cheating scandal that leaked out the information that there was something fishy going on? Yes, an Absolute employee! They “mistakenly” sent the player all of the hand histories with all of the player’s names.

    So if UB was rotten to the core and their own staff gave them up why haven’t any other sites done so? Surely there are plenty of disgruntled employees out there. Many online poker sites have been downsizing ever since the UIGEA. Where are all of the disgruntled employees with dirt?

    6. Two major card rooms (i.e. in the Top 5) were actually competing to turn over billions of hand histories to a very well-known author and economist so he could prove mathematically that poker was a game of skill. I don’t know the outcome of how that developed but I do know for a fact that they were both fighting each other over who’s data would be used in his research.

    Again, that sort of goes back to the credibility thing. If someone credible comes to them and asks for the data they’re willing to hand it over. The problem is MIT isn’t calling. Instead, it’s people like you. What are your credentials again? And why would the world suddenly believe this or that person? Even a MIT professor can be bought. So . . . what’s your point again?

    7. This isn’t even a point. What is it that they’re supposed to hand over?

  27. online poker is fixed reasons below and why this person is being paid to legitimize his own job.

    1. The legitimacy of this data can be disputed. Ask ftp to hand over hand history for the past 2 million hands and see if they are willing to do so.

    2. Why is ftp and poker stars unwilling to allow anyone to monitor for fair play?

    3. bots and collusion, they modified their software to try and control this. so how can the software be legitimate.

    4. Dont ask why would they cheat, this question makes no sense. Ask why wouldn’t they cheat? There is no one to check if they are, there is no way to check if they are. Why would they be dumb enough to not be robbing people if its undetectable. Are any casinos honest? And they have people looking over what they are doing. Even if they are caught people will still play as seen on ub. And if they are caught no one could sue them or stop them.

    5. Cheating online has always gone on. When people were caught on ub the cheaters just stepped up their game. The sites became more intelligent.

    6. When u can get ftp or poker stars to hand over all hand history for the past year and send it to some mathematicians at MIT to analyze it and u come back to me showing statistical norms i will be convinced. 20k or 40k hands prove nothing. Give me one year of analysis and we will see why ftp and stars are unwilling to hand over such complete hand history.

    7. the blank check. right now ftp and stars have blank checks. see how easily they will hand it over.

  28. lol @ pokerforum, amazing happens!! NOT. Amazing things dont happen to me I litterally never draw out in big allin pots, but i constantly get outdrawn. Go fck yourself you little fcking freak.

    People like you make me sick, right now i have just quit yet another site after 50k hands because my holdem manager shows me that i never win big pots with Aces. Funny how it shows im winning 90% of the time with em however im losing most big pots with em. Ye win small pots but lose all because oppenents always hit draws.

  29. Well, I was a strict non-believer for years, I was sure that online poker was rigged somehow. I saw many hand histories and probability charts, but none of them could convince me. So I decided to make my own little experiment offline: I started dealing hands to myself and recorded everything possible, eg. the probability of flushes, straights, all types of draws on the flop, turn, and river, and to my biggest surprise – given a large enough datapool – the results didn’t differ from the online ones. I’m not posting my charts and results here because I think it’s to no avail: they couldn’t convince me, I had to try it out myself. So if you have doubts, start your own offline experiment and find it out the hard way, like I did. I wouldn’t say 20000 hands are needed, but a few thousand is really the minimum to get the right feel. Then you’ll know that this is the game we all love, where amazing does happen time after time, both online and offline.

    Cheers

  30. i think online poker isnt rigged but one can argue the odds are different.
    just think of playing live poker and while in between cards the deck is being shuffled
    the cards come from a radom number program that constintly change just like how slot work

  31. I am 100% convinced online poker is rigged. Like the last poster, I have played enough live poker to know that cards do not come out like they do online as often as they do. I know bad beats happen, but when you look at how people fold, fold, fold, then call an all-in with nothing and hit 4 to the flush, you just know something is going on. There are far too many action hands online. But like you say, no one can prove that it is rigged, and that is why they can get away with it. Conversely, you can’t prove it’s not fixed either, but no one ever questions that. Show me the software and prove it’s not fixed… that will never happen, will it! One day someone will prove it’s fixed, and then all the poker sites will be done for fraud.

  32. I recently read something about something going on at Pokerstars online poker where groups of Chinese poker players were playing together.

    So it seems this issue is still going on

  33. Not sure if FTP is rigged, but there certainly are some weird hands. I’ve played live casually for over 20 years, although no more than once a month, and got one low str8 flush that I can remember. In one week on FTP I got two 9-K str8 flushes. On the second one I was called all-in and I knew he had the A high flush- I apologized for wiping him out.

    Yesterday, played a hand with AA and there were two other PP and AK. Aces did hold up though.

    Got quads at least three times in less than 2,000 hands.

    Worst hand you can get is a low str8. Seems that there’s always a higher str8, a flush draw hits or the board pairs for a house.

    I can’t say I’ve got more bad beats than I’ve given, but the number of ‘good’ hands that come up seems extraordinary.

  34. “But more importantly, it’s the fact that those making accusations don’t even collect hand history data which exposes a fatal flaw in their argument because nearly every serious online poker player uses a software package like PokerTracker to analyze their play.”

    Did Doyle Brunson use software in the Texas backrooms???

    You are a FOOL!!!

    Is EVERY business in your town HONEST?
    NO and neither are ALL online poker sites!!!
    The REAL question isn’t if online poker is RIGGED, it’s WHICH ONE(S) are RIGGED!!!

  35. @peg: You realize why small sample size and statistically significant don’t even belong in the same sentence don’t you?

  36. I did a statistical analysis on flopped cards on the zygna free iPhone app online poker and found that face cards were approximately twice as likely to flop. Though my sample size was small it was a statistically significant finding. I’m not saying that all sites are rigged but zygna clearly is.

  37. Oh yeah before I forget

    Yes when u 1st deposit you run like God, even if u cant play.
    Yes if u withdraw you cant hit shit and alwayz lose.
    Yes people out there that say online isnt rigged most probably siad the same thing before the UB scandal.
    Yes you cannot convince them, much like you cannot convince a religous person God really doesnt exist.
    Yes pokersite owners setup shop to make money in any way possible( I cant blame them as I would do exactly the same)
    No pokersite owners do not run a charity.
    No pokersite owners give a toss about winning regs.
    No it doesnt make sence not to rig a site to make money.

  38. Warning a lot of sarcasim
    The numbers you see in this post are mostly fictional but I hope u get my drift
    @ gavin

    You actually believe pokersites are happy with 1 mil as opposed to 100 mill. OK sure I believe you, but only because you said it.

    My common sence tells me that without fishes you dont have a pokersite or at least not one that makes money. All you have are some regs playing other regs obviously a pokersite is more than happy with that.LOL

    Because on any of the big sites, playing cashgames with all regs at your table is why we play poker. We dont want to play weaker bad players, rather loose/flip money with regs.

    The only way a pokersite can keep fish not losing their entire savings, mortgage etc etc to regs is to rig the deck. I mean cmon where’s your common sense, luck plays a part thats why regs lose too often, suuuuure. Its funny though that these fishes never seem to be lucky when playing live, yes they might win a few hands down to luck but beat me or shall I say kill me the way they do online NEVER.

    I litterally dont stand a chance when playing online agaisnt the weakest of players. Why is it that they always wake up with a hand, always and i mean always have what they are drawing to if a 3 flush comes and they bet they show suited connectors, if the board pairs and they bet the river its a boat. When you’ve seen as many hands as i have(over a mill)you cant help but to become suspicous.

    What I think of online bingo I mean poker, its TV poker all I seem to see are huge hands, isnt it suppose to be hard to hit a pair let alone constant sets, straights and flushes. Always one hand over an other. Iam scared to get it in with aces because I know im only a coinflip vs any 2. Live im licking my chops as I know its hard to make something. Online though pokersites wants me to have aces becuase the fish cant fold k8o to an allin bet.

    Why do sites rig the deck this way, well for obvious reasons. What I see a lot of people overlook is the fact that by doing this not only do fish continue playing on their site, the site makes a hell of lot more money than one would think. Take Stars as an example 300k players, 10% regs and 90% fish. If fish stop playing Stars are left with 30k regs might aswell stop doing business as its not profitable for them no longer.

    Face it companies like this are dependant on their fishes, if they dont rig the deck fishes will lose everything to the regs, smarten up and leave. Stars cant afford not to rig the deck.

    To the people that do not believe that unfair, greedy, shitty, no morals or standards people exist who blatantly steal your deposits(the pokerroom owners etc etc)prob the mafia. I say I too believe in fairytales and Superman is real. Heck even God almighty himself came to me and told me himself that I am the only person that can prove he exists.

    Anywayz the bottom line is online poker cant be rigged because, they just wouldnt do it. If you can make 10 mill a year, why on earth would you want to make 10 billion a year. You just wouldnt risk it to make that little bit more.LOLLLL

    The beats/cold decks etc etc seems so surreal to everyone except a handfull of posters. I went through a number of blogs that have this discussion, what i have realized is that the people that say it isnt rigged are always in the minority.

    And finally if I had a fair deal I probably would have been up more than triple to what im up now( yes iam a winning player who thinks online is rigged to fck).

    Taking away an allin pot of you is worth double, if I start with 100 and ship 20 allin and win i make 120 if i lose im on 80 difference in my roll is 40. Some people tend to forget this and say well i lost 1 buyin, actually you lost 2 buyins.

  39. Pfff…of course it is rigged. We all know it. Deep inside. ;)
    Nah, but the thing that bothers me the most are the bots. Random bots and sites with their own bots (but it’s probably just on unknown sites). And also that there might be other sites with super users/something similar/other shady stuff. Took us a few years to figure AP/UB out so why not 4 more years to find the others… :/

    Anyway, great post .. :)

  40. There is no way online poker is rigged.Why would these poker rooms risk it as they are making so much money?.It would be the end for them if they got caught so it is just not worth it if you ask me and i,m 100% certain that when i play online it is all above board.These rumors are started by bad losers and sometimes in poker you will get a really bad beat that is poker deal with it.

  41. @johnk – not that I’m aware of.

  42. bill, do you know a guy name bob smith?

  43. I noticed that once you deposit , they let you win a good sum of money than you start to see that you can’t win a single pot. Also, big stacks def. has an advantage in a tourney. If full tilt is not rigged, whats up with all the action flops? Pocket pairs against high pocket pair. AQ vs QK? They always give you a piece of the flop to induce you to bet,setup after setup. Plus, the lower pair hitting a set on the flop never gets to old either. I don’t have evidence that it’s 100 percent rigged but i started to realize all this shit happenening ,did some research and some people are actually saying the same thing! I could careless if its rigged or not because i quit playing on these sites anyway but i know for sure something is not right. Play that super turbo 300 chip tourney setup after setup hands. the rng is flawed and it is not random.

  44. In long term you will be a winning player if you are good. Just imagine that in online poker there are much more hands dealt than live poker at the same time. And dont forget the luck factor, poker is not gambling but without luck you can only lose.

  45. New Arguement wrote: “I’m still trying to figure out how to prove this.. the only way I can think of, is to repeat what I do for 20,000 hands, which is hard.”

    Do you seriously play $30-$60 and have no concept of how large a hand sample size is required to be meaningful? 20k? No disrespect, but that’s laughable..Top cash game players play hundreds of thousands of hands per year and breakeven/downswings over 100k hands are not that uncommon.

    Justin wrote:” Incidentally, I am not a ‘losing player’ I have a 32% ROI and profit well in online poker.”

    A 32% roi at what exactly and over what sample size? You must be a sit n go superstar with that roi.Screen name or gtfo ( as dem nasty 2+2′ers would say).

    Stevie T wrote:
    “Answer me this. Why is it every site that tries to disbarge the theory that online poker rooms are rigged all have ads by those very poker rooms”

    I nearly left my blog addy on this comment but I have a ‘Stars ad up and someone might hack my email account and find the evidence! Here’s a snippet of the incriminating email: ” Dear Poker Blogger on Special Rigged Boomswitch Account,we would very much like to place an ad with you …”

    Seriously, any winning poker player knows they will go through mind numbing downswings and long runs of cards which seem almost unnatural and surreal.If you’re a winning player with mental toughness you ride it out and remember that every new hand is exactly that and not related to any previous play.

    Anyway, I’d also like to take my hat off to Bill for continuing to reply with grace and good humour to the “poker is rigged” crowd.Gl at the tables…

  46. Lee, you seem to have missed my point. Sure, the data will line up over an enormous sample size…I agree with you there. Otherwise the site will be deemed unfair by the gaming commision. This alone doesn’t mean it is fair though. If anyone can come up with a sensible and valid counterargument to the stuff I have said in my post from a few weeks ago, I will gladly back off or even admit defeat. Oh and by the way I paid my way through grad school playing poker online, believing the entire time that it is likely rigged but continuing to play because it is still profitable to an extent.

  47. hi bill,,,stumbled across your site really lol read every single post and all i can say is how the hell do you put up with these ppl i have hand histories of 212,000 hands at pp and 415,000 at ft and i have no abnormalities infact its so close to the exact percentages i barley believe it. When are people going to realise bad beats happen, yes it sucks yes it hurts but any poker player will have had hundreds of bad beats not 1 or 2 which is evidenced by many here. At some point every day i play (i play alot) i have some kind of bad beat. i get lucky around the same number of times too lol which as you repeatadly state this is expected not unexpected. Bad players complain about it as they have lost all their money….a good winning player will reload his/her balance take the beat on the chin and move on. bad beats my friends are built in to my stratertgy in a game, ok so you cant throw away a winning hand, but ppl online in general are so quick to throw all there chips in. We see so much more donkeys playing the lower hands online that they do seem to hit more often than in live play but this is bc the hands are been played more frequently therefore statistically it will hit the more they are played.

  48. RIGGED !

  49. I completely agree with Steve T’s post above, and I would like to add and clarify a few things. First of all, I understand that given a large enough sample size, the overall probabilites of specific hands will line up relatively close to what one would see in real life. Sites have been audited on this general premise, and they are deemed ‘fair’ if the long-term variance is low enough. Of course the sites could get in trouble to some extent if they are not deemed ‘fair’. What they are not taking into account is the fact that the long-term is comprised of a multitude of adjacent short-terms that can easily be manipulated on several levels and for several reasons.
    Now I have a life and have not mustered the time nor the energy to run analyses based on these criteria, but I encourage anyone who cares enough to try gathering a long-term database of hands GIVEN certain conditions, such as:

    1) 50,000+ hands within a week after cashing out vs. 50,000+ hands for a player who has not cashed out in over a year
    2) 50,000+ hands for a specific player within a minute after having typed in chat at the table vs 50,000+ hands for that same player after not having chatted at all in that particular session.
    3) 50,000+ hands in heads up situations in which the aggressor is the underdog in each hand vs. 50,000+ hands in which the underdog is passively calling.

    These are three conditions that come to mind; I’m sure there are many more that could be tested. #2 sounds a bit paranoid I suppose, but it’s worth testing anyway. Let me state clearly that with regard to #3 above, I fully understand the concept of semibluffing, and this is not at all what I am referring to. I realize that aggressive players often get paid off by making keen semibluffs; a tight opponent may get out of the hand and the aggressor takes it down right then and there. If the opponent does call, the bluffer has at least given himself an opportunity to get lucky and hit what he needs. This is just semibluffing in a nutshell and I’m sure you all know this already. What I am talking about is compiling long-term data given all situations in which an aggressive semibluffer hits what he needs vs. a different data set consisting of how often a passive caller who isn’t contributing much to the ‘juiciness’ of the pot hits his hands with the same draws/ likelihoods of hitting as the semibluffer. For example, let’s say hypothetically that a particular draw has a 28% chance of hitting. After 100,000 hands of situations in which the semibluffer comes over the top and is called to see a showdown, the semibluffer wins 36% of the time. This discrepancy over this many hands would be statistically significant. HOWEVER, all the site would have to do is to be sure that given the same 28% likelihood of hitting the draw, a passive caller on that same draw would hit a mere 20% of the time. And this is of course assuming that there are just as many passive callers as there are semibluffers. The point is that these billion-dollar industries could easily pay to hire the best programmers in the world who are willing to sacrifice their morality for huge paychecks. They know what conditions are more profitable on the site’s behalf and then could easily trigger the software to favor those conditions, not the players themselves. And of course for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, (i.e. 36% for semibluffer vs 20% for passive caller on a 28% draw), and when all conditional probabilities are tallied up in the longrun, they can easily make sure that each hand hits as often as it should. I encourage anyone who cares enough and who has the time to gather such data, because it may be the key to proving empirically that there is something fishy going on. The mere fact that a 28% draw hits 28% of the time and that a bozo amateur statistically survey confirms that does not mean that this is fair play.

  50. Answer me this. Why is it every site that tries to disbarge the theory that online poker rooms are rigged all have ads by those very poker rooms? Second why is it that on many tables, especially in PokerStars, will a player show up and bet just stupid consistently to the river and suck out numerous hands then disappears never to be seen again. If anyone was winning like that they would stay not run. I tracked some of the names of people lashing out that poker rooms are not rigged and you can not find them on any name list in any top 5 online poker room. I do not claim to be so computer smart that I can pick out rigged poker rooms but there are definite advantages to a poker room being rigged. When you look at the amount of money that goes through online pokerpoker even 1% would make a few people very wealthy. And why is it that if your nickname shows up on a blog that doesn’t agree with the online poker rooms is it impossible for youto win intourneys after that? Especially when you have had a record of not doing to bad prior? I understand it is a business and they should make money. But to much control into few hands is like……Oh yeah I know….. Government.

  51. I would love to stay home and beable to play a honest game of poker . I have been a poker player for 20 years and have always done well and . Im not a expert or even a smart person but Im smart enough to know BS when I see it and online line poker is the biggest pile of BS I have ever stepped over I have a challange for you come to my house play under my name. on my pc and show me how you can win online and then ill take you to the poker room and show you how to win live . your welcome at my home at any time thank you

  52. Bill,

    Why any major poker site hasn’t allowed yet to review all their code on *their* site?

    We both know that software code for poker site is very very simple and isn’t any special secret.

    This could convince all the people that feel that they are cheated.

  53. i just wonder why hands with a 5 or 10% chance win more than 30% online and it would be nice to lose on a tourney from being beat instead of sucked out on i have played 10 tourneys in 2 days and have not been beaten once to lose chips sucked out on every time by bigger stack sorry but thtose are odds that do not happen in regular poker

  54. I say boxers give you the most testicle freedom.

  55. bill

    what would u say is the safest site to play on? and do u wear y fronts or boxers?

  56. @Justin: Allow me to provide a counter-point here.

    1. As you say, even if Online Poker Code Crack was true, rigged is a misnomer. There is nothing that is absolutely, positively 100% random. And that includes shuffles in live games. Certain cards clump up when shuffled live and the dealer often just spreads the cards out on the table, moves some around, and then grabs them back up again which may have left those cards in the same clump.

    The definition of rigged is when the intent is to give someone an advantage. Simply because there is nothing in nature or in the known universe that scientists are willing to call truly random does not mean that the game is rigged.

    2. If Mr. Paul is confident in his analysis why has be not offered any major expert to review his findings? Why does his name not appear on 2+2 or any major poker forums? Why are the only mentions of his supposed “secret” ezine articles he’s written, a Facebook group he started, and some random reviews written like people like yourself who seem a tad too glowing and repeat many of the same canned phrases?

    3. If he had the actual information he claims he’s selling you he would be an absolute fool to sell it to you for $37? And why the scammer-ific claims that he’s only selling 100 hundred copies and then taking it off the market for a year because he doesn’t want too many people having this knowledge? Setting up the webpage, writing the eBook, doing the ezine articles, and creating all other stuff he’s done to promote this is worth only $3700?

    I can tell you who the people buying his book are. They’re morons who can’t do the basic math to figure out he’s claiming he’s going to cap his revenues at $3700 when he supposedly unlocked the mind-numbingly easy way to mint money ever devised. By the time you factor in the time spent putting together the offer and that’s his time is literally money if his system works then he’s the dumbest businessman in the world.

    Lastly, Justin, or can we call you Paul? You posted on Ed Miller’s Noted Poker Authority site this week as well. There your name was Ted. How do I know that you’re the same person? Let’s look at what you wrote:

    To say that online poker is rigged is a misnomer in the fact that losing players believe it is rigged for them to lose, In reality it is actually rigged, but not the way many people believe.

    And good old Ted said:

    I think what most people fail to realize is that the poker site is not rigging the game so the ‘house’ has an advantage.
    It is a misnomer to say rigged, however, the algorithms used and the subroutines implemented does make the game less fair.

    Talk about a flawed RNG. What are the chances that two totally different people would post endorsements for the same product and use the same word “misnomer” and make essentially the same sort of argument . . . two days apart?

    Go peddle your snake oil elsewhere.

  57. Bill,

    I have read with interest your entire column and the comments. The debate rages on. However there is clear evidence that something is amiss in the programs (software) used in the online poker sites.

    To say that online poker is rigged is a misnomer in the fact that losing players believe it is rigged for them to lose, In reality it is actually rigged, but not the way many people believe.
    As Greg stated above, there are anomalies, and these anomalies (as shown by Jay) are beyond the scope of normal expectation and statistical mathematics.

    Recently, Paul Westin (professional poker player and software engineer) wrote the Online Poker Code Crack (you can Google it to find more info) to enlighten poker players on these anomalies and how they affect the outcome of play.

    One of the major things I do not see discussed here is the fact that the RNG is incapable of producing every possible deck sequence (there are more than 8*10^67 possibilities) and therefore the programmers have applied algorithms and subroutines to compensate for this.

    As a result of the RNG lacking the ability to produce a fair and realistic shuffle of all possible deck sequences, these subroutines and algorithms will take place to create what appears to be a fair shuffle and random deck.

    A further study of the real program and the anomalies behind it will ultimately reveal the PATTERNS that are produced in the online poker sites and further explain why bad beats and ridiculous rivers occur so frequently.

    Incidentally, I am not a ‘losing player’ I have a 32% ROI and profit well in online poker. I also am aware of the patterns and anomalies and have used those to take advantage of the online poker sites to turn a profit in playing.

    Good Luck!

  58. I really like this site..so nice it easy to communcate…

  59. DNA is empirical evidence proving that it is reasonable to say God exists.

  60. That should be 3/51, my bad.

  61. Bill / Hash,

    Odds for getting any pocket pair are 3/52 = 5.88%
    (~17 to 1)

    Odds for getting AA is 4/52 * 3/52 = 0.45%
    (~222 to 1)

    Odds for getting AA four times in a row is therefore, 0.45%^4 = 0.0000000410%
    (~2,439,024,390 to 1)

    This means the “normal” expectation of getting this unlikely occurrence would require you to play a million hands a day for seven years. I’m not saying whether online sites are rigged or not but there’s the math. Something like this probably shouldn’t happen lol.

  62. FUCK OFF YOU WORK FOR THE CUNTS ITS ALL ABOUT MONEY TWAT.IF YOU TRUST IT YOUR MAD ITS STILL A BLOODY PROGRAMME

  63. being a close to master level chess player i have to say that even in a game of 100% skill there are ppl who find excuses for losses.google for example the pairing of kramnik and topalov.they were playing for the world championship and topalov accused kramnik that he was cheating.when he was going to the toilet he was using a laptop!!!! i mean….come on….it’s poker….and luck is like 20%. of course suck outs will happen all the f*** time.but if you play in your bankroll limit,guess what.you wont care.if you have the correct amount of buy ins for a table you wont care if you start losing from bad beats and if this continues you move lower.simple as that.and no worries at all.i know a guy in real life who deposited 2000 $ without having a clue about poker and he went on losing everything in 1 month.he was playing dominated hands like ATo and he complaining about better aces.he was not betting the turn and he was giving free flush draws and he was complaining about suck outs on the river.flush draw against better flush draw.full house over quads etc etc….now this proves what????that online poker is rigged or that he was a fish????oh and btw in low limits especially some ppl call whatever cause they dont care about losing money so suckouts are more likely to happen.i remember even I had some days that i was too bored to play properly and i was calling whatever and then suckouts were happening cause guess what.if you have 11% to win it mean 1 out of 10 you will win.anywayyyyyyyyyyyy just analyse your plays in more detail,read a book or more and keep thinking while playing.then play in proper limits and you will see poker is profitable!!!

    p.s. I am also a programmer and also i love maths.I strongly state that i would prefer poker to be rigged than the other way around cause i could spot a pattern.ie when you get pocket As and x opponents call before you then fold 67% of the times or you will run to a flush or str8 draw.or when you have full house and 3 players bet before you then you have 15% chances for success..etc etc….but unfortunately it’s not rigged!i could go into details with analysis of maths cause if there is a deviation from the rng algorithm you can spot it and manipulate it for your own profit.but this thing doesnt exists!!!!!!!unfortunately :(
    ps 2: i also wanted to add that from a programming point of view and also from a resource point of view rigging a site is hilariously easy but it doesnt happen for reasons that i stated above.
    ps 3: sorry for my english but it’s my second language and also i am somewhat tired (6 am here) :) cya all at the tables and good luck!!!!!!

  64. @Greg: Not really sure I understand how the empirical evidence exists but you can’t prove it . . . YET.

    If it’s empirical it should already indicate one result or the other.

  65. Sorry bro there is plenty of empirical evidence to suggest that there are anomolies. Can I prove it yet, no, but do I plan to yes. The bottom line a site will not lose players because players already suspect it even adjust there game for it. It would take a decent programer all of an hour to put in a program that gives bad players or players better hands, or perhaps players that consistantly deposit despite bad beats give them the worse hands, or just give everybody better hands to increase the rake. So many ways to do it, I believe bodog, tilt and pokerstars to all have there little tricks to their software to keep money in play, and more importantly keep the rakes high and limit the money withdrawn in order to keep earning interest. Not to mention pokerstars already uses a bullshit technique on its 2-7 triple draw game where if the whole deck runs out it shuffles cards and gives you another one from the reshuffled deck, but it makes sure first to not give you a card you already had. That is a fact, taht is how they do the game, which to me shows just how easy it is to adjust the card that is coming based on your hand. I am close to 98 percent certain that pokerstars has some shady shit going, does it make it impossible to win, no I guess not, but only if I figure out who I will automatically lose to in any given hand. I lost with the nuts with one or two cards to go the other nite 18 consecutive times in omaha. I have seen so much bullshit online, and I have played a lot live we are fucking kidding ourselves if we think any of these sites would think twice about it, the motives are there, the technology is there and the people dont care we are addicted. Only solution is legalizing it and having it regulated in the same way Vegas is, I believe if the US regulated online gambling it would be fair.

  66. yes, pokerparty use bots to take your money
    i was at a 20.00 table game. after about 5 min
    a word came up in the talk box that say thanks
    after the flop i notice the other bot say good
    hand that was funny to me the hand was not over
    with, the bot that said thank won the hand
    all it was 2 bots talking out of turn.
    after that the table close down real fast
    so i call partypoker to tell them what happen
    they said that look in to it. they did’n has to
    i seen what happen with my own eyes

  67. Pingback: just one more hand

  68. Just because you read it on a bumper sticker doesn’t mean you should live your life by it.

  69. JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE PARANOID, THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE NOT FOLLOWED!

    think about it…

    Ken

  70. Why haven’t you addressed my comment yet?
    Comment #63

  71. by the way, the reason why 10/20 is “slow and boring” for me is

    a) if I don’t care enough, I don’t try hard enough to win

    b) players at that limit make REALLY weird plays, so sometimes its hard to depend on them to fold when they should, or not suck out….. I still try to learn the players and then take advantage, but its harder here than in 15/30, amazing enough

    This brings up another point you made earlier.. .that I have gambling tendencies because of my “jonesing”

    I do like playing, and I’ll admit to sometimes playing too much… but the reason I chose the words I did above is because I was making a point about how poker sites treat the average poker player who DOES have gambling tendencies

    But thanks for pointing it out

  72. wait a minute, I do have stats going back until jan 25th of this year… (I found them in the partypoker folder.. the new stats are in the new partygaming folder with the software upgrade)

    I also have other stats from last year, I’ll have to go thoruhg all of it and report back here sometime soon… too tired now

  73. I’m still trying to figure out how to prove this.. the only way I can think of, is to repeat what I do for 20,000 hands, which is hard.

    I’d have to play low limits for awhile then move up, play 500-1000 hands, and then repeat 20 times. I’ll have 10,000-20,0000 hands of data, and then see if those results are skewered.

    It would take months.

    My stats only go back until feb 28th, 2006 but here’s the basic summary:

    limit | hands | profit | BB/100 hands

    30/60 452 $4500 18.27
    20/40 464 $2200 11.51
    15/30 1374 $750 1.82
    10/20 2186 -$1100 -4.21

    I’ve had a bad month at 10/20, I usually win… i keep track of it in my journal

    If you care, Bill, I’ve actually learned something about my game because of one of your replies and so far the results have been very good. So all this had a positive outcome.

    I’ve also learned, that I think 15/30 is my new home… (despite the lackluster results) 10/20 has become too slow and boring for me.

    scrutinize all you want

    the 20/40 and 30/60 stats are a joke… I don’t count them towards my skill as a poker player

    This exact pattern (except for the losing at 10/20) has been going on for the past 5 months.

    I wish I still had those stats.

  74. Karl,

    It depends. If he shows me 100 hands of data; yes. If he shows me a pattern over tens of thousands of hands then it should be taken more seriously.

    Bill

  75. Even if he shows you pokertracker evidence aren’t you going to say that it’s variance ?

  76. i forgot, i also flopped a set twice

  77. by the way…. I decided to try my luck at 30/60 again tonight

    In 20 hands, I won $1600.

    I:

    -flopped quads
    -flopped a straight
    -hit 2 pair on the turn
    -hit a 4 outer on the turn)

    All in 20 hands.

    Because of my scary image, I was able to bluff out and steal blinds for the rest of my profits

    I will have all of this on poker tracker sometime this week.

    I’ll also post the hand history.

    not saying this proves anything… .its just interesting

  78. I’ve been meaning to use poker tracker, and actually I play 35% of my hands… but then I routinely play shorthanded. In a 10 player ring game I’m usualy at or around 20%. so maybe you’re right… I’m a big enough man to admit when i’m wrong.

    I play super tight offline.

    I just bought poker tracker, i’ll lety ou know the results.

  79. new argument:

    Sorry you take feedback so personally. But as I said previously, a solid player in any level game is playing about 17% – 20% of their hands. If you were getting so many good starting hands that you could play enough hands to win 66BB in 90 minutes then it would be very easy to import your hand histories into something like PokerTracker and demonstrate (which is what nearly everyone who claims online poker is rigged fails to do) that there’s a statistical anomoly.

    Sure, it’s probably too few hands to make any sort of judgement on but if, as you claim, every time you take a shot at a higher limit this kind of rush of cards comes, at least that would register as some sort of anomoly given a certain period of time (or a certain number of hands).

    You have the tools to prove your assertions right or wrong. You’re simply too lazy to do it. You want me or someone else to tell you, with 100% certainty, if online poker is rigged or not. Then, if you don’t like the answer you just question it some more.

    I don’t know what to tell you, dude.

    Bill

  80. I tried to make this friendly but you choose to assume I suck, ok, fine.
    You’re just like all the other poker writers and webmasters who makes broad assumptions about someone’s play based on one tiny window into their playing style.

    I was not playing LAG. In fact, I don’t play any one style, I adapt to tables and players. You say its impossible to win that much in so short a time unless I’m in too many pots? Then should I have folded all the great hole cards I received in that period of time? I should have folded my position and not played back at the guy who raises every hand? Please.
    I’m a winning poker player. I’m not an idiot. You are so married to your point of view that you don’t even see what I said.

    “You mean, you’re saying the same thing that the guys at the $30/$60 were saying when you hit your two pair and other miracle hands against them? See how it works? It’s called variance.”

    The POINT of my ENTIRE post, is that its not NORMAL variance. I thought that was clear….

    Yes, you’re right, online sometimes I get distracted, and offline its easier to read players. That’s true.

    No, I don’t win as an online poker player by constantly playing the high limits when I think I’m lucky. Sorry if I gave that impression. I win because I’m good. The extra I make when I rig the rigged is just icing on the cake.

    Third… you can’t know too much about programming if you think that it’s hard to do this. It doesn’t matter how many players are online, the software needs to only deal with the table, not ALL the tables. If you’re a programmer, then reread my pseudo code and think one talbe at a time. Why would one table have to know what another table is doing?

    In any case, I’m not saying I’m right, Im just saying its possible.

    To be honest, I’d love to believe its not rigged as much as you seem to.

  81. new argument:

    And, predictability, now that my short term luck is over, I can’t seem to win a hand. I have moved down to 10/20, and almost every hand in which I’m anywhere from 75% to 90% to win, I get sucked out on, MUCH more so than I ever do offline.

    You mean, you’re saying the same thing that the guys at the $30/$60 were saying when you hit your two pair and other miracle hands against them? See how it works? It’s called variance. Just because you’re a 4:1 dog in a hand doesn’t mean that after losing 4 times that you’re due for the next one to hit. It means that over a LARGE number of hands that the averages will return to their norms.

    Or look at it another way, does making 66BB in 90 minutes seem like a statistical anomoly to you? It should!! Just as losing 125BB in 5 days should seem like an anomoly . . . unless you aren’t as good as you think.

    Do you even realize how many pots you have to win to make 66BB in 90 minutes? You were obviously in a lot more pots than you should have been. I don’t really see the game being rigged as much as you play LAG (Loose Aggressive) which means large swings are normal (and you’re likely a losing player overall). I mean, you’ve admitted that the only way you stay in the black is to take these shots at a higher limit, clean up, and then lose it all back at the lower limits. I don’t mean that to sound insulting but if a friend described the pattern you just did and asked me for help on his game, I would tell him he needs to learn how to play the $10/$20 better rather than going on hit and runs at the $30/$60 to keep himself in the black.

    And talking about jonesing and the site making you want to earn it back is . . . exactly how every degenerate gambler I know talks. I think we all go through degenerate spells where we refuse to quit a game until we get even but from your wording it sounds like this is a major problem for you. It’s sort of the difference between someone who drinks from time to time to take the edge off and the guy who HAS to have a drink. You sound a lot like the later in your tone, words, and rationalizations.

    I try to play, tight, solid poker. I average about 2 – 3BB per 100 hands dealt. Sure, I have good swings and I have bad swings but I know they’ll average out because they always do. If I go on a +66BB swing, I know I’m not surprised if I have a few more break-even or losing sessions than is the norm. Poker isn’t linear. It’s up +66BB one day and down 60BB the next (though, I try not to have major swings one day like that if I can at all avoid it). I tend to play for X number of hours a day and I tend to quit whether I’m winner or loser for the session.

    Now, I’ll admit, my earn rate in the live casinos is much better than online. First off, I have way more information about my opponents. First because you have physical tells and such but also because my brain links things to people’s faces better than to screen names. Also, the hands are dealt slower and so there’s more time to think (even when you’re not in a hand). Lastly, because I’m physically limited to one table, and I can’t read email, surf porn, or do the 100 other things I tend to do while playing online, my concentration is much, much better.

    Online, when I’m four tabling, I can barely remember whether it was the 4s on table 1 or the 4s on table two who pulled the turn check-raise move on me 10 hands ago but in a live casino I can correctly call the hole cards of my opponents about 60% of the time by the river.

    And we’ll have to agree to disagree on your assessment of the ease of rigging a poker game on the scale of which we’re talking about. Rigging one game, yes. Rigging 4000 games and not having massive statistical anomolies in the card frequency is not as easy as you think. I too have a background in software engineering and when you see things like the Party Poker upgrade where they were starting tournaments with different chip counts, deleting image files off people’s computers, etc you know that this is not the same group of people who could write a program so sophisticated to cheat across 70,000 players 24×7 and not throw off some pretty massive errors.

  82. Hi Bill

    You’re right, people do blame the site simply because it is easy to do. It’s an unknown entity, its very easy to cry “rigged!”. But that doesn’t mean its NOT rigged.

    Let me address 2 of your points, which are good arguments by the way:

    “I don’t really buy into this whole, ‘Well, it never happens offline’ stuff.”

    I never said that 1 outers don’t happen offline, I say that it doesn’t happen in the streaky way that it does online.
    Just last night at the casino I saw someone catch a 1 outer on the river to make quads vs a flopped full house. So of course that stuff happens. The patterns I have personally experienced online are such that either I win a lot all at once, or I lose a lot all at once and it seems to occur after specific events. It is rare that I make money online the same way that I do offline. Offline things happen as I feel they mathematically should; I win a few pots, and get sucked out on a few times, but the point is, bad beats happen *every once in awhile*, not all at once.

    Recently I played my account after 3 weeks of inactivity. I purposely played a higher than normal limit. I have done this in the past and had a huge streak of luck. Coincidentally, this time, I also experienced very good luck. I won $4000 in 90 minutes at 30/60. Almost every pot I was in was a winner. I caught all my flushes, straights and hit many sets. If I had an inferior hand preflop, I’d hit 2 pair on the flop. Etc. This is not the first time this has happened. Generally, if you do not play your account for a long time, and/or you move up to a higher limit for the first time, you will get lucky a lot. That’s manipulating the short term. Again, I do not discount that this might be a coincidence, however, it does happen almost every time.

    And, predictability, now that my short term luck is over, I can’t seem to win a hand. I have moved down to 10/20, and almost every hand in which I’m anywhere from 75% to 90% to win, I get sucked out on, MUCH more so than I ever do offline.

    I have only had 2 losing sessions offline in almost 2 months now, and I go at least once a week.

    I have lost close to $2500 now online playing 10/20 in the past 5 days. I am a GOOD Player. This is highly unusual. EVery big hand I have ends up 2nd best at the river.

    This same pattern has happened to me least a dozen times in the past 6 months. Overall, I still manage to be in the black, but I hate how I have to make it happen.

    Given all of this, I feel that poker sites have a high probability of being rigged. And it seems that only the limit ring games are rigged. Perhaps because the no limit games would be much harder to rig.

    However, all of this is just empirical… I appreciate your dedication to your side of the argument, and I can’t really prove things either way, and that is what the online sites surreptiously are counting on; that nobody can ever scientifically prove they are manipulating the short term. Pretty sneaky of them don’t you think?

    Now think about it, if you had a fool proof way to rig a site, one that can’t be proven scientifically, and this rigged method would earn you 100 million MORE in profits over the course of the year, would you use it?

    Does it actually give them more profits?
    I know that party poker personally earns about $1500 in rake, just from me, per month.
    I play about 2 hours a day. That’s a lot of money. If they are rigging it as I suggest, they are effectively keeping me in the game as long as possible by playing with my gambling tendencies: ie, Don’t let me lose it all at first, give me a an unbelievable win streak, and then have me lose it all, so that I’m completely jonesing to play and win it back, repeat cycle until all my money ends up in their rake.

    Keep me playing for as long as possible.

    But it goes even FURTHER than this. If I’m a good player, then let me lose my money to some of the fish so that they don’t get discouraged. So it keeps THEM playing, too.

    Now multiply $1500/month times, what, say, 10,000 mid to high limit holdem players?

    Now let me argue against myself. Perhaps I change my game when I am winning, maybe I get sloppy? Or lose focus?
    I’ve asked myself these questions a million times and its what keeps me guessing, and I pay more and more attention to my game. But the better I get at poker, and the more I play offline, the more I feel that my argument FOR rigging is probable.

    “Furthermore, as I’ve stated over and over again, rigging games is much, much harder than people think. ”

    Thats’ not true. I am a programmer by trade. It is not hard at all to manipulate the short term as I suggest. Here’s how they could do it: Each player is assigned a “luck” index based on recent account activity (deposits, withdrawals, etc). At any given table, there are players with high luck index, or low luck index. Each player is randomly dealt their hole cards(or maybe not, but lets say that the hole cards are random for simplicity sake) If 3 players are in a pot, the one with the higher luck index will have a higher probability of winning. If it is possible to give one of these players a winning flop, turn or river, then do so. Thats’ not really hard to do at all, you just check the poker rank of the other player with the lower luck index, and then deal a card that beats it. Simple. There are always outs to be dealt. And isn’t it amazing how some of these players seem to catch their long shot odds in such a funny way… ? (so perhaps SOME of the people who cry rigged aren’t completely clueless, as I’ve heard it from many offline veterans, too)

    I wish I knew either way. If I knew 100% it was rigged, I wouldn’t play at all, but as it stands, I’m still not completely sure and that really bugs me. I’m just saying it’s possible,and given my experiences, probable. I am trying to be as objective as possible about this.

    I only bring all this up so that hopefully someone else build upon my argument, or maybe even do something about it. I like playing poker, and I hate feeling like it’s rigged. I only want the truth and I have no ego stake in either side of the argument.

  83. Karl,

    Thanks for ignoring my previous comment. Rigging a single game is easy. Try rigging 4,000 games all at once in such a manner that it can’t be detected. That is infinately much more difficult.

    Also, chess and poker are two different games. Chess is 100% skill. You cannot sit down a total newbie at a table with a champion level chess player and expect the newbie to win. Poker is part skill and part luck. Any newbie can sit down and beat the world’s best pro across a single hand, a session, or even over multiple sessions.

    It’s far easier to build a computer to beat a 100% skill game because all you have to do is build a program that plays more skillfully than the human opponent. Whatever the human has learned can likewise be learned by the computer.

    Poker, on the other hand, has many negative reinforcements. In other words, luck can often reward poor play. Thus is the beauty of the game.

    Bill

  84. IBM built a program (and computer) that beats world class champions at chess. And we know that chess is infinitely more complex than poker. Seriously it is possible to create a software that rigs the deck because there aren’t that many variables to take into account.

  85. new argument:

    You actually don’t have a new argument. What you have is an old argument. Ever hear the phrase “beginner’s luck”? You and I expect players to play with some sort of predictability based on the rules, odds and strategies of the game. When new players start playing they often defy the conventional strategies and they may experience winning streaks early as other players begin to adjust to them. This saying goes back longer than I’ve been on the planet (a long time) so this is not an internet thing.

    I know of several B&M players who are terrible players yet they always seem to suck out. They have a lucky horseshoe up their ass or something. I know it’s illogical but when you have people who seemingly always hit the card they need you start to think the poker gods have intervened to help this person.

    Also, I don’t really buy into this whole, “Well, it never happens offline” stuff. I play a lot of B&M poker and I see countless players asking for new setups, cursing at dealers, etc. They obviously feel that the dealers in the casinos are against them too. I’m not saying that you feel this way but since there are always going to be winners and losers in this game and with the speed at which someone can lose their money vs. B&M, IMHO people are simply using the rigged excuse as a crutch for their own inability to beat the game.

    Furthermore, as I’ve stated over and over again, rigging games is much, much harder than people think. It might be trivial to rig the outcome of a single hand but to build a system intelligent enough to rig thousands of simulatanious games and not radically alter the predicted norms (i.e. the frequency of cards hitting) is a monumentally complex task. I’ve yet to have even one person who claims it’s trivial offer up to me a method on how they would accomplish the task.

    Lastly, I’ve yet to see anything online that I have not seen something even freakier happen in a live casino (or homegame). I’ve seen players come back from being a 93 to 7 dog and win. I’ve seen runner, runner quads. I’ve seen one outers hit. I’ve seen amazing things happen. That’s just poker.

    Bill

  86. I’ve spent at least 3 or 4 hours reading post after post, article after article nad blog after blog discussing the online rigged poker debate.

    I’ve read these posts, because for the past year of playing online, I’ve noticed a very distinct pattern with my wins losses. I understand odds and statistical deviance, it makes perfect sense to assume that in order prove or disprove a site being rigged, all you have to do is take a large enough sample size of hand histories, and see if something is up.

    Someone has done that. End of debate, right?

    Wrong.

    Yes, hands come out as expected in the long run

    I think the WAY in which sites get there is suspect.

    Just b/c long term pans out, doesn’t mean they don’t manipulate the short term for profit, ie, win streaks for new players, or after new deposits following a period of inactivity. Or losing streaks after a cash out.

    They know that in order for anyone to prove its rigged, they have to provie a large enough sample size

    So now they have the freedom to dole out short term wins or losses however they want.

    If you understand gambling addiction, you know that the worst thing you can do to a new pleyr who is prone to addiction, is to give him or her a massive win streak. He or she will forever be chasing the one time he made $2000 in 2 hours or whatever.

    So I’d like to see someone counter argue this one….

    summary: long term stats pan out, but short term stats don’t have to, therefore, they can choose when and how to deliver short term wins or losses. The incentive is constantly getting new money into the system from people chasing their unbelievable wins.

  87. All I know is my short time at PokerStars was filled with beat after beat. I got to the point where I was far more successful if I didn’t call preflop raises, REGARDLESS of the cards I had. I’d actually place in the money in tourneys using this tactic. I only played there about three months and cut my losses and cashed out.

    Of course I remember the bad beats, but according to my informal logging on hands dealt and played, the preflop raise/aggressor got cards about 60% of the time REGARDLESS of the cards they raised on. Coincidentally, the cards generally had something in them to bring another player or two along for the ride.

    Here’s my informal logging method. On a preflop raise, I’d put a tick on a piece of paper. If they got the cards needed to win, I’d make into an “X”. If not, it stayed a tick.

    It’s all math and computer code. How hard would it be to write in an algorithm or two to favor aggressive play and/or player history (ie: you haven’t lost enough money to the site to warrant getting cards, even though you dominate a hand 90% to 10% until the river) AND STILL KEEP YOUR RESULTS “RANDOM”. Not too hard, I’m thinking.

    All ins in both tourneys and table play will benefit the house.

    Table play is obvious – RAKE.

    Tourney play – getting kicked out on a bad beat will most definitely have you enter the next available tourney. Believe me, I know.

    After taking a 6 out beat, consecutive running turn and river card beats and two consecutive 3 out beats ALL IN A ONE HOUR PERIOD, I cashed out.

    FWIW, YMMV, YATA, YATA

  88. Bill,
    I’ve just spent the last half hour or so reading the “rigged or not rigged” online poker posts, and have, at the very least, been entertained. I just have one point here:
    1. Does anyone make “notes” on their online opponents? I do, but with so many people playing online it isn’t often you play the same people by just randomly jumping into any game. Now consider if you played the same opponents each time (many of us do this in home games). It’s been my experience over the past 6 years, 3 nights/month, that the money flows fairly consistently to certain players: myself and another friend. In our home games, our buddies that usually lose will generally attribute this to bad luck and bad beats. They, like all the “online poker is rigged” people, tend to vividly remember the times they got sucked out on when they had the best hand going in, but never seem to keep mental track of the numerous hands when they went against the odds and lost (I guess this is a natural occurrence of the human psyche, and I’ve found the only way to overcome it is to practice – practice remembering the hands you played poorly, not the hands you played well). The hands they play against the odds and lose on, the ones they can’t recall, do them in as much as the ones they DO remember. Anyway, to the point: if the same group of players play against each other on a regular basis, who do you think will usually come out on top? If all the players are clones, I guess they will all break even in the long run. But most of us are not clones. Some of us mentally process things differently in poker, some of us have better memories than others, some of us are better at math (and some of those that are capable of working out equations in their head refuse to even incorporate outs and pot odds when playing), some of us are better actors than others, and some of us drink too much when we play. If you play against strangers EVERY time you play, you’ll have no prior information on their methods: tight, loose, aggressive, insane, etc. I turn a modest profit online, and I’m no pro by any stretch, but if I could profit at the same rate online as in our home games, I would surely quit my job and play full-time online poker (and there most certainly are people that do this, though I’d venture to guess most of them make a more consistent profit in cash games than in sit-n-gos or large field multi-table tourneys). I believe firmly that constantly playing against mystery opponents is more detrimental to even an above average player than anything else online. When I occasionally find a table with one or two people I have notes on, reading their hands becomes much easier, and I can also add or update my notes on them. This may seem like a small edge, but believe me, it can be huge in some cases. Even if online poker were rigged, a better player against lesser opponents might just be able to overcome the “rigged” factor if he were very familiar with his opponents. Not a lot of science or statistics to my thread here, but let’s face it, those who believe online poker is rigged will not be swayed by any statistical analysis (probably not even if performed by their own mother!). Good Luck All!

  89. I like you do no believe online poker is rigged at the popular sites, but I do have a problem with your arguement.

    If you were an online poker company would you rig your game in any obvious manner? You state that just because there are no large statistical anomalies that it is not rigged. If these companies wanted to rig their games they would only slightly bump up the action. Maybe only 2% of the hands would be rigged; maybe less. They deal an insane amount of hands every day. It doesn’t have to be a large anomaly for it to turn into big dollars for them.

    You are wrong in saying that proving online poker is rigged would be a possible feat. No one could ever build a PokerTracker Database large enough to accurately depict the statistical genuineness of the cards because in such small samples these 2% errors could happen.

  90. This is difficult to explain, but…is it not plausible that the client software can detect playing patterns of new/bad players and trap them by rewarding poor play every so often to keep just enough interest for them to keep pumping £££ into their accounts, whilst being able to detect more advanced players and treating them fairly?

    i would assume there is alot of money to be made in gambling addiction, even at $1/2 tables. addicted amateurs would be an easy target, if poor players get hooked and the game generated winning pattens that encourage bad play surely people will play alot of games in a short spells, get p**sed off, then do the same thing the next day in hope of winning back there money.

    by treating novice players poorly its easy to discredit their grievences as sour grapes, especially when others are allowed a fair run.

    its much more likely, like in all cons and scams, that your target is selected for certain attributes – ie poor poker playing ability, making them vulnerable to, at first, detect the scam, and secondly produce a valid arguement.

    like you say, just as something can be entirely improbable doesnt me it doesnt happen!

  91. all these whiners, i got beat, someone sucked out on me, heres my little one

    three times in a row i was dealt pocket kings, three times in a row the flop came AK? (? is just another irrelevant card that i cant remember wasnt the same each time) three times in a row i ended up going all in for $200 each time, three times in a row the other guy had AA

    I lost $600 in those three hands, with a cracking hand, trip kings on the flop.

    and guess what, I DONT CARE, its poker!! for all you whiners, either shut up and play, or shut up and dont play, either way is fine by me.

    I know where your all coming from, when i first started playing online poker, i thought they were all rigged as well, until I realised its not the poker site thats rigged…guess what is rigged…….it was ME, ME baby ME!!! I was looser than a hookers you know what, and i let the money drift out of my fingers.

    since the day i realised that, i improved my game, I now make a living off poker and I love hearing people whine about how they lose all the time.

    poker facts 60% of players play in the nude

    95% of the money on online poker, eventually goes to 5% of the players

    interesting, wish i could remember where i heard those facts.

  92. I think I actually have a different take on it than has been previously posted. Being a logical person I am pretty confident online poker is not rigged. Sometimes it FEELS like it but thats only because it’s easy to blame the computer when you take a bad beat or (gasp!) actually make a bad play. However, your question, “Why would one risk the almost instant death of their business if they were found to be rigging games just so they could rake an extra .50 a hand?” got me thinking. Allow me to play the devil’s advocate for a moment. If a site can increase the rake by $.50 per hand and it can deal 200,000 hands a day they would make and extra $100,000 PER DAY. Thats $36.5 million per year on top of whatever else they make. I think that might entice a few people to tinker with the RNG. Imagine it’s just 3 or 4 top programmers. We know that if they got caught they would never work in the industry again, however if they didn’t get caught for 4 or 5 years and could bank over $100 million, they would never HAVE to work again. Sounds like a good reason to encourage action flops to me.

  93. Its true. Last week i made an account on pokertime and played a few hands. To be exact I played 400 hands. I got pocket aces
    11 times (should have been 1 or 2 times statistically). Whats funnier is that out of those times i won only once with them in a 6 handed table (wtf?). After losing a few all-ins like my AKs vs ATo or my JJ vs 66 I went on tilt and went all-in with 64o. Flopped a full house. Guy against me has pocket aces and turns a better full house (ace). I catch quads on the river. If the only way to win is playing underdogs well that’s not poker.

    By the way don’t think I’m stupid because my english is bad. I’m just not bilingual.

  94. the sites are rigged. you can play low off suits all day long and lose fold them one time and get four 2′s or whatever. there are examples like this everywhere. if you start winning too much you get bad draws. this isn’t just chance it’s rigged. you can state all the so call facts you can think of. your wrong

  95. chances of being dealt pocket aces : 1/221
    chances of being dealt pocket aces four times in a row : 1/221^4 = about 2.4 BILLION
    yes 1 chance out of 2400000000.

  96. Bill, I am a college student and my roomate seems to believe that he has better odds playing poker online then live poker because “online poker is more random”. I told him that not only is his belief that the odds are better wrong but that his reason (that they are more random) is wrong as well. I told him that he was not correctly understanding the probability.

    He went on to say that “it must be more random because he’s had Ace Jack of spades twice in a row, or twice in 10 minutes” and I simply told him that that is a coincidence and nothing else.

    Then he said that online poker is more random because unlike in live poker where the community cards and burn cards are the 8 cards left on the top of the deck after players hands have been dealt, online the burn and community cards are just “chosen randomly, not the top 8 cards on an imaginary online deck”. I told him that I figured that in online poker whether through algorithms or equations or whatnot there was a sort of cuttable imaginary deck that had a top a middle and a bottom and that the community cards weren’t just chosen randomly from the deck (as if in live poker the dealer took one card off the top, 3 from the middle, and 4 from the bottom) BUT I said that even if I was wrong, even if the cards remaining after the hands had been dealt were thrown all over the ground and 5 community cards were picked up, the probability of the five cards being what they were had not changed. In other words, I said, in a deck of 52 cards, shuffled and everything, you have just as good a chance of pulling off the top 8 cards and having them be ace,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 of diamonds as you do of pulling 8 random cards from locations all throughout the deck and having them be ace,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 of diamonds . Aren’t I correct? I even put it like this. If you shuffle the deck and split it up into 13 piles of 4, the probability of one pile being w,x,y,z of spades is the same as each other pile being w,x,y,z of spades. He even started saying things like the cards were predestined in live poker and random in online…predestined in live poker? That doesn’t even make sense? It’s like Dr. Evil accusing chestnuts of being lazy. Please Bill…help me out. I need a professional person to say “Sorry pete, but Dan is right”.

    To be honest this is partially for the purposes of “I told you so” partially because I have a pet peeve of people thinking they are right when there is overwhelming evidence that they are wrong, and partially because he might screw himself if he plays online thinking that hes going to have some sort of special probability-related advantage online.

    I told him that maybe his belief in online poker having a probable advantage was just an illusion because he had the ability to play a lot more hands in a much shorter amount of time. He still didn’t by it. Maybe I’m an ass because I care so much, but regardless I’m very frustrated!

    This hasn’t happened yet but it probably will happen soon: As I’m sitting here I see another example of my roomate being ridiculous. Say you’re hanging with buddies and you say, lets draw straws for who has to pick up the pizza, my roomate would argue that the last person to draw is at a disadvantage, but thats not true. Just because the other guys got to choose between other straws didn’t mean that they had some special knowledge of the straws; they still all looked like they were the same length. My roomate would then argue, well, after the first person draws his straw, the second person now has only 4, instead of 5 straws to choose from, so the chances of him drawing the short straw is now 1/4 not 1/5, but my roomate doesn’t understand that theres also a chance that the first guy actually did pick the straw, so all in all the probability is evened out. Basically I’m just saying he doesn’t understand simple probability (and yet we are both taking multivariable calculus) but he won’t allow me to tell him this. Once again, I am right, correct?

    Thanks.

  97. That discussion about poker rooms being rigged is hilarious! I have been playing poker for over 20 years with regulars every week. The crazy showdowns I have seen over the years are numerous. And that include the hands (over 15 of them – we keep track of amazing results) where one guy only had 1 out to win and got it. What people need to remember is this:

    1- Usually, online, people get bored more rapidly than in a B&M. Being alone and not talking to anyone will make anyone get bored fast. When big hole cards are given to you, you get all excited and sit straight on your chair with your nose only inches from the screen, waiting for that big flop, cursing and yelling, feeling your heartbeat increase. (Now, everyone has recognized themselves… ;-) ). And when you don’t get that flop, you curse your bad luck, the rigged site, the fkn fish who DARES to draw on you, etc… And then you play whatever hand and lose again. Suddenly, you lost 20$ in a 3 minutes period.

    2- Anyone who has played online and at a B&M will recognize they are more aggressive online. Why is that? Because you don’t even have chips in front of you to keep reminding you about your stack literally going down. Remember the saying: Guy who invented cards was brilliant, guy who invented chips was a genius. How about the guy who invented chips you can’t touch, feel and see? Freaking Einstein?

    3- People complain about Party raising tourney blinds too rapidly (every 10 hands they double). Have you ever realized that each single table tourney is always done and over with within 75 minutes top? That’s what I call bingo, not poker! It’s bingo because, to win, you depend too much on hitting a rush at the right moment. Now if on top of that your opponents get luckier than you…

    So. Are poker sites rigged? To that I will only say that I don’t think the computer application distributing the cards at PartyPoker (I only play there and under another nickname) is rigged. However, THE RULES AND REGULATIONS UNDERLAYING HOW THE GAMES ARE BEING PLAYED are immensely favouring the site. And that includes the rake.

    What can you do about that? Read and get the information. Those rules and regulations are somewhere in the site. Go get them and get informed. If you don’t nobody will do it for you.

    And freaking stop complaining about your bad beats. If you want to play a game that has nothing to do with chance, play chess. Poker is luck based. Luck determine the cards you get, luck determines the cards your opponent get and luck determines the board. And your badluck is ALWAYS someone else’s good luck. Freaking live with it!

    And one last point. Before cursing at your opponent, please keep in mind the times you called with 8-6 off (“just for the heck of it…”) and won over KK and AQ suited with your 2 pairs, the second pair appearing on the river. You always play perfectly? Rrrrrrright….

  98. Why would it be rigged? Online sites are already making tons of money. Maybe to promote more ALL INS?

  99. I’m not sure if the actual sites would rig anything or not actually. Im up 1300$ on party poker as we speak, but, maybe the players can somehow tell what you have through the use of technology or something, you never know. Whenever there is that much money at stake such as the 100/200 and 50/100 tables…there is no telling what some people have up there sleeves. And you know that online sites where you can make money always attract the scumbags that will relentlessly try to crack the system with installing trojans on the actual clients system, or any other scheme someone could think up…so I may agree with Bill and arggh that the actual site isnt tampered with, but the people on there are a totally different story…and there is no way that anyone could argue that point.

    Thanks,

    Joe

  100. It’s so frustrating reading these replies. I’m not going to go into the myriad reasons why it would be completely idiotic for poker rooms to rig their RNGs–this topic was beaten into the ground years ago. But if you’re one of these conspiracy theorists, understand two things:

    1) It would be completely idiotic (not to mention, near-impossible) for poker rooms to rig their SNGs to deal you bad beats on big hands.
    2) There are millions of people who play poker online every day. The vast majority of them do not experience much statistical variance–the proverbial “bell” in the bell curve. But in a pool that big, there will be outlying cases. There will be people who start the day depositing ten dollars and in eight hours parlay it into 10,000. Yes, it happens.
    The flip-side of that coin are the people who get dealt bad beat after bad beat. That happens, too. If you get dealt AA four times in a row, and it’s cracked each of those four times, sucks to be you, but understand that you are just on the shit end of the bell curve that day–Party Poker has better things to do than jack you for your measly 100 bucks or whatever.

  101. fudged big boards,,,,,high bets,,,,,,,,high rakes,,,,simple,,,,,,,,,

    and what about those huge software pauses on big bets on a showdown,,,,,,

    no to mention being followed by site players,,

  102. They arent’ rigged huh? I think that’s bullshit. I think the online poker websites ARE completely rigged to hike up the RAKE. For instance, I’m playing in a low money game, and I haven’t seen pocket pairs of anything ALL game. Then, I’m dealt pocket Kings. If course, I have the monster hand, I bet big. Well, I lose to pocket Jacks with a jack on the flop. Not a big deal, but same game….
    I end up with an Ace high straight. I lose to a Royal Flush. A Royal PHUCKING flush??? Bull shit. Doesn’t happen. SAME GAME, I have a straight off the flop. I lose to a flush on the river card. Bad luck has nothing to do with it. I’ve never lost as many MONSTER hands in my LIFETIME then I have two weeks playing online poker. It’s not rigged? Bull shit. They love that rake. I always lost the monster hands on the River card.

  103. I don’t know Bill, I’m a pretty down to earth individual and don’t fly off the handle all that often, but I used to play at planetpoker about a year or 2 ago, and around that same time I was playing at paradise poker. Now Im going to ask you to put aside “stats” here for a second because we can always say “ok, where’s the stats for 20k hands”. I’m not disputing your wanting evidence of hand histories, but if RNG’s are random and online poker is NOT rigged, explain to me why the play is distincly different at planetpoker and paradise poker. I now play at partypoker, and I’ve witnessed some pretty strange things happening there as well. So let me explain my statement. Playing at planetpoker was a calm serene kind of play…not too much action and it seemed like swings werent as much there, whereas at paradise poker, you better have 400 dollars to sit at the 3 and 6 because you’ll be seeing raises every hand and the action is non stop. Also, like I said, I have no proof either way, but things just happen and you know something is up, despite what “stats” would say. For instance, (and no, these arent bad beat stories or anything like that, im just as turned off by those as you guys) I can sit down, and for 2-3 hours, lose consecutively at the 1-2 or the 2-4 or whatever….hundreds of dollars at a time. But on the same token, I have sat down at the 3-6 and in sequence, won maybe 10-15 hands and in turn, about 150-200$ in a matter of minutes. Now you may say “well the opponent wasn’t the same”…well, the catch to my little story is that it wouldn’t have mattered. My cards were unreal. As it was happening I couldn’t believe it…AA, then QK then 66 and the 6 fell, followed by other crazy cards led me to believe that something just wasn’t right. While obviously no proof can be shown, and I can’t provide you with stats…there still seems to be something a miss with me, because sometimes Ill destroy in one sitting, and another time I could lose my entire bankroll against the same opponent, and the same cards. But because its “randomness”, thats peoples way out to say “well Joe, thats poker, thats the way it usually goes”…but, I really feel strongly that something happens when you log in maybe, or when you first deposit money or something,…I don’t know, but I feel strongly about it. And I generally win…my bank is 693$ currently at partypoker. Like I said, im not here to start an arguement or anything, and I play there because its fun, and I cant prove that there is cheating,…but I do feel that its not random, and some players may get runs of cards that are unstoppable for a certain period of time. Thanks for your time Bill.

    Joe -

    [email protected]

    p.s. if anyone wants to email me to talk about anything related with online poker, please do, im always up for the conversation!.

  104. TG,

    Keep waiting. You don’t want an answer, you want a fight and I refuse to give it to you. Almost everything you’ve brought up has been previously addressed.

    Bill

  105. Bill im waiting for your uneducated reply…

  106. Bill, Bill, Bill… You claim to work for a poker company and yet you still dont understand they are cheating. Tell me this, what is the main purpose of the poker room you work for? MONEY. Poker Rooms such as party poker will lie cheat steal and kill for money becasue why? They Can. They are based offshore which have NO LAWS. Why not cheat then. You would do it too if it meant making millions more. Dont give me this crap about wheres the stats.. If u had any brain if your head, u will realize it is possible to setup scenaros where big hands are setup against each other ever so often even whem complying with stats. Like saying this, The ODDS will add up perfectly and yet they are still cheating. You must get this in your tiny little head. The stats are infact 100% correct. Thats not where the cheating is occuring. The cheating is matching hands up to comply with the stats yet at the same time drawing mass rake and speeding up games. Yes, quads occur often. But why can u have quads and the other player have 5/6 suited and flop nothing?…The other players will always flop something to comply with his stats. People and computers ware way smarter than we all believe. Being able to rigg hands in the sort and still comply with stats is Amazing and its happening right before our eyes. Bill you are the most clueless person i have seen yet. My god, you even work for them!

  107. Listen to this one: I join nine.com’s poker room with $300. I sit down at 10/20 NL and quickly make a lot of money playing heads up against one person. Eventually another person sits down and I win money off of him as well as the original guy. Then, I go to make a withdrawal and after not receiving it when I was supposed to I call customer support. They go to transfer me to the poker people but they do not arrive until 11 a.m. (EST). WHAT?? Ok no big deal, finally I get a hold of them and they tell me that my account is being reviewed for collusion. No final answer has been given to me yet, but I am very nervous because I won close to $5,000 in one day. I am afraid I am at the mercy of these people and they could just say.. “you participated in collusion and we are taking your money” Can anyone help me or point me in the right direction here… I did nothing of the sort and I think the other guy was from like Sweden or something and I am from Philadelphia… Help Please!

  108. I liked your article and agree with you. PartyPoker and others have to be making tons of money right now by being legit. It would be a bad bet to tamper with that and cheat.

    But what about the players we are playing against…

    What about these type of sights:

    http://www.cheat-at-poker.com

    Are they total scams?

    How big of a problem is collusion or how hard is it to control multiple hands?

  109. Play live poker for a little while, and you’ll notice that the reason why you get good cards more often than online, is that the game goes faster, more hands per hour. And what do you usually remember? Well.. the best hands off course. And allthough pocket Aces are the best hand preflop, it doesn’t mean that it is after the flop, you will lose with aces, hell I’ve lost with four of them, on a live table. Play enough live poker, and you’ll soon find out that the most unbelieveable things DO really happen, and yes, very often when you’ve been dealt good cards, at least one other player has a similar hand.. let’s say 1010,JJ,QQ. This is not an online phenomenon (spelled like that? Excuse my english :P).
    Anyways, nice slaughter of the rigged-theories. Keep it coming!

  110. I played in a live NL tourney( B&M not online) and here is the most interesting hand I’ve ever seen. Dealer(self dealt games)raises,BB reraises, dealer calls. Flop comes K,K,8…BB bets,dealer raises(dealer is a total donk),BB moves all-in(BB is donk as well, this is third hand of tourney)…Dealer turns over quad Kings…turn Ace…river Ace…BB sucks out for quad Aces. Had to be rigged, right???

  111. Hi Bill,

    I too believe poker sites are not rigged.

    The one thing that isn’t mentioned here though is the sites using bots that can see your cards. Has this even been found on any sites? This is the main claim i have seen and would be the main money earner for the poker room.

    I played on VC poker, a reasonably small room, but owned by a big UK bookie. Perhaps some of the smaller sites with less of reputation to up keep could employ bots to know when they have the best hand by seeing everyone elses hand.

    Ive have seen the VC poker software mess up about 2 times in which it showed every player the other players cards as if it was a show down, this would prove to me the option for a bot to see all the other cards would be easily programmable.

    Also i read an article which said someone had cracked an old poker client once so they could see everyone’s cards, also a number of websites and people on ebay claim to be selling software which can do this (obviously this IS fake) but still the theory sits that some of the smaller sites (though not party, stars, full tilt etc) could employ this to take this idea and their bot would be perfect, it wouldn’t win every hand it was it, but it would never be bluffed off the pot as it would know exactly when it was and wasn’t winning.

    Any thoughts on these type of bots?

    - Danny

  112. Hey Ian,

    First, I did not say that can’t mess with the randomness of the deals. They surely could if they wanted to. But they would be easily caught and it’s highly unlikely that they would do that.

    Some poker rooms try to fill tables with bots. The bots aren’t there to make money (and most are so poorly programmed that they don’t). They’re like prop players in a b&m casino. Nearly every casino denies they use bots but some card rooms seem to have behaviors that would make one question otherwise. Now, the key here is that the more popular a room, the less reason to have bots. The sites who need to have bots are ones who can’t fill tables. Sites like Party, Stars, Full Tilt, Cryptologic, etc. are doing well enough that they don’t need to make it appear as if they have more players. If you stick with them then you probably will never run into a prop playing bot.

    Now, the other types of bots are run by players. These bots are generally horribly programmed. With a lot of customization and tweaking they can be configured to beat low limit games but they generally don’t stand a chance at anything approaching middle or high limit games. According to their own support forums the win rates tend to be miniscule compared to what a human could do. For instance, for many of these bot owners, winning 1BB per 100 hands would be a major achievement. Many fail to achieve a win rate of 0.5BB per 100 hands. A human should be crushing these games for 2 – 3BB per 100 hands.

    So, on one hand bots harm the public’s impression of game integrity but on the other, they are weak players who seldom win enough to be a major factor against opponents of even mediocre skill. Most card rooms take bots seriously though as they do not want the public to question the integrity of their games.

    Of course, that brings up an interesting counter-argument to those who claim action flops, rewarding bad play, etc. A site could make tons and tons of money by letting bots slub it out on the site. They can play marathon sessions lasting for days and they would always keep the tables full and generating rake. Why would a poker room go out of its way to detect and disable bots if their only goal was to make as much money as possible? Bots are like perfect customers for a online poker room. They grind it out for hours generating rake for the poker room.

    Just another factoid that doesn’t mesh with what the “online poker is rigged” crowd is claiming.

    Bill

  113. Bill,
    I’ve enjoyed reading your post and the replies. Though I have no evidence to argue either way, I tend to agree with you that it is unlikely the major poker sites could/would mess with the randomness of deals. I would like to hear any comments you might have about so called BOTS. I know nothing about it except that some people claim computer controlled players are planted by online poker rooms. The possibility that this is true and the relative ease of collusion online concern me far more than non-random dealing.

  114. Matt,

    I can’t say specifically whether what you saw was collusion or not (I wasn’t there) but what you’re describing is called . . . smart poker. I regularly get into games where there are opponents I have no desire to mix it up with. They’re good, aggressive, tricky players and playing against them is difficult. Meanwhile, there’s a few fish in the game who are giving action so why shouldn’t I stay out of hands with the tough opponents and attack the weak ones? That’s how poker works!!!!!!

    Bill

  115. Personally I do not believe poker sites rig the play, there is no reason to jeopardize their profits by doing this. Most sites make a pretty penny just by siphoning off a bit of the pot slowly, but constantly. However I do not feel online poker is entirely safe to play considering it is really easy to form a team and run the 30/60 tables. I’ve personally watched this at Party Poker, there will be 6-7 of the same names playing multiple 50/100 tables that just pass blinds back and forth, never betting against each other, only against the 3/4 other players. Using this method its easy really easy to take a single player’s stack and since I witnessed this with my own eyes I refuse to play higher than 1/2 blinds for fear of collusion.

  116. Bill,

    I’ve read your initial post a bit ago, and returned today and decided to look at the comments.

    More than anything, I think a majority of the “something suspicious going on” posts reflect how most people come to conclusions and actually process information.

    Just by looking at how simple a shuffling algorithm and RNG “entropy collection” can be BUT HOW DIFFICULT “situational modification” might be should allow most people to conclude that in almost any case, such manipulation is unlikely.

    If an unscrupulous site wants to steal your money there are many, many, MANY more effective and use less programming resources (who may be prone to go public) and are less likely to break. Closing accounts under false pretenses, increasing rake, surreptitiously taking rake out of uncalled bets in NL, skimming off tourney payouts, etc.

  117. Bill,

    You have a lot of patience to put up with these posts. I’d say that it’s amazing what kind of fools come on here to argue, but this is the internet and this is what happens.

    Great arguments. Gambling and money on the line increase emotions, and a lot of online poker players will always get emotional when they lose money. I get emotional when I lose also. But losing is part of poker!

    Great work,

    John

  118. Stuart,

    I love your example. Here’s an instance where the source code is available for people to inspect yet they still claim it’s rigged. It just goes to show that no matter what level of proof is provided, losing players will always claim it’s rigged.

    Bill

  119. Rick,

    It’s not a question of thousands of people witnessed suckouts, it’s whether or not they can provide evidence of their claim. You may find this hard to believe but suckouts are possible without a site being rigged. I’ve played in plenty of live games where people have caught one or two outers to make the best hand. It happens. If you don’t understand that, then that’s your problem.

    Bill

  120. I think your entire post is both moronic and lacks any kind of common sense.

    Most online poker sites rig the deal. This is fact. You have thousands of people who have witnessed the constant bullshit suckouts that occur. Are we all wrong, because 20 people who have gotten lucky say otherwise?

    I don’t think so.

  121. Good article Bill, people believing the cards are rigged is an interesting insight into human psychology, and if you look around forums of other games, notably GNU Backgammon, you’ll find similar diatribes from people who think that it rigs dice rolls.

    Regards, Stuart

  122. yawn, it’s going to come out sooner or later, fact is no real legislation leaves loopholes. Thats a fact. Cards rigged or not. If its possible, it’s likely. No argument

  123. Justtookitlarge,

    I explained exactly why I think you’re not a winning player. People who can’t make a simple argument without posting half their thoughts in all caps, tend to have impulse/emotional issues which is a good indicator that they probably carry those same issues over to the table. You’ve been banned from asking a casino questions. I bet you’ve had your chat blocked more than a few times too.

    Also, the more you talk the more you sound like someone with serious issues. Interpoker cut you off from asking questions about their randomness? Hmmmm . . . . based on your previous post here, could it be because you lack the ability to pose your questions/comments in a logical, respectful, and truly inquisitive manner? You do realize that Interpoker is a licensee (i.e. skin) of Cryptologic which means that these guys didn’t even write the software. In other words, perhaps they got tired of answering your question because they gave you the best answer they had from Cryptologic.

    Also, it seems that you just don’t get it. I don’t want to see 22 suited hands that don’t hit. I want to see 20,000 hands. Not 20,000 specially selected hands that make your point, but 20,000 sequential hands. You are far too focused on your bad beats and runs of bad luck.

    The argument will go on forever for people like you. I realize that. Some people still think the world is flat, unicorns exist, and that the moon landing was staged. You can’t convince people who refuse to listen to facts of anything otherwise. I guess the biggest question is if you think that the sites are rigged, why not go to a site that publically discusses how its RNG works? If you want to prove your points, play at sites that send hand histories. I mean, you’re the one doing all the complaining yet you refuse to play at sites that provide you the information to disprove your theory.

    I play at Empire (well, I used to until last week), Party, PokerStars, and FullTilt. Hey, would you mind playing at some of the sites I play at? I would love to watch your head explode when I lay a bad beat on you. :-)

    Bill

  124. What do you say Bill? Ok, so because I pressed my caps key to try to get my point across, you doubt that I am a winning player? What kind of logic is that? That makes no sense, and kind of shoots any credibility you may think you have out the window. I started out about a year ago, lost my shirt, kept learning, and now I win quite a bit for the 5-10 tourneys I favor. CD Poker is also known as Noble Poker I believe. 22 suited hands dealt to me at one single tourney sitting, not one flush hit. Only one single draw after the flop, which did not hit. Its cool. Now, for LeFou who thinks people think its rigged because of one bad beat. Brother, these sites will not send me my hand history. The hand I showed is merely one in thousands that I would like to post. Unfortunately, all requests for hand histories are shot down every time.
    I now play at Interpoker, where everybody at the table, plus all the people in the audience hit on every single flop. Regardless of how many people are in the hand. Heads up, they both hit every single time. I have questioned their RNG and I have been cut off from sending emails to them. They will still allow me to play, but they wont allow me to question the “randomness”. You figure it out.
    Whatever. This arguement will go on forever. I have my firm belief the flop is determined after the pre-flop bets are made. Actually, to me, its quite obvious. Im put off this tourney table, I have to go on to another and pay another entry fee. How many times do you really think my kings over full house will get beat by runner runner queen four hand quads? Right after my all in bet. Called all in, with a pair of queens, with a king showing? Cmon man.

  125. Okay, everyone who wants to prove that a site or sites are rigged by posting a SINGLE hand history, here’s more or less what you need:

    ———————
    “Steve”: KK
    “Stephanie”: 44
    All in ($1,000 pot)
    Flop KKA
    Turn Q
    River 7

    Stephanie wins $1,000 with a pair of fours (or “two pair, kings and fours” or whatever)
    ———————————–
    Now THAT’s a #$%^^ing rigged site!

    Unless you have something like that on yr hard drive, we don’t want to hear about your dumb bad beat.

  126. also, i am happy to continue playing though :). And i find the site better than the rest

  127. I play on coral eaurobet, i have seen my stats and im a numbers guru. I compared bad beats after withdrawing funds with my account and another i opened from a different IP address. I cant wait till the software developers agree that the algorithms inplace can be seen clearly after a withdraw (withdraw meaning u won, and u then banked out to your bank)

    I’m absolutely convinced that the coding is there to decide the winner before the deal, flop or whatever. Extremely complex but thats what bookies like. Stats gathered on habitual hands played by individuals. U name it, and whatever else. These guys are takers. Dont ever say “u see more hands online etc, thats just poor. I have compared stats every which way. The guy that mentioned Enron scenario? Yes, i agree but the money backhanded to most of these people and the agreement they have to sign is unreal.

    All based upon these factors to get your money;

    1, deposits
    2, new users
    3, deposits made
    4, withrawals made

  128. Hash,

    Good point. That’s why I was specific to say that I can’t speak for the card room managers. I can point to numbers and show that the numbers track to known expected results. I can point to certain motivations to provide a fair game. But I can’t say that some guy isn’t going to just close shop and take all of the money. It could happen. They could also take your funds and be spending them while they show the dollars in your account like a ponzi scheme. Those things are certainly possible. But that doesn’t mean online poker is rigged. The implication of those who make the claim is normally a suggestion that cards are being rigged to favor certain types of outcomes. Out and out fraud is something nobody can guarantee against. But then again, that would argue for legalization and regulation. I’m sure many card rooms would welcome the opportunity to go legit if they could market freely to the US.

    Bill

  129. On a cautionary note, Going on record and claming the genuinity of all the online gaming sites might backfire. Just a thot, never know after all the explanation and morality, we might see some ENRON a.k.a spring up :)

  130. Dale,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Yes, I’ve got bad beat stories a mile long from B&M and home games. If you only play solid hands, any hand that beats you is going to be a bad beat. When you hold pocket aces and the board comes 77294, you’re going to get beat by the donkey playing 72. That’s just poker. It doesn’t matter how big of a favorite you are pre-flop, or on the flop, or on the turn. As long as there’s a > 0% chance of something happening . . . it can happen!

    Best,

    Bill

  131. Bill – just wanted to say: nice article. And it’s hilariously telling that almost all the negative responses are the usual anecdotal stuff. “I feel like…” “I take soooo many bad beats!” “I was a 75% favorite twice but I lost… BOTH TIMES!” This kind of stuff cracks me up.

    My counter-argument for all these arguments always goes like this: what is the realistic motivation for any major site to juice their flops or deal people pocket pairs all at the same time, or do any of the stuff they’re accused of doing so often? People play crazy without any such motivation! You can go to any site and see a four-way all-in with aces vs. tens vs. twos vs. ten-eight suited, especially at the low stakes. And ten-eight or two-two isn’t such a big dog that they’ll *never* win those ridiculous pots. People like gambling, they like playing crazy; the site only has to sit back and collect the rake. Natural human behavior in these games is much more profitable to them than juiced flops. If they want to profit more, all they have to do – like you say – is elevate the rake. Or in the case of tournaments, the buy-in. And if they want the tournaments to end quickly, Justtookitlarge, all they have to do is make the blinds go up so fast that the tournament is forced to end within a certain amount of time. And that’s exactly what they do. Ever played a sit-n-go on Party Poker that was fairly tight, and with five players left when the blinds get up to 300/600, and everyone has less than 2000 in chips? It’s torture… and it’s gonna be over soon, no matter how tight those five players are.

    If we want to have an anecdote fight, I can tell you all my bad beat stories from home games and brick and mortar casinos. Like the night I hit a full house and my buddy (who had only a flush and straight draw on the flop) made a runner-runner straight flush to put me out of our tournament. Was the fix in? I hope not – we were playing at my place, with my cards, and I was the dealer! Was I just trying to get the game over quickly? Not that I remember. And yet if this same beat happened to the average fish in a Party Poker sit-n-go, he’d be on here screaming about how it was rigged and how this happened every time he cashed out. All two times in a row! Amazing, innit?

  132. Justtookitlarge,

    First off, you both got all of your money in pre-flop. What purpose would it serve to make you hit your flop? You can’t bet. No other betting action can happen. Your hand history and your claims don’t mesh.

    On top of that, this happens ALL the time. Live, online, televised. The internet is filled with bad beat stories like this. You do understand that 80% doesn’t equal 100%, right? It means that if you make this play 10 times, you’re expected to lose twice. Whether he hits one 8 or both, you still lose.

    Also, what the hell are you doing playing at CD Poker? It’s not even listed on PokerPulse. I’ve never even heard of it before.

    Lastly, based on your switch to all caps, you probably have some impulse/emotion control issues that make me seriously doubt you’re a winning player.

    Bill

  133. Rather Anonymous,

    Well, first you have to consider whether or not a deck shuffled by hand in a casino is random or not. There’s not. So what exactly are we using as a baseline for random?

    The way many card rooms operate is they shuffle a deck of cards by randomly assigning cards to 52 spots in an array. As each card is requested, it is pulled from a random position in the array. So, even though the deck is already randomized, the cards are selected from random positions (i.e. not in order). Most card rooms use some form of timing sequence as a seed so if you take one extra millisecond to act you will change the card you receive.

    Which sounds more random, that or somebody spreading the cards around on the table and mixing them up?

    Bill

  134. No-limit Texas Hold’em $5+$1 (real money), hand #1,324,723,798
    Palo Alto Single Table Tournament, 3 Oct 2005 02:26 AM
    View Previous | Next hand for this table.
    Seat 1: egyptm ($2,195 in chips)
    Seat 2: DougTenn ($1,510 in chips)
    Seat 3: RajunRhino ($1,190 in chips)
    Seat 5: luxury168 ($3,230 in chips)
    Seat 6: vegastc ($1,975 in chips)
    Seat 7: stoneagekyus [QC,QS] ($1,520 in chips)
    Seat 8: ak_grizzley ($2,070 in chips)
    Seat 9: Reefy33 ($1,310 in chips)
    ANTES/BLINDS
    stoneagekyus posts blind ($25), ak_grizzley posts blind ($50).

    PRE-FLOP
    Reefy33 folds, egyptm folds, DougTenn folds, RajunRhino calls $50, luxury168 calls $50, vegastc calls $50, stoneagekyus bets $150, ak_grizzley folds, RajunRhino calls $125, luxury168 bets $3,180 and is all-in, vegastc folds, stoneagekyus calls $1,345 and is all-in, RajunRhino folds.

    FLOP [board cards KS,8H,KD ]

    TURN [board cards KS,8H,KD,10H ]

    RIVER [board cards KS,8H,KD,10H,8D ]

    SHOWDOWN
    luxury168 shows [ 8S,8C ]
    stoneagekyus shows [ QC,QS ]
    luxury168 wins $1,710, luxury168 wins $3,315.
    SUMMARY
    Dealer: vegastc
    Pot: $5,025
    egyptm, loses $0
    DougTenn, loses $0
    RajunRhino, loses $175
    luxury168, bets $3,230, collects $5,025, net $1,795
    vegastc, loses $50
    stoneagekyus, loses $1,520
    ak_grizzley, loses $50
    Reefy33, loses $0

    First hand I played at this table. Sure, maybe Kings hold up as much as they should. My concern is how often the flops hit for people. The hand above for instance. The first hand I played, and I run into 4 of a kind. And it was the other guy who made the stupid play. Heads up, especially at (cough cough) CD POKER, there are more hits on the flop than in a boxing match. There is absolutely NO WAY in the name of god the cards at CD POKER fall 100% randomly. People in the audience hit at CD POKER for gods sake.
    Understand, like the hand above, my correct call rate is around 80%. That was the correct call. Understand, that this individual had 2 outs in 40 cards. Understand, that he hit BOTH his outs. Understand, that this is complete bullshit.
    Understand, that when I play ace king heads up, like at Poker Room.rigged, you can almost guarantee the other guy will have ace four, and the flop will be ace four seven. Heads up, there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY I CAN LOSE AS OFTEN AS I DO, WITH THE HANDS I PLAY, AT ONLINE POKER. I dont want to name poker rooms, but, POKER ROOM IS JUST ABOUT THE MOST RIGGED SHIT I HAVE EVER COME ACROSS EVER. AND DONT COME AT ME WITH THE YOU SUCK CRAP, CAUSE DESPITE WHAT YOU PROBABLY THINK, I AM A WINNING PLAYER. I WIN MONEY, AND I STILL THINK ITS RIGGED. I DONT CARE WHAT BILL SAYS, OR WHAT ANYONE ELSE SAYS. IT IS TOTALLY TOTALLY RIGGED TO ENSURE TOURNEY TABLES LIKE THAT ABOVE ARE FINISHED PROMPTLY. ON TOO THE NEXT ENTRY FEE. AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY A MAN MADE RNG CAN BE 100% RANDOM, ITS IMPOSSIBLE.

  135. We agree randomness = fluctuations. The issue is whether the fluctuations on internet poker networks are as natural as you would expect a simulation or real card decks to be. Or if it’s designed to, for example, encourage bad newbies to continue.

  136. Rather Anonymous,

    How can randomness = flucutations not be the issue you’re discussing? It’s the same thing except he used simulations instead of real data and even in simulations . . . . you get results similar to those being reported by people claiming online poker is rigged. If anything I find that to be more compelling evidence. If you took real data and it showed the fluctuations he was reporting people would say the fluctuations were programmed in by the card room. If you do a simulation and get the same results it’s far more likely to be a function of variance rather than fraud.

    Bill

  137. I read that article a while ago. Those results are from a simulation, not real money games on a network. They prove randomness = fluctuations, not the issue I am trying to discuss. I.e. better odds from newbies, and after deposits. And lower odds after a while, or after a cash out.

    My comment was that I was willing to collect enough data to analyze.

    As far as I could tell from PT’s web page it did not have the features I was looking for. A glance would not be enough to measure fairness. Anyway, I realized PartyPoker clients stores hand history on your own computer. That means I can write my own program. (I thought I had to learn a lot of crap about windows handling, and events)I haven’t played enough hands there yet though, so it will be a while.

    BTW I study computer science at university level, so I know enough about randomness, statistics, and programming.

    I also want to mention that I started to suspect something after a couple of cash outs, then found the article. In that order, not the other way around.

  138. Rather Anonymous,

    Well first off, if you had gone to the link in my post, someone actually did the analysis. On one side we have an emprical analysis and on the other we have you saying you think withdrawing funds causes you to lose. Here’s a quote from that article:

    If you think that you win pretty often, you’re probably right. If you think you experience brutally bad runs pretty often, you’re probably right. If you think you bust out rapidly more often after a cashout, you’re almost certainly right. Does this mean online poker is rigged? It could be, but there is a far more simple way to explain these patterns: You are experiencing *exactly what is predicted* for players who maintain a limited bankroll and take winnings off the table — even if they are winning players. It’s normal fluctuation.
    Loose players in particular will frequently run extremely well for a period of time, then suddenly run extremely poorly for a period of
    time — even if they are playing winning poker. If they don’t understand fluctuation, it probably will feel exactly as though “a
    switch has been flipped.”

    My original premise was that people who make the online poker is rigged never have any statistics to prove their point. Thus, your comment strengthened my argument.

    I’m not sure what you mean by software to measure fairness. And obviously, you don’t really understand what PokerTracker does. PT gathers statistics from every hand you play. It doesn’t measure fairness because all you have to do is glance at your results and see that they conform to statistical expectations.

    This is all very simple. The numbers either prove or disprove your point.

    Bill

  139. Bill,
    that was not a very rewarding reply to my post.
    It’s either a coincidence that this has happened about 10 times, or it’s a psycological phenomena that you play worse in such a case. Either way it would be interesting to measure fairness. If anyone else reads this, and knows of such a software please e-mail me: swe_student at h0tmail

    Otherwise I have to write a program of my own.

    PS Please no spam, eh… :)

  140. Hash,

    Just a few comments:

    1. Read the story I linked to titled “How We Learned to Cheat at Online Poker” Poker rooms have done a poor RNG job in the past and it’s been caught.

    2. You really don’t demonstrate anything with your anecdotal evidence. For instance, in your AA vs. KK example, if you go back and look at the stats, KK will be the best hand as much as it’s statistically expected to be. If there was a flaw in the randomization schema the flaw would demonstrate itself in the statistics.

    3. All you’ve done is post a bunch of random hand anomolies. Ok, you got dealt aces 4 times in a row. If you play 50,000 hands, in all likelyhood you’ll average out to the expected norm for being dealt pocket aces.

    4. 1300 and 2600 hands played at these sites is . . . a weekend’s worth of play for many people. Hell, I’ve played 1000 hands in one sitting. You don’t have enough hands played to even make statistically relevent statements. As an example, if the four aces in a row had been your first four hands of playing poker, you would have pocket aces 100% of the time. Four hands is such a small sample size that any freakish, low-probability event is magnified. Now, if you take a larger sample size of 1,000,000 hands, seeing pocket aces four times in a row isn’t freakish, it’s expected.

    In case the implications of my previous statement aren’t obivous, card rooms deal millions of hands a day. Dealing aces four hands in a row is rare but it will happen because the chances of it happening are > 0%. If the chances of an event are greater than zero then given a sufficiently large number of trials, it will happen. You just happened to be the lucky recipient of an expected event. :-)

    Bill

  141. Though I agree with the general consensus that its too risky to rig a pokerroom than the rewards, why kill the golden goose?

    No. What happens if a particular pokerroom inherently did a bad job with randomization and cards dealing and got away wit it.

    I have played many different pokerrooms. Some are pokerroom.com, ftp, partypoker.com. I have been profitable in all of em. what I am talking of is not particular hands or bad beats but quality of hands. Using a tracker I have observed that pokerroom.com dealt me a pocket pair 10s or better almost indefinately more than ftp or pp. As a result the type of game and agrresiveness differs in sites. while If i hit a top pair on one site is sufficient, its cautious warning on pokerroom because of the sets which might be there……..

    AK,AQ are the same story, i am not talking abt flushes or straights…AA against KK, almost invariably on each table leading to all ins if played poorly….I have played 1300 hands at FTP never saw AA vs KK,played 2600 hands and Observed it 18 times. I had AA 4 times in a row once and 28 times in whole at pokerroom and only twice at ftp. All said and done, I dont think they rig individual hands but some software inherently are flawed and they got away with the auditing companies. Me on the other hand, I like playing pokerroom.com because who doesnt like having pp every other hand and I have learned to beat their game there…ofcourse has changed my game but I wont complain as long as I am making money.

  142. Rather Anonymous,

    Thank you for demonstrating my initial premise.

    Bill

  143. My suspicion is that I get fair (or better) odds for a while after depositing. After a couple of days, or right after cash-out, the odds plunge and make it virtually impossible to win. Even against terrible players. This happens every time.

    As far as I know PokerTracker, and similar software only tells you how you, and your opponents play.

    If there is a program that really tracks fairness, I would pay $100 for it. I.e. the cards I’m dealt, how pocket pairs, flush and straight draws hold up over a given period of time.

    I could provide stats for 20,000 hands in a couple of weeks.

  144. Bill, those are some pretty compelling arguements but come on and admit it…Online poker is rigged right!

    Great post

    Also no stats to back this up but I do seem to make more bb/hr when I play at tables where people complain about Bad Beats and rigged poker.

  145. I agree with almost everything you said. I am not one of those folks who believe that online games are rigged, even if you slap their faces with tons of evidence to the contrary. Of course, isolated cases do happen, that’s why, the online sites should do their share to police their ranks. I am a frequent online player, about every other day, I spend hours and hours on end facing my computer. Party Poker
    for me is the best and I have yet to see a single anomaly as far as fairness and rules are concerned.

    Well, nice reading your blog. Can I come in here more often?

  146. Great Post, Bill.

  147. great post. i hope every paranoid conspiracy theorist out there comes across this.

  148. This article mentioned in

    http://www.poker.com/blog/index.htm

    same subject.

    Enjoyed the post.

  149. Now I know who’s behind getting me quartered TWICE IN A ROW on the river at Full Tilt!!!!

    Honestly, the tinfoil hats need to come off at some point. I doubt that will ever happen since most online players don’t play enough to have a 20K hand history and the losing ones are experiencing the ass end of variance.

    That or they suck.

  150. Rod,

    1. The names of the audit companies are in the threads above. PriceWaterhouseCoopers is the audit company for Paradise. Please read the above links.

    2. I didn’t say that lack of evidence proves anything. I said that there’s mountains of emperical evidence and that if someone is going to make a claim that goes contrary to the empirical evidence then we need something more to go on than they think they get sucked out on too often. And while there is little empirical evidence of the existance of God, if you’re going to argue that 2+2 != 4 then you better damn well be able to show your math.

    3. I didn’t say there wasn’t a collusion problem. That is not my claim. I do, however, subscribe to the belief that those who practice collusion are usually too stupid to do much harm. At any limit above $2/$4 even your complete donkey is going to notice the raise/re-raise patterns of collusion and can report it to the site’s customer service.

    4. And nobody is arguing otherwise. The real issue is to what degree? I, personally, think the bot and collusion problems are containable. The extreme version of your argument would mean that you wouldn’t use the internet because people write viruses and send spam.

    Bill

  151. Bill

    1. Who “audits” these web sites? Names of audit companies please. And give supporting evidence of the auditors’ independence.
    2. I am not sure I can agree with your position that lack of empirical evidence to the contrary does not prove honesty. Give me some empirical evidence to support the existance of god.
    3. OK so the software is not rigged. Colusion is much easier online and does happen in both live and on-line games. At least in a live game one can see it, touch it, smell it. Can’t touch or smell on-line. I don’t have faith that computer software is advanced enough to detect such behaviour.
    4. I agree that the poker host would not want to rig the game the profits are too big. For me it is the players (human & bot) that can manipulate that game easier online than live.

  152. You don’t address the fact that online sights use BOTS (computer-controlled players) to fill tables. While I trust how the cards are dealt, I don’t always trust that I’m playing real people, which is why I don’t play online.

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