Online Poker Not Rigged – Revisted

I’ve updated my page on why online poker is not rigged but I thought I would highlight it here so as to offer a chance for counter-arguments.

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.

Bill Rini
Bill Rini is currently the Head of Online Poker for WSOP. He has been working in the online poker industry since 2004 and has held management roles at Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker.

19 thoughts on “Online Poker Not Rigged – Revisted”

  1. Unfortunately I must agree that the site is COMPLETELY rigged. If I were to tell you the extraordinary number of “bad beats” I receive it would defy all mathematical theory that is sound and rational.

    I am a fair player. I play very tight. I play my statistical odds by only playing either heads wit one other player up or 2 at the most, I wait for decent pocket cards. I wait to be in position. I calculate pot odds. I DO NOT play stupid by chasing or tilting as do many other players.

    How is it possible to get POST FLOP hands that give me an 87% chance of winning the hand and then lose 90% of those hands over a period of at least 10 months continually? Seriously…I’m asking !!!

    If I have trips the OP (other player) ends up with a straight. If I have a Straight the OP gets a flush. If I have 2 pairs the OP ends up with trips or a straight. If I have a flush the OP ends up with a Full House. I’ve lost with trips, straights, flushes, full houses at least 100 times more than I’ve won with them. I will win with a decent hand like one of those I mentioned above about 1 in 50 times… I’M NOT KIDDING!!
    It would happen time, after time, after time, after time, after time, after time, after time, after time !!!

    My wife and a few others have actually witnessed these things and have advised me to stop playing. One of my friends who (who plays semi pro) didn’t believe that ANY online poker sites were rigged ( “It’s just a string of bad beats”… “It’s selective memory since so many more hands are played.”…”statistical fluctuation”…”It all evens out…bad beats happen to everybody”…”You’re not calculating the odds correctly”…etc,,,) HE NOW TOTALLY BELIEVES ME as he has seen these things with his own eyes and has stated that what happens to me is virtually “mathematical and statistical impossibility” for a “relatively good player such as yourself.” He calculated several months of my play and the results and came to this conclusion “The odds of losing the percentage you lose with the few “good” to “great” hands that you end up playing is about 2.5 billion to 1 on a regular basis. “Yes Jay…you were correct, I was wrong…this site IS RIGGED” “NOBODY can lose 90% of their hands holding 2 pair, trips or better.” It was like music to my ears to see a professional tell me that.

    DON’T PLAY WPT POKER ( on Facebook either) !!!!!!

  2. Well if Bovada is rigged they are bad at it. This site gave up a huge jackpot…6 figs. and they are paying.. I suggest that you play at Bovada and trust me…they are for real!!

  3. MadDeuce hit all points clearly and logically.

    And on a side note, without delving into computer programming too much, for those of you (the majority) who know nothing about it; Have you ever played MarioCart, the video game, and noticed that when you’re in last place, you get better “special moves”. Its called a “handicap” and is available in almost every video game. To think that multi-million dollar online companies can’t come up with that same programming strategy as “MarioCart”, is just plain dumb!

    Online poker is 100% rigged. Mathematical odds are REAL. If I flip a coin a billion times, I will bet my life that it will come out extremely close to 50% heads, 50% tails. So please stop defending the legitimacy of online poker, you uneducated, irrational rainbow chasers. :)

  4. @iknowthetruth – you put a pithy conversation like that up and base the truth on what “Mike” says as your confirmed fact? Online poker needs to be exposed for the fraud that it is but not with Mike’s words alone.

  5. On this weeks first episode of poker after dark Mike Matusow made a comment about how good players never win online. He was talking to Shawn Sheikan about how he and David Benyamine never win playing online poker because they are good players. This is the exactly how the conversation happened:

    Mike (to Sheik): me and David never win online, we are like the biggest online jokes that ever walked the earth

    Sheik : you know why you guys lose

    Mike : because we are good players…and all they do is go click click click and BOOM, it randomly hits a miracle

    Sheik : that’s alot of common sense you got Mike, good players always lose right?

    Mike : good players never win online

    Would Mike lie? I think not. ONLINE POKER IS A FARCE. BIGGEST INTERNET SCAM EVER. PERIOD.

  6. The consiracy theory is as follows:
    Company A composed of these honest businessmen starts a poker site based in a country which doesn’t care what they do. They escape all regulations and can never be prosecuted. They have their programmer do the software for them..
    Even though they can make so much more, they decide to be real honest and keep the site honest.
    Ha ha..
    Prove that the site is not rigged. And don’t give those BS poker stats. It is not rigged that way.
    It is rigged for action! ACTION!
    How many people out there have taken the time to register as new user. Deposit $50. Record Poker stats. Win up to $100 and then withdraw $50. Play with remaining $50 and see what happens Record Stats again. Trust me, the only people who have done that are being ignored and taunted by the morons who believe the published stats that are clearly not representative of what is goin on in the poker rooms.

    And note this: some sites are more extreme than others.. e.g. AP is obviously rigged . You seee fullhouses every other hand (1/5).
    There are settings (that adminstrators have access to) that control how to skew the distribution of cards.. I am a programmer I should know..

  7. It is totally 100% rigged for action. Every flop, every hand. You are simply too naive or you are in denial, or just blind.
    When I shoot my ace jack all in needing a double up, and get two calls, one with ace three, one with pocket fives, and the flop is 3-3-5, which happens ALL THE TIME ONLINE, I know something aint right. I could care less if ace jack is no good, ace three is a LOT worse. Its disgusting, and I AM A WINNING PLAYER HAHA. So chew that up.

  8. I am not so much worried about the actuall sites doing the cheating, but what about all these advertised programs that claim they can show your opponets hole cards? I am curious to buy it just to see if it works, to know if i should play only live games. Has anyone bought such a program?

  9. Observer,

    I don’t think that would work. Most sites do not know what the cards are going to be when the hand is dealt out. Many sites put all 52 cards on a virtual wheel. As a card is needed it is randomly selected from the spinning wheel.

    So for instance, the hand is being shuffled hundreds of times per second and the game tells the deck it wants the card currently in 7th position. The deck continues to shuffle itself hundreds of times a second until the game asks for another card. Say, the card currently in 32nd position.

    So, as you can see, not only is the card picked random but the deck is constantly being shuffled so that you can’t even predict what card will even be in 32nd position.

    The way most sites guarantee that the site isn’t rigged is to have independent auditors validate their random number generation and shuffling algotrithms. There’s always a chance that they could put in a back door and rig the games while still having auditable rng and shuffling but why not just take all the money on deposit and make off for an island instead? That’s much easier to do.

    Bill

  10. As per poker sites exposing their sources, it makes no guarantee they are running binaries made of these sources. The source may also contain some “know how” the sites do not want to make publicly available.

    To me, Party games seem to be rigged by generating flop, turn and river cards adaptively to make money redistribution possible, as was pointed out by MadDeuce. However, any poker room could make it possible to guarantee that the deck to be played is not rigged as follows:

    1. After preflop, the server knows what cards will be dealt next. The server encrypts these cards and writes the encrypted result in real-time hand history.
    2. After the hand isfinished, the server writes the key needed for decryption in hand history again.
    3. The encryption/decryption algorithm must be published and must guarantee that there is strictly one key with which a valid cards combination can be revealed. In other words, it must be guranteed that you cannot decrypt the sequence into hand1 using key1 and into hand2 using key2.

  11. Yeah…..I don’t trust any machine or web site with my money. Just have to grit your teeth and go with it.

    I would much rather throw my money at a real, breathing, human being. Eventually though, cheaters get caught. It’s a mathematical and undeniable fact that cheaters WILL NOT prosper for long. The percentage of hard working, honest people far out weighs the sly tricksters.

    As history has shown us, whether it’s online or sitting in a western saloon back in 1878, there is a “chance” that the fix is in. We need to take the same precautions they took back then. We just don’t play in a crooked game. (or….just shoot the cheater ;-)

    Brent

  12. I won’t say it’s rigged because I have no proof, but I will say one thing Party Poker gives out the most frequency of bad beats and action flops. I’ve won tournaments at other sites with more frequency because I never had as many bad beats. I understand things like coin flips and you will need to win a majority of them to win the tournament. But face it A small vs something like AK all in preflop. Your supposed to win those 90% of the time. When I used to play cash games I made some money on PP not because of the great plays, but because i could have the nuts and push all in on the river and still have some nut that will call with ace high. Let me see there is only $5 in the pot, but I push $100 (all in) and still the guy calls with ace high or junk thinking i’m on a stone cold bluff. The difference with cash games and tournament structure or sit and goes is that the blinds increase. You need to call or make moves with the best hands and hope that it doesn’t get that bad beat. I mean i started playing the sit and goes and look what happens the gambler gets all the chips. I’ve actually followed these so called chip leaders looking at their show down cards. I see one thing in common. They just steal pots after pots, and when they get caught red handed they don’t lose most of the time. Usually it’s the opposite they win 2/3 of the time. A random hand will be an underdog 2/3 of the time, but here they win 2/3 of the time.

    Then there are the comments that you see more bad beats because you play more tables. Guess what whether I play 1 table or 1000 tables the odds are the same. That’s y it’s called percentages not per hand. When someone has AA vs any other pocket pair heads up that hand should stand up 80% of the time. I’m not talking about poor play where u limp in and everyone comes into the pot. I’m speaking strictly of heads up. Going back to the point. Look at what some of these tournament leaders try to steal with 2 7. any two cards are good for them. 2nd point too many of the flush cards come out. I’m talking about four to the flush. Four flush cards on board. Statistically how often is that supposed to happen. I can’t tell you how many times I lost to this situation, the guy would have 2 of diamonds. Calls an all in with Q 2. 52 cards in a deck. 13 cards of the same suit. So many combinations possible, but i see this flush way too often. Why is AA so valuble when it’s only a pair compared to a flush? I mean a flush beats AA, but everyone will tell you that AA is better than a flush. The reason is the odds someone will hit a flush is so infrequent that everyone will take AA over the flush any day. You expect to win with AA 90% of the time, when you win with a flush you expect to win 10% of the time, but hopefully it will be a big pot. These are some of the examples. Another Example is small blind vs big blind. Too often I will see some guy flop the nuts but the other guy will flop top pair…I mean you won’t see show downs many times because the small blind will go all in trying to steal the blind..But if they both decide to call and check. More often than not it’s fireworks time.

    I consider bad beats to be part of the game. When bad beats happen so often you wonder what’s going on. I mean Poker is considered a game of skill. Skill is supposed to win over luck in the long run. So what is this so called skill everyone keeps talking about? A good part of it is patience..Everyone says patience patience patience. Another part of it is to not gamble too often. So these gamblers that call or move all in most of the time should go bust when the so called skilled player makes a call or move with a dominated hand! right? wrong!! So many times I see the smaller percentage win out. The 2/3 underdog theory does not hold up.

    So how or why would an online casino rig their games? First of all this is just common sense. Sites need players to give action to make the rake. Like I said way too often someone here catches some part of the flop. It doesn’t matter if you raise enough to get heads up. Both will usually hit something or have something preflop to make moves. 2nd how do you maximize profit? Why would they need to rig the game when they make millions of dollars. First of all you can’t maximize profits if none of your players are playing. Here is the theory. Say you have 10 people. They all have a budget of $200. 1 is a pro the rest 9 are fish. So the pro starts out playing the other players. Soon he takes one person out, then another, then another..etc…Now where is the rake for the online site? The pro player has all the money while the fish are broke. The reason they need the fish to win are they need to redistribute the money. People say like they have enough players they don’t need to rig it to have people play. Guess what buddy I don’t know how much you have or how much you make on your job, but for most average people they don’t make enough $$$ to be having a prolonged poker session. Some may only have $100-$200 in their budget a week and when it’s gone it’s gone. It’s bye bye rake unless they give some of the money back to the fish to play the better players so the site itself can rake. So how do u go about rigging this? Instead of having AA win 80% of the time say it wins about 60% of the time. That way the fish wins some money and are happy to play there. The pro made a little profit so he’s thinking he should have made more, but hey maybe I had a bad session or a losing streak. Everyone still has money and they are all playing…hence the largest poker site with the most players. The fish are happy to be winning something so they keep playing there. Actually if you really wanted to you can give accurate statistics and still redistribute money. I’ll give you one example.

    Flush cards are supposed to his 1/3 of the time if there are two flush cards on the flop and you have 2 hole cards with the same suit. So what you do is if you need to give money player A? You just give player A the top pair with the kicker. And you give player B flush draw. Statistically the flush hit only 1/3 of the time. The only thing that changes is giving the hole cards to whatever player needs the money. If player C need some money let him have the AA this time and let player B have the KK. Hey it will create action and you just transfered money to player C who needed money from player B who had too much. Statistically AA won 80% of the time. So there are alot of ways to get around it. I mean one time I was playing a $109 sng 4 players left. 3 hands in a row I kept getting 66. A really strong hand when four players were left. Felt odd and I threw it away all 3 times. I would have lost all 3 time. 1st time 10 10 would have held up. 2nd time K J would have called and I would have lost. Well so it is not too difficult to rig a game making it statistically accurate.

    These online games are not really regulated!

    Some of the runner runner i get 3 handed sometimes makes me sick. I made a straight on the flop. The guy has AA. I pretty much knew he had some type of high pocket pair by the betting. I had K J. Flop came Q 10 9. All the money goes in the flop. Turn 10. River A. Runner Runner I just love it! About 4% chance for him to win when the money went in.

  13. Self-pronounced “experts” like you who have absolutely no proof that sites are not cheating and just making assumptions using common sense is reason why people don’t bother reporting sites. Hmm.. reporting to whom? To government of Costa-Rica? Site statistics are probably correct, but they do not prove anything. The only thing that can prove is source code of software. And I haven’t seen that any site offered their server source code for fair examination. Noone says that poker sites are cheating AGAINST you, they are just making sure that you stay long enough to collect max rake from you. It’s not you agains poker site, it’s poker site against ALL. Taking from rich and giving to poor to keep balance. Just observer some games at PartyPoker… UGLY things are going on there. So many straights and flushes you will not see in live game in a month. By cheating I mean rigging games to result in a certain outcome and creating “action pots”. I really HOPE they do not change cards in the deck “on the fly”. Just give us the source code, baby. That’s all we ask for.

  14. I have a question. For all of the people who insist that the cia, the “scientists” the software engineers, the little avatar dealer dude with the card up his sleeve…for all the pokercheat consipiracy advocates….

    Why? why would a large well established online business raking in literally millions in stated, posted, “rakes” cheat? Especially at poker? They aren’t even PLAYING poker…they are in a much different game, and with a much larger buy in, for a much larger prize, with much longer odds at getting to the final table…simply put…online business…that being said…I ask again..why? why would software engineers, cia agents, cheat at a little tiny itsy bitsy say 5000 poker pot…even several a day…when they have millions and millions invested, and millions and millions to be won competing with other online concerns? The concept is simple…10000 people a day (just for a figure)deposit money to play poker on their site. They take a stated rake of the pots…and entry fees for tourneys…and THAT’S all they get from the average person who visits their site…(people like myself)advertising…etc…is a BIG moneymaker for them…so the more guppies in the fishbowl the better…9700 guppies (generously understating maybe)…to feed 500 bigger fish…who are the ones that are taking the guppies money, because the guppies are just handing it too them. even the good guppies…even the guppies who are getting better…and may, just may, grow big enough to also be a money making fish…but you’ll never be a good poker player if you have to cheat to win, and you’ll certainly never become an excellent poker player without recognizing true cheating when you see it. If you chase a guy all the way to the river with a pair of nines..betting all the way…only to find a straight, a flush….a pair of 10’s “robbed” you…over and over…or, even more “ominously” after they “let you win for a week” and now you NEVER get a pot…that’s not cheating. A pair of nines…that’s not it either…you BET YOUR CHIPS…and you lost them…and it CAN’T be your fault, because you WANTED to win…you KNEW you were gonna win…i’m not going to go again into the obvious…if you can’t find something after you’ve looked EVERYWHERE…it’s right in front of your face…i’ll leave that to you guys to figure out…but..why does it HAVE to be cheating? And why would someone expend so much energy, money, knowledge, expertise, and double nought spy gear to cheat at a poker game?

  15. I wrote a discussion of this at cardclubs.net, under the pokerdiagram forum.

    1st, it is not easy to statistically test for a fixed site, but is “extremely difficult”. Your cards need not be fixed. Your opponents could either see your cards or change their 2 hole cards.
    The player name that does the fixing could change or
    play rarely. It is hard to convict someone with cheating with a sample size of 1. This is even further difficult or impossible, since the players holes cards are not displayed or show up in histories if he does not play the hand.

  16. Agreed. If sites were truly handing out juiced cards, this would be the easiest thing in the world to test for; both for high starting hands and frequency of draws hitting. In fact, the arguments are so weak and lacking evidence that I’m amazed that a great many people have even bothered to post about it. (Somewhat like the faux evolution debate.)

    The topic would be better discussed focusing on the psychological reasons for people falsely believing that they are being cheated. It’s a very egocentric view. The truth is the sites don’t give two shits what happens to you or what bad beats you take. I’m sure they’d prefer weak players never took bad beats and could somehow build up a nice BR in order to continue playing at their site and contribute to the rake.

    If sites were to rig it one way or the other, it would be for weak players to WIN more often than they should. And I just don’t see this happening.

  17. This merits a discussion about Type I and Type II statistical errors. The only people who won’t buy it are the ones who play AJo anywhere because, uhh, you know, it’s a good hand.

    Speaking of relativity, I had a professor, whom I deeply esteem, say, “We have measured parity violation to six decimal places, which is very precise in nuclear physics, and it is to that level of precision equal to 1. Beyond that there are some anomalies.”

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