Is Online Poker Rigged?
So, you’re playing poker online but you’ve just had too many bad beats, and it looks like your opponents are winning with terrible hands and bad bets. Or perhaps you’re thinking about getting into playing online, but you have some niggling doubts, and you ask yourself the question:
Is online poker rigged?
The short answer to this question is NO, because of regulation and RNGs.
But to smash the myth of online rigging and put your mind at rest, here is the long answer to this common question. And we’ll start by addressing some of the most typical concerns.
You experience too many bad beats
A ‘bad beat’ in poker refers to a hand that looks strong, and statistically should be a winner, but loses to a weaker starting hand held by a player who gets lucky with a card or two on the turn or the river.
And it’s true, you do experience more bad beats online, but this is because of the speed of online poker and the extra potential of multi-tabling means that you can play many more games there than you can in a bricks-and-mortar casino. The action is fast, and non-stop, so the bad beats will come more often.
The games are fixed in favour of weaker players to keep them in the game and on the site
And why might the casinos do this? To increase their rake.
Quite apart from the difficulty in fixing the system in such a way, the major online casinos are only too aware of what’s at stake regarding profit and would not risk their legal status, licenses or their reputations, which depend on fair play and security for players, on fraudulent activities.
Action hands are fixed to build bigger pots
The theory, in this case, is that pre-set strong hands would be dealt with two or more players leading to larger bets and bigger pots which would, in turn, generate better rake.
But again the RNG would make such fixing impossible.
What about cheating?
While it is extremely unlikely and makes no financial sense, that casinos are cheating themselves, you may well come up against cheats amongst your opponents at some point.
With the advent of the Internet came new opportunities for poker players including anonymity. And with that the possibility of scamming by playing more than one position at a table and messing with the odds. But although there have been incidents of this kind in the past, it is illegal to give false details and to have multiple accounts at an online casino.
If caught, not only would a cheat lose all his cash, but the penalties are severe. The actual effort involved in pulling off this kind of fraud makes it a very unlikely.
Collusion is another possibility and probably the most likely threat to them all. It is when two or more players work together to get build pots and win more money from their opponents. Of course, this is much more easy to detect in a land-based poker room than online because you do not go face to face with the other players.
Keep an eye out for players who often play together and watch how the action unfolds and if you have suspicions contact the poker room. They will have all the hand histories and will be able to detect collusion if is it occurring easily. Do keep in mind though that not all odd looking play is collusion.
Software that infiltrates the site and gives the cheat an advantage over the other players. But these are now easily and quickly detected by the bigger sites. People who cheat in this way will be kicked off and have their funds confiscated.
How can you protect yourself?
By far the best way to protect yourself is to be selective about where you play. Only ever play at reputable, trustworthy sites. Here’s what to look for in an online casino:
- Sites that have a large community of members.
- Sites that have been in business for an extended period of time.
- Good software.
- Sites that people trust check out reviews and forums.
- Safe and secure banking options.
- Sites that are fully licensed and regulated and also regularly audited.
- Excellent customer service 24/7.