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yellowboots's picture
Joined: 2 Sep 2011
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14 June 2012 - 6:29pm

Understanding random result generation!

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Morning all Coffee !

This is a tough one..

Can anyone explain, in plain-ish English, how RNG / RTG etc systems can claim to be as truly andom as real life occurrence?

Sounds nuts at first glance but, put another way, what I am looking for is the answer to "who decides ok that system is as good as real life and that one isn't"? Is there some mathematical guru(s) who says 'ok that ones a goodie, but the other system on the left is trash'? And if there is, does he know what he is talking about?

The reason for this query is that on here, as on many other forums, there are always those angry players who think they have just been fiddled by an onlne casino because they lost in a weird (to the player) gaming streak and they cannot believe this scenario can ever have happened before in all gambling history ever, until they came along! Yesterday it was someone on the warpath about Casino Tropez and Europa Casino.

So perhaps a clear explanation about the fairness of how RNG etc systems work will help these souls get more of a positive grip on the concept that they lost because its gambling rather than because they got ripped off (ie the same thing could have happened in a real casino).

It will also be great for people like me who out of principle will never play against a computer. Too many weird things happen haha! Ooops Surprized Surprized > there we go again - I am just like everyone else because I don't really understand the fairness behind RNG Confused Confused Confused and thus do not trust it.

If I was educated however then I am sure I might change my opinion. Until then though I will stick with live play online as much as I can.

I think an answer to this thread will be much appreciated by many people as I doubt a very high % of fans of this site, cool people that they are, actually understand in simple terms what they are taking on in 'computer gambling'. True? I don't know

Thank you in advance Ed or any other online iMac boffins who help here!

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CL-Ed's picture
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15 June 2012 - 12:59am

Great question. And the answer might actually prompt the tin-foil hat crowd to scream "Aha! I told you so!". You see, a computer cannot generate truly random numbers by itself. It is impossible because computers are deterministic - i.e. you give it input and it does calculations and returns an output.

A basic RNG on a computer uses what is called a "seed". This is some starting number that the computer then performs a calculation on to generate a "random" number. But if you give it the same seed, it will always generate the same random number! When generating a sequence of random numbers, if the RNG is not "re-seeded" before generating each number it usually just uses the last number generated as the new seed. This means if generate say 5 numbers in a row using the same seed at the start each time, you will always generate the same 5 numbers every time.

So to be completely accurate, computer scientists often term computer-only RNGs "pseudo-random" number generators.

These PRNGs are in fact tested by companies that run the PRNG over a series of tests where it generates millions of results. They then analyse the results to see if there is any statistical bias - i.e. are the results consistent with what you would expect a truly random number generator to produce? If so the RNG is certified. One such company I know of is called Technical Systems Testing.

It is possible to get truly random numbers from a computer by hooking up some specialised hardware that sends input to the computer. The hardware analyses collisions of atomic particles or something similarly arcane. I have not heard of any casinos going to such lengths though.

Now how does that affect the games you are playing at a casino? As long as the algorithm used to generate the results has no bugs and it has been analysed and certified by such a company, then the cards dealt or reels spun are close enough to being truly random that it makes no difference.

I think the far more likely way that you could be cheated is not through manipulation of the RNG itself. Instead a developer with the required access to the system could program the game to simply ignore the RNG result and pick something that is favourable to the house. This is why good casinos have their results audited regularly and publish them to show players the results are within expectations. Also most casinos that use a recognised software developed and used by many casinos do not have a level of access to the system that would allow them to program such a cheat.

2 members gave thanks for this useful post: barbadosslim93, yellowboots

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