The Frustrations of this Debate

One of the frustrations of the ‘discussion’ about the randomness of online poker is the ‘hit and run’ strategy of many critics. Various people come along, make unfounded claims about bizarre international conspiracy theories, have their theories comprehensively debunked, then never actually admit that they’re wrong… instead, they just create another falsehood and spread it like gospel.

The problem is that many (but not all!) of the people who believe that online poker is rigged is that they have no critical thinking skills, and no self-criticism. It’s as if when they are proved wrong (or something is proven contrary to their pre-existing prejudice) they just ignore it. I don’t know if this is ignorant or willful blindness, but when you think about it, this sort of behaviour is the same sort of behaviour that generates this bizarre self-confidence that there is a massive international conspiracy out to defraud them.

There are fundamentally two “possible” reasons for someone to lose at poker over the long-term:

1) Their opponents are better than they are.

2) There is a massive secret international conspiracy out to defraud them.

One common strategy is to make false claims just by making stuff up:

I’ve been doing a lot of reading this afternoon and played a tourney. The focus was on the ability to control the outcome and still pass RNG audits (RNG audits don’t audit the software that process the output of the RNG), Action Flops, positions and odds.

Of course, there’s no truth to this claim. From the very page that they claim as evidence of their falsehood actually says:

PokerStars provided BMM with the source code for its RNG and shuffle, and software that PokerStars uses to protect the security of random numbers. BMM then subjected the source code and the output of the RNG to rigorous testing, including the Marsaglia Die Hard tests.


Cigital analyzed the source code, entropy sources and documentation for PokerStars’ RNG implementation. In addition, a sample RNG output stream provided by PokerStars was subjected to – and passed – FIPS 140-1 testing. Using standard methods for exploiting RNGs and having full access to the source code, Cigital was unable to break the PokerStars RNG. Cigital found that the PokerStars implementation adheres to the current state-of-the-practice in generating random seeding values.

For someone who claims to have done a “lot of reading” these folks sure haven’t done much reading.

Are these people ignorant to what the website says, or are they just lying? One or the other must be true. Which one is it?

Similarly, they make up fictitious studies to support their false claims:

First, Cigital didn’t audit the play money tables, and it’s reasonably sound and repeatedly proven that the action on play money tables vs. real money is two distinctly different things.

Where has this been “repeatedly proven”? Of course, no such investigation has ever found such things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s