Is Zynga Poker Rigged? Is it Fair?

So, you’ve been playing Zynga Poker (Texas Hold’em) and you are at this point addicted, just like we are. You’re wondering if Zynga Poker is Rigged or if it’s Fair. We are wondering the same thing. Below are some interesting points to notice.

Zynga Games states their Texas Holdem Poker is FAIR

They say it right on their app. You can find it by going to Settings | Customer Support | Certification inside the Zynga Poker application. It says…

Officially Certified for Fair Dealing – Zynga Poker prides itself on being a fair and trusted gaming platform, which is why the card dealing algorithm, or Random Number Generator (RNG), utilized in our game is certified by Gaming Laboratories International, a leading independent certification agency for the gaming industry.

(Source: blog.zyngapoker.com)

Is Zynga Texas Holdem Poker Rigged?

Now sure, the official line sounds great. Zynga claims it is fair and does not offer any advantage or disadvantage to any player based on who they are or how they play.

HOWEVER. I and many people I’ve chatted with on Zynga have expressed their belief that the Zynga RNG or other algorithm is NOT above board. This is my own humble opinion, and take it for what it’s worth. It is not fact, but opinion. That means I don’t want a cease and desist request from any lawyers.

For instance… I’m playing a game of Texas Holdem on the iPad. This is my favorite way to play Zynga Poker because I can very quickly bet or hit any other buttons. I cannot type fast in chat, however, but I rarely type things to try to tilt my opponents anyway. I know, you also, right? Sure…

The flop has a couple of suited. By the river, there are 3 suited. Someone’s holding 2 more. They get a flush in that same suit. The next hand that is dealt will give me 2 of the same suit that was just the flush. ALMOST INVARIABLY. This happened so much for a period of about a month that I was going to record every session and post it here. Then I thought, what’s the point of all that time taken to prove something because other Zynga Poker players must also be noticing some weirdness in the game. Some other patterns must be showing up.

Another weird pattern that I notice is that when I fold a couple of low off-suit cards as the dealer, so many times the flop will give me what would have been two pair, a straight, or a flush. Most often just two pair.

After I see this three or four times in a row, I tend to play the next one, no matter HOW WEAK my two cards are, because I think I might hit something great with them. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. I haven’t noticed whether there is a greater percentage chance that I actually DO hit something after not playing junk cards for a few hands, then giving it a try.

Why would Zynga manipulate that? Would there be any reason they would have an interest in people playing more hands?

If you play more hands, more money is in play, and it means that more money is going to be lost by some players at the table. That means some players are going to get closer to losing their stack, and have to re-buy if they want to keep playing.

Zynga Poker is pretty damn addictive. I mean, we’re not even making pennies in the game, and yet we’re playing like FIENDS just to win fake money and test our poker prowess.

Players who play poker poorly on the app lose their stacks and have to either wait for the app to give them some more through free bonuses, or they can buy as much as they want – huge stacks of millions, even billions of chips for a few dollars. This is the monetization strategy for the game. They avoid the legalities of having an actual GAMBLING app by just charging for faux money, faux chips.

Zynga Games (ZNGA) stock market chart on NASDAQ for last five years.
When (if) Zynga jumps into the gambling space – gambling for actual money and not toy tokens, their stock price is going to shoot straight up for a while. They have so many thousands of people playing, and the Zynga Poker platform – the app – the aesthetics are unbeatable. Super easy to use and fun to play.

The company is doing QUITE WELL and though they SAY they are going to offer real games in the future, it’s going to be a massive change of monetization strategy and maybe one they don’t want to deal with. The legalities must be daunting. Still, if you’re looking for a stock to invest in… it’s listed on NASDAQ as ZNGA.

One More Thing about Zynga Poker

OK, one more thing I’ve noticed that points to something in the algorithm being ‘off’ as I play Zynga Texas Hold’em Poker.

I’m in a hand. I’ve got the nuts, or at least the second nuts. I raise it up and someone raises right with me. At the river, we’ve got millions in the pot, and I’m feeling like an absolute winner. Until the other player flips his hand and he’s got EXACTLY the same hand as me and we chopt (split) the pot. This has happened in the higher stakes – the higher pots – and INORDINATE NUMBER OF TIMES. It seems that the algorithm too often gives players the SAME HANDS.

What is the straight probability that two players get dealt the same two cards in Texas Hold’em?

I just asked this question on Quora. Mark Gritter responded here and came up with about 14% of hands in a 7-handed Texas Holdem game will be dealt the same two cards (King, 7 or 2, 5, etc.)Thing is, I’ve noticed this happens ONLY when the pot is huge. Not just with me, but with others as well.

What incentive would Zynga have for splitting a huge pot like this more often than should happen by chance alone?

Keeps players happier! Sucks to lose a lot of money when you have the second nuts and someone with THE nuts takes the pot of millions of dollars. Even if they’re fake millions of dollars. I notice something while playing Zynga Poker. I get angry FOR REAL during some hands. It’s not a joke. Though in my mind, I know, this is entirely make-believe. STILL, I want to win. I want to be smart and make the right decisions. It’s a mental game, not a financial game. This makes it every bit as real as a real gambling game where I’m winning or losing real money.

And, Another Thing I’ve Noticed About Zynga Poker

I’m not done!

If I’m on a big heater – winning all sorts of cash, tens of millions of dollars in chips, what follows is always a devastating run of incredibly bad “luck” that I’m not sure is just luck. In a year of playing Zynga, I’ve had 2 good heaters where I got dealt fantastic cards over and over and over during a session. This lasted a half-hour one time, another time it lasted 90 minutes.

Immediately after, and other players have also told me this exact same thing, there is a run bad that lasts for days, or sometimes WEEKS. It’s no joke. This is happening, it has to be happening.

How Zynga approaches the Random Number Generator idea could happen a couple of ways. Every single hand could be randomized and not influenced by any other factor at all. That would be the fairest way to do it. However, I don’t think they’re doing that.

I think they are manipulating the hands dealt in a way that makes it still fair for players, but fair based on their previous hands and play. I mean, someone might be due for a heater, and they get it. Maybe they randomize run-good and run-bad. I’m not sure, but it definitely DOES look like it.

Of course, this could all be bias. I tend to notice the extreme hands the most because the most money is on the line. Maybe when I tie, I’m more incensed at not winning when I should have had the effective NUTS. Maybe I just notice that I get two of the same suit as the last flush hand that was dealt the hand before. Maybe.

Do you Play ZYNGA POKER? Do YOU think there’s any dorkness in either their random number generator or their other algorithms?

Wait, I’m STILL NOT DONE

Update: 10 November 2019. I have increased my bankroll to over 230 million. Every time I go over 150 million or so, I notice insane hands taking place where I lose with huge hands. For example, the last 6 times I got a flush, someone got a full-house and I lost tens of millions of dollars betting big on the flush, when the full-house comes on the RIVER. Six times is LUDICROUS!

Zynga’s ‘Random’ Number Generator is NOT RANDOM

I don’t know how Zynga tricked the standards commission for the website that accredited their ‘random’ number generator, but here’s how I think they did it. Sure as hell, this is what’s happening.

Zynga’s dorked algorithm will allow players to do well building up their chips until they reach a certain amount. Maybe based on what Zynga thinks is ideal. Once that level is reached, the algorithm starts tilting out of favor for the player.

This is all within the realm of random results if it WAS actually random, but it isn’t. All Zynga has to do is play within the realm of randomness, of probability which says that it IS possible for 6 hands in a row to have a player beat a flush with a full-house crowned on the RIVER out of so many hands – say 4,000 or so. This is balanced with the couple of flushes another player did not take with a full-house, so it appears random when taken in the larger context. Zynga can play with the algorithm all day like this and still get certified as “random” when it is fully manipulating the results.

Here’s an easier way to say it…

Someone will have a full house one out of 7 hands (roughly). Someone will have a flush once out of 5 hands. The chances that 6 times in a row someone will have a full house beating the flush in the same hand is astronomical. Zynga surely plays with the algorithm to have it look fair based on past hands and future hands. Meaning, they can screw you when they want to break you and get you to bet all-in with your stack when you have a great hand (flush), and give another player a full-house so you lose your chips and eventually need to buy their premium chips to keep playing.

Who Zynga PAIRS YOU WITH is not Random

This is something that is QUITE obvious. Zynga pairs me with players who have a rank of 200-300 all the time. I am never paired with anyone ranking under 70 like my current rank is. Why is that? They want to pair you with players who are better than your level so you lose chips faster. I always have 100 million or more chips and that doesn’t help them make any money. The only way they’d make money from me is if I got addicted, and broke down and bought chips after losing all my chips.

They can figure out your level quickly because they have all the stats. I love playing with my daughter’s account on the iPad because she plays against people with under a 100 rating. That’s like slaying fish with dynamite. Great fun for a while anyway!

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