Is Online Poker Rigged? Is it Possible to Beat the House?

There is a rumor circulating in online poker forums and even “informed” articles that online poker rooms are rigging their games to benefit themselves. This claim alleges that the sites make it more likely for flops, turns, and rivers to connect with players’ hands in order to increase pot sizes and rake revenue. These rumors bring us to the question, is online poker rigged, or it’s just false assumptions?

There is no evidence to support these allegations. In fact, if anything, such behavior would only serve to alienate customers and drive them away from playing on these online poker sites.

Poker Apps and Websites Have Little to Gain but Everything to Lose

It’s not really in the poker sites’ best interest to rig their games, because they would only be hurting themselves in the long run. If they tried to create more action by rigging the games, they would quickly realize that it’s not an easy thing to do and it’s not really worth the risk.

The only place that there is an incentive to rig the games for action is in cash games. This is because tournaments and sit and go’s have a set fee that the poker room is paid everytime someone buys in.

Is Online Poker Rigged? Cheating is Almost Impossible to Do

is online poker rigged

Rigging online poker games is actually a lot more difficult than it seems. Online poker rooms use something called an RNG (random number generator) to deal the cards,  Since the cards are dealt randomly, tampering with the random number generator would result in large discrepancies in expected frequencies compared to what ends up happening at the table.

Thousands of players use poker tracking software to keep detailed databases of their hands and so anamolies would be noticed quickly.

If any type of inconsistencies were ever discovered, a huge scandal would erupt and players would lose confidence in the offending poker sites. This could eventually lead to a significant loss of revenue for that site. So, from this angle, it’s clear why rigging games for action is such a ludicrous idea.

Any attempt at manipulating outcomes would likely be detected fairly quickly and result in major consequences for the site involved. When you look at it this way, human ego becomes one of the biggest obstacles in rigging internet poker games

Is Online Poker Rigged: Where Is the Proof?

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who has gone looking for proof. A top result in Google brings up an article from 2004, so this conspiracy theory has been around for awhile.

After reading through forums and claims that online poker is rigged, it just seems to be people complaining about running bad and taking bad beat after bad beat in a short period of time. Unfortunately, this happens naturally. 

There’s no actual evidence that anything out of the ordinary occured. We’ve all run bad. 

So if you’re worried that online poker might be rigged against you, don’t be–there’s no evidence that this is actually happening.

Why Do People Believe Online Poker is Rigged?

There are a few reasons why people may believe online poker is rigged. One reason may be that they compare the situations they see on the internet poker to those they see live, and state that the events never happen in the same manner live. Additionally, some players may feel as though their strong holdings online lose way too often to weaker hands than what would normally occur at a live poker table.

Finally, opponents seem to hit miracle two or even one-outters all of the time when playing online, which does not happen as frequently at a live table. However, anyone who has played live for an extended period of time and actually plays more than once every month will have some quite colorful horror stories from their experiences at live tables. Bad beats and awful suckouts happen both online and offline alike.

Instead of blaming it on bad luck or lack of skill, people are adamant that online poker is rigged.

The (Sample) Size Matters

The size of the sample matters greatly when determining whether or not poker is rigged. In order to make an accurate assessment, you need to be playing a significant number of hands. If you only play live once a week for a few hours, you’ll see around 400-500 hands in a month – which isn’t statistically significant.

Online, however, you can easily play 1000+ hands in one night. And as you play more hands, you’re likely to experience an increasing number of less likely situations. For example, the odds of being dealt pocket aces are 1 in 220.

So, in the live scenario, you won’t get that many chances for them to be cracked in the first place. Online, however, you can easily get them several times during your session – and it’s almost guaranteed some of them will lose. After all, no one is 100% successful with pocket aces every time they play

Numbers Don’t Lie

Numbers never lie, and if there is one thing that online players who believe the game is rigged have in common, it’s their selective analysis of a few select hands. They’ll find weird instances where someone called off all-ins or huge preflop raises with nothing but rags and managed to crack their aces. Or, they’ll dig through a big pot where someone hit an unlikely gutter on the river.

If these happenings were indicative of actual rigging taking place, then evidence would have surfaced by now given how many players are using tracking software like Hold’em Manager to record all hands played. This software helps build databases containing hundreds of thousands – even millions – of actual hands.

When you analyze these databases, you always see the same result:

Pocket aces come out as the biggest winner in every single database containing a large sample size of hands. Flopped sets win more often than they lose, etc. If online poker was rigged, these anomalies would show up in data samples.

no player has been able to produce evidence with 500,000 or million hand samples confirming any sort of conspiracy theory. Click To Tweet


When playing online poker, always use common sense. Be aware of the risks involved in any online interaction, especially when it comes to your bankroll.  Small and obscure poker sites that are new or have a history of slow payouts should not be used.

Stick to large, reputable online poker rooms with a long track record of legitimacy.