Is Online Poker Rigged?

John Mehaffey - January 20, 2012

One of the biggest concerns of new players is that they think online poker may be rigged. These players feel that they see many crazy things at the virtual felt. Some players feel that they can trust a live poker game because they see the cards dealt and can see all players face to face, where online poker is all digital including a random number generator. While I understand some of these concerns, they are without merit.

Online poker is more legitimate than you may think

No online poker room has ever been caught with a rigged number generator. This is not from a lack of people trying to catch them. Countless studies have been done by skeptics and people trying to prove the skeptics wrong. They all have the same result. The shuffle at online poker rooms is legitimate. This means not just the cards dealt to players, but the cards dealt in the community boards such as the flop, turn and river in Texas Hold’em.

All online poker rooms are licensed in the jurisdictions that they are located. While these jurisdictions may sound like exotic place that do not know anything about gambling, these gaming commissions actually specialize in just one thing, internet gaming. Their reputations are at stake. The shuffles are audited by third party auditing companies such as Price, Waterhouse, Cooper. These companies ensure that the cards are dealt just as if they would be dealt in a live game.

A lesson learned from Planet Poker

There was one random number generator issue near the start of online poker. Back in 2001, the now defunct Planet Poker had an issue with their cards. An online security company cracked the random number generator because it was not as complex as it should have been. The company did not use this to their advantage. They immediately reported it to Planet Poker who fixed this issue but eventually went out of business, partly due to the reputation loss that happened due to this scandal. This was not even a rigged random number generator; it was simply a poor one that was designed with technology that is no longer used. This was over 10 years ago and nothing like this has happened since. Other online poker rooms learned from Planet Poker's mistake.

Why not rig the RNG?

Online poker rooms have too much to lose to offer poor or rigged random number generators. There is no such thing as an action flop or action cards. Players may think that because in online poker there are double or triple the hands dealt compared to live games. With so many hands dealt, strange things are bound to happen. If something is mathematically possible it can, and will happen. Just because a player rivered a one outer it does not mean that the online poker room is rigged. It simply meant that the other 46 times out of 47 you would have won. Be happy that there are players at your table that were trying to pay you off because having large mathematical advantages over other players is part of what makes good players winners.