Online Shuffling - Setting Expectations

Category: Are the Cards Dealt Fairly?

This will be the first in an ongoing series about whether the Cards you’re dealt in Online Poker are fair.

Typical discussions of the fairness of online shuffling focus on the algorithm or the Random Number Generator used in the process. And we’ll get to those issues in detail. But first, I think the reader should focus on these more fundamental questions:

What is my expectation of randomness for Online Poker deck shuffling?

How does such randomness differ from the cards shuffled at a casino?


Here are my answers. Feel free to add yours in the comments section and watch for more on Online Poker deck shuffling to follow.

What is my expectation of randomness for Online Poker deck shuffling?

As a player, my expectation for Online Poker deck shuffles is that:

*After the shuffle, the order of the cards is placed so that I can have confidence that any single unused card is as potentially likely to be next in the deck as any other single unused card.

*There is ZERO predictability at any time during the hand beyond likelihood percentages easily calculated using probability.

How does such randomness differ from the cards shuffled at a casino?

I believe some critics of Online Poker shuffles are comparing such shuffles to an image in their mind of what a “perfect shuffle should be.” Instead, I think it is helpful for criticisms of Online Poker shuffles to compare the results to the commonly accepted shuffling methods seen at live poker games.