Roll The Dice: How Do Random Number Generators Work?

Random Number Generators

Did you know that the largest Mega Millions jackpot prize went to a single winner? That lucky person, still unidentified up to date, won a whopping $1.537 billion.

With the odds of winning the Mega Million’s jackpot being 1 in 302.5 million, you have to get lucky to win. The Powerball gives players better chances, but still, the odds are only 1 in 292.2 million.

Despite that, two-thirds of Americans still try their luck in gambling.

If you’re one of these folks, you’re likely wondering “how do random number generators work in these games”? Are they completely random, or is there any way for outside forces to manipulate them?

We’ll answer all of these questions and more in this post, so keep reading!

What a Random Number Generator Is

Let’s say someone asks you to choose a random number between 1 and 900. What would you pick?

If you go for something that has relevance to you, say 612 (for your birthday), that’s not random. If you, however, choose the first number that pops into mind for no reason, then that’s random.

That’s because the word “random” itself is something “chosen by chance.” There’s no conscious decision or methodical approach involved in randomness.

That pretty much explains what a random number generator (RNG) does. It’s a tool designed to pick “random” numbers that don’t have distinguishable patterns. It makes a computer code or a winning combination in a slot machine impossible to predict.

You can find RNGs used in almost anything requiring an element of chance. The best online casinos, which you can read more about here, use these for a fair gaming experience. Offline games, password generators, and captcha generators also use these generators.

How Do Random Number Generators Work: A Quick Overview of RNG Components

One thing to note is that not all RNGs are 100% random since some still run on mathematical operations. These RNGs are the pseudo-random number generators (PRNGs).

To get a better grasp of how a pseudo online number generator works, let’s first look into its components. There’s only three: 1) the seed value, 2) the algorithm, and 3) the chosen number.

The seed is the initial number needed to initialize the algorithm. That can be any number, say from 0 to 999. Some PRNGs use their system’s internal clock to choose their initial seed value.

The algorithm is the mathematical operation that calculates the required “random” number. PRNGs use very complex algorithms to create a random numerical outcome. These processes often use a combination of or even all mathematical operations.

Once the algorithm gets a seed value, it accurately follows the formula to come up with a new random number. PRNGs used in games, such as normal video games, quickly produce these results.

Although highly-complex, fast, and accurate, you can see that PRNGs aren’t completely random. Their reliance on algorithms makes them more vulnerable to hackers.

Seasoned cybercriminals, for example, could figure out the algorithm. From there, they can use various tactics to predict the next number the PRNG generates.

That makes a PRNG less secure for sites like online casinos, where there’s a huge amount of money involved. However, they still deliver a high level of efficiency for other non-crucial tasks. For instance, they can be enough for simulation tests or predicting event outcomes.

True Random Number Generators: The Most Powerful and Secure RNGs

True random number generators are RNGs run by extremely powerful hardware. They don’t need any seed value or algorithm that are susceptible to manipulation. Since they don’t rely on values or computations, no one can replicate them.

How do they produce random numbers then?

TRNGs use natural sounds like atmospheric noise to generate random numbers. They’re digital snapshots of naturally-occurring noise.

Radio devices are often used to “pick up” the noises, which are then fed to a postprocessor. From here, the device converts the sounds into a set of binary ones and zeroes.

Some TRNGs also use the sounds emitted by decaying radioactive sources. First, because it’s impossible to replicate the sounds that the decaying process makes. Second, the time itself on which the decay occurs (and creates sounds) is unpredictable.

TRNGs don’t use an algorithm to determine the random number. They don’t repeat sequences, and they don’t need a seed value that’s easy to predict. They’re far more secure than PRNGs, which hackers have deciphered and made millions from.

Even if a person can guess one number in a sequence, they won’t be able to use the seed number to guess the rest. That seed value will be useless in determining the entire sequence from a TRNG.

That makes TRNGs a vital component in applications like online poker and casinos. It’s also for this reason that studies suggest the use of TRNGs in military applications.

Confirming the Reliability of TRNGs

Before you start playing online casino, poker, or slot machine games, it’s best you find out what type of RNG the sites use. Note that only licensed, regulated, and trustworthy sites undergo testing for “randomness.” If they are random, that means they’re a fair, safe, and secure gaming platform.

Independent testing labs conduct these checks on online casinos and gambling sites. These testers audit the websites’ true random number generators to confirm their randomness. Once the test results are out, the websites then upload them for easy player access and viewing.

So, be sure to check each site you play on for these independent test results! That way, you can rest assured that your money is safe and that you also have fair chances of bringing home the bacon.

Keep Your Online Sessions Safe with a TRNG-Using Online Gaming or Gambling Site

There you have it, the complete answer to your question, “how do random number generators work?” Now that you know that, you can make the right choices when it comes to choosing online gaming or gambling sites. It’s best you stick to platforms that use only TRNGs so you can rest easy knowing that no one can manipulate them.

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