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March 3rd, 2010 at 3:16:42 PM permalink
With so many people playing online poker these days, you cannot do a google search on any online poker room without seeing countless posts that claim online poker is rigged. Some people claim they are singled out for making a complaint against the room, some people claim they win after making a deposit and lose after making a withdrawal, and the most common complaint is that the online poker rooms rig the flops to induce more action and increase the rake.

The first two complaints are absolutely ridiculous and I suspect the people making them have some sort of psychological problem. However, the complaint that online poker rooms rig the flop to induce more action, seems like it could be true. After all online poker rooms are businesses that strive to maximize profits. I'm aware that at least the bigger rooms are audited, but there is very little information available about the scope of the audits. I'm an accountant so I know the limitations of auditing, plus its likely the auditors only check to see if the starting hand strengths hold up over the long run.

So my question is: Does anyone have any information about how often you should see in a 10 player game

1) a pair on the flop
2) 3 suited cards on the flop
3) 3 to straight on the flop

I chose these three scenarios because it seems like they would induce action and the probability for each could be easily measured. Any other flop suggestions would be welcomed.

Or if its possible, can anyone figure the probability of two or more players flopping top pair or better (10 player game)

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March 3rd, 2010 at 3:55:13 PM permalink
The amount of players doesn't matter.

1) 16.941%
2) 5.177%
3) No less than 3.475%

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March 3rd, 2010 at 4:07:53 PM permalink
OK. No opinion about the legitimacy of online poker rooms.

I don't play online. And live poker, I play at low levels, so maybe things are different at higher levels.

But I question the three samples you chose.

1 - A pair. How close is the other card is to the pair? I.E. Could someone be on a straight draw? What about if the other card is the same suit as one of the paired cards?

2 - Three suited cards in my experience tends to reduce action.

3 - The cards to a straight is vague. Do you mean three consecutive cards, or cards with gaps, but could still have enabled someone to flop a straight?

Personally, I would look for 'Action flops'. IE Flops with high cards, two the same suit.
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March 3rd, 2010 at 9:47:04 PM permalink
Thanks for the info wildqat.

DJTeddybear, I chose those three samples as a starting point because I've noticed that those particular scenarios seem to appear a disproportionate number of times online. I normally play live poker as well, but I recently started playing online at Fulltilt because its so convenient. I have been playing only in tournaments, $10 buy in.

The second reason I chose those is because, based only on my observation, they do seem to induce more betting in the tournaments I play in. I attribute this to the assumptions that if:

1) there is a pair on the board, its much more likely that at least one player has two pair or 3 of kind

2) there are 3 suited cards on the board, its more likely that someone has a flush or flush draw

3) three to straight (consecutive or gaps) on the board, its more likely someone has a straight or straight draw (open ended or inside).

Based on your suggestion I have added a 4th scenario: # of face cards on the flop.

I will look at how often each scenario or combination of scenarios above happens online and compare them to actual probabilities. I know other factors such as stack size, position, playing style and others effect how a player bets, but I don't have the time or desire to analzye that many factors, so I decided to stick to just the cards on the board. I did not include 2 suited cards or 2 consecutive cards because they are much more common scenarios than the others and the chance of a flush or straight draw, although relatively common, is less likely with 2 cards on the board than with three. However, this is just a starting point, after I get enough data I will add those to the list. I wanted to start with just the obvious ones. I have played just under 1000 hands, so I still have a way to go before I have a large enough sample.

Thanks for the input.
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March 3rd, 2010 at 10:10:29 PM permalink
I am in the camp that thinks the online sites are rigged for action. Not that they have more 'action' flops though. What I feel I witness is more than a normal amount of runner, runner winning hands. And because people see this occur over and over, more people will stay in a hand with 3 suited cards after a flop, hoping to get the runner, runner flush. This helps get me more action when I have good hands, but it is brutal when you had the superior hand, and could not force the chaser out of the hand, and they end up hitting. So I would suggest your analysis of this would want to look at the number of inferior starting hands that turn into winners after the 5th card is turned over.
Here is another item to look at. When 3 players go all-in preflop, way too many times the worst 2 card hand, is the one that ends up winning the pot. It may be perception, but it doesn't seem that way. Next time I am playing I will start recording that stat. Anytime 2 or more players are all in either preflop, or just after the flop, I will record if the worst hand is the winner.

One other comment. I play at a 'smaller' site, with some well known backing. When I joined, the software seemed to be incredibly realistic. After a year, they had a complete software makeover, and a big promotion to increase the site, and right after that, it seemed the suckouts started occurring at a higher rate. It felt like I was playing at some of the more famous sites.
Always borrow money from a pessimist; They don't expect to get paid back ! Be yourself and speak your thoughts. Those who matter won't mind, and those that mind, don't matter!
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April 12th, 2010 at 4:47:58 PM permalink
I work in the industry and I've asked the 'rigging for action' question of someone who worked in poker. We were speaking as friends and off the record, he assured me that there is no rigging of poker, that the cards are randomly generated.

What he did admit is that the company he worked for knew and tolerated the use of 'bots' by customers. So it's worth bearing in mind that if you are playing on a cash table, you might be playing against 'someone' who will always make mathematically correct decisions, that's not to say they will always win but it does give them an edge.
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April 12th, 2010 at 6:34:54 PM permalink
With the number of games some of these poker players have played, its quite possible they might outperform a bot! Probably some of those bots have random delays built into them to appear to be humans.
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April 12th, 2010 at 8:27:21 PM permalink
From my experience dealing poker, online poker is a fair(ish) representation of live poker. I have been nicknamed "Action" by regular cash game players as I have a reputation for putting down pairs and draws on the flop, eg Qh Qs Js, or 6d 7d 6s.

I doubt this is unique to me, but as I used to spend a long time on the cash table when it was first introduced I dealt a larger proportion of hands, so I am remembered for it. I feel these things both live and online are down to players selective memory.
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