The Truth Behind the Argument ‘Is Online Poker Rigged?’

Ever since the advent of online poker there has been arguments on both sides claiming that online poker is rigged. While one side maintains that there is no truth to the rigged poker sites debate, the opposition claims that way too many anomalies occur for the sites to not be rigged.

For a further understanding of the debate, this article will take a behind the scenes look at the software that controls many of the major online poker sites. Examining deeper into what motivates the debate and an attempt to explain what is really happening.

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The Software

Online poker differs to a great extent from live poker simply because the deal of the cards online is controlled by a software program that can be changed, manipulated and altered by the programmers. In a live game the cards are shuffled by a human and then dealt out without any possible interference from any outside force. (Barring cheaters, mechanics or persons setting the deck) The cards in a live game are ‘predetermined’ once the shuffle and cut is completed.

In internet poker, the shuffle is controlled by a Random Number Generator (RNG) program, which uses a sophisticated set of protocols to simulate a random shuffle and cut. The RNG, by all accounts, is supposed to ensure that the cards are not predictable, that players can not manipulate them and that it will simulate a true-life experience.

In addition to the RNG, internet poker sites also include controls that prevent cheating, collusion and formulate a variety of potential action hands to encourage players to get involved in the game. Some of these controls (or poker algorithms) are designed to specifically create an exciting atmosphere for players by producing draw heavy boards.

Action Inducing Hands

These action-inducing hands create the majority of constant bad beats and subsequent claims that online poker is rigged. When a player is the victim of what otherwise would seem to be a highly improbable bad beat, they will undoubtedly believe that online poker is rigged.

The fact that poker sites choose to add in any controls, algorithms or other software outside of the scope of the actual game would indicate that there is a potential that online poker is rigged. Changing or altering true life facts and statistics lend credibility to the fact that the software creates an unfair advantage to less inferior hands for the sole purpose of encouraging action among players.

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