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What Is "Random" ?

Discussion in 'Online Casinos' started by Simmo!, Apr 2, 2007.

    Apr 2, 2007
  1. Simmo!

    Simmo! Moderator Staff Member

    Web Dev.
    Hi all,

    Seen a few debates over the years about whether or not casinos are "random". Everyone has their own opinions of course, but how do you define random?

    For example, the common conception of random in our arena would probably equate to the thought of numbers being picked out "lottery style" - totally at random and thrown our way, constituting a win or not. Personally, this is how I feel the big software companies do it although likely in a more complex manner.

    However, if one assumes that the numbers are picked out "deliberately" to form a sequence, is this still not randomly delivered? If 5 players are playing a game, which one of them gets which number is still random right?

    Of course the third "theory" is that rather than one RNG per game or casino, there is one RNG per player, in which case maybe a pre-determined sequence is delivered to an individual which in itself is not "random" as such. I don't believe this latter happens myself, but, if one assumes that a Video Poker game has a 98.5% payout does this not mean that over time you will get the expected result and therefore, it is still random, will still have highs and lows?

    Be interested in other's takes on what constitutes random (in particular GrandMaster and Zoozie), and more interestingly in fact, where does "random" stop being random?


  2. Apr 2, 2007
  3. AudiManinBoro

    AudiManinBoro Ueber Meister MM

    To me, random should mean `accidental`, a sequence of events not influenced, not coerced, not assisted and not manipulated in any sense of the word. Something unpredictable. yet as well know there are a few games, especially in the past I believe which WERE predictable. Senior members of this thread wrote about it once, about how patterns were visible in some of the games. The fact that MG seems to have fixed it means nothing, at least to me. Its just a possibility that they have become more adept at hiding said patterns. If theres a pattern it isnt random and you cant argue with that.
  4. Apr 2, 2007
  5. gerilege

    gerilege Meister Member PABnorogue PABrogue

    I hope I understood your question.

    I tried to give a brief explanation about randomness in this post from another perspecitve:

    In this case it depends on what do you mean by "picked out deliberately". Take a deck of cards, and denote the cards with 1,2,3,52. For example, if you always put back the cards, and you "deliberately" deliver 1,1,1,...,1, it is obviously not random, no matter which player gets which card. Similarly always delivering the 1,2,3,...,52 sequence is also obviously not random. I think what you meant is:
    - All cards are delivered, and each card is delivered only once.
    - The order is somehow predetermined.
    - Players getting the predetermined cards in random order, e.g. who gets the next card is random.

    This case is trickier, but the last point will not ensure randomness. Lets assume that the game is Texas Holdem, and the deck is pre-arranged, but you dont know how. You are the second player, and get the Ace of Spades (1) and the King of Hearts (26). The first player got the first and second cards of the deck, which were King of Spades (13) and Queen of Spades (12), other players got whatever they got. Now the flop comes. If the deck was not pre-arranged, you would have 6% chance that the King of Spades flops. If the deck was pre-arranged, you would have 0% chance for that.

    Of course one can think that you have the same chance no matter that the deck was pre-arranged, because the King of Spades can be in someone elses hand anyway, but not with 100% probability, only after the shuffle is done. So the fact that you dont know that the deck was pre-arranged (but it was), doesnt ensure you the same gaming conditions, when the deck is random. When the deck is random, it might happen that someone else holds the King of Spades. When no shuffle is done, it might not happen that someone else doesnt hold it.

    With other words, when the RNG is biased, the fact that one cant be sure about the exact bias doesnt eliminate the bias in the RNG.

    But if your question was: Does it matter whether you shuffle the whole deck before the deal, or you just get random cards one by one? Then it doesnt matter.
  6. Apr 2, 2007
  7. Slotster!

    Slotster! I predict a riot. CAG

    al Hazard
    Location, Location!
    I read somewhere that sat waiting at a zebra crossing is a good random number generator in terms of how many people cross. Might be a bit dull if you're looking for a big number though.

    I struggle with the whole 'random' concept, because there always has to be something that influences something else to produce the number. Like the lottery balls for example, if the machine didn't spin at that exact speed, or they didn't press the button at that exact moment...

    I've thought about this a lot and it ALWAYS makes my head hurt.

    What was that piece once about RNG's at online casino's being produced by white noise through something something? (As technically accurate as ever there!)

    Interesting stuff nonetheless.
  8. Apr 2, 2007
  9. chuchu59

    chuchu59 gambling addict CAG PABnonaccred

    Personally, I do find that most of the table games and slots for the Big 4 software is quite random. What I worry about (without any real proof) is whether the 'randomness' is diminished when the bet size is increased.
  10. Apr 2, 2007
  11. CasinoForumu

    CasinoForumu Dormant account

    random in casino games=modern myth
  12. Apr 2, 2007
  13. trips to win

    trips to win Dormant account

    own a hospitality business
    upstate NY
    I have no clue but I truly believe that the listed payout percentages give a false sense of hope. I also believe that most casinos can turn off the big wins whenever they feel like it by tampering/screwing with the software. They give some pretty big hits when there are 100 free spins or a 1 hour free spin promo. Then deposit and see how far your deposit and bonus goes.
    And another thing while I'm ranting and raving- what the flying F is with the reels that jump? There's the 2 TV's and the golden 7 on Couch Potato !! WOOHOO !!! HUH? A reel jumps and now there's 1 TV and a golden 7 for a win of $0.00? Happens a lot too. More than I personally think it should. :mad:
  14. Apr 2, 2007
  15. 3Dice

    3Dice I-Gaming Industry Representative

    A series of numbers could be labeled 'random' if it exhibits the following properties.

    1. Equally distributed.

    After an infinite amount of numbers, each possible outcome has to occur the same nr of times. This is not so difficult to understand, and comes quite naturally to most people.

    2. Unpredictability.

    This one is a little more difficult. People often get confused when thinking about this, particulary because of the confusion raised by the difference between predetermined and predictable. One needs to understand that these two things are something totally different. It's not because some sequence is predetermined, that it is predictable. The easiest way to imagine this is the following. Lets assume a real random sequence exists. (and it does - no worries). Ok, so we write it down. We now have a piece of paper with a perfectly correct random number sequence. It's gonna be really hard to argue that it is not predictable tho, since we know the next number, its on the paper. However, the clue of course is that its only predictable IF you have the piece of paper. This type of random is called a pseudo-random, and modern day fysiscs sugests that it is the only type of random that really exists. (cfr cellular automata, quantum physics, ..).

    Instead of a piece of paper, many methods have been devised that give correct evenly distributed unpredictable pseudo-random nrs. (that is, they are unpredictable for anyone that doesnt have the formula, the 'paper', and this formula or paper cannot be derived from looking at just the output).

    Its not that difficult to understand, but as a sidenote I would like to note that the very concept of it is completely against the human nature. Our brain is designed to detect paterns, even if they are not related by cause. (that is we notice 22 coming after 11 and our brain will give it a different meaning than any other number coming after 11 even if its just totally "random".)

    just my 2cent.
  16. Apr 2, 2007
  17. EasyRhino

    EasyRhino Dormant account

    San Diego
    There was a goofy online sweepstakes thing I entered last year that might be illustrative. People could enter all month and play a dumb little game, but there was only ONE big prize. When I was reading the full rules, the following could be apparent:

    1) People were playing more or less all month.
    2) At one (random, heh) time during the month, the grand prize would become "unlocked".
    3) The next player who "won" the game would then win the prize.

    So really, the winner was whoever stumbled into the game at the right time.

    A slot works very similarly, except it's generating a wide range of outcomes (from zero to big jackpot), and just selects the current one when someone happens to spin the reels.

    A card-based game works similarly, but there's the additional constraint that as each card is removed from the deck, it must be tagged so that the software will not draw it again until a shuffle.

    The thing that's a pain about random number generators is the "seed". I'm not a programmer, but since computers are very deterministic and uncreative, a random number generator needs a seed value in order to operate. If you give the same RNG the same seed 10 times in a row, you're going to get the result 10 times in a row.

    So, let's say the seed you use is the current calendar day. That means that the RNG is going to produce the same outcome for every spin of the reels on that day. That would be abysmal. So, I understand that many seeds use something like the millisecond decimal of a computer's system time, thus they have a seed which basically changes continuously.

    I've heard of RNGs that sample background radiation from space to use as the seed. A programmer friend wanted to use it when setting up a football pool. :)
  18. Apr 2, 2007
  19. dominique

    dominique Dormant account

    The Boonies
    Yes, we are hardwired that way. It allowed humans back in the cave days to identify poisonous fruit etc, and invent stuff too.

    Intelligence is widely judged by the ability to connect patterns, and animals that are better at it than others seem more intelligent to us.

    So the random concept goes against every grain in our make-up. It is what makes gambling so fascinating, but it is also what drives some people to irresponsible gambling. People keep looking for that pattern (system) that will allow them to conquer the game.

    By definition, this can never happen.

    Or they figure that the next hit is just around the corner, which, really, no one can predict. It may well happen, and you could hit free spins or something 10 times in a row, or you may have a loooooooooooong dry spell.

    Again, by definition this cannot be predicted.

    There are branches of philosophy that say that there is nothing random, that all things are predetermined by all kinds of factors. This may well be true, but what we define as "randomness" today happens in a way where our brains are unable to detect patterns.

    This is a never ending brain tease, and the actual reason why lots of very intelligent people find themselves drawn to gambling is because it stimulates the brain.
  20. Apr 2, 2007
  21. happygobrokey

    happygobrokey Dormant account

    student of life
    first it should be put forward that virtual/simulated cards are going to be more random than live/tangible cards. with true cards, during shuffling some groups of cards will stay together. even when the dealer "washes" the cards, it is likely that somewhere two of the cards would still lay beside each other on the next deal.

    when you replace cards with numbers in a bag and draw them all out one at a time to constitute a randomly shuffled deck, any repeated sequences are purely from chance. of course this is also true if the deck is being constantly shuffled throughout the hand (or rather, the numbers chosen out as needed and not arranged prior to beginning the hand).

    think about deal or no deal. if you wrote down ahead of time in what order you wanted to eliminate the cases, you're no less likely to win than someone choosing as they go along.

    same is not exactly the case for a slot machine. it does not know what it is going to pay out until you press spin, whereupon it chooses a win (randomly but weighted to favour small and zero wins) and displays it on the interface to the player. it does not set out its whole day, or its next 52 or 5 spins in advance. one spin is akin to one hand/deal of cards.

    just as there are millions of ways to arrange a deck of cards, so are there ways to set 3 or 5 reels of however many symbols per reel. hitting the top jackpot would be like having the first twelve cards of a deck come out AAAAKKKKQQQQ or whatever. hmm, i know i'm still missing part of this somewhere, but that's about all the real insight i can offer.

    here's some odd news: some researchers think the world is not random. they think when something is about to happen (like animals foretelling a coming storm) that some force exists to indicate or possibly induce the event to occur. they set up random event generators in multiple places on the earth, which essentially flip a coin over and over without stopping, apparently, on 11 september 2001, the coins were falling disproportionately in one direction all day long (the graph looked like perhaps 65-70%). it was never mentioned if the reverse happened on any other day to balance it out, or if this was the average of all the machines or just one in new york or whatever. buncha poppycock if you ask me.

    they also talked about how nostradamus used a lot of metaphors, vaguely describing types of events that will always recur (wars, fires, political upheaval), to get people to draw conclusions after an event to make the connection in reverse, figuring that "had to be" what he was writing about. for instance, the twin towers attack is supposedly predicted by him, but he used the term "big rocks" and foresaw this taking place in 1999. some say that two years off is margin for error, some also say the date is reversed because the attack happened on 9.11.1 if you leave out the "200" part of the year.

    this is just like on "penn and teller present: bullshit". they send a guy to three psychics, dressing and acting differently each time. they try and pick up the clues and just fudge it into something meaningful. looking like a bum with a beard and unironed clothes, he was told he'd get a job soon etc etc. dressed in a suit and yelling at a subordinate over his cell phone (an hour after being at the first medium) he was told his job was stressing him out and he would suffer a stroke or some other loss if he didn't slacken the fast pace etc etc. then he goes to the third one dressed real casual and talking to his wife on the phone, and sure enough he's told he's a decent respectable family man and that he may have another baby on the way soon. friggin scam artists!
  22. Apr 3, 2007
  23. tencardcharlie

    tencardcharlie Dormant account

    The playboy mansion.
    I would define random only as something that does not follow a deterministic pattern, and therefore cannot be completely predicted.

    It's important to note that random and fair are two very different things. A BJ game where the probability that the dealer would get Blackjack is 20% can still be random. The outcomes does not have to be evenly distributed. A toss with a weighted coin is random, as long as you cannot predict with 100% certainty if you will get heads or tails.
  24. Apr 3, 2007
  25. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    STILL At Leisure
    United Kingdom

    I rather suspect casino games are weighted or modified in some way from the raw RNG output, which itself is as random as one can get with electronic methods.

    I used to play Cabin Fever in tournaments a while ago, and one thing I noticed was long spells where the sun kept hitting on the first reel pretty much every other spin, other times it went into modes where it hardly hit at all. The vast majority of bonus rounds triggered in spells where the sun kept hitting on the first reel. I did not analyse this further, but it could be an extremely short reel with one sun, and the last reel a long one with one sun. if the first reel is longer but exhibits a cyclic preference for certain sectors it would show some kind of rotational weighting is being used to make the games more "exciting" to play.

    Some say atoms are completely random, and if you have a collection of them it is impossible to make sense of what they will be doing even a second in the future. However, when you have trillions upon trillions and then some more you have a body of atoms, such as the atmosphere, which while even more complicated, is no longer truly random, and while the behaviour of any given part cannot be predicted, the general behaviour of large portions is pretty much predictable for a week or so ahead. This behaviour is often featured on the telly, so that we can be told with a reasonable degree of accuracy whether we will get wet (a lot of bonuses), or whether several days of drought are likely, (1000 spins without a bonus round in slot terms).

    Perhaps a climate model could be nicked from NASA, along with the computers needed to run the latest MG casino, and the parameters altered to forecast the slots instead of the clouds:)
  26. Apr 4, 2007
  27. dealer wins

    dealer wins Experienced Member

    Finncial Controler
    London the sh$thole
    For me random means just that. Cards/dice/roulette ball etc are not pre-determined in any way and are generated by a genuine RNG.

    I am in the camp that most casinos DONT have a true RNG and retain some sort of control on winning v losing within certain amounts.

    I have also noticed that when playing for a bonus the control seems worse than normal.

    Using Wagerworks BJ for an example there is NO WAY that it is random when trying to achieve a bonus, yet when not playing towards a bonus it seems reasonably random.

    I have played a lot (Too much over the last 20 years!!!) of blackjack in Land casinos and have been through hundreds of winning streaks and even more losing streaks. But there is something about most online blackjack just does not "feel right".

    Or maybe im just a totally paranoid, superstitious, degenerate gambler:lolup:
  28. Apr 4, 2007
  29. AudiManinBoro

    AudiManinBoro Ueber Meister MM

    i think your conerns are probably somewhat more true than not, they are in it to make money after all. Pointless if they didnt lol
  30. Apr 4, 2007
  31. Simmo!

    Simmo! Moderator Staff Member

    Web Dev.
    But this intimates that the results are dished out "per gambler" in a defined pattern, ie: clearly not randomly, but I can think of 3 good reasons why this is unlikely: firstly, the Alderney licensing regulations which govern WW are very strict and I can't see any way they would allow this. Secondly, I don't think big brands like Virgin or Paddy Power would want to risk their brands on such a contentious point - if it were ever proved that this was the case with WW sofwtare, there would be a huge kerfuffle! Thirdly, the payout returns for the games would be falsely stated as WW are the only s/ware company to provide ER in the paytables (an Alderney regulation).

    I think if a software provider were to program a casino like this, the last place they would choose to regulate them would be Alderney!
  32. Apr 4, 2007
  33. erp1

    erp1 Dormant account

    The problem for us players is in reality not the raw RNG. The issue is how the software transforms the received random number between zero and one to an exposed symbol/card.

    A card game is random and fair if and only if each not yet exposed card have the same probability to become the next exposed card.

    The main concern is if the software translates the random number to a specific card/symbol by using some kind of weight to manipulate the outcome.
  34. Apr 4, 2007
  35. KasinoKing

    KasinoKing WebMeister & Slotaholic.. CAG MM PABnonaccred webmeister

    House-Husband and Casino Advisor
    Bexhill on sea, England
    This from a guy who is promoting online casinos...
    So you send players there believing they'll get ripped off...? :eek:

    100% certainly agree.

    Spot on!
    The thing is, the casinos don't need to rig their games - their income is guaranteed by the mathematics of each game (all have a house edge), and by the human nature behaviour of gamblers.

    As Simmo! pointed out - if the 'Big Names' did get caught cheating there would be a total outcry.
    Remember, all online casinos are in the public domain - anyone anywhere on the planet could play their games over a long sample and prove conclusively if the results were within the overall expected % or not.

    Another thing, there must be 100's if not 1000's of ex casino managers, other senior employees, software company staff etc.. in the world who would know if the games were 'rigged' in some way. I for one do not recall ever seeing a post from one of these people revealing 'the truth'. Maybe they will now... :rolleyes:

  36. Apr 4, 2007
  37. AudiManinBoro

    AudiManinBoro Ueber Meister MM

    in the Uk tv shows and programmes have been rigging their phone in comeptitions for YEARS but it has only just recently come to light! just because they havent been caught doesnt mean they are not doing so.
  38. Apr 4, 2007
  39. dealer wins

    dealer wins Experienced Member

    Finncial Controler
    London the sh$thole
    Indeed. And the scary thing is that LOADS of different companies have admitted rigging their competitions now that this form of gambling has been thrown into the limelight. Even a childrens program was guilty of blatently cheating and had to apologise on live TV to their young audience.

    And it all came to light over a contestant who was chosen to win noticing that the competition she "won" was still advertising their premium number to everyone who obviously had ZERO chance of winning.

    And you can be sure that these companies knew exactly what they were doing and were so complacent because they had been scamming for years.

    Trust nothing that is not checked INDEPENDENTLY, including surprise "spot checks" Until online gaming is regulated in this way no software can be trusted IMO. Where money is concerned there is always temptation, and where it is virtually certain you will not be caught there is EXTREME temptation. (Trust me :oops: )

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