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In the U.S., poker aficionados have a variety of choices in the availability of online games. Many poker players find it challenging to test their online poker skills against a computer, in a manner of speaking, and/or to participate in multi-player poker games. These latter games help you feel you’re sitting at a poker table in a Vegas casino. In reality, online poker matches you with players located anywhere in the world, thanks to the Internet.

What Have You Got to Lose?
The primary drawback of online gaming is the absence of players. You don’t get to observe the faces of fellow players, unless you see their expressions using a video chat functionality. While this isn’t a requirement for a legitimate poker game, it can be very entertaining. Instead, you get to pay more attention to the strategy of other players by watching the cards they play and the bets they place. In the end, timing is everything in online poker. No player can control the luck of the draw.

What is Random Number Generation?
There is some interesting game theory behind the functioning of online poker games if they are designed to be fair. Whether you’re playing against the house or in a poker game with real players, it helps to understand the role of random number generation. A real Class III video poker game uses the RNG technology to increase the legitimacy of a game, instead of using a sketchy way of generating each hand in a poker game. Some websites employ a backhanded approach to dealing hands. These usually work in favor of the house. In RNG, the computer is designed to rapidly shuffle all 52 cards in a poker deck. This activity goes on endlessly until you, the user, click on the “deal” graphic on your screen. Your clicking action manually stops the shuffling action of the computer. Then, you can view the cards you were dealt by the RNG.

What is Dealt by a Random Number Generator? 
A typical poker hand involves shuffling the deck. Then, you are given the top five cards. These are the cards the computer determined were at the top of the deck, similar to when a Vegas poker dealer issues the top five cards in the deck to each contestant in a live game. The shuffling function of the RNG never stops. Once the first five cards have been dealt to you in a single-player game, for example, the computer continues to shuffle the other 47 cards left in the same deck.

What is a Pseudo-Random Number Generator? 
Some websites will unethically use a pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) instead of an authentic RNG. This tool uses the site’s proprietary formula to mimic the properties of random number sequences, such as dealing you the first five cards in a poker game. In reality, the actual sequence generated is not done in a random fashion. As the unsuspecting consumer of online gaming, you get the simulation of randomness, but none of the associated benefits.

What Can I Do?
As a smart consumer, it’s important to only give your gaming business to legitimate online poker websites. These entities tend to have transparent operations and clear delineation of corporate owners and employees. If you play poker games on websites operated through seedy offshore operations, even if you aren’t aware of their true nature, you are not protected against fraud and other illegal activities. At any time you’re playing poker, you chance that your available funds may be lost and that you will lose unfair amounts rapidly due to unfair gaming practices. Therefore, it’s best to review online poker websites to determine if they use random number generation to enhance their legitimacy. RNG technology follows simple mathematical rules. Cards are generated at random, not based on any online casino’s unfair formula.

Be careful playing online. Don’t give your business to just any online casino. Ensure that you are risking money in a fair game by using a site regulated under U.S. gaming laws. There are many great websites explaining online gaming regulation. An online casino may be regulated by the U.S. government and one or more state governments based on its base of operations.