Playing Texas Hold'em Poker Online in Nevada on WSOP.com
Friday, July 17, 2015 at 4:12 AM
Bradtastic in Gambling, Gaming, cards, poker, pokerstars, texasholdem, world series of poker, wsop

River set for Sixes full of Aces vs Fours full.

I’ve been playing live and online poker a lot more than Video Poker recently. The main reason is really simple: higher expected value. The EV from great Video Poker games is about 101%, that is, for every $100 bet, one can expect $101.

Live/Online poker offers much better value — especially if your opponents suck. There’s still a luck factor, but that’s greatly mitigated by skill. If you make better decisions than your opponents, you’ll make money long-term.

Unfortunately (and recently), the WSOP.com NV poker software has been a bit of a slot machine.

More than 90% of the boards were paired, two-paired, contained 3+ flush cards, or a combination of flush and pair.

While the “support” staff at WSOP.com insist that the game is fair, that the RNG is tested and “guaranteed,” the hand history shows a statistical improbability that’s very difficult to accept.

It’s not just a series of 10-30 hands — and it’s not normal. I’ve played for about two months online, and it’s only the past few days that this anomaly has occurred. I played at different hours of the day, on multiple tables, and experienced this phenomenon.

Seven hands in a row on two tables, the flop was paired — like a flop of King-King-Four or 557. This makes for huge hands… monsters. Flushes dominated by Full Houses. The occasional relatively dry board would still have 3 or 4 connected (straight) cards.

I took screenshots of the hand histories and sent them to WSOP.com — of course I get the standard response. It’s somewhat hard to believe that they would tweak the RNG to produce wet aka dangerous boards on purpose to increase their rake (monster hands against other monsters = huge pots = higher rake), but it’s harder to believe that this string of cards is “random.”

More likely would be a glitch or hack that has caused strings of three suited cards flopping, mixed in with paired boards and the rare occasional dry board. Not that they’d admit to this.

And I’m not writing this because I’ve suffered losses; choosing my moments carefully, I’ve been able to capitalize on a few monster hands. Many shared on my Instagram.

I have taken a few hits on ridiculous river cards, however.

Screenshot 2015 07 17 01 58 44

It’s more that, for legal (Nevada, and a few other states) online poker to succeed, it must be fair. I’ve played more than one-thousand hands over the past two days, and the same pattern persists; a pattern that did not occur before. The paired boards and single suited flops came at around the mathematically expected rate.

This aberrant series of hands has changed how people play the game. More pre-flop all-ins and chasing, calling down big bets with very bad (expected) odds because it’s just inevitable that the board will pair on the turn or river, just like the last 5+ hands… and it does. People are calling pot-sized bets on flush draws because the flushes occur at much higher than the expected rate.

It’s probably more likely that you’d be dealt two Royal Flushes in a row in Video Poker (approx. 650,000:1 odds for one dealt Royal) than for these community cards to appear as often as they have.

Hopefully, things go back to normal. I’ve dropped down in the microstakes because at the moment, I just don’t really trust the software and RNG. I’d quit completely except for the fact that I can still win a little money playing these insane games.

I really hope that other players screenshot their hand histories as well and that someone at WSOP looks into this issue… otherwise, I think a lot of people will drop out. Just because Nevada Gaming has certified their RNG at some point and WSOP audits their payouts doesn’t mean that the system is unhackable or error-free. At the moment, WSOP’s “guarantee” of their RNG is practically meaningless to me and numerous other online players.

Article originally appeared on Says Brad: Life, Technology and Design by @bradtastic (http://saysbrad.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.