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Over the last several years I’ve done several posts refuting the argument that online poker is rigged.  In fact, I’ve gone as far as make fun of people who insist that online poker is rigged in several posts.

Crazy Rigtards

Dear Mr. Online Poker Is Rigged

But in the end the biggest hurdle in arguing for the legitimacy of online poker is that it’s difficult to prove a negative.  Just because there is no evidence that online poker isn’t rigged doesn’t mean that it isn’t rigged.

That got me thinking and so awhile back I began doing some research into whether or not it could be proved that online poker was rigged.  Without trying to draw too much fanfare I began contacting experts in statistics and mathematics and asking them for  help on devising a method that could definitively state whether or not a game was rigged.

Unfortunately, in all of our research we were unable to come up with a model that was 100% accurate.  The best we could do was devise a method that would give us a probability for a game being rigged.

So I went back to the drawing board and attempted to put together a tool that would rank a room or a hand for it’s “riggedness.”  The more likely it was to be rigged the higher the score.  After consulting with the experts who helped me devise this model we all seemed to agree that anything from 80% certainty on up was very likely rigged.

The next step was to get a certifying agency to validate our results which took a lot of time but I was eventually able to do.  With certification in hand I made the rounds at leading online poker rooms and pitched the idea of offering refunds if our tool identified a hand as potentially rigged.  Unfortunately with new rooms springing up almost daily it doesn’t seem fair to say who said yes or who said no as omission or inclusion on any list could potentially be construed as an endorsement or condemnation.

So I took the model, some programming, and put together the tool that I’ve named the RT Hand Analyzer for Rigged Games.  I’m making it available for free for the time being but I may charge for it at a later date if I find that people are using it successfully to obtain refunds.  I mean, I did all the work.  Why shouldn’t I get a little of the honey?

It’s still in beta stage but I invite you to give it a try and let me know your results.

RT Hand Analyzer for Rigged Games

photocred goes to laffy4k

8 thoughts to “RT Hand Analyzer for Rigged Poker Games

  • Bill Rini

    @Kent: Since you decided to shower us with your wisdom on this topic. . . You do know that most live casinos have prop players, right? That would pretty much be #1 in your list without the ability to see your hands.

    And I do make a distinction between the games being rigged and people cheating. It’s one thing for Ultimate Bet or Absolute to have players who cans see the hole cards of other players and another thing to say that they rig the hands for action flops or whatever.

    Technically, it’s very easy to give a “super user” access to all the data during the hand. Riggging the game is an entirely different story. To rig the game so fish lose less and good players make less requires a level of sophistication that no poker room has displayed yet. They can’t even hide blatant cheating with super-user accounts, what makes you think they have doom switches and all sorts of other traps built in to punish winning players?

    The cold hard truth is that if you are a loser at online poker, chances are you are not that good of a poker player. At one of the biggest poker rooms in the world, we ran a study of poker win/losses and 92% of all players lose money. Do you really think you’re in that 8% that breaks even or makes money?

    And if you think you are . . . I’ll go back to one of my original arguments that why do the most respected winning players on sites like 2+2 never claim the game is rigged? If these doom switches and such existed wouldn’t these players be the target of them? These are guys who take hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars off of the site a year. Do you really expect the world to believe that PokerStars rigs the games so you don’t make $50?

  • Kent

    Logically no reason it shouldn’t be rigged, no regulations means there is no repercussions for rigging the software.

    Below is legitimately 100% allowed in online poker by the companies:
    1) Having employees pose as players with the ability to see and or control hands
    2) Having hands play out that would result in games ending fast leading to more games be played, as once a game ends players are most likely to start another

    Other play not legitimately allowed but very easy to pull off:
    3) Sharing information with other players by any means such as phone or instant messagers (run 3+ ring games at once with 2 others doing the same while sharing information)

    In short would you: go to a casino ring game and sit at a table with 3 other people employees from the casino, 3 other people that are openly texting information to each other on the table, and the deal randomly flipping over players cards and shifting cards around until a certain hand is on the table. Wait, you won’t be live casino poker is regulated by legal bounds.

    Casinos play by the odds to make money, only poker plays by foul play to make money. That simple.

  • scotty

    Well it may or may not be rigged. During my many years of play what I have found raises my eyebrows. Heads up for example. If you start with a lower chip stack I have found the cards to favor the player with more chips. Next is the betting patttern, aggressive play with the higher chip stack will be awarded. The cards at different limit levels seem to vary, more hands dealt with multiple players entering. You can agrue that you have better players as you go higher. Try testing, if you can a 6 handed table and check throughout, you will be amazed at the cards that are dealt.

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  • Bill Rini

    Nothing ever will, Mark :-)

  • Mark

    That pretty sweet man, seems like a ton of work went into this so kudos to you. However Im sure you already know what Im about to tell you… it’s not going to make a difference in people’s perception of the game being rigged.

  • Bill Rini

    James,

    Much appreciated. A big fan of your blog.

    Cheers,

    Bill

  • James Devlin

    Love it, love it, love it.

    One source of hard to data to prove the absence of rigging in online poker would be hand history aggregator sites such as sharkscope.com, officialpokerrankings.com, thepokerdb.com, pokertableratings.com, and so forth. For example, when sharkscope.com asserts that approximately 1/3rd of SNG players are winning, it’s difficult to seriously make the argument for rigging.

    At the same time, given the lack of due diligence and regulation in the online gambling arena, I don’t think it’s ridiculous to assert that some site, somewhere, has been rigged for some amount of time. There will always be the bad apple out there, the rogue employee, and so forth. I call this the “Ultimate Bet phenomena”. Of course that wasn’t rigging per se. But it was malfeasance.

    Great (and funny) post.

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