Do you suffer superstition? You know that ain’t the way. But, it’s really common amongst gamblers and it mostly based on false beliefs. In this article, I’m going to look at some of the most common gambling myths and explain why you should forget about them.
Every gambler should read this article so they can understand a little about the ideas that underpin the commonest gambling myths. This will help you to make better choices when gambling and, hopefully, keep you out of trouble!
Gambling Myth 1: Thinking Gambling Will Make You Rich
It’s true that some people get rich through gambling, but the vast majority won’t.
This is one of the most important myths you have to conquer because, otherwise, you’re likely to lose a lot of money chasing something that’s never going to happen.
It’s an incredibly common belief and one that many casinos and lotteries exploit. They’ll word adverts in a way that plays on people’s belief in the myth, “It might be you”.
My advice is that you should never gamble hoping to become rich. It should be about having fun. If you’re looking to make money, and still retain some elements of the excitement of gambling, then look into trading stocks and shares.
Gambling Myth 2: Thinking Gambling Will Make You Poor
Because the first myth is so common, and most of us are well aware of it, it leads us to overlook the opposite myth: that gambling will inevitably lead to poverty.
Gambling causes problems for some people at some times in their lives. Gambling addiction is very real, but that doesn’t mean everyone who gambles will develop problems.
True, more people will develop a gambling addiction than will hit the jackpot, but to believe that poverty is an inevitable outcome is wrong.
Instead, you need to arm yourself with the knowledge to prevent addiction taking hold – set limits (on both time and money), make yourself accountable to a close friend or relative (so they can tell you if it’s becoming a problem), promise yourself you’ll never chase losses (by setting limits), and get help early if you feel yourself slipping.
Gambling Myth 3: Thinking You’ll Win Your Money Back
Very closely related to myths 1 & 2, many people believe that they’ll win their money back if they keep on playing.
We call this, “Chasing Losses” or the “Sunk Costs Fallacy”. It means you try to recuperate a loss that you have no chance – or very little chance – of recovering. For example, you lose £100 on a slot machine, but you need that money for food, and you know the slot is about to payout (see myth 5), so you keep putting money into the machine waiting for the win that you “know” is coming.
It never does.
You avoid falling victim to this myth by setting playing limits before every gambling session. Never gamble with money that’s earmarked for your essentials (rent, bills, food, clothes, Valentine’s Day).
Tip: A good way to protect against these gambling myths is to set up a bank account specifically for gambling and only put a set amount of cash in there. Never link your current account or everyday credit card to gambling websites. If you visit a casino, leave all your other cards at home.
Gambling Myth 4: Thinking Random Number Generators (RNG) Are Rigged
RNGs are there to ensure that the casino doesn’t fiddle the games too much in their favour. For example, if the machine has a “return to player” rate (RTP) of 75%, over time, the RNG makes sure that the game returns 75% of the money paid in.
As long as you’re using a legal UK casino, you can rest assured that the RNG is working and accurate. UK casinos have to have their games checked by an independent auditor.
If you pay attention, you’ll notice that people only complain about RNGs when they’re on a losing streak! That should tell you something.
Gambling Myth 5: Thinking Skill Makes You More Likely to Win the Slots
Have you ever seen the old boys congregate around the slot machines at the pub? They’re always leaning in to peer at the reels and, when it’s your turn to play, advising you about what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
Yep, they think they’re skilful slot machine masterminds.
Mostly, they’re not. A typical slot machine pays out on a matter of luck.
There are only three things that can help you win:
1. Picking a slot machine with a high return to player rate – you should be able to check on the machine (if in a pub) or the description (when playing online slots).
2. Pick a slot machine with a skill-based element. These games can have an element of skill when you reach the bonus games. Most of the play still comes down to luck, but you can still win some money using your skills.
3. Pick a slot machine that someone’s just put a lot of money into and walked away. In other words, be a lurker.
Gambling Myth 6: Thinking Betting Systems Help You Beat the House
No doubt you’ve heard about various betting systems, e.g. card counting.
They don’t work. Think about it this way: there are many people online claiming they have the perfect betting system to sell you. If it were true, the casinos would know about it and would do something to stop it from happening. Otherwise, they’d go bust.
Casinos have ways of spotting when people are using underhand tactics, and they will act to stop it.
See myth 1: there are no guaranteed ways to win big when gambling.
Perhaps one day you’ll discover a rare strategy that works, but that’s about as likely as winning the lottery!
Gambling Myth 7: Thinking Past Results Determine Future Outcomes
So many people think that they can predict the next coin toss or the next colour on the roulette wheel. They figure that if something has a 50:50 chance of happening (e.g. heads or tails, red or black), that the previous run of outcomes affects the next.
Test yourself now, what do you think will happen in a 10-coin coin toss (imagine a perfect coin and perfect flip) that’s fallen heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads? Most people assume that the next flip just HAS TO BE heads. It’s too unlikely to get that many heads in a row.
What they don’t understand is the odds of heads and tails never changes. It’s always 50:50. The previous toss makes no difference. This is why you end up with weird streaks of 9 heads in a row.
People have lost a lot of money believing gambling myths, especially this one. And it’s not just the 50:50 chances they do it with – I just used that because it’s an easy way to illustrate the point – it’s with any game of chance.
Gambling Myth 8: Thinking Beginner’s Luck Will Help You Win
Beginner’s luck is the phenomenon whereby someone new to a game wins more often than his or her novice experience should dictate. People have tried to study it, but never found any clear evidence for it.
The only thing that sometimes influences the outcome is that there’s less pressure placed on a beginner and this means they don’t talk themselves down as much. This isn’t relevant to games of luck.
If you feel like you’re on a beginner’s luck winning streak, don’t expect it to last: reverse mini-game is just around the corner.
You’re only human and we all fall in the trap of magical thinking from time to time. The best way to avoid problems is to notice the beliefs that could lead you down the rabbit hole and stop them from controlling your actions.