Video Poker Random Number Generator
RNG – The Backbone of Video Poker
Random Number Generators (RNG) are the backbone of all modern casino games except those hosted by live dealers in real time. Video poker is no exception to the common rule as it also relies on random number generation for its outcomes. Results in this game are partially based on luck but your playing decisions also matter. While cards are randomly selected by this piece of software, players can use their knowledge of mathematical probability to determine the frequency of occurrence of different hand combinations. All discard strategies in video poker are based on this information, allowing players to maximize their average return in the long term.
Additionally, random number generation helps preserve the integrity of casino games and ensures fair outcomes for all players. The RNGs used by licensed online casinos undergo regular testing by independent agencies to ensure they yield the payback percentages advertised by gambling operators. In this article, we explore the important role of Random Number Generators in video poker, so continue reading if interested in learning more on this subject.
Random Number Generators are implemented to determine the outcomes of all online casino games, including video poker. This piece of software relies on complex algorithms to determine the values of the cards dealt in the game. It spews strings of numbers that are impossible to predict in any way. Each number corresponds to a specific card in the deck. These random numbers are constantly generated even when no one is playing the respective video poker game. There are two main types of Random Number Generators, Pseudo RNGs and True RNGs. Most online video poker games run on Pseudo RNGs. We elaborate further on the differences between the two in the next section.
Types of Random Number Generators
We can distinguish between two main types of Random Number Generators – Pseudo and True RNGs. The difference between the two lies in how they generate random numbers. True RNGs rely on fully unpredictable physical phenomena to produce random numbers. Said phenomena are capable of creating entropy and can be anything from atmospheric noise to radioactive decay. While certain patterns can be spotted in hindsight, outcomes are absolutely impossible to foresee when True RNGs are used because these physical phenomena behave in a completely random fashion. This type of random number generation is predominantly used in cryptography for security purposes. It is not that common in the realm of online gambling, although some casinos do claim to use True RNGs.
Most online gambling operators rely on the so-called Pseudo Random Number Generators (PRNGs). Instead of using external sources like those mentioned above, the PRNG relies on a set of computer algorithms to produce random outcomes. It uses mathematical formulas to create numeric sequences, starting with what is known as a seed number. Each number produced by this piece of software corresponds to a specific card value in the deck. This results in pseudo-randomness because sooner or latter the algorithm will start to repeat itself. Of course, patterns are still impossible to detect since they occur after millions of rounds of play.
Nevertheless, the possible card combinations will start to repeat eventually. Also, the outcome a certain combination leads to will be always the same. Because of this, if you were to look closely at the fundamentals of PRNGs, you will see that these numbers are indeed random but only to a certain extent. This does not mean the games are “rigged” in any way. It simply means the PRNG they run on has certain limitations as sooner or later combinations will start to repeat.
Fairness & Legitimacy of the RNG
The complicated and efficient mechanism of the RNG is not the only thing that makes it reliable and fair. Casinos are required to submit their randomly generated games for regular testing to ensure they operate properly. These tests are conducted by independent testing houses to prevent conflict of interests. These testing agencies run simulations that involved millions of rounds to determine whether the games pay out as much as they should on average. If this is indeed the case, the casino receives a certificate for fairness issued by the auditors to display on its website.
One of the most respected third-party companies specializing in game testing is Technical Systems Testing (TST). Apart from conducting evaluations of different types of RNGs, it also deals with security audits. The company is responsible for verifying the payout percentages and fairness of different games, including video poker. All online casinos certified by TST are regarded as reliable, so their games are not rigged in any way. If a certain casino has passed the tests conducted by the company, you can rest assured it meets the minimum theoretical return percentages required by gambling regulators.
Another reputable independent testing company that offers such audit services is eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA). Established in 2003 and based in London, this company takes credit for introducing the first official self-regulation system on the online gambling market. If the software of a certain casino meets all requirements set by this company, the operator receives a seal of approval that indicates it is safe to play there. Besides game and RNG evaluations, the company also supervises how fast and regular payouts are.
The RNG has become an inseparable part of all online casino games. It ensures fairness and unpredictability of all outcomes. It has proven to be extremely efficient and reliable, so much so that it is used in fields outside online gambling, like cryptography, for example.
In general, every regulated casino is regularly subjected to tests conducted by an independent gaming testing authority. Because of this, it is highly recommended to play only at licensed casinos that are verified and approved by a respected gambling regulator. This way you can rest assured that whenever you play video poker, its outcomes won’t be rigged. Knowing that the casino of your choice has a seal which indicates fairness and reliability surely brings the needed peace of mind and lets you fully enjoy video poker.