Although a large number of people play Texas holdem online everyday, many of those players do not have a thorough understanding of how the online game differs from a live game. The most significant difference is the computer-generated codes used in the online poker RNG, and how those codes affect the outcome of each hand.
Primarily, since poker sites do not have the ability to actually deal out cards as in a live game, they are forced to use a series of computer generated programs to execute this task. One of the main programs used is a RNG (Random Number Generator). The RNG, depending on which site, uses a series of associated techniques to attempt to generate a truly random shuffled deck of cards.
Because of the advanced techniques poker sites use to arrive at their own shuffled deck sequence, it is nearly impossible to predict what cards are coming out and what your opponents are holding. However, it is not difficult to predict the play and expected outcome in many situations.
Although every major poker site will claim their RNG program is fair and impervious to any potential hijacking or cracking, the reality is that the RNG is often not the culminating factor in what will occur on the flop, river or turn. That decision is based largely on additional factors, such as the players in the game, additional poker algorithms used to induce action and finally on the poker sites own use of anti-collusion and anti-cheating subroutines.
The addition of these extraneous programs, algorithms, and subroutines dramatically changes the outcome of each hand and ultimately changes the true statistical odds. For example, in a recent independent study of more than 250,000 hand histories from one poker site revealed that hands that were a major underdog on the flop made a winning hand by the river more than 20% of the time.
That percentage represents a large amount of bad beats in poker that is not usually evident in live play. This has prompted many poker players to conclude that online poker is rigged and that the RNG is flawed. In truth, the RNG is rarely ever flawed, as the RNG is not responsible for potential bad beats as much as the additional poker algorithms used by many sites.
The secret to using the online poker RNG is to be aware of the potential hands that can be made on the flop and the potential of your hand to survive a bad beat. In many cases, knowing when a flush is expected to occur while you are holding two pair may prompt you to avoid committing too many chips to the pot.
The perfect strategy to use is to learn how the software works, to obtain as much information on the statistics of the game and use that information to make your decision as to whether you should continue in the hand or not. The best defense to maintain your chipstack is in avoiding getting a bad beat, and that can easily be accomplished by understanding how and when a bad beat may occur.
For a further study of how the poker sites use their poker algorithms to alter the outcome of play and to learn more online poker RNG secrets, get a copy of the Online Poker Code by Paul Westin, an experienced and professional online poker pro and former software engineer.