Is the computer cheating at Dice Poker?

The Witcher, the first in the series, includes a dice minigame, and after playing a few games against professional players, I have doubts about the neutrality of the computer. I suspect the dice throws are in favour of the NPC: the higher his rank, the better his dice throws... maybe it's a negativity bias, I did found some discussions on internet but no official confirmation or decent study on this.

Also, you always play first, hence the NPC has the advantage of knowing your move, and can make the better choice.

Given the game is from 2007 and they probably couldn't program a real AI of what a good player will do, I think the programmers simply biased the statistics to create the feeling of a strong player. So is the dice game rigged, in favor of the computer?

• Dice poker is a fairly simple game - the notion that in 2007 "they probably couldn't program a real AI of what a good player will do" seems naive. Though from the answers it does seem like they were too lazy to do so. Dec 28, 2016 at 19:55
• I wouldn't say the game is rigged or the computer is cheating; the former implies that for certain rounds it's predetermined that you'll lose even before the random numbers are calculated, and the latter implies that the computer is calculating random numbers, making a decision based on the apparent roll, then changing one or more of the dice to be more favorable for itself. Based on the answers below, the actual mechanic sounds like handicapping— the random roll is put into an equation that “curves” it to increase or decrease the probability of higher numbers. Dec 30, 2016 at 9:21
• And, possibly, to slightly increase/decrease the probability of numbers that are already present in the sequence of that roll (increasing/decreasing odds of duplicates/of-a-kinds). Dec 30, 2016 at 9:24
• If you're finding it frustrating then there are mods for both the witcher 1 and 2 to force wins in dice poker/arm wrestling/etc minigames. Dec 30, 2016 at 9:43
• Sheesh. You make it sound like 2007 was the dark ages. That was just 9 years ago, which might seem like a lifetime to you, but we were making game AI in the sixties. Dec 30, 2016 at 15:58

According to this wikia page on Dice Poker, higher level players do have better "luck":

This may be a 'game of chance' in theory, but in reality some players are inherently 'luckier' than others, including yourself. What this means is that as Geralt moves on to progressively more advanced players, the system that calculates the dice values is modified to favour the NPC, with the NPC having a greater probability of getting a better hand than the player. At higher levels this can be particularly frustrating, with Geralt's opponent easily cranking out great hands with each throw when he himself has trouble getting three-of-a-kind.

So, basically, yeah, the computer is cheating.

There seems to be a possible way to game the system right back, though. From the same wikia page as above:

The initial bet seems to determine the overall 'luck' of the game. A low first bet dramatically improving the chances that you will beat your opponent. This is unconfirmed mathematically, but has been anecdotally observed many times. (This is as close to being confirmed as is possible without empirical evidence, having played twenty games of poker dice, ten where the initial bet was the largest possible one, and ten where it was the lowest, the statistics speak for themselves: Of the ten first games, eight were lost and only two won. The remaining ten (where the initial bet was the smallest one), resulted in nine wins and only one loss. Furthermore, the chance of getting an initial combination of matching dice seems to improve drastically when opting for the smaller initial bet. Naturally, this does not guarantee a win, as mentioned above, the game is still about chance, this little trick does however seem to improve your chances of monetary gain. This was tested on the Enhanced edition of 'The Witcher'.)

• A sample size of 10 is not nearly enough to claim that "the statistics speak for themselves." Somebody should go improve that wikia page! Dec 29, 2016 at 21:07
• @Schism I think the tester ran out of money :) Dec 29, 2016 at 21:40

It appears many other players believe that the NPCs are cheating, and it certainly seems that way in the game. This Wiki states that they are luckier:

This may be a 'game of chance' in theory, but in reality some players are inherently 'luckier' than others, including yourself. What this means is that as Geralt moves on to progressively more advanced players, the system that calculates the dice values is modified to favour the NPC, with the NPC having a greater probability of getting a better hand than the player. At higher levels this can be particularly frustrating, with Geralt's opponent easily cranking out great hands with each throw when he himself has trouble getting three-of-a-kind.

Many of the comments at the bottom of the Wiki talk about how the NPCs seem to be cheating as well. There also appears to be a Steam forum discussing this as well that seeks a mod to make it more fair.

• Thanks, I did see various forums, but haven't seen the official confirmation on the wiki page.
– Bebs
Dec 28, 2016 at 15:57
• You answered first... why someone downvoted you?
– Bebs
Dec 28, 2016 at 17:41
• @Bebs I've no idea - it could be just a random down voter. I don't think that my post is invalid in anyway to consider down voting it. You can't seem to please everyone, it's just the way it goes. Dec 28, 2016 at 17:42
• @Bebs I'm not the downvoter, but actually, I answered first. By about 20 seconds. Dec 28, 2016 at 17:45
• Ouch. Talk about being Ninja'd. But, yeah, the Oldest sort shows Vem's one first.
– Auro
Dec 28, 2016 at 18:17