Thursday, 11 September 2014

How Trustworthy Are Electronic Cards?

I’ve wondered that for some time. Unlike real cards, electronic cards are shuffled using an algorithm. If real cards are not shuffled thoroughly, there will sometimes be suits that run together; a hand of three aces may turn up in the next hand, as may a straight, either in the hand of one player or around the table. Weird stuff can happen. I can think of two instances, one from the 1970s and another from the 1980s. In the first, two of us were playing stud heads up, and one of us had a straight flush. Then there were similar combinations coming up. A third player joined the game, and the weird stuff stopped dead.

Another time I was watching a game of 5 card stud at Birmingham; one player won a hand with a flush, and the very next hand the same player had another flush. I believe the suits were clubs and diamonds although I can’t remember in which order they appeared. The loser was dismayed because he couldn’t believe this could happen twice in a row in a game where a flush is a rarity, but there was no sleight-of-hand involved.
If you play games with more than one deck, all sorts of weird stuff happens; in the game called seventy-nine, which is played with four decks shuffled together, I have on many occasions seen players dealt hands that require no play, or maybe a player calls with his first draw. All the same, I can’t help feeling there is something not quite right with electronic cards. Here are a few examples.

The above is from a freeroll on PokerStars, December 13, 2012. I had a massive draw, and hit a straight flush. Not so unusual this one. For the record, this earned me the princely sum of 61c. I finished 767 of 18,924 runners with 2,500 places paid.

December 23-4, 2013 on Full Tilt. I didn’t cash in this, but it is truly amazing how often the wheel turns up in both stud hi lo (as here) and Omaha hi lo.

June 4, 2014: I may not have cashed, but I hit a gutshot this hand.

September 8, 2014: A bounty tournament; I took 3 bounties in all including the bubble man; there were 72 runners and only 8 places paid. I was chip leader at one point, but by rights I should not have cashed. I can’t remember the exact play but we were all-in pre-flop, and before the cards were dealt I knew I was behind, probably badly so. And as so often at hold ’em with a three way pot, the worst hand wins.

The same tournament in the small hours of September 9, 2014. Just to prove I did indeed cash.

September 9, 2014: This screengrab doesn’t say much, but I had some truly remarkable luck to finish runner-up in this razz tournament.

No comments:

Post a Comment