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Is Online Poker Rigged?

One question keeps popping up all the time when it comes to online poker: are online poker rooms rigged?
Some poker players (mostly those who lose a lot, of course) insist that they are. I myself have noticed that especially after you win for a while, you suddenly get hit by a string of quite unbelievable bad luck. Your opponents make absolutely lunatic calls, yet they get hit on the river time and time again. Out of all the strictly positive EV calls that you make, you lose more than 50% of the time. I’d say though, that this is internet poker.
 
The variance in Texas Holdem is such, that luck has a big word to say when you get called by a bunch of noobs riding some extreme EV-. It is called “schooling” and it is indeed one of the most frustrating things in Texas Holdem, but it is part of the game. Whether the room is rigged or not, has nothing to do with it.
If you look at things from a logical perspective, it doesn’t even make sense for poker rooms to run rigged software. After all, they couldn’t care less who wins and who loses, and the risk of running rigged software far outweighs any advantages it could provide (though – again – I don’t see any as far as the poker room is concerned).
 
So all you habitual losers out there: Texas Holdem is a very difficult game to beat. The fact that you work your positive EV hands to the max doesn’t mean that you’ll win. Chances are, you’ll lose 10 times out of 10 on positive EV, especially if there are a whole bunch of other players in the hand, besides you. I can understand that it gets extremely frustrating after a while, but that’s just it.
One other idea that people who believe online poker is rigged, advocate, is that there are far less bad beats in live poker than there are online.
In this respect, I have to admit they’re probably right. Real live poker tends to behave in a more logical manner than online poker. The reason is probably, that real poker games are usually played by people who know a thing or two about the game. They won’t make extreme longshot calls all the time, and thus the “schooling” phenomenon will be much reduced, if not completely eradicated. Online poker is very different in nature. All sorts of people play it, and – especially at lower limits – everyone wants to see some action on pretty much every single hand they get. This leads to “schooling” on a monumental scale. When you get 4 guys chasing a gutshot straight after the turn, against your trips, chances are, you will get fried.
 
So if you feel like you get cheated out of your positive EV time and again, be aware that it is probably due to schooling and variance, and of course, the unforgiving luck factor. Bottom line is, online Texas Holdem is much more of a game of luck than live poker is. 
Poker rooms won’t do anything as adventurous as you may sometimes be driven to think. They’re doing just fine as it is, so much so, as a matter of fact, that a possible rigging of their software wouldn’t yield significantly better results.
 
On top of all that, any kind of cheating would, sooner or later be found out, and that is one risk no poker room can, or is willing to assume.
With that said, cheating is obviously out of the question, however, that doesn’t mean the online poker software some rooms use, is flawless.
I was playing in a real money STT at an online poker room, when I noticed the person two positions to my right got dealt the very same hand twice in a row. OK, I said, It happens…The following two hands, the guy to my immediate right got A,9 in the pocket both times. The next hand, I got J,J and I took down a pretty nice pot with it. Sure enough, my following hand was a J,J too. I know it sometimes happens that a player gets the same hand twice in a row, but when it happens to three players, one after the other… it does give you something to think about…

 


 
 
 

 
Last Updated 24 September 2012
Online Poker Rigged