The fairness debate

Unless you get “lucky” enough to be on a table full of “bingo” players. For some reason or another this site rewards “bad” play with way too much regularity.

You’re just under the illusion of the site rewarding bad play.
Lets say someone goes all in with AA. A maniac calls with T9s and another calls with 56s. The person would only win 56% of the time. Its more like a coin toss of who win.

The odds of the bad plays aren’t as bad as you think.

Then how would you explain a player going all-in with QQ after a 3Q9 flop and get called by 7 5 off and lose. Basically, they are betting on runner runner. And this site DOES pay off runner runner more than gaming odds predict. Last time I checked a “dependent runner runner” (you have to hit both cards) draw is slightly better than 4%.

I’m new! This is a very fun but frustrating site. Many times when out of position with poor starting cards I fold ( correct right ). Guess what, i’m flopped 2 pair, trips,str. or fh. When I bet good starting cards rarely do I hit anything. I’ve had AK suited and unsuited, raised and 5 times no hits. The poker books say that if you are dealt AK , you’ll flop at least one Ace or king 32.4 % of the time. This happens quite frequently with seems much more than random. I might start to keep track of this for better information. I see where you can write down the hand # for later review. I hope this site has random cards but i seem to get many unsuited single digit cards for games on end. Sometimes never seeing face cards. When I do hit a big hand sometimes it’s a spilt pot.
Thank you for your fun site and I have whined and feel much better :wink:
Dave aka Wildcat15
Can’t find the send button

After talking to Paul Gould for a couple of hours one day, I believed the site used a random pattern. I no longer believe that. Sure wish I did. But, I believe that the programming for this site is geared to get almost everyone at the table to BET. The sooner they lose their chips… maybe the sooner they will buy chips? Don’t know. I just don’t feel anything random about the spreads and what everyone is dealt. Still, I play when I can. - feistyOne

Yep to many straights and full houses. Top pair with top kicker rarely wins, I won a couple of times with 2 pair but usually lose to a str or fh. It seems that lower ranking players get better starting hands and hit on the turn and river. It seems that to win you must bet big and then you hit your cards. Fun site but am afraid it’s not random cards. However, it’s free and lots of different tournaments, freerolls, etc. Most of the players seem to be very nice and I look forward to playing here.

We do take our random number generator seriously, enough that we’ve had it certified:

While we do make money by selling play chips, it doesn’t make sense to rig the game – nobody wants to play an unfair hand of poker, least of all us. We genuinely enjoy the game and want to make sure other people can too. No fair games, no players, no poker, right? That would be super boring!

In our system, random is truly random. The dealer program has no regard for player history or what cards you’ve been dealt in the past, nor does it account for the cards that have been dealt previously at the table. It does not calculate the types of hands that will be dealt and it certainly does not favor one player over another.

Here’s how the dealer works: For each hand, we create a new deck deck of cards ordered lowest to highest. A card is then randomly selected from that deck and put it into another deck. This process is repeated until every card has been randomly selected from the first deck and moved to the second deck. After the second (entirely random) deck is complete, the dealing process begins from the top of the deck just as you would have in real life poker. As mentioned before, this process has absolutely no knowledge of anybody’s hands or previous decks.

What you might be seeing is the scale at which the dealer is working, which is certainly much larger than any one dealer in a casino. Say you’re dealing with a million hands per day – that’s still 320,400 AK flips per day.
Obviously that math isn’t the best, since the chances of getting AK pockets are going to vary too, but it’s still a heck of a lot of hands, most of which one player couldn’t sit through without getting bed sores!

Hey Gatzby, Thank you very much for the information regarding the random card dealer . How someone figured that out is amazing! Sense I rarely win unless I have a str or better, looks like a lot of folding is in my future. I still go on tilt when i fold poor cards out of position and a str. or fh flops. Poker right! :wink: Keep up the good works and thanks again for the interesting dealer info.

P.S. I finally hit a K with AK in my pocket, & won the pot.

Awesome! Congratulations!

I tried it out in our staff tournament today, thinking of this thread… let’s just say I placed in the top ten. Out of ten players. Ahem.

I’m curious - I’ve been playing for several months now and was once over 1 million chips but lost a couple of big bets and now I’m down. Mostly play in the tournaments as I think the ring games are just too crazy. Regarding the random shuffle and certification - if it is truly random then why does the chip leader at a table in a tournament win the majority of the hands? I just lost 4 hands in a row because the chip leader stayed in with crap and pulled the winner on the river. I like the site since it is free and it is better than other poker sites I’ve played on but no one will ever convince me the dealing is random. I’ve played too many hands and just don’t see random dealings. Thanks!

WildJoe, Been there, lost like u did too. Because there is no real $$$$, players stay in with poor cards and drawing hands that $$$ players would have folded. Way to many high hands. I seem to receive very good 2nd best hands. Others win with 2 pair or even top pair but I usually need a str or better to win a pot. ie; lost A full of queens to 4 of a kind. It seems that the person that goes all in or makes a big bet is the winner, even if they have the poorest cards. I’ve seen AA & KK get drawn out many times. So, I just have fun and don’t worry about the bad beats and suck outs. Wish I had the $$ to play real poker but I don’t, so here I am having as much fun as possible. Good luck to you in your next tourney!

Can confirm; random is random. We’ll continue to evaluate the options out there to help us improve the site, but as far as dealing random cards… it makes no sense for us to impede that.

If we don’t run a fair site, we don’t make players happy If players aren’t happy, we don’t have poker games. =) That’s our logic. There are a lot of places to play poker online, so treating players unfairly is just a bad idea. The strength of our community is definitely one of the best aspects of Replay (I might be a bit biased, though.) and we don’t ever want that to change – we like you guys.

Yes, you can buy chips, but you never have or need to most cases. Take the Replay Poker Online Series: the best way to end up in the finals is to hang out, play freerolls, and keep an eye on your bankroll.

On a personal note, I’m the unluckiest and cheapest person at the table – free poker is the only way I’ll play, because everything else feels like a poor decision on my part. (I’m bad… I cannot resist a terrible call.) I’m certainly not going to try to force anyone into playing something I wouldn’t, and I wouldn’t put my name on something I felt was unfair or disingenuous.

That said, bugs happen and if there is one, we want to know about it, so thank you to everyone here for keeping an eye out for anything abnormal. Please, by all means, continue to report any issues you have, or weird things you notice. We can investigate from our side and verify that all the code is working.

Thank you gatzby for the info.

Played freeroll as you suggested. Folded poor starting cards out of position, for about 7 hands in a row my poor cards flopped every time. Many two pairs, str and a fh. I had KK in my pocket, bet big, one better came along, good flop, big bet, he came again, turn was an Ace, a one ,two or 3 out card that could beat me . Yes he had the Ace in his pocket. Took 19th in the tourney. Why when I fold does it flop & when I bet usually hit nothing. Poo!

Oh well stuff happens;)

good to hear that, i also never assume this site is rigged because no one has something to gain with that, also i don’t think you are the kind of people who would do that. and as you already said there would be not much fun in it if you lose that way that often so it won’t help much of buying chips. also for the players it won’t help at all.

however there is one thing i thought about: i have very often that many good hands turn out badly and the other way around, also there are many many other players with the same kind of problem, so it’s something you can’t ignore. i know bad luck and variance is just part of the game. but i also know that this is happens a huge amount of the time, and also that it happens with many players who are having the same kind of trouble.
but to the point: could it be possible that there is a bug with the shuffler? and if it is, is it findable and curable? if it is it would help many players a lot!

hope this helps.

“Every life is a unique random business” - Bangambiki Habyarimana

You don’t create randomness; randomness is. The problem is not the end results, what we call “randomness”. The problem is the midwife, the shuffle. In trying to create disorder, it creates some kind of order and that is the deception. A randomizer, which is supposedly designed to create disorder, precisely creates order. This, of course is impossible; yet it is. A true enigma.

We want Dionysus and we get Apollo. I keep calling with a King high flush and I keep getting beat with an Ace high flush. By brother keeps calling with an Ace high flush and he keeps getting beat by a Straight Flush. Oh, the agony of life and what it does to our minds!!!


Thanks Scratch,

Just whining and complaining because of endless single digit off suit cards. Then AK or pocket pair comes and I bet and bet and get beat by 4/8 off suit two pair hit on the river by a low stakes player .

I have had 100’s of open and flush draws but they miss about 80% of the time. However, when a low stakes players makes a big bet with rags, he regularly hits his one, two or three out card; str8 or full house beating my trips or better. If I do have the " nuts " many times the other caller also has them for a split pot.

My experience on rp. Nice people to play with ; lots of fun and sometimes very frustrating because of the numerous bad beats.

Keep up the good work and have a wonderful Holiday Season!


Dave on Lacamas Lake []

A lot of bad beats are the result of something called “the schooling principal.” (“Schooling” in this case refers to fish, not education) To illustrate…

A player min raises to 2000 and gets 4 callers, making the pot 10,000.

Player 1 bets 5,000 on the flop, making the pot 15,000.

Player 2 is getting 3-1 pot odds and calls with a flush draw. This is a bad call at the moment, but the pot is now up to 20,000.

Player 3 is getting 4-1 and calls with an open ender. This is also a bad call for now, but there is now 25,000 in the pot.

Player 4 is getting 5-1 and calls with bottom pair, making the pot 30,000.

Player 5 is now getting 6-1 and calls with an Uno card and a fake Magic the Gathering foil rare because, hey, why not? The pot is now 35,000.

Because the fish have schooled, something magical has happened. EVERYBODY has risked 5,000 to win 30,000. EVERYBODY got 6-1 pot odds, and a lot of the bad calls have turned into good calls.

There is a good chance your blah blah blah is going to get beat when one of them hits a yadda yadda yadda.

How do you avoid this?

You don’t.

Yeah, there are things you can do to avoid letting this happen, at least to some extent, but the best defense is to understand the dynamics of the schooling principal and avoid the situation altogether when you can.

In my opinion, the schooling principal is the #1 reason this site sees so many bad beats.


This may be the single best written explanation I’ve read. Thank you for taking the time to post this. I’ve tried to explain this using generalities and that simply does not have the impact of the simple example you used here.

My question to you, as a new user of this site, is how the heck do you scatter the darn school? This is the most vexing problem I’ve encountered on the site so far. The standard play I am used to simply does not seem valid here. Pre-flop raises seem to be called (and just called) by 50% or more of the table, from all positions and with a range of hands that I’ve never in life seen before. I mean I’m not playing Q5o on purpose from almost anywhere and certainly not out of position facing a raise of 3-4BB. Yet here, it happens so frequently that its gotten into my head. I’m usually pretty happy to see large pocket pairs when I play but here they are a bit of a nightmare so far.

Any advice you can give on culling hands pre-flop would be very appreciated. Is there some pain threshold that people wont call here without being so overly aggressive that it becomes a game of bingo? Lets say 9-player game (tournament) and everyone is still relatively deep, with 50+BB. I’m UTG and wake up with K’s. So far I’ve tried 3,4,5 and 6BB raises and still had 3+ callers. Its worse when you are mid-position and already had 2+ limpers come in to the pot. I feel that unless I raise an absurd amount, I am going to a flop with 5+ players and that does not bode well for pocket pairs.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer questions. I am frankly having a rough time adjusting to the play here so advice from people who have been successful already is welcomed. I don’t want to beat myself up by trying to do the same thing over and over to no avail and I also don’t want to warp my game so far out of shape that it doesn’t translate back to live play.

*** after posting this, I went back to the subject of the thread and realized this is not the place for this particular question. sorry for veering off topic. If I should erase and post elsewhere, please let me know and I’ll do so.

I have yet to find a way to eliminate the risks, but you can minimize them.

Position is more important than usual, at least at the buyins I play. (I almost exclusively play medium MTTs, rarely ring games)

I sometimes just shove big pairs to limit the field. This works a lot of the time, and I still get enough callers to make it worth considering.

If you are in late position with a lot of limpers already in, you might try to just limp too. Save your big bets for the flop if you think you’re still good. Pot sized bets will drive out some hands, but expect to be called by any straight draw, flush draw, or even small pairs sometimes. Why risk a big bet if you are going to get called by 3 or more players where you are a marginal favorite at best vs the field?

On draw heavy boards, switch to a pot control strategy. Bet just enough to make it incorrect for them to chase, and expect them to chase anyway. Be more willing to release if it looks like they got there.

Random strangers are dangerous. If they don’t know your game, they won’t respect your game. Against people who only consider their own cards, ABC poker works best.

You’ll usually know when someone hits their hand. Inexperienced players aren’t know for their finesse, but also be aware that way too many people slow play way too many hands here.

So how do you “scatter the darn school?” You don’t. All you can usually do is play more pot control type lines and be willing to accept the higher variance.

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Then how would you explain a player going all-in with QQ after a 3Q9 flop and get called by 7 5 off and lose. Basically, they are betting on runner runner. And this site DOES pay off runner runner more than gaming odds predict. Last time I checked a “dependent runner runner” (you have to hit both cards) draw is slightly better than 4%.