Is Online Poker rigged?
Statements such as “Online Poker is rigged” can be read continuously in the different forums or in poker rooms’ chats. The player complains that online poker is manipulated and he did not get the winnings he deserved. It is obvious that these statements are mostly made by loosing players.
We want to take a closer look at the different statements.
1. Online Poker is rigged because “there are too many monsters”
Especially new online poker players who mostly played in their private circle are astonished how often really good hands can be seen. It took way longer for them to see quads, a full house or a flush in live poker and so they are getting suspicious. In this case they just do not see the fact that they are able to play far more hands in the same period of time. While you can play no more than thirty hands in one hour in a private game, it is possible to play more than twice as much hands online. If you play for example six tables at the same time, the chance to see one of those strong hands is already twelve times higher.
2. Online Poker is rigged, because “some players always win”
Someone gets sucked out a few times in a row and has lost some money, always against the same opponent. Then you might see this statement.
Poker rooms use RNGs (Random Number Generators) to guarantee random card distributions and game outcomes. Some of these are incredibly sophisticated and impossible to manipulate. Besides it is technically hard or even impossible without attracting attention since the rooms are regularly controlled by their respective regulators/licensors.
Furthermore for the poker room it does not matter at all who gets the money. The earnings are always the same. For example, let us take a look at a Sit&Go Tournament (10 players) with a buy in of 10$. Every player has to pay 10$ in the pot. With ten players it is 100$ and these 100$ are payed out completely. But every player also has to pay 1$ as a tournament fee, which means the room gets his earnings as soon as the tournament starts. Which player wins does not matter at all, the room gets his 10$ and is already satisfied.
3. Online Poker is rigged because “after a cashout you always loose”
This statement also can be read over and over again. You just won some money and made a withdraw. From now on you are going to run really bad, you always going to lose with the better hand or your opponents show aces and kings all the time. You might think the room wants you to deposit the money you just cashed out as soon as possible.
Of course this is total nonsense. The poker room cannot link the piece of information, when you last made a cashout, with your dealt cards.
At a lot of rooms (e.g. NetBetPoker) it is common to have one main account. With this account you are able to send money to your poker account or make sports bets. The withdraw is made with your main account, so the poker room does not even notice when you made a cash out last time. Most of the poker rooms are part of a network. For example NetBetPoker and Winner Poker are in the biggest network at the moment, the iPoker network. So it is absolutely impossible for one single room to submit the information of your cashouts to the network in order for you to be punished at the tables. Furthermore, another player always has to be preferred if you are treated less favorably. Variance is one major topic in poker and has nothing to do with manipulation.
More information on variance can be found in our strategy section.
4. Online Poker is rigged because “I have lost with aces against another hand”
After twenty minutes of bad hands aces are dealt to us finally. Now we do not only want to collect the blinds, so we decide to limp, to get more players into the pot. Of course this is the wrong tactic. If we are facing the flop with four opponents the chance to win the hand is about 55%. So we almost lose every second time with aces. Furthermore if we face a dangerous flop we are more tempted to make a mistake and risk all of our chips, because we do not want to fold our aces. This can be easily avoided by a standard raise preflop. So we did not lose because poker is rigged, it was more because of our wrong move. And finally Aces don’t win ever time. You only take down the pot 85% of the time vs. a random hand.
5. Online Poker is rigged because “I have played the last four weeks every single day and did not make profit”
Short-term poker is a game of luck. Even if we have the perfect strategy, it does not mean we are going to make profit constantly. Even the very good players have days when they lose money and this is not because they did not play well, it is because variance is an important part of the game. You cannot always win with the better hand. Even aces do not win 100% of the time. You can only beat the variance by playing lots of hands/tournaments.
If someone only plays 5 Sit&Go tournaments a day, 150 a month, it is possible to make no profit over a few months. Someone else who plays 50-100 tournaments a day will be rewarded much faster. A good player makes profit long-term and not in 3-4 sessions.