Is a Computer Generated Casino Really Random?

by on November 8, 2012

It’s been many years since I started playing roulette, to be honest I’m not sure why it’s my favourite.  I’ve played all the casino games from baccarat to Blackjack and although I enjoy most of them – I always come back to roulette.

Sure it’s not as intense, and yes sometimes the house edge can be much higher than some games although that’s dependent on where and how you play.   It just seems to encapsulate the fun, glamour and excitement of a casino.  It’s not difficult to play and basically anyone can win whatever their standard – you just need a little luck.

Are these really random?

So what about internet based casinos? Although I play roulette at these too they’ll always come second place for me compared with a proper casino.  The atmosphere is one thing, some of the roulette games for instance are full of piped muzak and irritating bleeps and computer noises when the wheel spins.

There are other issues though –

  • Speed – the amount you can win or lose in any casino depends largely on the speed at which you play.  Online casinos are much, much quicker to play without the delays of a croupier, the chat, the interaction and all the other things that happen in a social game like roulette.  You can lose much more money, much more quickly in an online game.
  • Atmosphere – Lets face it, most online casinos are just computerized arcade games designed to take as much money from you as possible.
  • Randomness – roulette is utterly dependent on the random nature of the game in order to make it fair.  Internet casinos rely on something called a Random Number Generator (RNG) to simulate the random nature.

All are important points to me, but the last one is my main concern.   The simple fact is that you have to program a computer to do anything, including spinning a computer generated wheel and determining the winning number – how can it be completely random?

Think of what’s involved in a roulette wheel – what are the factors that determine where the ball will ultimately land?

  • Speed the wheel is turned by the croupier.
  • Starting Position of the roulette wheel.
  • Speed at which the ball is spun in the wheel.
  • The angle the ball is spun into the wheel.

Those are just a small sample of the events that determine the winning number.   There are in fact many more variables concerned with the wheel itself, the croupier and the ball.

It might look a simple action but for a computer to achieve is a similar level of randomness is extremely difficult.   The main issue is  that the computer needs some sort of outside input to introduce an unknown element in the game otherwise the result is going to be completely generated by lines of code.    This is possible of course, there are ways to link up external adapters measuring things like light, noise or wind to utilize but again the numbers generated are ultimately processed within the code.

I just don’t like this very much, if I’m playing I want my fate decided by lady luck, kismet or whatever you want to call it – not a computer generated.  It’s like those one armed bandits that spin  the first two reels of the jackpot and then you watch it spin for ages knowing well it won’t complete the line !

I’m not suggesting that most of the online casinos are crooked or fixed (although some definitely are), or that the RNGs are that bad, it’s just that in the end – it’s not random, it’s a computer program – I don’t want to play  against a machine.

The only real exception to this is the online casinos which actually use real croupiers and casinos – the best one in my opinion is Dublinbet here.

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Charles Wells and the Martingale System
July 25, 2015 at 10:55 am

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