I’m starting a new thread on this because I feel what I have to say about this is important enough to not be buried several comments down in an existing thread.
I’m a programmer and have worked on Poker software for over 20 years. If you go in a casino or cruise ship and see electronic poker being played, well, I built the prototype for that. I’m also a seasoned Poker player: both live games (especially in Vegas) and I used to play a LOT on online platforms back in the day (Party Poker, Poker Stars, etc.) mostly for real money when it was still allowed. I’m fairly new to Prominence Poker since purchasing an xbox for the family.
I’m seeing a few people on here complaining about the randomness of the deals and how they go all-in with AA and get beat on the river by some bozo with 72 off-suit. I’ll go into “randomness” more in a bit but I have to say that:
- This DOES happen in “real” live games, for real money, with real cards, in real casinos, on low limit games ALL THE TIME. Heck, it even happens in higher limit games.
- There is a HUGE difference between real games for real money and online play for play chips. If it happens enough in real games (per #1 above) then you can be sure it will happen EXPONENTIALLY MUCH MORE in play games where people are not risking their real money. Especially when the system is giving players free chips every day to just “try their luck” and go all-in with a terrible hand to try and multiply their stack quickly. I mean, what are they risking exactly by doing so?
- I don’t believe there’s an age limit for players. I think there’s a lot of kids (or people who know nothing about Poker) picking it up on xbox, steam, PS, whatever, and just messing around and truly not knowing how to play the game, or hand rankings, or when they should play a hand or have no business being in a hand. This further adds to the problems mentioned and I believe I witnessed this first hand last night with one player from whom I happily took their stack several times. I’m particularly talking about when you get a killer hand and raise big (or all-in) and someone calls you with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING… like not even a small pair, or a chance of getting a flush or straight or anything. At first I would scratch my head in wonder but then realized I was probably playing against some 8 year old that had no idea what they were doing. Sure, occasionally such players get lucky on the river sometimes but statistically I didn’t see this happen anywhere out of the ordinary.
So I think it’s safe to say that with any “play money” Poker environment, you’re going to see all kinds of bizarre behavior when it comes to other players.
Now onto randomness and cheating…
Computers do not have TRULY random generation. It’s generally called pseudo randomness for a reason. In it’s most basic form, a programmer will typically retrieve a pseudo random value by first “seeding” with (for example) the current time, then by calling a function such as rand(1,52) which will provide a pseudo random number between 1 and 52 inclusive.
However, this is seriously problematic… if the “seeding” is done at the same time of each day then people can figure out exactly what cards would be dealt next. This happened to one of the big well-known online Poker rooms back in the day (think it was Poker Stars… I can’t remember). After some smart people figured out that the seeding was being done exactly at midnight every day and they were able to figure out what cards would be dealt next.
There are algorithms that programmers can use to generate more random pseudo randomness. I did this with the aforementioned Poker software I developed years ago. Oh, and to make sure no seeding is done at repetitive times.
It is possible to get more TRUE randomness by using something truly random to seed the algorithm. One company does this (not a Poker company) by taking a photo of a wall full of lava lamps and seeding their algorithm with the results. Pretty inventive!
And to the person who said they got AA three times in a row… yes that’s possible. I’ve personally had AA twice in a row in a casino. The deck has no memory of the previous deal just like a coin has no memory of the previous flip or a roulette ball has no memory of the previous spin. Just because roulette falls black 102 times in a row doesn’t mean there’s more chance of it being red the next spin… the odds are still 50/50 (not accounting for the zero(s)).
I’m not sure what methods PP are using but I highly doubt they would be using the basic pseudo random generator that comes with C/C++.
Now onto cheating…
Is it possible: yes. Is it likely: no. Why? Because it’s not a “real” money game. I can’t see why anyone would go to the lengths involved for a play money game. One big online Poker room (I think it was Ultimate Bet) got caught cheating back in the days of “real” money online Poker. I think it was the owner’s son who had his own “backdoor” version of the software where he could see everyone’s hole cards. He got caught when people’s suspicions were raised. He got carried away and kind of made it obvious some funky business was going on.
Some of the other Poker products I had developed or worked on would have made it possible for me to cheat online play without even being affiliated with the Poker rooms. But I wouldn’t have even considered it because I know that anyone running WireShark (or similar) would’ve figured it out eventually. It just wouldn’t be worth it, and it would’ve killed my [highly profitable] products immediately.
So I highly doubt there’s cheating going on in PP. There’s not really anything to gain by doing so. Sure, you’ll get the bad beats and some idiotic play for the reasons mentioned above, and it may be frustrating and seem like something dubious is going on, but I still highly doubt it. When you get frustrated in such scenarios, just remember that the odds are always against people who play that way. I’ve seen it time and time again in real casino games, online play, and in PP.
Finally, I’d like to make a couple suggestions to make PP better. First and foremost, it would be nice if it was cross-platform. Or at the very least, if I could log in with the same character on Steam as I have in xbox. A cross-platform version would also get more players and involvement. Second, it would be great if there were “speed” tables. In other words, tables with a very limited time limit for players to make their move.
I’m sure I can think of much more stuff to make it better but this post is meant to make players feel a little better about the play on PP from a [Poker] programmer’s/player’s perspective.
If by chance PP needs any help or whatever to implement improvements or player’s suggestions I’d be happy to help wherever I can. I’m not asking for a job… I’m just willing to spend some of my time helping to make a better experience for all players and implement some of the excellent suggestions being put forth.