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5 Reasons Why Online Blackjack Isn’t Rigged

| May 26, 2022 11:14 am PDT
Online Blackjack: Rigged? stamped, images of people playing blackjack in casino

Is online blackjack rigged? Before I answer that question, let me begin with a simple statement of fact: Nobody thinks the game is rigged when they’re winning.

It is our impressive gambling acumen that makes us a winner, amirite? Luck is for chumps.

So, I’ll agree that you and I are that darn good at blackjack—as long as you agree that it should take more than a long losing streak to make us entertain the possibility that the game is not “on the square.”

Now that we’re in complete agreement let’s look at the top five reasons rigged blackjack isn’t in the cards.

Why Online Blackjack Isn’t Rigged

Online dealer

While we’re clarifying our terms here, let’s agree that online blackjack—which is identical in operation and outcome to video blackjack—differs greatly from live online blackjack.

Simply put, online blackjack equals video blackjack, just as live dealer online blackjack equals Vegas blackjack table. Same game, just different methods of dealing cards (man, if that doesn’t sound like something that’ll be on the quiz, I don’t know what is).

Online and off, the house edge for blackjack is about 2%, making it one of the least profitable games in the casino. But that 2% is steady and consistent, and when it’s dealt fast enough and at a high enough betting limit, blackjack is a reliable source of revenue for the casino.

One last statement of fact. Calling a game “rigged” is saying the structure of the game itself—the cards, the way they’re dealt, the chips wagered—have been altered to benefit the house, regardless of the player. A rigged blackjack game will not proceed according to the rules and the reasonable expectation of predictable outcomes.

Let’s look at the solid reasons that aren’t the case.

1It Ain’t Easy Riggin’ a Random Number Generator

The software that drives blackjack online and video blackjack in brick and mortar casinos is built around the random number generator (RNG).

The RNG is a complex algorithm that uses a “seed” number for a source. After working various calculations upon that seed, it delivers a random number to the card-dealing portion of its program.

Simple algorithms use the time of the request as the seed, while those RNGs at the top end-use much more sophisticated algorithms. The best RNGs—i.e., the most truly random—are seeded with unpredictable numbers such as a measurement of atmospheric noise.

Now, blackjack games driven by RNG aren’t created by the casino. They’re developed and licensed to those casinos by software developers. Trained and experienced professionals who have every reason to believe any misstep on their parts—planned or accidental—will result in corporate seppuku.

So that algorithm isn’t something editable by the online casino. It’s hardwired into the gaming software itself.

Sure, back in the bad old days, individual programmers could have built a functional online casino that offered the operators control over each card dealt. But it was unlikely even then (not to mention impractical), and it would be corporate suicide now.

2Rigging Live Dealer Online Blackjack Isn’t Any Easier

Online dealer studio

Live online blackjack at live dealer casinos seems more vulnerable to accusations of (and some real evidence of) cheating. Part of this is because, unlike fully automated online blackjack (where the deck is “shuffled” by the RNG after every hand, it’s possible to count cards.

But we’re not talking about card-counting, which has nothing to do with the casino. Oh, even though card-counting isn’t technically cheating, online casinos are just as likely to ban card-counters from their sites.

No, we’re talking about organizational-level rigging of the game to the house’s advantage. As I pointed out earlier, only an online casino with the expected life span of the common mosquito (seven days) would be foolhardy enough to rig the system to cheat the players.

Of course, that wouldn’t stop individual online dealers from second-dealing or stacking the deck to alter the hands dealt to the various players. Unfortunately, card mechanics have at least one camera always trained on them and typically have more than one.

Live online dealer blackjack is typically set up with third-party vendors. The expense of setting up a video studio—not to mention the HR realities of managing a team of dealers, videographers, and lighting technicians—makes hiring a subcontractor a virtual necessity (to coin a phrase).

In fact, the only documented case of live dealer blackjack cheating happened in 2017.

A dealer for a third-party vendor, Global Gaming Labs (GGL) second-dealt (dealt the card beneath the top card in the shoe). Even before the cheating video hit YouTube, the online casino—BetOnline—had canceled its contract with GGL (which shortly after that went out of business) and moved to Visionary iGaming.

Aside from the still-unsolved mystery of what the dealer expected to accomplish with his mechanics, rigging and cheating at blackjack—from the casino’s perspective—is always a losing proposition. You can expect the online casino to be on your side if such malfeasance is indicated.

3The Competition Makes Rigging Far Too Deadly

Shark

A couple of decades ago, when the internet was a virtual wild west, shady operators could get away with shady operations—and they sometimes did. Back then, everybody in the online casino game was small fry.

So even back then, cheating/rigging scandals were typically driven by unscrupulous employees looking to make a few illicit bucks—mainly in the virtual poker rooms.

These days, however, gambling leviathans like Caesars and MGM have joined the Never-Ending Shark Week, which is an online casino operation. Do you want to survive in the same tank as MGM? Better not have a faintest whiff of corruption about you.

Sure, you hate MGM with the heat of a thousand suns, but you know your customers would be just as happy over on MGM’s site. Why? Because like it or not, MGM is a known quantity in the ephemeral world of the Internet.

MGM, Caesars Entertainment, and even Ameristar have significant holdings in the real world that could all be threatened with a cheating scandal.

So, Mister Online Casino Operator, whether you like MGM or not, MGM will be there to comfort your former customers, drying their tears and pouring them another glass of wine while telling them that they deserve better.

4Government Regulatory Agencies Would Likewise Dine

Legislation map of the US

As online gambling has become more prevalent and acceptable, governmental agencies have been established to regulate, oversee, tax, and license online casinos.

Governmental oversight has become the third layer of protection for the gambling public.

Third-party vendors that provide software and live dealer services to the various online casinos have nothing but their reputation for integrity and fair dealing with keeping them afloat.

The online casinos themselves must also assiduously monitor their vendors, employees, and players for any signs of collusion, rigging, or cheating.

5Why bother?

It may be true that blackjack strategy in video or online blackjack results in an RTP (Return To Player) as high as 99.75%. But that’s long-term and requires error-free play.

The vast majority of blackjack players are not experts. They will split tens. They will buy insurance. They will play 6:5 tables instead of 3:2 tables.

They will, in short, make enough mistakes during their play that the house makes plenty of money just dealing the cards and making sure the ashtrays are emptied regularly.

Sure, two percent may not be much of a profit. Still, it is consistent and dependable revenue, and the higher-limit tables you typically find in live online blackjack are indeed profitable.

Why Some People Think Online Blackjack Is Rigged

Cardsharps

As I pointed out earlier, nobody thinks the game in which they are winning is rigged.

But even if we’re completely honest with ourselves and admit that we probably shouldn’t have split tens so often, a long losing streak can challenge even the fairest-minded players with the idea that something is rotten in Denmark.

Let me point out that awareness of something suspicious—real awareness, not merely a sneaking suspicion—requires adequate knowledge of how blackjack is played.

Even back in the bad old days, when the internet was considered a new incarnation of “the wild west,” and villains stalked the web looking for good God-fearin’ folk like you and me to rob with their fancy card-sharpin’ ways—sorry, got carried away, there. What was I talking about? Ah yes—

In reality, even in the ‘90s and early 20-oughts, cheating and rigging on the part of online casinos and poker rooms were not commonplace.

Please Note

Back then, the big cheating scandals were the poker room cheats, where employees (current and former) of the online poker rooms themselves used software backdoors to view opposing hands at the virtual poker tables. Such capers destroyed several poker rooms.

Those that survived learn the lesson well: Deal a square game or learn to live on unemployment.

While there is certainly incentive against cheating users, some online casinos still scam people. You definitely want to vet any sites you put money into, and you should also be aware of the most popular scams that can occur.

6 Online Casino Scams Bettors Need to Watch Out For

Like everything on the internet, the rumors of online casino scams are greatly exaggerated. But do they exist? Yes, they do. We’ve identified several scams, scandals, and dirty tricks that should keep us all on our toes. We’ve also uncovered ways...

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Picking a Good Online Blackjack Casino

It’s easy to protect yourself from even the remote chance of a rigged game. As long as you play at a safe online casino, it’s doubtful you will be playing in a game rigged against you.

And if talk of game-rigging or even the possibility of such going on concerns you, you have a few more things you can do to eliminate or greatly reduce the chance you’re playing in a rigged blackjack game.

Remember

One of the weaknesses of the internet is also one of its greatest strengths: Ease of access.

In the past, brick & mortar casinos had to make huge investments in time and money to build even a small casino. On the other hand, in the virtual world of the internet, a new casino can appear almost instantaneously.

It costs virtually nothing to register a domain, set up DNS and email accounts, and start accepting deposits from gamblers. Sure, a legitimate casino keeps maybe 5% of your bet, but why stop there? Take double that amount. Heck, take 20%. Nobody’s looking.

Except they are looking. Remember that “ease of access” I mentioned earlier? That’s right. That speed with which your cheating casino sets up its operation is easily outrun by the virtual bad-mouthing it will get due to its chicanery. Do you want the sound of a million souls crying out? Don’t bother streaming Star Wars. Just rip somebody off for ten bucks online.

So, use the internet wisely. Research the online casino before you sign-up. Check at our online casino blacklist to ensure your selected casino is not already identified as a suspect. It’s also a good rule of thumb never to deposit with a brand-new online casino.

Let that casino earn your trust by dealing fairly with others for a while.

Take a Deep Breath…

Here is my quick wrap-up: while isolated instances of online game-rigging have been uncovered, and the possibility exists that future riggings may occur, it’s not as common as you might think. In fact, it’s virtually nonexistent.

I’ve already pointed you to our various blackjack strategy guides and even a how-to on the basic play. And I’ve already mentioned that when you’re ready to start vetting online casinos, we have a regularly updated blacklist (and you can find others online).

Now, educated and forewarned, you’re fully prepared to take a tour of our list of the most trusted online casinos.

Best Online Casinos
J.W. Paine
J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at GamblingSites.com. He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with thoroughbred horseracing, poker, blackjack, and slots.

More Posts by J.W. Contact J.W.

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