Secure Online Poker Shuffling
One of the biggest questions that we are asked at Poker Starters is "How can I tell if the poker room that I'm at is using a secure card shuffling program?" This question is one that is asked by almost all players before they start playing at a new online poker room. After all, the way that the cards are shuffled can make a huge difference to the way the game is played.
Card shuffling in online poker games is done using a Random Number Generator (or RNG) that will choose 52 random numbers to represent the position of each of the cards in the deck in the final shuffled deck. As you can imagine, the amount of possible combinations for a shuffled deck is huge! This means that whichever online poker room you play at has to have put in some serious work on programming their random number generator properly. In a perfect world, the numbers that are chosen at random by the RNG would be completely and perfectly random. Unfortunately because this isn't a perfect world, getting numbers that are truly random is an impossibility. While computers can choose numbers at random, the numbers are not truly random. The good thing about this is that the numbers are usually random enough that no person or other computer would be able to tell the pattern without to much number-crunching power to make it a viable option for anyone out there today.
There are two different types of random number generators and both of these work with a seed value that is given to the RNG to produce a random number. The two different methods are Linear and Non-Linear. Linear RNG's produce numbers with a slightly more predictable outcome, but Non-Linear RNG's produce numbers that can be biased on some occasions. Neither one is perfect, but can both be used with equal security. In order for a value to be truly random, a computer would have to find a value from a random source to use as the seed. Even though this is only used in very few systems because of the complexity and the cost involved, the main things that are used for this are a radioactive counter, background noise and a closed-system hardware device. There are even some systems that work out a number based on an image captured from a web cam or a the flow of a lava lamp. Of course, these are not practical to be used in a normal operational environment.
While judging the full security of a poker room is almost impossible as poker rooms will not give out their RNG code as this would compromise their players security. It is possible to look at the RNG's that are used by poker rooms to be able to see what they use. Online poker rooms that can be trusted will list the type of RNG that they use, the size of the seed value that is used by their RNG and the source of the input for the seed value.The more information that a poker room publishes about their RNG shuffling system, the more confident they are about the security of that system.
Even with all of these considerations, it is still virtually impossible for even the best hackers to manipulate the results of the RNG's that are used by the online poker rooms because of the sheer complexity that is involved in working out any patterns that may or may not be there in the random numbers. The poker rooms that are presented here have all passed out own internal criteria for secure card shuffling and can be trusted to give the truest representation of a randomly shuffled deck that you can find online today.