Provably Fair Algorithms in Gambling

Definition and primer of what is provable fairness in crypto gambling and how it is different from other regular casino games.

A fair shot at winning is everything a player wants from any gambling game. Do games with provably fair algorithms provide players with “fair” results? Do you have a better chance at winning a better payout from these games?

Let us answer those questions by discussing provably fair gambling systems in detail.

Provable Fairness Explained

Provable fairness is made to address the lack of transparency among online gambling games. Software providers can give assurance to their audiences that their games generate random results via a complex PRNG algorithm. Reputable software providers such as Microgaming apply for certification among third party software to show players that their slots or table games (e.g., poker, blackjack) offer authentic results.

Despite the certifications, transparency is the flaw among traditional online games since no one, apart from the software providers, knows how the algorithm of a specific title work. Provably fair games are made to supply that demand for transparency among players.

A good way to illustrate the mechanism of a provably fair game is to imagine a restaurant with an open kitchen. Diners get a peek behind the veil as to how cooks prepare and serve their orders. Of course, diners only get to view one part of the restaurant while the rest (managers room, food storage, janitors closet, staff lockers) are out of view at the back of the establishment.

Open restaurants share the same concept with provably fair gamers where a part of the algorithm is transparent to the players. You can see the numbers used by the game to determine the results of any slots or table game in provably fair systems on Bitcoin casinos.

Key Concepts in Provably Fair Games

In simpler terms, provably fair is a unique RNG system that provides transparency with the results of each spin or draw. To understand the process, let us explain the different components of the algorithm.

User & Servers

You and other players of a Bitcoin casino are considered the users, where one part of the seed will come from your computer. Bitcoin casinos that host the game are the servers for the provably fair algorithm.

Seeds

Seeds are a series of numbers and letters that are used to generate the result of one game. Users and servers generate two separate seeds. User seeds are revealed to the players while the server is kept hidden or encrypted. One interesting part to note is that you can enter your own seed into the game.

Any random number generating function, like the ones used in slots, require seeds. Most seeds for everyday programs are based on the machine’s clock, whilst truly random numbers will use more unpredictable input data as seed (weather, noise, etc).

Hashing Functions

Server seeds go through the hashing process or SHA-256 (also known as the Secure Hash Algorithm) to create a hashed seed that is presented to the player. Hashing a seed involves encrypting the information to make it virtually impossible to read, decipher, or reverse engineer.

Nonce

A nonce is an active integer that increases for each bet a player makes. Before a player spins the reels or clicks on the deal button, the game’s nonce value starts at 0 and increases by +1 for each bet made.

Some nonces are not integers but instead computer-generated universally unique identifiers (UUID). The point of a nonce is to be unpredictable and prevent a request from being sent twice.

Provable Fairness In Crypto Gambling Explained
Provable Fairness In Crypto Gambling Explained

Mechanisms of Provably Fair Games

Once the seeds from the server and user are present, the system combines the two to create a value that translates into one of the many results of the game. Results can include the symbols on the reels, cards drawn in a round, or a number a roulette ball lands in.

It is important to note that the server seed is kept a secret to the player since the sequence is hashed or encrypted. You are likely asking how a provably fair game be transparent if you do know the 2nd seed used for the results.

With a provably fair checker, you can run the hashed seed along with the user seed to check on the value it generates is the same as the one produced in one game. Verifying the hashed seed lets you know that no one tampered with the server seed and the results of a provably fair game is genuine.

Pros & Cons of Provable Fairness

Transparency is the selling point of provably fair on Bitcoin casinos. Below are some advantages a player can get from the algorithm and disadvantages to taking note of.

Advantages of provable fairness in online gambling:

  • Players can see the inner workings of an online casino game, giving them an ease of mind that they have a shot at a large profit.
  • Provably fair casinos offer unique or in-house made games that are not available in traditional online casinos such as Bitcoin dice, Plinko, and much more.
  • RTP among provably fair games tends to be higher than traditional games due to certain games such as Bitcoin dice that allow players to finely adjust their bets.

Disadvantages of provably fair algorithms in online gambling:

  • Understanding the provably fair algorithm or verifying the authenticity of a game’s results can be too complex for casual players.
  • Provably fair casinos have a small selection of games compared to traditional casinos. You will hardly find one that offers the same 3D animation as Betsoft games or massive jackpots as Microgaming’s Mega Moolah among Bitcoin casinos.

Can Players Or Operators Hack the Algorithm?

With the user seed being a part of the computation used for determining the results, is knowing or even changing the seed a form of provably fair exploit? It is important to note that the player seed is only half of the equation. Each server seed is hashed to prevent anyone from knowing the overall seed value that will determine the results. Even during the verification process, the server seed is encrypted from the player. Deciphering a hashed server seed is also virtually impossible.

Directly hacking into provably fair games to influence seed generation from both sources is also incredibly difficult due to the number of security measures placed in the platform. Bitcoin casinos employ strong encryption layers around each section of the platform, preventing anyone from stealing player’s private information and deposited money.

Can operators perform their own provably fair hack? If it is possible, operators are at risk of getting found out since provably fair games utilize the same Blockchain technology as cryptocurrencies. Every result generated through the user and server seeds are open to everyone via a public ledger. Any suspicious activity occurring in one of the nodes can alert the whole network. If the activity is traced back to the owners, they can lose a large number of active players.

Differences Between Provably Fair and Traditional RNG

Online slots or table games use a PRNG algorithm to determine the results of each bet. Traditional online casino games also generate a seed and have them go through a complex equation to generate results. 

To achieve an authentic “randomness” such as the ones you get from flipping a coin or rolling dice in the real world, PRNG utilizes entropy values to its algorithm. Entropy determines how a seed is generated by using real-world factors such as mouse movement or the system clock.

It is important to note that each seed used by a PRNG system can generate more than one result. Generating multiple results can make any slot or table game unpredictable to any player, even if the seed is generated based on the system clock.

What makes provably fair and traditional RNG games different is their transparency. A player can go through a public ledger to see the results of each provably fair game while software providers keep their PRNG equations under lock and key.  

List of Provably Fair Casinos

Hungry for some transparent casino games? Below are the best provably fair casinos voted by the staff.

Stake

Colorful, simple, and fair, three of the common elements you can expect from Stake’s in-house provably fair games. Players can easily set the risk they want to take and set their bets with ease thanks to the game’s UI. You can also keep track of the seeds (and hashed seeds) used for each bet and verify them under the same window.

Bitcoin.com

Starting with a simple slot game, Bitcoin.com developed into a full-fledged Bitcoin casino by hosting games from popular software providers like Playson. Bitcoin.com’s original games are still available and they offer the same tried-and-true provably fair system that drew players to the site. Despite the minimalist graphic and UI, you can find a rich selection of provably fair casino games on the site.

Prime dice

While the website may look like an early 2000’s calculator website, Prime Dice is one of the hottest crypto casinos in the industry. You have full control over the edge of your bets that you can even set it to 99% against the house. Prime Dice also welcomes various cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, and much more.

Edgeless

A wide variety of provably fair is offered by Edgeless. Each game has colorful and easy-to-read UIs that lets you fine-tune your edge for each game. Edgeless supports its Edgeless token,  a cryptocurrency made for the site. Thanks to the use of its cryptocurrency, it offers a jackpot payout exclusive to the platform.

Lucky Dice

Lucky Dice improves the concept of a Bitcoin dice game by adding eye-catching graphics to its UI. You have full control of your edge for each bet on the site’s main dice game.  Also, the provably fair casino offers a jackpot that you can win upon getting a specific dice roll a number of times. Lucky Dice accepts various cryptocurrencies such as Ripple, Litecoin, Ethereum, and much more.

Provable Fairness – FAQ

Answers to the most common questions about provable fairness in online crypto casinos.

What is a provably fair algorithm?

Online slots or table games with a provably fair feature provides transparency on the results of each bet by showing players a revealed seed and a hashed one use for computing the outcome.

Which games have the provably fair feature?

Provably fair games are exclusive to Bitcoin casinos such as Stake, Bitcoin.com, and Prime Dice since the concept of a transparent algorithm is similar to the way cryptocurrencies work such as Bitcoin.

Are all the results of provably fair games truly fair?

By showing you your seed, or letting you create your own, and allowing you to verify the results through a hash seed checker, provably fair games ensure all results are authentic.

Can anyone manipulate the algorithm?

With the advanced encryption capabilities surrounding the games, no one can manipulate the provably fair algorithm to their advantage. Bitcoin casinos also employ several security measures to prevent anyone from gaining illegal access to the algorithm or other parts of the platform.

Are provably fair games better than traditional online casino games?

Provably fair games offer better transparency than traditional slots or table games among online casinos. However, both still offer the same variety of gameplay and variance that any regular casino player can enjoy.

Adding transparency to online casino games through provable fairness provides players with peace of mind in knowing each bet has a shot at a major payout or return.