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View Poll Results: Is Online Poker Rigged?
Yes 3,444 34.94%
No 5,522 56.02%
Undecided 892 9.05%
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:37 PM   #8126
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by WeeFatShug View Post
During one of the conversations my friend asked the Bwin guy if there was any "rigging" going on. At the time his reply didn`t bother me as I took it as a bit of a wind up. His actual quote. "It`s designed to reward brave calls".
This reminds me of what Howard Lederer (a founder of Full Tilt) once said, and the exact quote escapes me but it was something to the effect that it's rigged so that hands win at the expected rate. I think your Bwin guy was being equally sarcastic.

Last edited by spadebidder; 09-03-2009 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:48 PM   #8127
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

Therein lies the problem for me as he wasn`t being sarcastic. It wouldn`t have affected me if he had been. I just wish I hadn`t been there now as it`s caused me a deal of consternation.
Over it now and happy to get back to business as usual. A combination of donk-slaying and being donk-slayed.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:18 PM   #8128
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Re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate

I have my own personal story and thoughts on the "online poker is rigged" debate.

I am a mathematician, more specifically a statistician with an M.A. in applied stats. So when I took to poker about 7 years ago, it came pretty naturally. Meaning, not only computing odds, but also realizing the game theory aspects for tournament play. Of course, I didn't know "everything" up front (no one ever does) nor do I know every aspect of HE tournament and NL cash poker, but I certainly have the right ideas, as you will see.

I could be typified as your standard tight aggressive player, most of the time. About 10% of the time, I mix up my style to keep things mixed up. I bluff perhaps 5% of the time, if that, and of course no bluff is without a reason, meaning I have a read on my opponents playing pattern, am in position and have a green light with an optimal board given the play, or for whatever good reason there is. Basically, I'm a tight player who gets ahead online mostly due to the overaggression of other players, particularly when I'm out of position, actually, as I've seen over time. Lastly, in terms of style, I am the "believer" type - that is, I believe people have good hands when they are betting most of the time. Of course that's not true that they do - but I'm a believer, and in the long run, it pays off for me to play that way.

As to my stories, there are two.

The first was when I started on Party Poker in 2003. I put in $500. I played almost exclusively the $5 SNG 9 player tables. I did not track my results tourney by tourney, but in about 250 tourneys as I checked at one point, I had built my account up to $950. Everything was pretty normal - my AA would get cracked about 20% of the time heads up, 40% of the time with 2 opponents, etc. And I drew out on players sometimes at 25% or 40%. My gut was, during that run, that I had ups and downs, but over the course of 10's of thousands of hands, sure there some shockers, for me and against me, but the poker seemed "normal" insofar as I could perceive in terms of odds, mathematical results, and the variety and timing of various outlying "bad beat" hands. Sometimes donks pushed with 58off and I'd call with AK, only to see a A54 board, followed by an 8, an empty, and I was out. No big deal, it happens. The thing was, my AK would hold up about 65% of the time, as it should, over that run of 250 tourneys.

Then something changed. I don't think there was one catalyst event, like: I didn't withdraw money, cuss someone out, taunt someone, etc. The one thing I did do, accidentally, was log into a poker-related web site to read articles, and Party Poker popped up a warning saying I couldn't look at the site while playing. So I didn't do that again. But that did not effect what happened to me at this point. Suddenly, I went on a "bad streak" - mathematically, the odds wouldn't dictate I should lose as many hands as I did... but I did. I figured after 10-20 tournaments, things would normalize. But they didn't. It became laughable. Then, it became frustrating. And sure, it becomes difficult for anyone to block out emotion and avoid going on tilt when things are going badly, and one even thinks about taking on more of "gambler" persona since, suddenly, it's working so well for everyone else. I remember going through thoughts, do I need to change up my style in some way? But it wasn't that - it was purely facing opponents with certain odds and, if applied to a binomial distribution using a composite average of probabilities for "ahead" hands and "behind" hands, my results were far, far off the tail of the distribution. Or, in terms of a confidence interval - my result was way left of a 99% confidence interval. So, my bankroll dropped... and dropped. I know I didn't run "hot" or for a prolonged "good" period on the way up - it was just steady steady steady. But with more and more incredible losing hands, I lost faith in Party Poker's integrity - big time. Once, I asked my friend to sit with me and prepare for a shock, so he did. In 3 consecutive tournaments, with him sitting at my side, I lost with 75%/80%/88% hands when all-in. So what, you say? That can and does happen - rough odds are 1/5 x 1/5 x 1/5 = 1/125 that it could happen, big deal. Thing is, couple that with the run in the previous 50 tourneys or so, and it's way too unbelievable. And it continued. And then, my logic kicked in, and I knew there had to be something else at play. It was, in mathematical terms, virtually impossible to have those poor of results for that length of tourneys. Finally, down to $450, I had enough - I withdrew what I had left and quit Party Poker. Ironically, I suppose, after computing my total buy-ins at mostly 50c per tournament, the $450 actually represented a small "winning" percentage still! But clearly, to me, something was wrong. If something smells rotten... it probably is. I'm not superstitious, and I don't rely on "feeling" when saying this - the extended streak of unbelievable "hot" hand beats and drawouts was simply impossible over the span of tournaments I had played as my bankroll went down.

I didn't play online poker for about 1 year.

I signed up on FTP and put in $100 about 2 years ago. I built that up to $200 or so, then withdrew enough to take it to $100. Then I got it to $185, and withdrew $85 to bring it to $100 again. Then, in June 2009, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to see how long it would take to double my $100 - how many tournaments, exactly, it would take. So I started an Excel spreadsheet, and I played only one type of tourney - 6-player turbo $2 + 25c. At this point, I had, in mind, perfected the timing and nuances of these tournaments, and was winning regularly. I thought that, in that $85 run-up, I was winning 80c per tourney. But I decided to track it. I got up to $125 pretty quickly, after 22 tourneys, so I was over $1 per tourney (after buy-in deduction). Then I slipped - by tourney 40, I was down to $100 again. OK, ups and downs. I was making $0 per tourney. Still, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, I just took some beats here and there, and still gave a few out. I was just missing the $$$ sometimes in 3rd. And, I did play 4 $6 + 50c tourneys and didn't cash once, so that helped accelerate the slide. I made up my mind to just play $2 + 25c from then on. By tournament 80, I hit $150. And at tournament 120, I hit $200. And then I stopped tracking, and I accelerated to $230 pretty soon, etc. But at that point in time, with 120 recorded tourneys in my spreadsheet including detailed notes on every single all-in hand I played, win or lose, I was making 76c per tourney, and my ROI was at 31%. My aggregate percentage in final all-in hands - when I either won the tourney or lost - was 52%. I was always hoping that'd be 60% or higher, but so it goes. And that was June. I didn't play much in July. From there, I built up my bankroll to $307 at its max in August. Then, in the past 4 days, at the end of August into early September 2009, all manner of craziness broke loose. It was Party Poker all over again. And with a vengeance! This time, it wasn't an extended streak of garden variety "whoops, my KK got cracked by 89s" sort of thing... no. It's been way more of the ridiculous variety - the type where I'm 88% or higher, once even 97%, and losing the vast majority of those hands. No, not 50% of those hands. That would be unreasonable. I'm talking 80-85% of these hands, which is impossible over the course of thousands of hands - unless something is up. I tried to stay positive and to believe that FTP wasn't loaded - but it became comical. I have some favorites, like: A6, I raise, one caller, flop is A89. I got all in. My opponent insta-calls getting 4-1 odds, but committing 60% of his stack. This is in a 27 player tourney with the final 8, and 6 get paid. So this is not the stage to risk 60% of one's stack with an A on board, but he did - with KT. No flush draw. Obviously, no real straight draw. And what should come? At that crucial moment? Sitting at 96% to win? JQ. Of course! If it were one time, I'd say, "Whoa, that was brutal!" Now, imagine that in approximately 50 consecutive tournaments. That is what happened. Two seconds and one first in 50+ tourneys - I don't have the exact count - and now my bankroll is $185. A slide beyond what luck would dictate, given that I play my same style, and I get in with the odds on my side the vast majority of the time. Again, any one hand - whatever. A streak this long of, "Oh my gosh, not again!" becomes... well, reason to doubt. To doubt that things on the site are kosher. I don't think they are. I'm not sure if, for whatever reason, my login was flagged, or if there is some software where people can see other players' cards, or there is a bot sitting down with players to keep tables moving, or what. But I started tracking hand by hand, tourney by tourney, for 20 tournaments a few days ago, when I lost in 20 tourneys in a row, and the numbers are absolutely baffling. Again, rely on the binomial distribution - it's the easiest way to figure this. I was a 75% or 80% favorite when all-in in 80% of those tourneys, about 16 in all. I lost every one. So figure, the changes of that are (1/4)^16 = VERY VERY SMALL. In fairness, I do win hands before going all in. Yet, again, relying on my overall length of successful tournament play and observation, and blocking out emotion, it's absolutely obvious that something is wrong. I don't know what - but something. It smells rotten - and I believe it is.

I want to read this thread to see what others have observed or what they think. For sure, what has happened to my account can easily be made to happen with software. I wrote poker practice software for myself and my friends in 2004, specifically, to simulate 4-handed play and to learn the "feel" of how hands went down, to kind of grok the patterns. I wrote all manner of software in perl and other languages, and it's obvious how one could weight a deck or build in rules to influence the game in such a way to "screw over" a certain player(s).

I have only these theories:

(1) I dabbled in $3 + 30c 45 player tourneys for a while - I broke from my norm - and I played 2c/5c $5 NL Omaha Hi for about 8 hours total in mid-August for fun - did my change of games somehow trigger me getting flagged or something? The thought being, a player new to game might expect losses because they are new to the game - so perhaps accelerate those losses to encourage a re-buy

(2) there is some new hack out there where, somehow, players can see other players cards, or can see the board before the hand plays out, because boy, I've seen some totally wacky calls and moves by players instantly rewarded - reminds me one, in particular, holding AK, I raised 4.5xBB, was called by a tight player, flop KT6, and this person shoved all in right away - I called, and he had 6J - ok, so he was on a move - turn J, river empty - it struck me as th oddest thing at the time, given his persona to that point, even though yes, it's just a "garden variety" 5-outer and he's 20% - but string up 10 of these in a row, and things look very shaky - and in this particular run of 10 tourneys or so, for the life of me, I figured people could see the board

(3) FTP has just recently implement bots to sit in and tables - just like CC theft, where thieves make small $5 charges on 10,000 cards per month, I could easily see an incentive to sit bots down at smaller tables, like $2 tables, and siphon off money little by little - we $2 players are less likely to complain, we're off radar, and no one who loses $200 is going to raise heck or file suit or something - and, we probably make up 90% of the games going on, so why not target the small stakes to siphon with bots?

(4) just a thought - queue exit percentage - what if, over time, FTP sees that it loses 10% of players to sitting down, registering, then standing up, and logging off, due to not enough players signing up at their table - if I was the director of finance at such a company, I'd want to minimize the queue balking, b/c it means lost revenue - so why not sit bots down to play? Makes sense to me - once we are sat, the 25c is made - 1,000,000 times over a day - so keeping the balk rate at 2% is to FTP's fiscal advantage - I do wonder if, somehow, that's a recent thing that has come into play - oh yeah, how about, let's make those bots win more so that we get the balk rate down and make more money at our non-U.S.-regulated, non-software-certified, Caribbean company? Who'd know the difference?

Any comments are welcome.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:42 PM   #8129
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

It's an interesting post and I don't doubt your recollection is reasonably accurate, but without the full hand histories it becomes merely anecdotal. Some of your theories have a few holes, but I won't poke at them for now (I'm sure others will). With the full hand histories a proper analysis can be done, and there are folks here who know how. And that must include the tourneys before and after the streaks you refer to, and all hands in all of them (as a statistician, you should know what cherry picking means). Otherwise it just remains an interesting post that no one can take much from.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:48 PM   #8130
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

Cliff notes?
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:49 AM   #8131
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Re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLT123 View Post
I have my own personal story and thoughts on the "online poker is rigged" debate.

I am a mathematician, more specifically a statistician with an M.A. in applied stats. So when I took to poker about 7 years ago, it came pretty naturally. Meaning, not only computing odds, but also realizing the game theory aspects for tournament play. Of course, I didn't know "everything" up front (no one ever does) nor do I know every aspect of HE tournament and NL cash poker, but I certainly have the right ideas, as you will see.

I could be typified as your standard tight aggressive player, most of the time. About 10% of the time, I mix up my style to keep things mixed up. I bluff perhaps 5% of the time, if that, and of course no bluff is without a reason, meaning I have a read on my opponents playing pattern, am in position and have a green light with an optimal board given the play, or for whatever good reason there is. Basically, I'm a tight player who gets ahead online mostly due to the overaggression of other players, particularly when I'm out of position, actually, as I've seen over time. Lastly, in terms of style, I am the "believer" type - that is, I believe people have good hands when they are betting most of the time. Of course that's not true that they do - but I'm a believer, and in the long run, it pays off for me to play that way.

As to my stories, there are two.

The first was when I started on Party Poker in 2003. I put in $500. I played almost exclusively the $5 SNG 9 player tables. I did not track my results tourney by tourney, but in about 250 tourneys as I checked at one point, I had built my account up to $950. Everything was pretty normal - my AA would get cracked about 20% of the time heads up, 40% of the time with 2 opponents, etc. And I drew out on players sometimes at 25% or 40%. My gut was, during that run, that I had ups and downs, but over the course of 10's of thousands of hands, sure there some shockers, for me and against me, but the poker seemed "normal" insofar as I could perceive in terms of odds, mathematical results, and the variety and timing of various outlying "bad beat" hands. Sometimes donks pushed with 58off and I'd call with AK, only to see a A54 board, followed by an 8, an empty, and I was out. No big deal, it happens. The thing was, my AK would hold up about 65% of the time, as it should, over that run of 250 tourneys.

Then something changed. I don't think there was one catalyst event, like: I didn't withdraw money, cuss someone out, taunt someone, etc. The one thing I did do, accidentally, was log into a poker-related web site to read articles, and Party Poker popped up a warning saying I couldn't look at the site while playing. So I didn't do that again. But that did not effect what happened to me at this point. Suddenly, I went on a "bad streak" - mathematically, the odds wouldn't dictate I should lose as many hands as I did... but I did. I figured after 10-20 tournaments, things would normalize. But they didn't. It became laughable. Then, it became frustrating. And sure, it becomes difficult for anyone to block out emotion and avoid going on tilt when things are going badly, and one even thinks about taking on more of "gambler" persona since, suddenly, it's working so well for everyone else. I remember going through thoughts, do I need to change up my style in some way? But it wasn't that - it was purely facing opponents with certain odds and, if applied to a binomial distribution using a composite average of probabilities for "ahead" hands and "behind" hands, my results were far, far off the tail of the distribution. Or, in terms of a confidence interval - my result was way left of a 99% confidence interval. So, my bankroll dropped... and dropped. I know I didn't run "hot" or for a prolonged "good" period on the way up - it was just steady steady steady. But with more and more incredible losing hands, I lost faith in Party Poker's integrity - big time. Once, I asked my friend to sit with me and prepare for a shock, so he did. In 3 consecutive tournaments, with him sitting at my side, I lost with 75%/80%/88% hands when all-in. So what, you say? That can and does happen - rough odds are 1/5 x 1/5 x 1/5 = 1/125 that it could happen, big deal. Thing is, couple that with the run in the previous 50 tourneys or so, and it's way too unbelievable. And it continued. And then, my logic kicked in, and I knew there had to be something else at play. It was, in mathematical terms, virtually impossible to have those poor of results for that length of tourneys. Finally, down to $450, I had enough - I withdrew what I had left and quit Party Poker. Ironically, I suppose, after computing my total buy-ins at mostly 50c per tournament, the $450 actually represented a small "winning" percentage still! But clearly, to me, something was wrong. If something smells rotten... it probably is. I'm not superstitious, and I don't rely on "feeling" when saying this - the extended streak of unbelievable "hot" hand beats and drawouts was simply impossible over the span of tournaments I had played as my bankroll went down.

I didn't play online poker for about 1 year.

I signed up on FTP and put in $100 about 2 years ago. I built that up to $200 or so, then withdrew enough to take it to $100. Then I got it to $185, and withdrew $85 to bring it to $100 again. Then, in June 2009, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to see how long it would take to double my $100 - how many tournaments, exactly, it would take. So I started an Excel spreadsheet, and I played only one type of tourney - 6-player turbo $2 + 25c. At this point, I had, in mind, perfected the timing and nuances of these tournaments, and was winning regularly. I thought that, in that $85 run-up, I was winning 80c per tourney. But I decided to track it. I got up to $125 pretty quickly, after 22 tourneys, so I was over $1 per tourney (after buy-in deduction). Then I slipped - by tourney 40, I was down to $100 again. OK, ups and downs. I was making $0 per tourney. Still, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, I just took some beats here and there, and still gave a few out. I was just missing the $$$ sometimes in 3rd. And, I did play 4 $6 + 50c tourneys and didn't cash once, so that helped accelerate the slide. I made up my mind to just play $2 + 25c from then on. By tournament 80, I hit $150. And at tournament 120, I hit $200. And then I stopped tracking, and I accelerated to $230 pretty soon, etc. But at that point in time, with 120 recorded tourneys in my spreadsheet including detailed notes on every single all-in hand I played, win or lose, I was making 76c per tourney, and my ROI was at 31%. My aggregate percentage in final all-in hands - when I either won the tourney or lost - was 52%. I was always hoping that'd be 60% or higher, but so it goes. And that was June. I didn't play much in July. From there, I built up my bankroll to $307 at its max in August. Then, in the past 4 days, at the end of August into early September 2009, all manner of craziness broke loose. It was Party Poker all over again. And with a vengeance! This time, it wasn't an extended streak of garden variety "whoops, my KK got cracked by 89s" sort of thing... no. It's been way more of the ridiculous variety - the type where I'm 88% or higher, once even 97%, and losing the vast majority of those hands. No, not 50% of those hands. That would be unreasonable. I'm talking 80-85% of these hands, which is impossible over the course of thousands of hands - unless something is up. I tried to stay positive and to believe that FTP wasn't loaded - but it became comical. I have some favorites, like: A6, I raise, one caller, flop is A89. I got all in. My opponent insta-calls getting 4-1 odds, but committing 60% of his stack. This is in a 27 player tourney with the final 8, and 6 get paid. So this is not the stage to risk 60% of one's stack with an A on board, but he did - with KT. No flush draw. Obviously, no real straight draw. And what should come? At that crucial moment? Sitting at 96% to win? JQ. Of course! If it were one time, I'd say, "Whoa, that was brutal!" Now, imagine that in approximately 50 consecutive tournaments. That is what happened. Two seconds and one first in 50+ tourneys - I don't have the exact count - and now my bankroll is $185. A slide beyond what luck would dictate, given that I play my same style, and I get in with the odds on my side the vast majority of the time. Again, any one hand - whatever. A streak this long of, "Oh my gosh, not again!" becomes... well, reason to doubt. To doubt that things on the site are kosher. I don't think they are. I'm not sure if, for whatever reason, my login was flagged, or if there is some software where people can see other players' cards, or there is a bot sitting down with players to keep tables moving, or what. But I started tracking hand by hand, tourney by tourney, for 20 tournaments a few days ago, when I lost in 20 tourneys in a row, and the numbers are absolutely baffling. Again, rely on the binomial distribution - it's the easiest way to figure this. I was a 75% or 80% favorite when all-in in 80% of those tourneys, about 16 in all. I lost every one. So figure, the changes of that are (1/4)^16 = VERY VERY SMALL. In fairness, I do win hands before going all in. Yet, again, relying on my overall length of successful tournament play and observation, and blocking out emotion, it's absolutely obvious that something is wrong. I don't know what - but something. It smells rotten - and I believe it is.

I want to read this thread to see what others have observed or what they think. For sure, what has happened to my account can easily be made to happen with software. I wrote poker practice software for myself and my friends in 2004, specifically, to simulate 4-handed play and to learn the "feel" of how hands went down, to kind of grok the patterns. I wrote all manner of software in perl and other languages, and it's obvious how one could weight a deck or build in rules to influence the game in such a way to "screw over" a certain player(s).

I have only these theories:

(1) I dabbled in $3 + 30c 45 player tourneys for a while - I broke from my norm - and I played 2c/5c $5 NL Omaha Hi for about 8 hours total in mid-August for fun - did my change of games somehow trigger me getting flagged or something? The thought being, a player new to game might expect losses because they are new to the game - so perhaps accelerate those losses to encourage a re-buy

(2) there is some new hack out there where, somehow, players can see other players cards, or can see the board before the hand plays out, because boy, I've seen some totally wacky calls and moves by players instantly rewarded - reminds me one, in particular, holding AK, I raised 4.5xBB, was called by a tight player, flop KT6, and this person shoved all in right away - I called, and he had 6J - ok, so he was on a move - turn J, river empty - it struck me as th oddest thing at the time, given his persona to that point, even though yes, it's just a "garden variety" 5-outer and he's 20% - but string up 10 of these in a row, and things look very shaky - and in this particular run of 10 tourneys or so, for the life of me, I figured people could see the board

(3) FTP has just recently implement bots to sit in and tables - just like CC theft, where thieves make small $5 charges on 10,000 cards per month, I could easily see an incentive to sit bots down at smaller tables, like $2 tables, and siphon off money little by little - we $2 players are less likely to complain, we're off radar, and no one who loses $200 is going to raise heck or file suit or something - and, we probably make up 90% of the games going on, so why not target the small stakes to siphon with bots?

(4) just a thought - queue exit percentage - what if, over time, FTP sees that it loses 10% of players to sitting down, registering, then standing up, and logging off, due to not enough players signing up at their table - if I was the director of finance at such a company, I'd want to minimize the queue balking, b/c it means lost revenue - so why not sit bots down to play? Makes sense to me - once we are sat, the 25c is made - 1,000,000 times over a day - so keeping the balk rate at 2% is to FTP's fiscal advantage - I do wonder if, somehow, that's a recent thing that has come into play - oh yeah, how about, let's make those bots win more so that we get the balk rate down and make more money at our non-U.S.-regulated, non-software-certified, Caribbean company? Who'd know the difference?

Any comments are welcome.
Thanks for the work you did on this particular post. So do you have hand histories saved to show the non believers? I think something might be up as I am looking through my hand histories. It would be nice to see some more real proof.
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:00 AM   #8132
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Re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLT123 View Post
I have my own personal story and thoughts on the "online poker is rigged" debate.

I am a mathematician, more specifically a statistician with an M.A. in applied stats. So when I took to poker about 7 years ago, it came pretty naturally. Meaning, not only computing odds, but also realizing the game theory aspects for tournament play. Of course, I didn't know "everything" up front (no one ever does) nor do I know every aspect of HE tournament and NL cash poker, but I certainly have the right ideas, as you will see.

I could be typified as your standard tight aggressive player, most of the time. About 10% of the time, I mix up my style to keep things mixed up. I bluff perhaps 5% of the time, if that, and of course no bluff is without a reason, meaning I have a read on my opponents playing pattern, am in position and have a green light with an optimal board given the play, or for whatever good reason there is. Basically, I'm a tight player who gets ahead online mostly due to the overaggression of other players, particularly when I'm out of position, actually, as I've seen over time. Lastly, in terms of style, I am the "believer" type - that is, I believe people have good hands when they are betting most of the time. Of course that's not true that they do - but I'm a believer, and in the long run, it pays off for me to play that way.

As to my stories, there are two.

The first was when I started on Party Poker in 2003. I put in $500. I played almost exclusively the $5 SNG 9 player tables. I did not track my results tourney by tourney, but in about 250 tourneys as I checked at one point, I had built my account up to $950. Everything was pretty normal - my AA would get cracked about 20% of the time heads up, 40% of the time with 2 opponents, etc. And I drew out on players sometimes at 25% or 40%. My gut was, during that run, that I had ups and downs, but over the course of 10's of thousands of hands, sure there some shockers, for me and against me, but the poker seemed "normal" insofar as I could perceive in terms of odds, mathematical results, and the variety and timing of various outlying "bad beat" hands. Sometimes donks pushed with 58off and I'd call with AK, only to see a A54 board, followed by an 8, an empty, and I was out. No big deal, it happens. The thing was, my AK would hold up about 65% of the time, as it should, over that run of 250 tourneys.

Then something changed. I don't think there was one catalyst event, like: I didn't withdraw money, cuss someone out, taunt someone, etc. The one thing I did do, accidentally, was log into a poker-related web site to read articles, and Party Poker popped up a warning saying I couldn't look at the site while playing. So I didn't do that again. But that did not effect what happened to me at this point. Suddenly, I went on a "bad streak" - mathematically, the odds wouldn't dictate I should lose as many hands as I did... but I did. I figured after 10-20 tournaments, things would normalize. But they didn't. It became laughable. Then, it became frustrating. And sure, it becomes difficult for anyone to block out emotion and avoid going on tilt when things are going badly, and one even thinks about taking on more of "gambler" persona since, suddenly, it's working so well for everyone else. I remember going through thoughts, do I need to change up my style in some way? But it wasn't that - it was purely facing opponents with certain odds and, if applied to a binomial distribution using a composite average of probabilities for "ahead" hands and "behind" hands, my results were far, far off the tail of the distribution. Or, in terms of a confidence interval - my result was way left of a 99% confidence interval. So, my bankroll dropped... and dropped. I know I didn't run "hot" or for a prolonged "good" period on the way up - it was just steady steady steady. But with more and more incredible losing hands, I lost faith in Party Poker's integrity - big time. Once, I asked my friend to sit with me and prepare for a shock, so he did. In 3 consecutive tournaments, with him sitting at my side, I lost with 75%/80%/88% hands when all-in. So what, you say? That can and does happen - rough odds are 1/5 x 1/5 x 1/5 = 1/125 that it could happen, big deal. Thing is, couple that with the run in the previous 50 tourneys or so, and it's way too unbelievable. And it continued. And then, my logic kicked in, and I knew there had to be something else at play. It was, in mathematical terms, virtually impossible to have those poor of results for that length of tourneys. Finally, down to $450, I had enough - I withdrew what I had left and quit Party Poker. Ironically, I suppose, after computing my total buy-ins at mostly 50c per tournament, the $450 actually represented a small "winning" percentage still! But clearly, to me, something was wrong. If something smells rotten... it probably is. I'm not superstitious, and I don't rely on "feeling" when saying this - the extended streak of unbelievable "hot" hand beats and drawouts was simply impossible over the span of tournaments I had played as my bankroll went down.

I didn't play online poker for about 1 year.

I signed up on FTP and put in $100 about 2 years ago. I built that up to $200 or so, then withdrew enough to take it to $100. Then I got it to $185, and withdrew $85 to bring it to $100 again. Then, in June 2009, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to see how long it would take to double my $100 - how many tournaments, exactly, it would take. So I started an Excel spreadsheet, and I played only one type of tourney - 6-player turbo $2 + 25c. At this point, I had, in mind, perfected the timing and nuances of these tournaments, and was winning regularly. I thought that, in that $85 run-up, I was winning 80c per tourney. But I decided to track it. I got up to $125 pretty quickly, after 22 tourneys, so I was over $1 per tourney (after buy-in deduction). Then I slipped - by tourney 40, I was down to $100 again. OK, ups and downs. I was making $0 per tourney. Still, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, I just took some beats here and there, and still gave a few out. I was just missing the $$$ sometimes in 3rd. And, I did play 4 $6 + 50c tourneys and didn't cash once, so that helped accelerate the slide. I made up my mind to just play $2 + 25c from then on. By tournament 80, I hit $150. And at tournament 120, I hit $200. And then I stopped tracking, and I accelerated to $230 pretty soon, etc. But at that point in time, with 120 recorded tourneys in my spreadsheet including detailed notes on every single all-in hand I played, win or lose, I was making 76c per tourney, and my ROI was at 31%. My aggregate percentage in final all-in hands - when I either won the tourney or lost - was 52%. I was always hoping that'd be 60% or higher, but so it goes. And that was June. I didn't play much in July. From there, I built up my bankroll to $307 at its max in August. Then, in the past 4 days, at the end of August into early September 2009, all manner of craziness broke loose. It was Party Poker all over again. And with a vengeance! This time, it wasn't an extended streak of garden variety "whoops, my KK got cracked by 89s" sort of thing... no. It's been way more of the ridiculous variety - the type where I'm 88% or higher, once even 97%, and losing the vast majority of those hands. No, not 50% of those hands. That would be unreasonable. I'm talking 80-85% of these hands, which is impossible over the course of thousands of hands - unless something is up. I tried to stay positive and to believe that FTP wasn't loaded - but it became comical. I have some favorites, like: A6, I raise, one caller, flop is A89. I got all in. My opponent insta-calls getting 4-1 odds, but committing 60% of his stack. This is in a 27 player tourney with the final 8, and 6 get paid. So this is not the stage to risk 60% of one's stack with an A on board, but he did - with KT. No flush draw. Obviously, no real straight draw. And what should come? At that crucial moment? Sitting at 96% to win? JQ. Of course! If it were one time, I'd say, "Whoa, that was brutal!" Now, imagine that in approximately 50 consecutive tournaments. That is what happened. Two seconds and one first in 50+ tourneys - I don't have the exact count - and now my bankroll is $185. A slide beyond what luck would dictate, given that I play my same style, and I get in with the odds on my side the vast majority of the time. Again, any one hand - whatever. A streak this long of, "Oh my gosh, not again!" becomes... well, reason to doubt. To doubt that things on the site are kosher. I don't think they are. I'm not sure if, for whatever reason, my login was flagged, or if there is some software where people can see other players' cards, or there is a bot sitting down with players to keep tables moving, or what. But I started tracking hand by hand, tourney by tourney, for 20 tournaments a few days ago, when I lost in 20 tourneys in a row, and the numbers are absolutely baffling. Again, rely on the binomial distribution - it's the easiest way to figure this. I was a 75% or 80% favorite when all-in in 80% of those tourneys, about 16 in all. I lost every one. So figure, the changes of that are (1/4)^16 = VERY VERY SMALL. In fairness, I do win hands before going all in. Yet, again, relying on my overall length of successful tournament play and observation, and blocking out emotion, it's absolutely obvious that something is wrong. I don't know what - but something. It smells rotten - and I believe it is.

I want to read this thread to see what others have observed or what they think. For sure, what has happened to my account can easily be made to happen with software. I wrote poker practice software for myself and my friends in 2004, specifically, to simulate 4-handed play and to learn the "feel" of how hands went down, to kind of grok the patterns. I wrote all manner of software in perl and other languages, and it's obvious how one could weight a deck or build in rules to influence the game in such a way to "screw over" a certain player(s).

I have only these theories:

(1) I dabbled in $3 + 30c 45 player tourneys for a while - I broke from my norm - and I played 2c/5c $5 NL Omaha Hi for about 8 hours total in mid-August for fun - did my change of games somehow trigger me getting flagged or something? The thought being, a player new to game might expect losses because they are new to the game - so perhaps accelerate those losses to encourage a re-buy

(2) there is some new hack out there where, somehow, players can see other players cards, or can see the board before the hand plays out, because boy, I've seen some totally wacky calls and moves by players instantly rewarded - reminds me one, in particular, holding AK, I raised 4.5xBB, was called by a tight player, flop KT6, and this person shoved all in right away - I called, and he had 6J - ok, so he was on a move - turn J, river empty - it struck me as th oddest thing at the time, given his persona to that point, even though yes, it's just a "garden variety" 5-outer and he's 20% - but string up 10 of these in a row, and things look very shaky - and in this particular run of 10 tourneys or so, for the life of me, I figured people could see the board

(3) FTP has just recently implement bots to sit in and tables - just like CC theft, where thieves make small $5 charges on 10,000 cards per month, I could easily see an incentive to sit bots down at smaller tables, like $2 tables, and siphon off money little by little - we $2 players are less likely to complain, we're off radar, and no one who loses $200 is going to raise heck or file suit or something - and, we probably make up 90% of the games going on, so why not target the small stakes to siphon with bots?

(4) just a thought - queue exit percentage - what if, over time, FTP sees that it loses 10% of players to sitting down, registering, then standing up, and logging off, due to not enough players signing up at their table - if I was the director of finance at such a company, I'd want to minimize the queue balking, b/c it means lost revenue - so why not sit bots down to play? Makes sense to me - once we are sat, the 25c is made - 1,000,000 times over a day - so keeping the balk rate at 2% is to FTP's fiscal advantage - I do wonder if, somehow, that's a recent thing that has come into play - oh yeah, how about, let's make those bots win more so that we get the balk rate down and make more money at our non-U.S.-regulated, non-software-certified, Caribbean company? Who'd know the difference?

Any comments are welcome.
This reminds me, does anybody know where I can buy bin bags?
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:54 AM   #8133
qpw
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Re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rek View Post
This reminds me, does anybody know where I can buy bin bags?
You can get good quality ones for a very reasonable price in Shepherd's Bush market.

Don't go for the very cheapest ones, though, as they are rigged.
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:55 AM   #8134
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Re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLT123 View Post
I have my own personal story and thoughts on the "online poker is rigged" debate.

I am a mathematician, more specifically a statistician with an M.A. in applied stats. So when I took to poker about 7 years ago, it came pretty naturally. Meaning, not only computing odds, but also realizing the game theory aspects for tournament play. Of course, I didn't know "everything" up front (no one ever does) nor do I know every aspect of HE tournament and NL cash poker, but I certainly have the right ideas, as you will see.

I could be typified as your standard tight aggressive player, most of the time. About 10% of the time, I mix up my style to keep things mixed up. I bluff perhaps 5% of the time, if that, and of course no bluff is without a reason, meaning I have a read on my opponents playing pattern, am in position and have a green light with an optimal board given the play, or for whatever good reason there is. Basically, I'm a tight player who gets ahead online mostly due to the overaggression of other players, particularly when I'm out of position, actually, as I've seen over time. Lastly, in terms of style, I am the "believer" type - that is, I believe people have good hands when they are betting most of the time. Of course that's not true that they do - but I'm a believer, and in the long run, it pays off for me to play that way.

As to my stories, there are two.

The first was when I started on Party Poker in 2003. I put in $500. I played almost exclusively the $5 SNG 9 player tables. I did not track my results tourney by tourney, but in about 250 tourneys as I checked at one point, I had built my account up to $950. Everything was pretty normal - my AA would get cracked about 20% of the time heads up, 40% of the time with 2 opponents, etc. And I drew out on players sometimes at 25% or 40%. My gut was, during that run, that I had ups and downs, but over the course of 10's of thousands of hands, sure there some shockers, for me and against me, but the poker seemed "normal" insofar as I could perceive in terms of odds, mathematical results, and the variety and timing of various outlying "bad beat" hands. Sometimes donks pushed with 58off and I'd call with AK, only to see a A54 board, followed by an 8, an empty, and I was out. No big deal, it happens. The thing was, my AK would hold up about 65% of the time, as it should, over that run of 250 tourneys.

Then something changed. I don't think there was one catalyst event, like: I didn't withdraw money, cuss someone out, taunt someone, etc. The one thing I did do, accidentally, was log into a poker-related web site to read articles, and Party Poker popped up a warning saying I couldn't look at the site while playing. So I didn't do that again. But that did not effect what happened to me at this point. Suddenly, I went on a "bad streak" - mathematically, the odds wouldn't dictate I should lose as many hands as I did... but I did. I figured after 10-20 tournaments, things would normalize. But they didn't. It became laughable. Then, it became frustrating. And sure, it becomes difficult for anyone to block out emotion and avoid going on tilt when things are going badly, and one even thinks about taking on more of "gambler" persona since, suddenly, it's working so well for everyone else. I remember going through thoughts, do I need to change up my style in some way? But it wasn't that - it was purely facing opponents with certain odds and, if applied to a binomial distribution using a composite average of probabilities for "ahead" hands and "behind" hands, my results were far, far off the tail of the distribution. Or, in terms of a confidence interval - my result was way left of a 99% confidence interval. So, my bankroll dropped... and dropped. I know I didn't run "hot" or for a prolonged "good" period on the way up - it was just steady steady steady. But with more and more incredible losing hands, I lost faith in Party Poker's integrity - big time. Once, I asked my friend to sit with me and prepare for a shock, so he did. In 3 consecutive tournaments, with him sitting at my side, I lost with 75%/80%/88% hands when all-in. So what, you say? That can and does happen - rough odds are 1/5 x 1/5 x 1/5 = 1/125 that it could happen, big deal. Thing is, couple that with the run in the previous 50 tourneys or so, and it's way too unbelievable. And it continued. And then, my logic kicked in, and I knew there had to be something else at play. It was, in mathematical terms, virtually impossible to have those poor of results for that length of tourneys. Finally, down to $450, I had enough - I withdrew what I had left and quit Party Poker. Ironically, I suppose, after computing my total buy-ins at mostly 50c per tournament, the $450 actually represented a small "winning" percentage still! But clearly, to me, something was wrong. If something smells rotten... it probably is. I'm not superstitious, and I don't rely on "feeling" when saying this - the extended streak of unbelievable "hot" hand beats and drawouts was simply impossible over the span of tournaments I had played as my bankroll went down.

I didn't play online poker for about 1 year.

I signed up on FTP and put in $100 about 2 years ago. I built that up to $200 or so, then withdrew enough to take it to $100. Then I got it to $185, and withdrew $85 to bring it to $100 again. Then, in June 2009, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to see how long it would take to double my $100 - how many tournaments, exactly, it would take. So I started an Excel spreadsheet, and I played only one type of tourney - 6-player turbo $2 + 25c. At this point, I had, in mind, perfected the timing and nuances of these tournaments, and was winning regularly. I thought that, in that $85 run-up, I was winning 80c per tourney. But I decided to track it. I got up to $125 pretty quickly, after 22 tourneys, so I was over $1 per tourney (after buy-in deduction). Then I slipped - by tourney 40, I was down to $100 again. OK, ups and downs. I was making $0 per tourney. Still, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, I just took some beats here and there, and still gave a few out. I was just missing the $$$ sometimes in 3rd. And, I did play 4 $6 + 50c tourneys and didn't cash once, so that helped accelerate the slide. I made up my mind to just play $2 + 25c from then on. By tournament 80, I hit $150. And at tournament 120, I hit $200. And then I stopped tracking, and I accelerated to $230 pretty soon, etc. But at that point in time, with 120 recorded tourneys in my spreadsheet including detailed notes on every single all-in hand I played, win or lose, I was making 76c per tourney, and my ROI was at 31%. My aggregate percentage in final all-in hands - when I either won the tourney or lost - was 52%. I was always hoping that'd be 60% or higher, but so it goes. And that was June. I didn't play much in July. From there, I built up my bankroll to $307 at its max in August. Then, in the past 4 days, at the end of August into early September 2009, all manner of craziness broke loose. It was Party Poker all over again. And with a vengeance! This time, it wasn't an extended streak of garden variety "whoops, my KK got cracked by 89s" sort of thing... no. It's been way more of the ridiculous variety - the type where I'm 88% or higher, once even 97%, and losing the vast majority of those hands. No, not 50% of those hands. That would be unreasonable. I'm talking 80-85% of these hands, which is impossible over the course of thousands of hands - unless something is up. I tried to stay positive and to believe that FTP wasn't loaded - but it became comical. I have some favorites, like: A6, I raise, one caller, flop is A89. I got all in. My opponent insta-calls getting 4-1 odds, but committing 60% of his stack. This is in a 27 player tourney with the final 8, and 6 get paid. So this is not the stage to risk 60% of one's stack with an A on board, but he did - with KT. No flush draw. Obviously, no real straight draw. And what should come? At that crucial moment? Sitting at 96% to win? JQ. Of course! If it were one time, I'd say, "Whoa, that was brutal!" Now, imagine that in approximately 50 consecutive tournaments. That is what happened. Two seconds and one first in 50+ tourneys - I don't have the exact count - and now my bankroll is $185. A slide beyond what luck would dictate, given that I play my same style, and I get in with the odds on my side the vast majority of the time. Again, any one hand - whatever. A streak this long of, "Oh my gosh, not again!" becomes... well, reason to doubt. To doubt that things on the site are kosher. I don't think they are. I'm not sure if, for whatever reason, my login was flagged, or if there is some software where people can see other players' cards, or there is a bot sitting down with players to keep tables moving, or what. But I started tracking hand by hand, tourney by tourney, for 20 tournaments a few days ago, when I lost in 20 tourneys in a row, and the numbers are absolutely baffling. Again, rely on the binomial distribution - it's the easiest way to figure this. I was a 75% or 80% favorite when all-in in 80% of those tourneys, about 16 in all. I lost every one. So figure, the changes of that are (1/4)^16 = VERY VERY SMALL. In fairness, I do win hands before going all in. Yet, again, relying on my overall length of successful tournament play and observation, and blocking out emotion, it's absolutely obvious that something is wrong. I don't know what - but something. It smells rotten - and I believe it is.

I want to read this thread to see what others have observed or what they think. For sure, what has happened to my account can easily be made to happen with software. I wrote poker practice software for myself and my friends in 2004, specifically, to simulate 4-handed play and to learn the "feel" of how hands went down, to kind of grok the patterns. I wrote all manner of software in perl and other languages, and it's obvious how one could weight a deck or build in rules to influence the game in such a way to "screw over" a certain player(s).

I have only these theories:

(1) I dabbled in $3 + 30c 45 player tourneys for a while - I broke from my norm - and I played 2c/5c $5 NL Omaha Hi for about 8 hours total in mid-August for fun - did my change of games somehow trigger me getting flagged or something? The thought being, a player new to game might expect losses because they are new to the game - so perhaps accelerate those losses to encourage a re-buy

(2) there is some new hack out there where, somehow, players can see other players cards, or can see the board before the hand plays out, because boy, I've seen some totally wacky calls and moves by players instantly rewarded - reminds me one, in particular, holding AK, I raised 4.5xBB, was called by a tight player, flop KT6, and this person shoved all in right away - I called, and he had 6J - ok, so he was on a move - turn J, river empty - it struck me as th oddest thing at the time, given his persona to that point, even though yes, it's just a "garden variety" 5-outer and he's 20% - but string up 10 of these in a row, and things look very shaky - and in this particular run of 10 tourneys or so, for the life of me, I figured people could see the board

(3) FTP has just recently implement bots to sit in and tables - just like CC theft, where thieves make small $5 charges on 10,000 cards per month, I could easily see an incentive to sit bots down at smaller tables, like $2 tables, and siphon off money little by little - we $2 players are less likely to complain, we're off radar, and no one who loses $200 is going to raise heck or file suit or something - and, we probably make up 90% of the games going on, so why not target the small stakes to siphon with bots?

(4) just a thought - queue exit percentage - what if, over time, FTP sees that it loses 10% of players to sitting down, registering, then standing up, and logging off, due to not enough players signing up at their table - if I was the director of finance at such a company, I'd want to minimize the queue balking, b/c it means lost revenue - so why not sit bots down to play? Makes sense to me - once we are sat, the 25c is made - 1,000,000 times over a day - so keeping the balk rate at 2% is to FTP's fiscal advantage - I do wonder if, somehow, that's a recent thing that has come into play - oh yeah, how about, let's make those bots win more so that we get the balk rate down and make more money at our non-U.S.-regulated, non-software-certified, Caribbean company? Who'd know the difference?

Any comments are welcome.
tl;dr
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Old 09-04-2009, 05:50 AM   #8135
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Re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLT123 View Post
I have my own personal story and thoughts on the "online poker is rigged" debate.

I am a mathematician, more specifically a statistician with an M.A. in applied stats. So when I took to poker about 7 years ago, it came pretty naturally. Meaning, not only computing odds, but also realizing the game theory aspects for tournament play. Of course, I didn't know "everything" up front (no one ever does) nor do I know every aspect of HE tournament and NL cash poker, but I certainly have the right ideas, as you will see.

I could be typified as your standard tight aggressive player, most of the time. About 10% of the time, I mix up my style to keep things mixed up. I bluff perhaps 5% of the time, if that, and of course no bluff is without a reason, meaning I have a read on my opponents playing pattern, am in position and have a green light with an optimal board given the play, or for whatever good reason there is. Basically, I'm a tight player who gets ahead online mostly due to the overaggression of other players, particularly when I'm out of position, actually, as I've seen over time. Lastly, in terms of style, I am the "believer" type - that is, I believe people have good hands when they are betting most of the time. Of course that's not true that they do - but I'm a believer, and in the long run, it pays off for me to play that way.

As to my stories, there are two.

The first was when I started on Party Poker in 2003. I put in $500. I played almost exclusively the $5 SNG 9 player tables. I did not track my results tourney by tourney, but in about 250 tourneys as I checked at one point, I had built my account up to $950. Everything was pretty normal - my AA would get cracked about 20% of the time heads up, 40% of the time with 2 opponents, etc. And I drew out on players sometimes at 25% or 40%. My gut was, during that run, that I had ups and downs, but over the course of 10's of thousands of hands, sure there some shockers, for me and against me, but the poker seemed "normal" insofar as I could perceive in terms of odds, mathematical results, and the variety and timing of various outlying "bad beat" hands. Sometimes donks pushed with 58off and I'd call with AK, only to see a A54 board, followed by an 8, an empty, and I was out. No big deal, it happens. The thing was, my AK would hold up about 65% of the time, as it should, over that run of 250 tourneys.

Then something changed. I don't think there was one catalyst event, like: I didn't withdraw money, cuss someone out, taunt someone, etc. The one thing I did do, accidentally, was log into a poker-related web site to read articles, and Party Poker popped up a warning saying I couldn't look at the site while playing. So I didn't do that again. But that did not effect what happened to me at this point. Suddenly, I went on a "bad streak" - mathematically, the odds wouldn't dictate I should lose as many hands as I did... but I did. I figured after 10-20 tournaments, things would normalize. But they didn't. It became laughable. Then, it became frustrating. And sure, it becomes difficult for anyone to block out emotion and avoid going on tilt when things are going badly, and one even thinks about taking on more of "gambler" persona since, suddenly, it's working so well for everyone else. I remember going through thoughts, do I need to change up my style in some way? But it wasn't that - it was purely facing opponents with certain odds and, if applied to a binomial distribution using a composite average of probabilities for "ahead" hands and "behind" hands, my results were far, far off the tail of the distribution. Or, in terms of a confidence interval - my result was way left of a 99% confidence interval. So, my bankroll dropped... and dropped. I know I didn't run "hot" or for a prolonged "good" period on the way up - it was just steady steady steady. But with more and more incredible losing hands, I lost faith in Party Poker's integrity - big time. Once, I asked my friend to sit with me and prepare for a shock, so he did. In 3 consecutive tournaments, with him sitting at my side, I lost with 75%/80%/88% hands when all-in. So what, you say? That can and does happen - rough odds are 1/5 x 1/5 x 1/5 = 1/125 that it could happen, big deal. Thing is, couple that with the run in the previous 50 tourneys or so, and it's way too unbelievable. And it continued. And then, my logic kicked in, and I knew there had to be something else at play. It was, in mathematical terms, virtually impossible to have those poor of results for that length of tourneys. Finally, down to $450, I had enough - I withdrew what I had left and quit Party Poker. Ironically, I suppose, after computing my total buy-ins at mostly 50c per tournament, the $450 actually represented a small "winning" percentage still! But clearly, to me, something was wrong. If something smells rotten... it probably is. I'm not superstitious, and I don't rely on "feeling" when saying this - the extended streak of unbelievable "hot" hand beats and drawouts was simply impossible over the span of tournaments I had played as my bankroll went down.

I didn't play online poker for about 1 year.

I signed up on FTP and put in $100 about 2 years ago. I built that up to $200 or so, then withdrew enough to take it to $100. Then I got it to $185, and withdrew $85 to bring it to $100 again. Then, in June 2009, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to see how long it would take to double my $100 - how many tournaments, exactly, it would take. So I started an Excel spreadsheet, and I played only one type of tourney - 6-player turbo $2 + 25c. At this point, I had, in mind, perfected the timing and nuances of these tournaments, and was winning regularly. I thought that, in that $85 run-up, I was winning 80c per tourney. But I decided to track it. I got up to $125 pretty quickly, after 22 tourneys, so I was over $1 per tourney (after buy-in deduction). Then I slipped - by tourney 40, I was down to $100 again. OK, ups and downs. I was making $0 per tourney. Still, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, I just took some beats here and there, and still gave a few out. I was just missing the $$$ sometimes in 3rd. And, I did play 4 $6 + 50c tourneys and didn't cash once, so that helped accelerate the slide. I made up my mind to just play $2 + 25c from then on. By tournament 80, I hit $150. And at tournament 120, I hit $200. And then I stopped tracking, and I accelerated to $230 pretty soon, etc. But at that point in time, with 120 recorded tourneys in my spreadsheet including detailed notes on every single all-in hand I played, win or lose, I was making 76c per tourney, and my ROI was at 31%. My aggregate percentage in final all-in hands - when I either won the tourney or lost - was 52%. I was always hoping that'd be 60% or higher, but so it goes. And that was June. I didn't play much in July. From there, I built up my bankroll to $307 at its max in August. Then, in the past 4 days, at the end of August into early September 2009, all manner of craziness broke loose. It was Party Poker all over again. And with a vengeance! This time, it wasn't an extended streak of garden variety "whoops, my KK got cracked by 89s" sort of thing... no. It's been way more of the ridiculous variety - the type where I'm 88% or higher, once even 97%, and losing the vast majority of those hands. No, not 50% of those hands. That would be unreasonable. I'm talking 80-85% of these hands, which is impossible over the course of thousands of hands - unless something is up. I tried to stay positive and to believe that FTP wasn't loaded - but it became comical. I have some favorites, like: A6, I raise, one caller, flop is A89. I got all in. My opponent insta-calls getting 4-1 odds, but committing 60% of his stack. This is in a 27 player tourney with the final 8, and 6 get paid. So this is not the stage to risk 60% of one's stack with an A on board, but he did - with KT. No flush draw. Obviously, no real straight draw. And what should come? At that crucial moment? Sitting at 96% to win? JQ. Of course! If it were one time, I'd say, "Whoa, that was brutal!" Now, imagine that in approximately 50 consecutive tournaments. That is what happened. Two seconds and one first in 50+ tourneys - I don't have the exact count - and now my bankroll is $185. A slide beyond what luck would dictate, given that I play my same style, and I get in with the odds on my side the vast majority of the time. Again, any one hand - whatever. A streak this long of, "Oh my gosh, not again!" becomes... well, reason to doubt. To doubt that things on the site are kosher. I don't think they are. I'm not sure if, for whatever reason, my login was flagged, or if there is some software where people can see other players' cards, or there is a bot sitting down with players to keep tables moving, or what. But I started tracking hand by hand, tourney by tourney, for 20 tournaments a few days ago, when I lost in 20 tourneys in a row, and the numbers are absolutely baffling. Again, rely on the binomial distribution - it's the easiest way to figure this. I was a 75% or 80% favorite when all-in in 80% of those tourneys, about 16 in all. I lost every one. So figure, the changes of that are (1/4)^16 = VERY VERY SMALL. In fairness, I do win hands before going all in. Yet, again, relying on my overall length of successful tournament play and observation, and blocking out emotion, it's absolutely obvious that something is wrong. I don't know what - but something. It smells rotten - and I believe it is.

I want to read this thread to see what others have observed or what they think. For sure, what has happened to my account can easily be made to happen with software. I wrote poker practice software for myself and my friends in 2004, specifically, to simulate 4-handed play and to learn the "feel" of how hands went down, to kind of grok the patterns. I wrote all manner of software in perl and other languages, and it's obvious how one could weight a deck or build in rules to influence the game in such a way to "screw over" a certain player(s).

I have only these theories:

(1) I dabbled in $3 + 30c 45 player tourneys for a while - I broke from my norm - and I played 2c/5c $5 NL Omaha Hi for about 8 hours total in mid-August for fun - did my change of games somehow trigger me getting flagged or something? The thought being, a player new to game might expect losses because they are new to the game - so perhaps accelerate those losses to encourage a re-buy

(2) there is some new hack out there where, somehow, players can see other players cards, or can see the board before the hand plays out, because boy, I've seen some totally wacky calls and moves by players instantly rewarded - reminds me one, in particular, holding AK, I raised 4.5xBB, was called by a tight player, flop KT6, and this person shoved all in right away - I called, and he had 6J - ok, so he was on a move - turn J, river empty - it struck me as th oddest thing at the time, given his persona to that point, even though yes, it's just a "garden variety" 5-outer and he's 20% - but string up 10 of these in a row, and things look very shaky - and in this particular run of 10 tourneys or so, for the life of me, I figured people could see the board

(3) FTP has just recently implement bots to sit in and tables - just like CC theft, where thieves make small $5 charges on 10,000 cards per month, I could easily see an incentive to sit bots down at smaller tables, like $2 tables, and siphon off money little by little - we $2 players are less likely to complain, we're off radar, and no one who loses $200 is going to raise heck or file suit or something - and, we probably make up 90% of the games going on, so why not target the small stakes to siphon with bots?

(4) just a thought - queue exit percentage - what if, over time, FTP sees that it loses 10% of players to sitting down, registering, then standing up, and logging off, due to not enough players signing up at their table - if I was the director of finance at such a company, I'd want to minimize the queue balking, b/c it means lost revenue - so why not sit bots down to play? Makes sense to me - once we are sat, the 25c is made - 1,000,000 times over a day - so keeping the balk rate at 2% is to FTP's fiscal advantage - I do wonder if, somehow, that's a recent thing that has come into play - oh yeah, how about, let's make those bots win more so that we get the balk rate down and make more money at our non-U.S.-regulated, non-software-certified, Caribbean company? Who'd know the difference?

Any comments are welcome.
A couple of things.

1. For better readability, please use paragraphs.

2. In regards to this:

Quote:
It's been way more of the ridiculous variety - the type where I'm 88% or higher, once even 97%, and losing the vast majority of those hands. No, not 50% of those hands. That would be unreasonable. I'm talking 80-85% of these hands, which is impossible over the course of thousands of hands - unless something is up.
Where did you pull the 80-85% from? Is it a ball park figure or did you actually study your hand history? If so, what program did you use?

3. In regards to this:

Quote:
(2) there is some new hack out there where, somehow, players can see other players cards, or can see the board before the hand plays out, because boy, I've seen some totally wacky calls and moves by players instantly rewarded
FTP use a continuous shuffle, so the deck is not "set" like a regular live deck. Instead, the deck is constantly being shuffled and does not pick the next card out until it has to act.

4. Regarding your house bot theory, I don't think that a billion dollar company would risk their business on a scheme such as this. External auditors would easily be able to pick this scheme out. Also, major shareholders in the company are among the most well known and respected personalities in the game today. They would all have too much personal integrity to be involved with a sham.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:09 AM   #8136
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Re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate

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Originally Posted by CLT123 View Post
I am a mathematician, more specifically a statistician with an M.A. in applied stats.
Ok, so I have my suspicions about this post/poster but you clearly went through a lot of trouble to write-up such a long post and we'll start off by giving you the benefit of the doubt.

Quote:
my AA would get cracked about 20% of the time heads up, 40% of the time with 2 opponents, etc.

but over the course of 10's of thousands of hands

The thing was, my AK would hold up about 65% of the time, as it should, over that run of 250 tourneys.
This implies that you've imported your hands into a tracker. Is this so, and how big is your sample size?

Quote:
Suddenly, I went on a "bad streak" - mathematically, the odds wouldn't dictate I should lose as many hands as I did... but I did. I figured after 10-20 tournaments, things would normalize.
Here's where I have some problems: for a statistician, you seem to be comfortable with very small sample sizes. What is the significance of 10-20 tournaments? Do you really think results should normalize over such a tiny tiny example?

Quote:
But it wasn't that - it was purely facing opponents with certain odds and, if applied to a binomial distribution using a composite average of probabilities for "ahead" hands and "behind" hands, my results were far, far off the tail of the distribution. Or, in terms of a confidence interval - my result was way left of a 99% confidence interval.
This is potentially good stuff. While I'm sure I would not be able to understand your equations/results, there are several people who regularly monitor this thread who do: please post your results.

Quote:
virtually impossible to have those poor of esults for that length of tourneys.
When a statistician uses those terms, I assume a big sample size, but again, you refer to small samples like 3, or even 250.


Quote:
And, I did play 4 $6 + 50c tourneys and didn't cash once, so that helped accelerate the slide.
Are you really attributing anything to a 4 game sample?

Quote:
But I started tracking hand by hand, tourney by tourney, for 20 tournaments a few days ago, when I lost in 20 tourneys in a row, and the numbers are absolutely baffling.
You label yourself a mathematician/statistician but for some reason seem very comfortable with very small sample sizes. I'm not sure I understand that, but as you are the statistician perhaps you could elaborate?

I'll just say that for the moment I have my doubts about your post. However if you are a statistician you are exactly the type of person who is best able to figure out if rigging is going on. Why don't you expound on your actual analysis, and subject it to some peer review. Otherwise, as Spadebidder said, this is all anecdotal, and seem like bad beat stories. If you read this thread you will see that we have all manners of similar (if shorter) posts. No one has produced any reliable evidence though to back it up.
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:33 AM   #8137
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

Anyone trying to prove riggedness with their own HH would be accused of cherry picking if the proof was convincing. That person's methods would be questioned also. I don't see why stars doesn't just let someone with real credentials have access to their HH database and settle the question finally.
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:51 AM   #8138
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

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Originally Posted by burden2 View Post
Anyone trying to prove riggedness with their own HH would be accused of cherry picking if the proof was convincing. That person's methods would be questioned also. I don't see why stars doesn't just let someone with real credentials have access to their HH database and settle the question finally.
Anyone whom 'Stars allows access to their HH database would automatically lose their 'real credentials' in the eyes of the rigtards.

That's just the way rigtards work.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:38 AM   #8139
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

The most important problem for me is the possible existence of Superbots that act like superusers inside the software. This kind of cheat just cant be detected by users, because we don have access to the identity of the players sitting at our table.


How many times the strange badbeat hands happens when you are playing against a unkown player? No database, the guy made the first deposit that day and is running good, just a lucky fish or a Superbot?
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:37 PM   #8140
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

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Originally Posted by toltec444 View Post
The most important problem for me is the possible existence of Superbots that act like superusers inside the software. This kind of cheat just cant be detected by users, because we don have access to the identity of the players sitting at our table.


How many times the strange badbeat hands happens when you are playing against a unkown player? No database, the guy made the first deposit that day and is running good, just a lucky fish or a Superbot?
Just when you think all variations of paranoia have been done, someone creates a nice new fancy term.

Let me tell you, if you think Superbots are a problem, what about Superduperbots?

To the Donko guy who is running real bad (which usually is a time when a site is supposed to rig for a player) - just answer the following question:

The sites will take the time and effort to rig it specifically against ME because?

Once you have that theory, the rest of your research should be a piece of cake. Or a piece of Supercake. Or Superdupercake.


All the best.
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:53 PM   #8141
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

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Originally Posted by okiehustler View Post
Bad beats are part of the game. I understand that. But after absorbing more than my fair share on Poker Stars I switched to Full Tilt six months ago. The first few months were much better over on Full Tilt.

Now Full Tilt is worse than Poker Stars ever was. The past month has been brutal. Tonight I've had pocket aces six times. All six times I lost to someone with a lower pocket pair.

I can't tell you how many times (at least 100 times the past thee weeks) where someone needs one card, especially two or three hours into a tournament, and they hit when odds are 90 to 95% in my favor.

You tell yourself that's poker until it happens time after time after time.

I enjoy playing poker online but I'm about ready to give it up. There doesn't seem to be a site to where it plays out like a casino. You see bad beats in a casino but NOTHING like Full Tilt and Poker Stars back when I played over on that site.

Curious as to others observations. Is there a site that's on the up and up or is it time to retire from online poker where you start to get the feeling the deck literally is stacked against you?
In case you think you're writing and no one knows what you're talking about, I do. Your experience was the same as mine. I just wrote a longer post to describe it.

Just like you said, bad beats happen to everyone. And they can even happen in runs, and you can even run bad for a while - to balance, you can certainly run good for a while. But then the pure math kicks in, and one begins to approach the tail end of what is possible - and then exceed it. If it's a one in 10 million chance to have the run of hands - and it happens to me - then something is wrong. And I think that something is wrong on FTP, for precisely the same reasons you said.

By the way, as I said in my post, it became laughable (though still frustrating) after a while. I would feel good about my hand, know that mathematically, things even out over time so I couldn't endure seemingly unending bad beats. But then, just as I'm saying "Ha! He only has 4 outs, I'll win this one" one of the 4 out cards would hit. Again... and again... and again... and again. I'm sure you know what I mean.

On the flip side, sure, I get in as a dog sometimes. I tracked those hands, too. Hey, maybe I would win more than my 20-25% of those hands. Nope. Try 5%. Again, over the course of 80 such all-in hands, a binomial distribution would show that to not have achieved a roughly 20% figure, but rather 5%, means something is statistically and verifiably off on FTP.

Does this stuff happen in real life? Sure! Was playing $3/$6 the other night at the card club, and my friend got 2-outed, 4-outed, and 5-outed on the turn or river 3 hands in one hour. So what. I've also seen him run hot and take in tons of chips. Also, in the course of that bad run, he hit a 2-outer on the river himself to trip up! And his stack got to nearly even on that hand, not counting rake. So... it happens in real life too. His experience, though, wasn't of the uncanny devastating "what the f is going on? something is rigged" nature but just a rough run.

During this same hour, the guy next to me got AA and KK 2 hands in a row, and raised both to $6 pre-flop. First hand - flop A34 - etc. etc. He lost. 25 off on the button flopped a straight, and the board didn't pair. Boo-hoo. Yeah, it's unlikely, but ok, it happened, he got wheeled. The KK hand, he bet and raised every street, board Q348, rainbow. The river was a 2. The winner? A5, another wheel! In the cosmic scheme of things, it's so so so unlikely to get AA KK premium and get wheeled twice in a row. But it happened. And guess what? I don't think I'm going to see that happen again for a looooooooooooong time! Also, figure in this was no fold 'em hold 'em...

But along this line of arguing, one could say: at the $2 level tourneys, isn't the play a lot like NFHE? I would say no. There are donks here and there, but with NLHE, my experience has been that 85-90% of the players are playing in earnest and trying to do well. With a 3.5x or 4x raise and a possible all-in bet to protect KK, I doubt any A5 would make it to the river to see that 2. SOME WOULD, yes. But percentage-wise? Very few. Online poker does invite, as I saw in the NFHE scenario, some crazy hands, but not THAT many as one might think. I fully expect to see - and we all do - way more weird results in a NFHE game due to people playing... well, anything! Repeatedly.

My experience has been that I lost in my extended, unreasonable string of hands, to both good players and donks, at about a 90% to 10% ratio of player quality, from what I can judge.

Anyhow, Okie, yes, I get what you are saying, and I experienced it to. Check out my thread.
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:14 PM   #8142
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monteroy View Post
Just when you think all variations of paranoia have been done, someone creates a nice new fancy term.

Let me tell you, if you think Superbots are a problem, what about Superduperbots?

To the Donko guy who is running real bad (which usually is a time when a site is supposed to rig for a player) - just answer the following question:

The sites will take the time and effort to rig it specifically against ME because?

Once you have that theory, the rest of your research should be a piece of cake. Or a piece of Supercake. Or Superdupercake.


All the best.

I dont think te superbots need to have any specific target, they just need to in the right place at the right time, and that means that someone will be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

An example:


The superbot is sitting in the table, which by itself is good for the site because the real players ar paying the rake alone. Than the superbot "knows" that in this hand he will make a flush draw runner runner, so he maks some stupid move against a real player and wins at the SD. We real players watching from outside think: oh what a donk idiot he had no odds, this guy sucks. Ok, hes a donk, eventually he goes away and never return. We think, that donk got broke and never returned, or he is playing in lower limits.

The superbot can be used to get extra money to the sites by "knowing" the hole cards or just to keep the flow of money slower(what I believe is the best)

So the superbot dosnt need to take the real players money away, it just has to keep the money floating longer than it would if they were not involved. Why the bots would that? To generate more rake for longer periods.
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:19 PM   #8143
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by toltec444 View Post
I dont think te superbots need to have any specific target, they just need to in the right place at the right time, and that means that someone will be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

An example:


The superbot is sitting in the table, which by itself is good for the site because the real players ar paying the rake alone. Than the superbot "knows" that in this hand he will make a flush draw runner runner, so he maks some stupid move against a real player and wins at the SD. We real players watching from outside think: oh what a donk idiot he had no odds, this guy sucks. Ok, hes a donk, eventually he goes away and never return. We think, that donk got broke and never returned, or he is playing in lower limits.

The superbot can be used to get extra money to the sites by "knowing" the hole cards or just to keep the flow of money slower(what I believe is the best)

So the superbot dosnt need to take the real players money away, it just has to keep the money floating longer than it would if they were not involved. Why the bots would that? To generate more rake for longer periods.

Good stuff explaining the secret missions of the Superbots.

Now explain how none of the people behind programming the superbots on all of the sites that use superbots (including some that are by now out of business) have never told of this secret?

That is unless you believe only some sites use superbots, while others just use bots while others just use superduperbots.

Perhaps the superbots are a new life form that developed on it's own?
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:40 PM   #8144
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

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Originally Posted by CLT123 View Post
By the way, as I said in my post, it became laughable (though still frustrating) after a while. I would feel good about my hand, know that mathematically, things even out over time so I couldn't endure seemingly unending bad beats. But then, just as I'm saying "Ha! He only has 4 outs, I'll win this one" one of the 4 out cards would hit. Again... and again... and again... and again. I'm sure you know what I mean.
And yet you still kept playing.

Even though you're sure there is something wrong you still keep playing.

Truly awesome although I'm sure you cannot see how this reduces your overall credibility to just about zilch.
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:42 PM   #8145
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

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Originally Posted by Monteroy View Post
Good stuff explaining the secret missions of the Superbots.

Now explain how none of the people behind programming the superbots on all of the sites that use superbots (including some that are by now out of business) have never told of this secret?

That is unless you believe only some sites use superbots, while others just use bots while others just use superduperbots.

Perhaps the superbots are a new life form that developed on it's own?
They just use programming 'bots to make the superbots.

Those suckers never spill the beans.
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:43 PM   #8146
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

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Originally Posted by Monteroy View Post
Good stuff explaining the secret missions of the Superbots.

Now explain how none of the people behind programming the superbots on all of the sites that use superbots (including some that are by now out of business) have never told of this secret?

That is unless you believe only some sites use superbots, while others just use bots while others just use superduperbots.

Perhaps the superbots are a new life form that developed on it's own?
You are acting this kind of programming is impossible. Hiding this among employees who are 25% owners of the company would not be much of an issue either. We are not in the 1950s any longer, this kind of technology more than exists so it is possible. I dont think it would be too terribly difficult to hide from some so called inspector at an hours notice. I do agree with everyone that there needs to be proof that something like this is going on, but the question is, is there really away to get any proof if these programs are just skimming off the top.
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:45 PM   #8147
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

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Originally Posted by Monteroy View Post
That is unless you believe only some sites use superbots, while others just use bots while others just use superduperbots.

Perhaps the superbots are a new life form that developed on it's own?
Ok, I don't know much about the superbots, but I'm pretty sure I've played with one of the superduperbots:

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Old 09-04-2009, 02:45 PM   #8148
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

Bot - computer player

Superbot - computer player run by the house that knows all hole cards

Superduperbot - top level superbot, only granted to players who solve 13 quests, find the secret boomswitch, and drink the potion of the donkament wizard.
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:36 PM   #8149
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monteroy View Post
Good stuff explaining the secret missions of the Superbots.

Now explain how none of the people behind programming the superbots on all of the sites that use superbots (including some that are by now out of business) have never told of this secret?

That is unless you believe only some sites use superbots, while others just use bots while others just use superduperbots.

Perhaps the superbots are a new life form that developed on it's own?
So what you are saying is that IF the superbots exist , a huge part of the company and lots of people woking in that company would know about them and would have by know told us the truth.


Why do you assume that. How do you know the programming cant be done by a small group of well paid computer programmers? Why those well paid computer programmers would screw up their own business telling everyone what they are doing? That makes no sense.

What you are saying is that I make a machine to steal money from a bank and after that I go to the police give the machine to them so they can arrest me.

Very logical argument.
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:41 PM   #8150
toltec444
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re: The great "Poker is rigged" debate - Collected threads edition

BTW High Stakes winning players talking about rigged site

https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/19...43/index9.html
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