How random are the dice used in online backgammon ?

A big topic in online backgammon is always, whether or not the computer generated dice are truely random. Anyone is able to 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 encounter streaks of bad luck.

The major online backgammon servers use the same random number generator, a certified piece of programming code, tested numerous times and approved by several independent institutions.
Also most online backgammon servers receive certification from an independent company, verifying the pure random of their number generator software.

A very large group of players run very detailed analysis of their games and matches, not only to find and review their errors, but also to see if the dice have been fair.

Personally I have a huge collection of analysed match results, from every major online backgammon server there is.
Not only do I review each and every game I play, I also use a piece of software code , which analyses dice related to the position on the board and I have compiled a large statistical database from thousands of games , just to verify the randomnes of the dice.

I have never found 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 that the dice are in fact random.
But the rumors about the manipulation of the dice don’t die. Whether it is for real money, competitive tournaments, or just for fun, there are always some players who will think that 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 complete backgammon software.

The reason, why despite all proof to the contrary that these rumors still exist, is related to human psychology. A human brain will remember bad luck much longer than good luck, meaning that if you play a large amount of matches and get lucky exactly half of the time , you will end up with the impression of having had more bad luck. But as 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, that something must be wrong.

If you discuss this topic with other players, you will find it that it does not 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 will inevitably end up the same way, they will say something like “there are too many doubles occuring ”, and if you show them an analysis which verifies that doubles come up on average once every 6 rolls, they will alter their original statement to something like “there are too many doubles occuring at the wrong time in the game”.

GNU Backgammon software is a good example of this. It has a lot of features, you can not only play matches against the computer, it also includes 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 that the dice generator within GNU Backgammon is manipulated to give the computer the better dice. But GNU software is open source, meaning anyone is able to look up the source code of the program. Professional programmers who have verified that the source code is as random as can be will change their mind after playing a series of games and suffering a run of bad luck.

In my opinion the only way to convince someone about the random of dice is to get them to run their own analysis. There will always be some who refuse to check it out themselves, those you are unable to help, but I can tell you from my own experience, whenever I was able to induce someone to do an own analysis, they have always and without any exception come back with the result: the dice used in online backgammon are absolutely random.