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Is Online Poker Fair?

These days, just about everyone knows that online poker is a popular alternative to playing poker in a live casino. But despite the fact that online poker has been around for nearly two decades now, there are still questions that persist about its fairness for many players. Let’s take a look at how online poker rooms ensure that their games are fair for all players involved.

A Perfect Dealer

One of the biggest concerns that some players have is whether or not they can trust an online poker dealer to fairly deal out poker hands that are truly random. Of course, when it comes to online poker games, we’re not talking about a “dealer,” but a random number generator (RNG) that is constantly spitting out numbers that translate into the decks, hands, and board cards you’ll be using in your games.

RNGs work by using a pseudorandom number generator to start – one that produces numbers that the average person would see as random, but which actually follow something of a pattern: if you know the seed number used to get the “random” numbers, you’d be able to predict the numbers that will be generated. True randomness (or the closest possible thing to it) comes by using nearly random processes in order to generate the seed numbers that are used. For online poker games, these seeds can be generated by some combination of mouse movements from players on a site, the digits in very precise measures of temperature or other atmospheric phenomena, or any number of other sources or combinations of those sources.

Obviously, such a system is either random or so close to random as to be entirely unpredictable. However, some players have another concern when it comes to the cards that are dealt in online poker games: that they are somehow fixed either to benefit certain players or to generate additional action (and therefore rake) for the poker room.

However, many studies of online poker hands, including those that have looked at millions of hands at multiple sites, have shown time and again that the results appear to be completely random. In addition, trusted sites like 888 Poker are independently audited in order to ensure that they provide fair, truly random games to their players.

Security of Data

One other concern players sometimes ask about when it comes to online poker is the possibility of other players knowing their hole cards, or somehow gaining access to the community cards that will come later in the hand. Obviously, this would make the games entirely unfair, as players with access to this information would crush those who were playing fairly.

However, online poker rooms like 888 Poker are careful to prevent such incidents from occurring. Sophisticated RSA encryption technology is used at all stages of the poker playing process, thus ensuring that nobody has access to any information they shouldn’t have during gameplay. While there have been cases in which players have gained access to such information, they weren’t because of faults in the security of the poker room: players have fallen for scams where they allow players to see their computer screens, or in one famous case at Absolute Poker, an individual at the company gained access to an administrative account that allowed them to see all player cards. These situations can be avoided by using common sense to make sure your own computer is secure, and by only playing poker at trusted websites.

As demonstrated, online poker is a secure and fair experience when playing at any trusted and reliable online poker room. While Australian players should certainly take care to ensure the online poker sites they choose are good ones, any trustworthy site – such as the ones we recommend here – will ensure your games go smoothly and fairly at all times.