Is Online Poker Rigged?


It is common for a poker player to directly accuse or insinuate that online poker is rigged. This is usually a result of a player receiving a “bad beat”. Phrases are jokingly made such as “jokerstars” referring to the popular poker network, PokerStars. However, a lot people share the common theory that the poker sites rig their software as to encourage action; increasing their profit. The theories and conspiracies cannot be proven, planet 7 oz casino review and many an investigation has been made into the credibility of these accusations.

Logic and reason

Rigging a poker site would be like cheating at your final exams – the costs outweigh the gain. If a poker site is caught rigging their software then it is likely that the said site will lose all the credibility and loyalty of its customers; customers that it has taken many years to gain the trust of. Rigging a poker site, according to Game Theory, would be irrational and illogical.

Human Behavior

Human nature is a strange thing; psychologists Jean-Paul Sartre and Soren Kierkegaard were a couple of the first to look into human behaviour and more recent psychologists have studied the minds of poker players. One thing that has been discovered about online poker is that humans are naturally very suspicious. Reasons for this natural suspicion lie in the fact that the mechanism controlling the outcome of an event cannot physically be seen. Unlike in a live game, you are unable to see the cards being shuffled and cut.

Preventing Rigging

According to Poker Stars, there are 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 different ways to shuffle a deck of cards.

Amazingly, the site uses the players to choose the order of the cards using “user input, including summary of mouse movements and events timing, collected from client software”. In the event that there are problems with this as a RNG (random number generator), they have a backup: “true hardware random number generator developed by Intel, which uses thermal noise as an entropy source”. Furthermore, the RNG is certified by 2 independent organizations: Cigital and BMM International.

Cigital: An independent software risk management organization working with such companies as Qualcomm, Visa International, Texas Instruments, AOL, MasterCard, General Electric, Motorola, Pfizer Health Solutions, and Ericsson.

BMM International: A global organization that provides independent computer systems assurance and compliance certification testing services, the Australia-based company is a client of the Australian government among other organizations.

Possible Rigging

The poker industry is an incredibly tough market and one that is definitely not easily entered. The large businesses such as PokerStars, Full Tilt and Party Poker have swallowed their competitors and taken a huge majority of the market between them.

Smaller poker sites may have an incentive to rig their software as profits might be low and security standards/regulations may be of poor quality or even non-existent. These companies may get a slight edge over their competitors as they have very little to lose and a lot to gain by rigging their software.

Absolute Poker Scandal

Sept. 13th. Potripper won a $1000 buy-in tourney, Absolute Pokers largest tournament. The player CrazyMarco, who finished second, insisted that there had to be cheating involved in Potrippers win. One of the most obvious signs was when Potripper bet around 20k with T-high, got pushed all-in by CrazyMarco, and called the sick 180k to beat CrazyMarcos 9-high bluff.

CrazyMarco demanded the hand history released, and to his surprise, Absolute Poker was more than willing to help him with this matter. Feb. 21st, APs support send him a file, but this was far from the ordinary hand history he had requested. The file he received was huge, and after a short peak he turned of his computer and went to bed as he was unable to gain any information from the data file himself.

Two weeks later rumors are heating up at PocketFives, and Marco posts in the forum that he has this enormous file from the Potripper tournament. The moderator of the site, adanthar, offers his help, and Marco sends him the file. It turns out the file covers the entire tournament, all of the players’ hole cards, and other normally highly confidential information.

– Potripper folded the first two, then saw all flops, unless the times where an opponent had two queens or better.

– Potripper won all showdowns in the tournament.

– Potripper folded on the river every time he was behind – and raised every time he wasn’t.

– Potripper only bluffed when the opponent(s) had weak hands.


The online poker (and casino) industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Credibility, respect and loyalty are at the top of the agenda for any of these businesses and therefore rigging would most likely have detrimental affects on the business.

Rigging of a poker site may be rare and unheard of, however there is the possibility that a freak incident such as the Absolute Poker Scandal may occur.

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