Is Online Poker Rigged or Fair Why Independent Testing Is Important -There are countless articles, blog posts and forum threads that have attempted to answer to this question and all of them have failed to do so.The best of these provide compelling arguments as to why Online Poker should be fair or rigged, although none can claim to be definitive or conclusive. The reason for this is that all these arguments, no matter how sound, are based on reason alone – they are simply not supported by any evidence.In short it is a philosophical approach to the question, i.e. the argument is based on pure thought. Although a philosophical approach has value it can be frustrating when applied to a question like this because every argument leaves room for a counter argument. The result is that the debate goes on and on and round in circles without reaching any conclusion. A scientific approach where evidence is used to test an argument is a much better approach.
It is true that poker sites have always had their Random Number Generators (RNGs) tested but the reality is that often these tests are carried out by the poker sites themselves so cannot be considered objective. Also, these tests have been limited to the RNGs and do not test the algorithms that effectively ‘deal’ the cards.However, for the first time since online poker began independent tests are being run on a wide scale to try to answer the question: “Is Poker Online Rigged?” The tests follow sound scientific practice and have been performed on many of the popular poker sites and networks. PokerStars, Party Poker, the Ongame Network, the Merge Network and the Entraction Network have all been tested – over ¾ of all players online use these sites so the results have relevance for online poker in general.In short, the tests analyse histories from real hands that have been data-mined from the poker sites and use these to check if ‘good’ players receive more ‘bad luck’ than they should if random cards were used. Much greater detail can be found in the full report of each test. So far the results for every site have shown “no evidence of rigging” which can only be a good thing for the online poker industry.
After the first few tests some sceptical observers commented that it would be possible for the tests themselves to be rigged, or that the original dataset could be tampered with to show fair results. After all, the online poker industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and when large sums of money are involved, many things are possible. As a response to this Online Poker Watchdog produced a downloadable ‘app’ that players can use to analyse their own hand histories. Using this, players can be sure that the data is real as it is data from their own games – they can test their own hand histories to check that the games they have been playing are fair.Before we jump to any grand conclusions though, the tests are not without limitations as they only check for one type of bias. There are other possible methods of rigging that would not be picked up by these tests. However, once this series QQ Online of tests are complete new tests will be performed to detect other biases.As these tests are continued they will provide the important service of monitoring Online Poker independently. In effect the tests performed by Online Poker Watchdog supply the evidence that has been missing until now from the great ‘is poker rigged’ debate.