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Acronyms are rife with acronyms in the poker and gaming communities, but there is perhaps no more important acronym than "RNG" in the electronic and online gaming realms.
This article aims to cover what RNG is and how it applies to the gaming community at large.
What does RNG mean?
Before we get into the bigger questions, let's start with the basics.
RNG stands for Random Number Generation.
In practice, an RNG is a process or algorithm that produces a series ofrandom numbers. Random numbers are defined as numbers that cannot reasonably be predictedrandom coincidence.
These random numbers are then used for a wide variety of functions. Whether it's imitating a coin toss, determining damage in a game, or simulating a shuffled deck of cards.
How does RNG work?
Typically, an RNG takes on an initial value known asTogether bravery, and perform a variety of mathematical operations on the given seed to get the specific random numbers.
Imagine giving the RNG you need a starting point which you can then use to get the series of random numbers. The path from this starting point to the ending point is usually predetermined and not truly random.
Real RNG machines typically have environmental influences that determine the starting value. This means they use a real-world phenomenon to obtain or manipulate an initial value that is almost impossible to predict and model. Since this real-world phenomenon is impossible to predict, it makes the initial seed value random, and therefore the entire RNG random.
Even if you enter the same input at different times, environmental factors such as barometric pressure, temperature, or the number of dust particles in the air can cause the RNG to return different results. So it's virtually impossible to truly replicate your random numbers without knowing billions of potential factors.
An example can be found at Cloudflare headquarters in San Francisco. At Cloudflare, they use a variety of lava lamps to determine a hash that can be stored and then used as future seed values in their RNGs. These lava lamps are almost impossible to model and predict, so they generate extremely random values.
These ecological RNG construction methods generate extremely random values that are incredibly safe and unpredictable. However, they also have high maintenance costs.
What is the difference between an RNG and a pseudo-RNG?
In situations where security is less important or where finances are more of an issue, pseudo-RNGs are often used.
In contrast to real RNGs, pseudo RNGs always produce the same result, regardless of the respective seed. The reason for this is that they are practically not subject to environmental influences and the factors involved are much easier to calculate. For this reason they are theoretically predictable and modelable.
Consider the following example. It has a black box where you can type numbers and it generates other numbers. You enter the number 1 and you get 3. You enter 3 and you get 7. You enter 7 and you get 5. You enter the number 15964 and you get 9. .
This is an example of a number generator, albeit incredibly simple. This process just takes the initial value entered, doubles it, adds 1, and then keeps only the last digit.
Now, if we choose to set the seed every time, it's not particularly random. So let's say we take the digits of pi. We choose a "random" starting point and from there each digit of pi is fed into our number generator to get a new random number. Now we have an RNG.
Obviously this wouldn't be a very good RNG, in fact it would be a pseudo-RNG because by taking a reasonably large set of numbers it could reasonably predict what value of pi the person had used as a seed.
Constructing pseudo-RNGs is easy, but the difficulty lies in making them as difficult as possible to predict what the outcome will be.
Many pseudo-RNGs use complex mathematical functions that manipulate data in ways that are almost impossible to predict. These functions are so robust that they often allow the process to generate numbers that pass the statistical tests used to determine the randomness of the numbers.
In principle, however, these processes remain theoretically predictable, and this distinguishes pseudo-RNGs from real RNGs.
What does RNG mean in games?
RNGs are widely used in the gaming community. One of the most common examples is loot boxes. Loot boxes are usually a way of awarding a random prize to a player in a video game. It is the RNG that determines what particular prize is awarded to the player.
Another common example is role-playing games (RPGs). RPGs often have a wide range of events taking place at a specific point in time. Many of these require RNG to determine the exact consequences of a given event, whether it's damage increases or blocked attacks.
RNGs are also widely used in simple games like Solitaire, as they are used to determine the exact order of the deck and the positions of the various cards.
Overall, RNG is a key tool in the development of many of the games we know and love today.
What does RNG mean in poker?
For obvious reasons, RNGs are synonymous withOnline-Poker.
With the move to online casinos, players could suddenly play poker games from the comfort of their own homes. As a result, the old hand-shuffled card decks were no longer particularly suitable.
For security reasons, a hand-shuffled deck was totally impractical, as online casinos needed to ensure the right cards were being sent to the right players. It would also have made the games too slow.
As a result, they switched to RNGs. RNGs are used to simulate a randomly shuffled deck of cards. These can be used to "deal" player cards online and provide a much higher level of security.
RNGs also have the added benefit of allowing games to be drastically sped up as online players can now play over 100 hands per hour; a rate that is in stark contrast to the typical 30 hands per hour in live poker.
Due to the significant amounts of money involved in poker games, online casinos often go the extra mile to install real RNGs.
For an example of a real RNG, seePokerStars. The RNG that PokerStars uses actually includesShooting rays of light onto a semi-transparent mirror, and then measure whether the light rays are reflected or not. Also, they often use incredibly small mouse movements from the user to get a random sequence of numbers that can be entered into their RNGs.
What does RNG mean in casino games?
Just like poker, RNGs are very commoncasino games.
games liketwenty-onejBaccaratuses RNG to "shuffle" a virtual deck of cards, which can then be displayed to the user.
other games likeRoulettejDicealthough it simulates more physical events, like spinning a roulette wheel or rolling dice.
The last great example can be found inslot machines. Slot machines use RNG to determine whether or not the player wins their bet on a given spin.
Real RNGs are very common in all of these games. The simple reason for this is that the casino's own money is at stake. As a result, they don't want to use pseudo-RNGs that could theoretically be predicted and exploited by users.
Random number generators are simply a method of obtaining a set of random numbers. These methods can be truly random or pseudo-random. In any case, RNGs are an important component within the online gambling community.
Knowing about RNGs may not revolutionize your gambling habits, but understanding the importance of secure RNGs will help you identify the safest place to place your bets where the RNG has been least tampered with or exploited.
Whether you like the idea of RNGs or not, they are so prevalent in today's online gambling community that it's almost impossible to avoid them.
Overall, RNGs are a major addition to the online gambling and gambling sectors and you can expect them to be around for years to come.
Written by Christopher Wathen.
Chris was the co-founder and CFO of BetStrat but left the company in April 2022. He is an MTT poker player, programmer and Twitch presenter. All opinions are his own and all articles were published prior to his departure in April 2022.
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