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Is Online Poker Rigged ?:

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Is Online Poker Rigged Or Not ? (part 4)

Rigging has its limits

Why a room can't be perfectly rigged

It's something that needs to be told : Even if a room is rigged, it is highly unlikely (and actually even impossible) that the poker room could predict absolutely everything going on at the tables.

Indeed, as we have seen earlier, a room can't rig the distribution of private cards (too easy to bust), it can only rig the draws.

But the results of what happens from the flop to the end mainly depends on what the players decide to do, for several reasons.

First, since the private cards can't be rigged, the rooms are limited by the total number of possible draws ingame.
In a full-ring game for example (10 players at the table), a total of 20 cards just can't be rigged. As you must know, poker is played with a 52 cards deck. That leaves only 32 useable cards to give a draw that benefits a specific player.

One can easily think that depending on who's playing post-flop, it can simply be impossible to find an useful draw for the player the room wants to win.

Besides, any ability to give an advantage or a disadvantage to a player highly depends on hiw own behavior.
Even if a room tries to force a downswing on a player, if he folds, he folds. How do you want to give him a bad beat if he folds? You can't force him to go all-in, although you can urge him to.

And just the same way, if there is a weak player the room wants to see winning, it can't force him. If he folds, there's not much the room can do about it.

Let's set an example : Let's say we have a player we'd like to have winning. Let's say he has J3o. Let's also say there is a player with KK we want to punish for some nasty cashout.
Even if we want to give a straight to the player who should win, if he folds right after the flop, there's nothing the room can do. Even if the room gave him 456 at the flop, it still needs the turn to give him a straight. If he folds before the turn, the room can't do anything anymore to save his ass. And already, giving 456 at the flop is dangerous, because the player with KK might fold against the player with J3o.

Of course, this doesn't apply if both players are all-in preflop. In such a case, the game will go on 'til the end.

Another thing noteworthy is that although rigging is limited by human factors, it is mathematically easier to screw a tight-agressive player, whose way of playing is perfect for these kind of rigging techniques. Indeed, a tight-agresive player will not play many hands, but when he plays, he often plays until the hand or at least, until the probabilities of winning become really too low : this maximizes the possibilities of inflicting a badbeat, and the fact the player doesn't play many hands makes the punishment even harsher for him.
For example, in cash game, the Small Stack Strategy is perfect for this kind of rigging, since the SSS player, when he does enter in the game, often finds himself all-in right after the flop or even before. From the moment a player is all-in, he can't go back, so it becomes easier to inflict a badbeat on him, because if he ever feels it's going to turn out wrong, it's often already too late.

However, this is pure mathematics, and it only proves that IF rigging exists, and even though rigging will anyway necessarily happen only on a limited scale, well the scale would be somehow a bit less limited against a player playing small stack strategy. A bit less limited. But still limited.

Of course, one has to think that on a full ring table, this is not necessarily a matter of advantaging a player and sucking out another one, while the 8 remaining players would remain neutral. What would happen, for example, if there are three players the room would like to see losing, and these three players always find themselves fighting post-flop against one another?

Put together, the aforementioned elements show that if indeed room are rigged, this can only partly modify the outcomes. A room could really "smoothen" the levels of the player, but the possibilities of a room shouldn't be overestimated : with only 32 cards useable, only 5 cards to draw, 10 players whose behavior can hardly be predicted, and fights between players not always following the "good vs evil" or "downswing vs badswing" model, there is only a small leeway for the room and in the end, the room itself will have to rely on luck.

Last possibility : insiders

One could think that, even if they didn't cheat, the room's employees, or even more likely bots could play in tournaments and cash games. Even if they didn't try to cheat, they would still be able to play and win money for the room. However, for this situation to be profitable, the insiders would need to be at least break-even.

Fact is that in a non-rigged room, a nicely programmed bot can easily win money by playing "statistically winning in long term" poker.

In a rigged room, one could even give the bots an upswing to maximize the profits. This could be made even easier if the bot had a superuser account that could now which card would be drawn (or perhaps even the hole cards of every player).

Such a bot could also be programed to try and suckout any player that the room wants in downswing, and make them lose tournaments and freerolls. Even if the bots weren't meant to win money for the room, they could at least be programmed to help selected players lose.

Insiders : Perfectly invisibles

Either the draws are rigged, or they aren't. This is actually a truism.

If they aren't, then, talking about these insiders is useless. You shouldn't care about insiders in a non-rigged room. Sure, they can help the room make money, but to you, that doesn't change anything : if you play statistically winning poker, you'll keep winning money. If you play statistically losing poker, you'll keep losing money. Either way, the only thing that matters is how well you play. These insiders will take moneys from the fishes, but the fishes would've lost their money anyway. In the worst case, that only means a little less fish for you.

Howevers, if they DO are rigged, then these insiders, and even more if they're not humans but bots, can make matters worse, by facilitating players' downswings and upswings, allowing the money to move along even more.

They could even make it easier to rig the odds, since their hand histories will be kept forever secret.

Such a fraud, however, may be easy to bust. In countries where the server/client system is audited by truly independant, government-led agencies, if the server ever communicates informations it shouldn't to bots, this will be immediately busted.

What's more, these insiders being invisible, this is only assumption, only a guess : nothing, as of today, incriminates the rooms of such a fraud. If such a fraud exists, it leaves no evidence. Actually in some case it doesn't even change your statistical success rate.

Insiders - even if they are bots and not real humans - in a non-rigged room could easily make money for the room, and it would be very hard to bust, so it's the most plausible hypothesis, but in this case, you just shouldn't care and only focus on bettering your game : you can beat such insiders.
Anything else more or less belongs to the conspiracy theory category.

As a consequence, this hypothesis is of little interest : either it looks unplausible (we have no evidence), or useless (it doesn't really rig the game).

We will thus repeat what we saw earlier in this page : rigging has its limits. And the main limit is : human behavior, as it is unpredictable.

Conclusion

As a conclusion, we saw that rigging can't be proven in any way.

Apart from the Absolute Poker / Ultimate Bet case, if there is any form of rigging, it is technically impossible to prove it.

Does it mean that poker rooms are being honest?

Nope.

It means we can't tell if it's rigged.
It means we can't say that it's rigged. But that we can't tell for sure either that it's clean.

As you all know, you can't prove something doesn't happen. No one can prove there is no cheating going on. In general, it is basically impossible to prove that someone isn't guilty.

That's the reason for presumption of innocence, that's the reason why it's up to the accusators to prove someone guilty. This is how justice works, and this is not a favor we do to the defendant : that's because (most of the time) you can't prove something didn't happen.

As a consequence, we should be giving the benefit of the doubt to poker rooms, as long as we can't statistically prove that there's something wrong. If, after 200K hands you have a significant variation in the cards distribution when related to the normal probabilities, THEN you may have a case, or at least some evidence for a case.

If, after 200K hands, you only get 4% of pocket pair (instead of 6%), THEN you could tell a room is probably rigged.

If you can't, if you have no evidence, and even if you're still skeptical for some reasons (and there are reasons to be so), well as long as you can't prove anything, you can't accuse them.

Bénéfit of the doubt, and doubt about the benefits

However, it is perfectly understandable for a person who may invest his own money to ask for more than "the benefit of the doubt" about the online poker room's honesty. You entrust your money, it is your right to ask for guarantees.

You should still keep in mind that even if rigging really exists, it can only have a limited effect on the game, and in the end, what'll make you lose or win money is how you play.

Rigged or not, every day, some players end broke while some others earn money - sometimes lots of it - on online poker rooms. You can belong to both categories, and your skills at poker will be what matter the most.

As a side note, if you are really skeptical about online poker rooms rigging, or simply about your skills at poker, but would still like to play online poker, there is one piece of advice I can give you : don't spend your own money if you're not completely sure you will be able to take it back.

And I do mean "completely sure", we're not talking about statistics and probabilities here. But a real reason to know you can get your money back !

It is possible and if you want to know how, we have a special playing risk-free poker page.

Already, you have to know that the main ways to play risk free poker are the followings :

In the end, you may have noticed we didn't really answer your question. We didn't really mean to actually. What we wanted to do was to give you as much informations as we could so that you could answer this question by and for yourself.
Believe what you think you should believe, see what looks plausible for you, take the conclusions you want, and see if these conclusions are alright with you or not.

Then, it's up to you to see, and up to you to play.

Random Room

Celeb Poker is a well-known Poker Room, although its level of riggism remains unknown. We have seen very little bad comments on this one room, but very little evidence of it being completely clear too, although the official sites does say that it's "fully licensed and regulated", but we'd still like to get some more information.

Whether...