More on "Fake" Poker Accusations... (from a programmer)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

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Thank you very much for your informative post!

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Tyvm for the information and Mayor PP why not take him up on his offer what can it hurt. Plenty of us enjoy the game and live with the BS of bad players. I play it for practice with controlling my patience for when im playing tournaments in a REAL casino for REAL money. This again is FREE.
And its nice to see the updates and work on PP being done. If it moves you closer to a PP2 why not atleast have a dialog with him. My humble opinon.
Happy Healthy New Year to you your families and all the PP players.

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Also here is a pretty good site that explains odds of hands dealt

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Great post! People get tilted and blame the game/call it cheating :joy:. Good ol poker will do that to a person lol

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Ive stopped playing, but thanks for the post.

One of the (very few tbh) posts in these amateur forums. I would allow/let this guy to run for Prominence’ s mayor if I was Mr. Pipeworks. He seems willing to help into bringing some life in a well created poker body that unfortunately was taken for dead by it’s creators and left to rot, contrary to it’s fanbase’s hopes. (But on the other hand, what do I know, I don’t even know the guy and noone else in here. And I don’t wish to anyways. Perhaps the loner privilege is the main reason I love this game so much, 7-2 in a 5 mil table, all in, cut throat emote while loosing, fantastic me, yay!) Greetings ^^

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It’s tough for the developers when the game is free. If your product isn’t earning enough revenue to justify spending a great deal of time and money developing it further it can be a tough call. On the other side of the coin, if the game wasn’t free, you would then have people complaining that there’s never enough players to play with online.

Perhaps some more inventive ways to earn money from it would help the developers? I know people can buy extra chips and whatnot but maybe there could be a paid version of the software where there’s exclusive rooms for the paid players? I’m just shooting ideas out there.

I’ve been messing around more with the software and I see that the higher the stakes, the [slightly] better the play. Which makes sense. But still seeing plenty of people going all-in with nothing such as three-card-straights on the flop, runner-runner flush draws, or literally nothing.

So here’s another idea… perhaps there should be “spread” tables, or tables where you can only go all-in so many times in a limited time period.

For those who don’t know what spread tables are, they’re not “limit” or “no-limit” but they’re tables where you can bet anywhere in a certain range/limit (eg. 50 thru 500 chips). And, just like in most casinos, players can go all-in when it’s down to heads-up. Such tables should be very easy to implement and add to the software and I think would attract more serious players who are tired of those who just want to play “poker lottery” by going all-in every hand.

Not so sure how the “limited # of all-ins within time period” idea would work but if players could only go all-in once every five minutes then perhaps they would use them more wisely.

Again, I’m just throwing ideas/thoughts around.

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Great ideas, now I’m just spitballing here but maybe add more packs? And charge more for the 3.5 million pack… like at least $100 for that pack(might have to add .5 mil to it or deduct .5 off all packs), they could add a 2 Mil $50 pack, 1 Mil for $25, etc… but basically I agree they need to make money for us to get great content. Lastly if I could point you over to the “Feature Request” topic section this post would be great there!! :slight_smile:

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Yes absolutely! I’ll post the suggestions in the relevant thread :slight_smile:

Thank you so much! That’s great!

To the OP,
Excellent feedback, amigo. Especially in bringing up often overlooked yet obvious factors such as risk and players.

The majority of game reviews all complain about the array. It’s unrealistic to a noticeable degree when 4 suited cards are on the table 30% of a game.

Yet the quickest remedy to this perception, when considering those valid points you brought up, is to add a seasonal bad beat jackpot.

Rendering bad beats palatable and not only encouraging return play but increasing enthusiasm. (Credit to Farmer John for leading to that exceptional idea, albeit inadvertently :heart_eyes:).

Also, to reiterate, selling custom attire and accessories is a large revenue stream on other games especially among young players, so why isn’t PP taking advantage of this?

Thank you

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Yeah something more than just a few REP points for bad beats would be nice! Casinos do this all the time such as immediate payouts for bad beat aces and/or a running bad beat jackpot when a killer hand (quads or better) gets crushed.

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OP is an idiot or liar because he leaves out what the Mayor of this board also refuses to address and that’s other variables worked in, such as rank, level, bankroll, time playing, wokeness, etc., so your game is rigged stop lying.
Plus you’re racist bigots because avatar can’t be bearded woman furrie in dog dress stop discriminating .

Good points and yes there are some who would cheat just to see their name in first place out of thousands of people. I call them glory hounds. I don’t know for sure how they could do it without being caught but they are there. Me I play to win no matter if it’s free or not the highest I’ve been so far is 32nd in tournament play which I worked my butt off to get to diamond believe me it’s no easy task on prom. Yea I’m kinda bragging but only because I put in the work and don’t have to cheat . That being said they are out there somewhere believe it. And for the author of this post welcome to prom poker on Xbox and good luck.

I’m sick and tired of the fact that every single time, without exception, when the quality of randomness of computer programs is under discussion, some smartass will always, without fail, jump out with the “it’s PSEUDO random number generation!” as if that had any kind of relevance to the question at hand, ie. the quality of the generated random numbers.

The numbers being “pseudo” random has nothing to do with quality. It has everything to do with repeatability. Them being “pseudo” random simply means that you will always get the same stream of numbers if you start from the same seed.

Sure, there are very poor-quality (even horrendous-quality) PRNGs out there, but they are not so because they are “pseudo”. They are so because they are poorly designed.

The fact is that it’s perfectly possible to develop a PRNG which output, if you don’t know the initial seed, is completely indistinguishable from true randomness, no matter what metric you use (and up to trillions and trillions of numbers pulled from it). In fact, this is not only possible but actually a requirement in cryptography: If there were any predictability in cryptographically strong PRNGs, that would make them useless.

Putting that in another way: If you are given a list of numbers pulled from a CSPRNG (you don’t know the initial seed) and another from some true source of even randomness, and you don’t know which is which, there is no way for you to know. They are indistinguishable from each other, no matter what metric you use, and no matter how many numbers the lists contain (up to trillions and even more). There is no metric, no algorithm, that you can use to tell for certain which one was produced by the CSPRNG.

Thus, for all intents and purposes the numbers you get from a CSPRNG are truly random (by any metric you want to use). What makes the PRNG special is that you can repeat the numbers if you know the initial seed. But that’s it.

As far as I know, Prominence Poker does not use a CSPRNG, but a more conventional PRNG of significantly poorer quality. (Whether this has an actual discernible effect on games is to be proven.)

I have advocated for years for PP to change their PRNG to a cryptographically strong one, and to just use the traditional Fisher-Yates shuffle, rather than the ad-hoc algorithm it’s currently using. (Just seed the CSPRNG with the starting time of the round in microseconds, plus some other values, like the overall number of the game on the server, and some other ID or whatever.)

You cannot physically get better-quality randomness than Fisher-Yates using a CSPRNG. Anything you add to it can only weaken the quality, not improve it. Thus it doesn’t make any sense to use anything else. The more complicated you make the implementation, the more bug-prone it will be, for no benefit.

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This is a great post - the link in the replies is also pretty amazing.

I’ve been called a cheat (as well as other things) many times, but it is because that sometimes I know a 3 and 7 is going to win so whatever and the turn and the river are 7’s when the guy had 2 pair on the flop.

Why would anyone go all in with an AK10 on the flop, with 3 and a 7…?
Or go all the way with nothing, just to get a 1 card flush.

PP has a semi-predictable algo, that took me a while to figure out.

It is semi-predictable as there is a flash and burn every now and then, and it also helps to know the opponents’ cards.

The way it works, the fewer the number of players - the easier it is to predict how the next hand will go.
In head to head, it is very simple. For the last three of the tournament - it is also fairly easy.

Pocket pairs are difficult to predict.

I say this, but in tournaments, most of the time - the way to win is to prey on people’s fear of losing.
I’ve been in bronze as many times as diamond :laughing:

but it makes for action poker @DjVortex - that is what I think prominence is.

The only thing it is tight about lately is royal flushes.
Lately as in the last 2 years. Seen one.

But 4 straight flushes this week.

Interestingly, there have been a lot more high card hands, but no-one dares to bet on the chaotic randomness of all the winning cards being on the deck instead of in someone’s hand.

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Sooooooo, since we are establishing credibility (or dare I say dominance if i read between the lines) by touting our experience first, then let me retort. I also have been a programmer and maintained that skill for over 40 years. I was a programmer before it was a thing for the general public to have access to in their homes. I started as a kid programmer with a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A building games and address books using TI basic. If you know programming then you might imagine how difficult that might be especially adding graphical sprites to boot. Since then, I have become a pretty knowledgeable cybersecurity executive/architect who has years of actually doing the operations, systems engineering, architecture design and forensic analysis of the various components being questioned here.

Next and with regard to poker street cred, I have actually made it to the final table in the largest poker tournament held in the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia) area. This was at the MGM. This was done by beating over 700 other real live and very good opponents across the east coast. I have also played live at the Bellagio, Venetian, and several other Vegas casinos and done well. Finally, I run and or participate in several poker leagues that each host anywhere from 30 - 50 players every week in mock live tournament play.

So, hopefully I qualify to speak on this subject and do a slight bit of a response for those of us who do recognize a problem with Prominence Poker. So, I think what folks who say there is not a problem can’t understand, is that we are ALL here to help a good game improve whether we praise it OR find valid faults with the way it is designed now. Also, no disrespect to the original author of this post, but part of the reason why we can’t find great games to actually gamble with Poker anywhere but in Vegas or other specific places is because of the programming he or she may have been responsible for developing. Long story there but I think the US congress got involved and made poker gambling online illegal because of the “irregularities” in some of those systems. But again, I don’t know you personally so, I will stay focused on the subject. I say what I said only to convey that regardless of my background or anyone elses who posts here, NONE of us really knows what Prominence Poker is actually doing behind the scenes. So it is unfair to gas light someone on purpose or accidently; no matter how well intentioned you think you are being. People have been provided a forum here to voice their concerns about what they are seeing for a reason.

In any case, I get the notion to provide some calming reasoning to the community, but you seem to admit that there are at least some symptoms of irregularities that you (the author of this post) attribute to “true randomization” not being attainable. Fair, but what can’t be escaped in that line of reasoning is that Prominence Poker has competition. What you fail to ask yourself if you just assume that everyone that complains is silly, stupid or an inexperienced/uninformed player/developer, is that they may have some of those competing games on their systems as comparison of how bad Prominence Poker may be at randomness. They may bring the same or more experience than you regarding what a more carefully developed algorithm and real poker play looks like and how close PC or console games should come to realness based on all that data. Really good players want to be good everywhere so, what you may have not realized or taken into account before making your determination about us is that; one, we probably have ALL or MOST of the competing games that come on the PC and console; and two, we more than likely play ALL of them because they ALL have flaws in some way, but still help improve our games no matter how annoying their flaws are. That could be a scenario right? However again, I am speculating. I don’t know what other’s do, I know that is my use case. If others like me want to chime in then please by all means. I don’t think I am unique. So have at it.

I wont bother going into your treatment of the various silly plays others can make while playing online. I agree, sort of. There are several reasons why real people will go all in with 7/2o against A/Ao. Let’s talk about those that make sense so readers learn vs. walk away feeling ridiculed or that their side scored by calling someone silly or stupid. For the record, I agree that probably most of the time, some unlucky newbie is trying poker out for the first time and trying many ways to build their game by playing any 2 cards in a FREE game. It makes sense. Why? It potentially builds a lot of areas of their game if they learn why they are doing it over time. The person on the other end of that play should not just attribute that play to a silly or stupid player and instead ask themselves how they could have played that same hand smartly in the position they were in consistently. Why? Because premium hands SHOULDN’T come all the time to newbies or female avatar players Pipeworks (HINT HINT about a possible fix). If, after reasoning why the 7/2o player made that play, you come to no conclusion as to why, then that in of itself could be a strategy for that 7/20 playing player if they pushed you off your nuts thinking they had another hand. If they failed and lost but still have a stack or a second chance at you via rebuy, then they may have been paying for information. But again, my point here is not to teach poker. I am just trying to get the folks on the other side of this discussion to try to do less name calling or assuming someone else’s poker/software skill/knowledge. We appreciate the effort, but most of us probably have enough demonstrable and competitive product evidence/experience to make the right call on the issues we are seeing with Pipeworks without a tutorial in randomization.

Let us instead change to LISTENING to each other’s perspectives and seeing how we can help this good game be great. That is what we are all here to do. Frankly, I am a pretty busy person. So, the fact that I took this much time to write anything says I how much I appreciate most of the rest of the product Prominence Poker offers. However, its flaws are like dealing with razor blade cuts while swimming in a salt water ocean to me. They are so annoying as to make the rest of a great game almost unusable to the folks like me who experience the same problem. So if we all agree that the randomization of this product is the issue then fine; instead of selling me worthless power up items, clothes, and table items, charge me whatever you need for the game so it can get all the technology it needs to make the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF IT HAVE INTEGRITY. The game must always shuffle the cards supremely and deal fairly to every player without any change on every street and hand no matter the level or sex the player plays at or with. Anything else, makes the rest of the experience so horrible for real players practicing or really competing that they don’t want to play the game. For the record, it does not matter if it is play money or not if you are truly a competitor looking to improve your game. That is why you are feeling the emotion from the folks who are making themselves heard about this issue.

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Your reply to my post has absolutely nothing to do with what I wrote.