Many messages are posted on forums claiming online poker is rigged, and that no one can win because of non-random dealing. Although many new players may feel this way about online poker, it is in the interest of the sites to maintain fairness and a random card dealing sequence. Here are some of the most common issues with integrity and fairness in online poker.
Online poker is not rigged: Proof
You can download your hand history from most poker rooms as you play tournaments or cash games. The hand history documents contain information such as:
• Who won the hand
• Who lost their hand
• Stack sizes
• When was the exact moment when the hand played?
• All hand actions
• Hole cards at Showdown
You can analyze how often certain hands were outdrawn by importing hand histories into software such as Holdem Manager 3. You need to have tens or hundreds of thousands hands in order to draw any statistical conclusions. It’s likely that your Pocket Aces have been cracked twice or three times in a short period of time. Everyone will experience bad luck at poker, but those who play the most often are more likely to be affected.
What about financial incentives to poker sites that encourage them to rig games? Most commonly, the argument is that more action will lead to more rake. But this logic is flawed. Poker sites that rigged games in order to increase rake would lose a lot of traffic once players found out. Poker sites would also be at risk of losing their license, and possibly going out-of-business if they did this.
Randomness of shuffle and RNGs
The shuffle’s purpose is to make the games more fair by randomizing the cards. Random number generators (RNG) are programs that ensure the shuffle will be random and not favor any player. It is no wonder that random numbers generators (RNGs) are considered one of the most crucial components for online poker. Software used to shuffle cannot determine who wins or losers. It only deals the cards, and the rest of the game is up to you. The algorithm cannot produce a winning hand that is predetermined. Third-party auditing firms such as Gaming Laboratories International certify RNGs for online poker rooms. This helps players to know that the games are fair and honest.
You can still encounter dangers when playing online poker, even though RNGs guarantee the randomness of a shuffle. Here are the most common cheating methods and how you can detect them.
You can cheat at online poker in several ways
Superusers are a victim of insider cheating
Superuser accounts have access to the entire deck of cards at the poker table. These accounts will be able know when to bet, raise or fold giving them an increased chance to win the hand. Normaly, when playing poker you can only see your hole cards. The other players’ cards are not visible. Superuser accounts, on the other hand, must be able to access the poker server of the gambling operator. This means that they have to be insiders.
Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet was the victim of one of the largest online poker scams in 2007. A group of players found superusers who were winning pot after pot while playing as if they could see other players’ cards. It was found that the superuser accounts were able to see all of the hole cards. This allowed them to play at the table in an unbelievably profitable manner.
Since the Ultimate Bet scandal, poker sites have realized that superuser accounts could be used to damage their reputation and business. No further superuser cases have been reported. Some players have achieved a superuser status by installing malicious programs on the computer of their opponent, which allowed them to see their opponent’s hole cards as they played. All IM applications should be closed while playing online poker.
Any poker game that has three or more participants can be a collusion. This is cheating when two or more players use a common, secret strategy to gain an edge over the other players. It is against the rules to collude in poker. However, it can sometimes be difficult to detect if there are colluding players at a particular table.
In collusion, players share their hole cards to try and push the other players out of a pot or lure them into it when they have a good hand. In poker tournaments collusion can mean chip dumping, i.e. Losing chips on purpose to a player.
Soft play is collusion when a player does not bet or raise a wager in a situation where it would be appropriate. Soft play can also be a way to take a more aggressive stance against a player or avoid winning money from him.
In a fair game of poker, each player at the table plays on their own. Ghosting is when a player gives advice to another while they are seated at the cash game table or tournament table. Ghosting can be done online using software like Teamviewer or Skype. If the player is in a tough situation, they can talk to their ghost before making a final decision.
The problem of ghosting becomes more prevalent in the late stages when prize pools are large. Ghosting is thought to be the most popular way for cheating in online poker.
Multi-accounting is when a player opens two or more accounts with real money at a poker website. This gives them the chance to pretend to be different players to increase their winning chances. Multi-accounting can be a problem both for the poker site and honest players, as the cheater is able to receive multiple bonuses when they create several accounts. All accounts and balances of a player who is caught creating multiple accounts will be frozen.
Online poker bots can be a big problem because they are hard to detect and have evolved their strategy. Poker bots, which are computer programs designed to play poker online are prohibited at all poker sites. Poker bots are computer programs that simulate human action, but they do not make mistakes because they never get tired or lose focus like humans.
If you see a player play for an extremely long time without stopping, or if he plays a large number of poker tables without any errors at all, then it is likely that he’s a bot. This combination of two factors increases the likelihood that a player is a bot.