Blackjack online: Random or Rigged?

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gobucs

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I'm a U.S. player. I've played Blackjack on several websites, and I've seen the same disturbing patterns on every single website. I've played PartyPoker (when it was legal in the US), Bodog casino, and Villento. There were some others, but I don't recall all of their names. These are the main three. The patterns that I'm referring to are numerous, but most notable is the fact that when I bet $1 or $5 a hand I win a reasonable number of those hands. But when I increase the bet to $100 or $200 a hand, I lose an unreasonable number of hands. I've literally played millions of hands and lost well over $100,000 playing Blackjack online. I'm convinced that I'm not getting a fair game. I see delays in the turn cards when a larger bet is made. Almost like the software is searching for a particular card to turn. It sounds crazy I know. But to sit through one session and see what I see on a reoccurring basis leaves me convinced that I'm not getting a fair game. I love Blackjack, it's the only game I care to play, but I don't think I'm ever going to find a fair game online. How can the same patterns exist on every site I've played on? Has anyone else had these issues? Can anyone give me the name of an online casino that accepts US players, and offers a fair game?
GoBucs
 

PSB

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he patterns that I'm referring to are numerous, but most notable is the fact that when I bet $1 or $5 a hand I win a reasonable number of those hands. But when I increase the bet to $100 or $200 a hand, I lose an unreasonable number of hands. I've literally played millions of hands and lost well over $100,000 playing Blackjack online. I'm convinced that I'm not getting a fair game.
gobucs, how can you verify that you've actually played millions of hands?

I have seen the pattern you mention with small samples, but have also received emails from casino support defending their RNG. Their explanations seem to make sense. Still there are plenty of players who join as new players, deposit $50 to start and walk away with $1500 cashouts. Yet I wonder the overall results of high stakes players who actually recorded all their results in a database/spread sheet of sorts.
Can you elaborate more on that front?
It also seems that $1-5 bets are more easily won in free mode...but increase to $100+ and suddenly the dealer "coincidentally" beats your KK with blackjack.
 

SlotsWizard

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I understand your frustration, but I really think most of it boils down to perception.

I cannot count how many times I thought to myself "Self, that felt rigged!" but then I go back and analyze the game logs only to find that the results are surprisingly in line with expectation. I remember at a Rival casino after a streak of seemingly bad luck, I went and checked the logs... the total return was 99.92%, well in line with expectations. Results with Microgaming casinos are similar.

I would recommend restricting your play to casinos that offer you access to your game logs from within the software, without having to jump through hoops of fire to get them. This includes Rival and Microgaming. I'm not sure about others.

Also, call it quits while you're ahead. After a good run, don't start thinking that you can bet bigger and bigger and never experience an equal and opposite downturn in your luck... because you will, eventually, and that's got nothing to do with being rigged and everything to do with the combination of variance and the house edge.

When all else fails and you need some humor, read my New Blackjack Rules. :D
 

lojo

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As well if you chart your play, not by return percentage, but by hands won, lost, or tied - and your 'big bet' sample is large enough - you should see very similar win/lose/push ratio.

But if you chart 10,000 $1,2,5 hands and only 50-100 $100-$300 hands, there can be a large skew, because the big bet sample will not be big enough to truly compare.
 

Eliot Jacobson

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Even more hands needed

Greetings,

When I audit blackjack at on-line casinos, I look for wins/losses/pushes, and also fairness of first card, second card, draw cards, number of hands of each value for the player and dealer, and a host of other metrics (unmentioned to protect the security of the audits).

The monthly audit logs I see may have 500,000 to 1,000,000 hands at some casinos. Even then, I will see RTP's (return to player) between 95% and 102% with a lot of variation in between.

If the THEO (theoretical return to the player) of a blackjack game is 99.5%, I would not expect a reasonable convergence to that number with a simulation of fewer than 100 million hands. Most software programs that model blackjack to obtain numbers accurate to *two* decimal digits, will run for 1 billion hands (or more). For example, see www.qfit.com . The long run is *REALLY LONG* for blackjack.

Based on my personal experience auditing online blackjack, for both casino clients and for players who doubt their fairness, in every case the game offered has been fair. Still, I remain vigilant in my audits. Likewise, you should be vigilant and cautious in your play, but also take into account the incredible variance that happens in these games.

--Eliot
 
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aka23

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I'm a U.S. player. I've played Blackjack on several websites, and I've seen the same disturbing patterns on every single website. I've played PartyPoker...
In the case of Party Casino, the fairness has been questioned by players quite a few times. In the warning on my site, I list the following dealer upcard stats. The chance of this distribution occurring randomly is quite low. I've also noticed the issue that you mentioned with bet raises, although I didn't attempt enough raises to confirm that it was more than random chance.

Dealer 2 -- 234
Dealer 3 -- 177
Dealer 4 -- 128
Dealer 5 -- 323
Dealer 6 -- 178
Dealer 7 -- 261
Dealer 8 -- 323
Dealer 9 -- 321
Dealer T -- 355
Dealer J -- 291
Dealer Q -- 332
Dealer K -- 305
Dealer A -- 285

Having said that, many players do well with this software (former iGlobalMedia) and have results near expectations. Bodog and Villento use different software, and I am not aware of similar issues with their softwares.

But when I increase the bet to $100 or $200 a hand, I lose an unreasonable number of hands.
Via personal play, I have an excellent history with large bets (as much as 400 per hand) on Microgaming software. I am definitely on the positive side of variance.
 

Eliot Jacobson

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In the case of Party Casino ...

Dealer 2 -- 234
Dealer 3 -- 177
Dealer 4 -- 128
Dealer 5 -- 323
Dealer 6 -- 178
Dealer 7 -- 261
Dealer 8 -- 323
Dealer 9 -- 321
Dealer T -- 355
Dealer J -- 291
Dealer Q -- 332
Dealer K -- 305
Dealer A -- 285
If these numbers are accurate, the odds are roughly 1 in 10000000000000000000000000000000000000000 that this (or a worse result) will occur purely by chance. (1.2094E-40).

I have no way of verifying your numbers, I am just telling you the results of a simple chi-squared test.

--Eliot
 
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Eliot Jacobson

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Santa Barbara
Party Gaming quick blackjack audit

Based on the post by aka23, I decided to log on to my Party Gaming account and play blackjack to investigate "first card" bias.

I played their Blackjack - Single Player (Las Vegas Downtown Blackjack) game, in practice mode, flat betting $1 per hand. My play started at 6:05 PM and lasted until 7:20 PM. During this time I played 489 hands and recorded the dealer up-card for each of these hands. These results were:

2 -- 32
3 -- 41
4 -- 36
5 -- 31
6 -- 30
7 -- 36
8 -- 41
9 -- 38
T -- 50
J -- 40
Q -- 38
K -- 36
A -- 40

These results are statistically normal. The expected number for each card was 37.62. The chi-squared statistic is 8.75, which means these results are effectively random. I find no "first card" bias in this game, as I played it, at Party Gaming casino.

--Eliot
 
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aka23

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The numbers I quoted are based on data posted on another forum. He played 3513 hands of Party multi-player blackjack in June 2007, flat betting $1 per hand. He lost ~$1000 over the course of this wagering, then analyzed the game logs and posted the upcard data. He probably still has the game logs, so he may be able to send them to you. I'll PM you contact data.
 

gobucs

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Cincinnati, Ohio USA
You know guys, I appreciate all of your feedback and your statistics, but I don't think it's nearly that complicated. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think so. Last night is a perfect example of something that happens way to often to be called random. I spent the last three days very slowly working my way up to $1100 in my Villento account. During that time I would bet from $1 to $50 but mostly in the $10 to $25 range. Then last night, I increased my wagers to $100 to $200, and as always happens the house went on a rediculous winning streak. I get 20 the house gets 21. I have 15 looking at a 6, the house sucks out, over and over again. I bet $200 I lose, I bet $1 I win. It is not an exageration to say that this happens every single time. I cannot ever recall a time when I increased my wager amount to $100 or $200 and went on my own winning streak. There is definitely something rotten in Denmark here folks, and I'm just shocked that I don't see more complaints like this. Maybe it is me. Maybe I'm hallucinating the whole experience. All I know is that to sit and watch one of these sessions would leave little doubt to anyone that this software is rigged, these online operators are criminals, and the rest of us are just suckers throwing our money into the fire, while the owners of these bogus operations sit on white sandy beaches sipping their Pina Coladas.
I'm done pissing my money away.
Go Bucs
 

scuba44

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Baltimore, USA
I've noticed the same pattern & Black Fridays

Hello gobucs,
I've noticed the same pattern with bodog and grand prive casinos. However, I have no evidence to indicate rigging on higher bets, and the mathematics is beyond my limited understanding. I have noticed another disturbing pattern in these casinos. When I build up my stake with small blackjack bets from Saturday through Thursday, I usually lose it all back to the casino when I play on Fridays making bigger bets. Ergo-I don't play on Fridays anymore. I'm beginning to feel that I only should play blackjack at live tables which, obviously, is so much less accessible and convenient for me.
 

Eliot Jacobson

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Location
Santa Barbara
Just so you know...

Greetings,

When I audit, I filter the overall data into a separate file containing wagers above x (x varies from time to time) and run my audit tests on that file in addition to the overall file. This technique is part of the "vast unknown" of my audits, and I don't want to give up any more about it.

There is no statistical evidence that online casino blackjack software favors wins at the lower levels or losses at the higher levels for the major software providers.

I wish I could tell you more, but I have seen my share of big players win big.

--Eliot
 
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lots0

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I sat in Harrah's casino (Reno) one night and watched a blackjack dealer pull 16 21's in less than 30 minutes...

Funny, but no one watching or playing even suggested that the dealer or the casino were cheating.

I think it had something to do with the random nature of the cards. :rolleyes:
 

jas2587

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Apr 25, 2006
Location
FL
What i don't understand is if you think they
are cheating you why do you continue to
feed them your money??:confused:

I play mostly slots if I dont hit good by the 10th spin I switch games
ive played Tx Hold Em an came in 1st several times
No I will not name the site as it is not a casino
it is a pay to play yearly but that is beside the point

If I am losing I get out while I still have cash:D


Good Luck

Cindy
 

Westland Bowl

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In September, I re-started playing blackjack online after a year off except for one deposit in January that quickly evaporated. Out of a total of $400 in deposits, I've withdrawn about $3,000 and still have $500 left to wager with. I mostly play Vegas Strip Blackjack which the Wizard of Odds state should have a win percentage of 43.31%. I keep my results on a spreadsheet of hands played, wins, losses and pushes. I also calculate the percentage won for that session, a 5-session moving average of win percentage, a 10-session moving average, and a 50-session moving average. I also break up the sessions into 35-hand units for a more even look at what is happening.

If the win-percentage averages are high, like 46% or higher over the past 5 or more sessions, I know I'm bound for a low-win-percentage session(s). I assume the casino doesn't want to get too out-of-bounds with their win percentage (obviously!) So I play cautiously at that time. Well, it's best to play cautiously at ALL times!

Since re-starting, I've played over 8,000 hands and the win percentage since starting is 43.50%. At one time the win percentage was almost 49% for the 10-session average and 45.50% for the 50-session average. Very high numbers. Subsequent to that, the next 50+ sessions were below 43% (on average) in order to bring back the overall percentage since starting back to the norm 43.31%.
-----------------------------------
Ok...some online casinos I've deposited with start out being very aggressive with low win-percentages. I can only speculate why. But I'm sure if you complain, they would say that you started out on the low-end of variance. In any case, the overall wins and cards drawn will eventually pull to the definition of fair randomness. However, I'm not willing to wait until I've played 100 million hands to determine if I would continue to play at that casino.
------------------------------------
Third point.....I do believe that the win percentage and cards drawn are fairly random. However, I also believe the casino software "learns" your style of play. I tend to up my bet after a win rather than martingale after each loss. After winning and withdrawing over $1000, I started to see more LOSING double-downs and splits after a win. It appeared it learned that I up my bets after a win soooo....ta da! In response, I shifted my strategy to wait until a get TWO wins in a row, then up my bet. I avoided many losing dd's and splits but after a while, I started to get losing dd/splits after the double wins. So I learned to shift how I play depending on what I observed happening more often.
-----------------------------------
My forth point has to do with the insidious nature of greed which caused me a lot more gambling losses than anything a reputable casino could do. But this post is already too long.
 
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bernynhel

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I'm not a huge BJ player, but I'm a big online player and have a multi-decade history in Las Vegas and the Gardena, CA card rooms and have observed, unscientifically, granted, a LOT of cards fly. That said, at a BJ table at a poker site that I won't even bother mentioning (AP) I did notate the following after witnessing the same sequence enough times previously to recognize the onset of a suspiciously too-familiar sequence. For 9 hands in a row, I'm dealt crap 12-16 and every time the dealer is also showing crap, a 2-6 and no matter what I did, the dealer would draw the following 2 hands: 2 cards for 21, 3 hands: 1 card for 21, 2 hands: 3 cards for 21, 1 hand: 4 cards for 21 and in 1 hand: 6 cards for 21. With live shoe or a deck of cards? Sure. That could happen. Just as likely I could spot Tiger Woods 2 strokes and still beat him at a round of golf, blind-folded with 1 arm tied behind my back. I just wouldn't bet on it.
 

BigSD

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Bj

Blackjack is just such an amazing game that variance throws up some strange results. If you take a standard 99.5% game and you flat bet just with basic strategy (no card counting) 9 to 5, 6 days a week for two months. You have a 25% chance of being up at the end of the two months.

Quite an amazing game and probably the reason it will always be around.

MCCE.
 

lojo

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I would love to see some scatter charts of Eliots work; no methods of divining, just the results. I look for clumps and clusters in everything:)
 

hakapuku

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You know guys, I appreciate all of your feedback and your statistics, but I don't think it's nearly that complicated. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think so. Last night is a perfect example of something that happens way to often to be called random. I spent the last three days very slowly working my way up to $1100 in my Villento account. During that time I would bet from $1 to $50 but mostly in the $10 to $25 range. Then last night, I increased my wagers to $100 to $200, and as always happens the house went on a rediculous winning streak. I get 20 the house gets 21. I have 15 looking at a 6, the house sucks out, over and over again. I bet $200 I lose, I bet $1 I win. It is not an exageration to say that this happens every single time. I cannot ever recall a time when I increased my wager amount to $100 or $200 and went on my own winning streak. There is definitely something rotten in Denmark here folks, and I'm just shocked that I don't see more complaints like this. Maybe it is me. Maybe I'm hallucinating the whole experience. All I know is that to sit and watch one of these sessions would leave little doubt to anyone that this software is rigged, these online operators are criminals, and the rest of us are just suckers throwing our money into the fire, while the owners of these bogus operations sit on white sandy beaches sipping their Pina Coladas.
I'm done pissing my money away.
Go Bucs
Hello!

I am sure that Microgaming casino software was rigged in October. In November i quit playing there at all so i know nothing about November. All the table games were rigged in October. I will not provide you with the necessary logs, just believe my words. Can you imagine that somebody is playing roulette betting on red or black and receiving constantly 10 and more losing streaks in a raw? And never, never receive even one winning streak like that. I am talkin about thousands of bets. The same losing streaks in bj,baccarat, 3 card poker etc. I am not even talking about slots- they are empty. I am sure that if 10 online players will now deposit 250$ at microgaming casino each and bet 50$ on black or red- then 8 or 9 of them will have a negative result after 5 bets.
Now, to prove that Microgaming software is rigged, we need millions and millions of at least 50$ bets. I don't have that much money to bet, so it is impossible for me to prove,for example, that microgaming Bj and Roulette have 10% house edge when playing relatively big bets.
I don't also believe any consultants. We all remember consultants of Enron.
 
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