Computer Dice

Forum Archive : Computer Dice

The dice sure seem unfair!

From:   Michael Sullivan
Date:   5 April 2004
Subject:   Re: Okay there are hundreds

It's a very common misconception by weaker players that the dice are
unfair to them or rigged.  Why?  The reason better players are better is
that they understand more about how to plan for various die rolls, so
more of their rolls will look "lucky" than those of a weaker player.
There is also the fact that except for *huge* skill differences in fairly
long matches, the better player needs some luck to win, just not as much
as the weaker player does.

There's more that adds to this effect.  People inherently have a poor
instinct for what randomness looks like.  A statistician can easily spot
people trying to fake random data if those doing the faking aren't
*very* savvy about randomness.  Random die rolls are *expected* to be
quite unfair to one side or another for extended periods of time (a
number of long matches, say) at some point in a very long series of
matches (like 100+).  Sequences like 4 or 5 doubles in a row are nowhere
near as uncommon as people think, and in fact a large number (say 10000)
of rolls that *never* contains 3 or 4 doubles in a row is very unusual,
and in fact could be a very strong indication that the dice are *not*
random.  Unless you've studied something about randomness, you don't
know what randomness looks like and will be inclined to believe a lot of
things about what should be expected that just ain't so.

Third:  There's a psychological tendency to remember and be pained by
horrid luck much more so than you remember and are pleasured by good
luck.  There are a ton of psychological studies done on investing and
gambling that show this kind of thing.  In backgammon in particular,
weak players are often not good at recognizing which rolls are actually
the luckiest, and are skewed toward believing the opponent luckier in
the same way we all think we are above average drivers.

For this reason, the number of people who believe online dice are rigged
is huge, even at servers where a great deal of attention is paid to
checking on the randomness of their dice with regularity.  What's really
happening is that the players on that server are just a whole lot better
than the person is used to playing!  If you've played backgammon against
friends and family only and neither you nor anyone in your circle has
read a lot of books or played in major tournaments, or with real money
players. etc., then you are unlikely be as good as the average player on
gamesgrid or FIBS unless you are a real savant.

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Computer Dice

Dice on backgammon servers  (Hank Youngerman, July 2001) 
Does Agushak Backgammon cheat?  (Mr Nabutovsky, June 2000) 
Does BG by George cheat?  (George Sutty, Nov 1995) 
Does Backgammon NJ cheat?  (Greg+, June 2010) 
Does Cybergammon cheat?  (Goto Informatique, Aug 1996) 
Does David's Backgammon cheat?  (Joseph B. Calderone, June 1998) 
Does GNU Backgammon cheat?  (Robert-Jan Veldhuizen, Nov 2002) 
Does Gammontool cheat?  (Jim Hurley, Sept 1991) 
Does Hyper-Gammon cheat?  (ZZyzx, June 1996) 
Does Jellyfish cheat?  (Fredrik Dahl, June 1997) 
Does MVP Backgammon cheat?  (Mark Betz, Oct 1996) 
Does MonteCarlo cheat?  (Matt Reklaitis, June 1998) 
Does Motif cheat?  (Rick Kiesau+, Mar 2004)  [Long message]
Does Motif cheat?  (Billie Patterson, Feb 2003) 
Does Motif cheat?  (Robert D. Johnson, Oct 1996) 
Does Snowie cheat?  (André Nicoulin, Sept 1998) 
Does TD-Gammon cheat?  (Gerry Tesauro, Feb 1997) 
Error rates with computer dice  (NoChinDeluxe+, Feb 2011) 
FIBS: Analysis of 10 million rolls  (Stephen Turner, Apr 1997)  [Recommended reading]
FIBS: Are the dice biased?  (Kit Woolsey, Oct 1996) 
FIBS: Entering from the bar  (Tom Keith+, Apr 1997) 
GamesGrid: Too many jokers?  (Gregg Cattanach, Sept 2001) 
GridGammon: Are the dice random?  (leobueno+, Sept 2011) 
Jellyfish: How to check the dice  (John Goodwin, May 1998)  [Recommended reading]
Jellyfish: Proof it doesn't cheat  (Gary Wong, July 1998) 
MSN Zone: Security flaw  (happyjuggler0, June 2004) 
Official complaint form  (Gary Wong, June 1998)  [Recommended reading]
Randomness testing  (Brett Meyer+, Dec 2010) 
Safe Harbor Games dice  (Michael Petch+, Aug 2011) 
Synopsis of "cheating" postings  (Ray Karmo, Feb 2002) 
Testing for bias  (Kit Woolsey, Jan 1995) 
The dice sure seem unfair!  (Michael Sullivan, Apr 2004) 
Too many repeated rolls?  (Stephen Turner, Mar 1994) 
Winning and losing streaks  (Daniel Murphy, Mar 1998) 

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