Are the online dices outcomes random?
A big topic in online backgammon in always, whether or not computer generated dice are true random. While anyone can see real dice roll on a real board, players cannot see how the server generates the numbers, which leads to general suspicions, especially when players run into streaks of bad luck.
Most online backgammon servers use the same random number generator, a certified piece of code, tested countless times and approved by several independent institutions.
Furthermore most online backgammon servers have a certification from an independent company, which verifies the pure random of their number generator software.
On top of that, there are countless players, who run very detailed analysis of their games and matches, not only to find and review their errors, but also to check, whether or not the dice have been fair.
I myself have a huge collection of analysed match results, from almost every online backgammon server there is, some contain over 1 million consecutive rolls from my matches.
I do not only review each and every game I play, I have also written a small tool, which analyses dice related to the position on the board and I’ve built large statistics over 1000s of games, just to check the random of dice.
There has never been any kind of indication for unfair dice, other than pure luck. Any attempt to examine the number generator software as well as any attempt to collect and analyse results of large amounts of matches has always and without any exception proven, the dice are in fact plain random. Basically all experts agree, all dice on all online backgammon servers are fair.
But the rumors about manipulations don’t die. Whether it is for real money, competitive tournaments, or just for fun, there are always some players who think the dice are manipulated. There is even a wide variety of rumors, from players being accused of using a dice program which allows them to control the dice, up to programmers accused of manipulating the entire software.
The reason, why despite all proof, these rumors still exist, lies in the human psychology. A human brain remembers bad luck much longer than good luck, meaning if you play a large amount of matches and get exactly half of the luck, you will end up with the impression of having more bad luck. But everyone knows, luck is a 50/50 chance, having more bad luck in a long run is not normal, so an impression of having bad luck leads almost automatically to the conclusion, something must be wrong.
If you discuss this topic with other backgammon players, you will find it doesn’t matter what kind of arguments you bring, someone who has had the impression that something is wrong for a while already, will refuse to believe even the most solid proof.
Such a discussion goes always the same way, they say something like “there are too many doubles”, and if you show them an analysis which verifies doubles come up on average once every 6 rolls, they will alter their original statement to something like “there are too many doubles in the wrong moment”.
I’ve driven this to the extreme, I’ve published analysis results on my homepage, proving that even if you separate the dice according to the position on the board, it still is pure random, but I had to realize, even that didn’t help. The GNU Backgammon software may be the best example. It has a lot of features, you can not only play matches against the computer, it also has a tutor mode and an analysis function. If you check out backgammon related newsgroups and forums, you will frequently find posts from players who are convinced the dice generator within GNU Backgammon is manipulated to give the computer the better dice. But the GNU software is open source, meaning anyone can look up the source code of the program, anyone can verify, there is nothing in the code but a clean random generator, still there are professional programmers, who have reviewed the code, who can say for sure there is nothing wrong in it at all, but after they played a set of matches against the program without to analyse it afterwards, they were convinced the dice have been unfair.
In the end it turns out, the only way to convince someone about the random of dice is to induce them to run their own analysis. There will always be someone who refuses to check it out themselves, those you cannot help, but I can tell you from my own experience, whenever I was able to induce someone to an own analysis, they have always and without any exception come back with the result: The dice in online backgammon are absolute pure random.