Originally Posted by Beriac
Personally, unless a poker site is really shifty and I really believed that it was just plain crooked, I would assume that the distribution of cards dealt is just random. You might flip a coin 6 times and find it comes up 'heads' 5 times, but it's still a random outcome.
Pocket pairs as a group are not that rare:
- When dealt 2 cards at random from a 52-card deck, there are 2,652 possible hands you could be dealt (52 * 51).
- Of those, there are 6 of each pocket pair to be dealt (heart+diamond, heart+spade, heart+club, diamond+spade, diamond+club, space+club).
- There are 13 different levels of pocket pairs to be dealt (deuces, threes, fours, etc).
- 13 * 6 = about 3%, which is the amount of the time we should expect to be dealt pocket pairs.
Sure, pocket pairs twice in a row is lucky, it's about 3% * 3% = about 0.1%. Sure, that's rare, but that means for every 1,000 times you are dealt 2 sets of hands, you should expect to once be dealt pocket pairs twice in a row.
And I think between us, we've played enough hands of poker that even the unlikeliest thing should be happening from time to time.
If any of these sites are actually rigging their hands dealt in any way, it would be a massive case of fraud because of the dollars involved. When you can run a thriving, successful business without rigging a darned thing, why on earth would you bother? And aren't these things audited independent too?
I stick to playing reputable sites, but on those sites I'm confident that I'm being dealt random cards, and that the flop, turn, and river are random also. If I wasn't sure, I wouldn't put money there, simple as that.
Just my 2 cents...
I just wanted to point out a slight (well, not that slight) miss in your numbers here: You're saying that there are 2652 possible starting hands, which is true, but then you can't say that there are only 6 possible ways to get a specific pair - because there are 12.
When you say that there are 2652 possible hands, you're counting A♥A♣
as a different hand than A♣A♥
. Just thought I'd point that out. Therefore, you will get a pocket pair about 6% of the time, not 3%.
Now, when it comes to rigged sites and pocket pairs, there are a few things that should be said:
1. (Minor) The fact that one person gets a pocket pair actually makes it more likely that someone else at the table also gets a pocket pair. The effect is small, but might interest some of you.
2. Since pocket pairs constitute 6% of the hands dealt, there will be on average 2 pocket pairs dealt every 3 hands. You won't notice when no one gets a pocket pair, but you WILL notice when more than one person does. Therefore, the conclusion that pocket pairs are "too common" is based on self-reporting statistics - the worst kind.
3. When you play live poker (which is where you say pocket pairs are less common) do you play 10-handed like they do on Stars? Otherwise you will see PPs less often. Don't forget, also, that play is a lot slower live than online, so you get to see many more hands in one evening than live. Reverting back to the problem with self-reporting statistics, you will tend to forget hands that are of no interest, but remember hands that struck you as spectacular. You will, therefore, have the feeling that in one night of online poker, more spectacular events have happened than in one night of live poker. My guess is that the ratio is about twice as many spectacular events online as live - but that's because you play twice as many hands.
Two things to consider when it comes to rigged online play:
1. The sites have nothing (or very little) to gain from rigging play. In theory, they could rig it so that big hands clash more often, and thereby increasing the rake. However, they have a maximum rake (at Stars, I think it's $3?) and at the higher stakes, that rake is almost automatically reached, so this gain is tiny.
2. With the extreme competition that exists between poker sites these days, no site can afford the risk of being exposed as cheaters. They rake in tons of money every day, and they would lose that immediately if anyone could show that they were cheating. And with the logging capabilities, the large samples of hands that people can collect, and the fact that it's all digital, coupled with how computer geeks are the most paranoid bunch of people on the entire planet (seriously, who do you think invented the concept of tinfoil hats?), you can bet your bankroll on the fact that someone would have found evidence of foul play, if it was there.