Before You Gamble you need to know this Single Psychological Trick!
Are you a gambler? If so then you have a distinction as there is a logical fallacy named especially for you. Unfortunately being associated with a fallacy – a fancy way of saying, “you’re always wrong in this way!” – is not great. But, because we have a lot of knowledge about this psychological trick we can learn from it and gamble more safely and successfully with that knowledge.
The World of Fallacies!
Fallacies are just mistakes, or because they occur in logic (or “argumentation”) they are mistaken reasoning. They most often come up – often quite boringly – in the world of the Facts and Logic bros of the YouTube political sphere. And there, they are often misused, and misapplied – because not everything in human experience is amenable to forcing through the rigid framework of formal logic: some slippery slopes are slippery, some authorities are good, some less so…
The gambler’s fallacy is not one of argumentation but of expectation, and it is one that stands up well.
So what is the Gambler’s Fallacy?
The gambler’s fallacy is a simple one: it’s the “it’s about time” or “it’s bound to happen” fallacy.
Gambling is based on random events. To introduce something into gambling that is predictable is to cheat. Slot games are based on random number generators. In combination with a set of variables and the law of large numbers these random number generators produce a fairly predictable revenue stream for the casino site, but their RNGs must be good, and they must be proven to be good.
So there must be no chronological certainty in gambling.
The sun rises, and it will fall again in the same evening. The same is not true for a random event.
The best example is the toss of a coin, the classic 50/50 bet.
As you toss a coin hundreds and hundreds of times, the law of large numbers comes into play and it is very likely that the totals for heads and tails will even out to 50/50. But each individual coin toss remains an independent event that is not influenced by anything else.
The odds do stack up: each toss is a one in two chance, and the increase in odds is simply achieved by multiplying those choices together: 1 in 2 x 2 = 1 in 4.
So as you continue down such a sequence odds get quite high. Even four heads in a row is 16 to 1, so five heads in a row is 32 to 1.
That’s unlikely. But the next toss is still a 50/50 chance.
But gamblers have trouble recognising this.
The Mathematical Trick at the Heart of the Gambler’s Fallacy
What gamblers often forget is that the chance of getting a tail is also 50/50, so the odds (in the sense of probability) of getting 4 heads and 1 tail are exactly the same as the odds against getting heads on the run.
It’s a form of magical thinking. And it’s one that you need to guard against.
The Other Gambler’s Fallacy
Outside of pure mathematics, there are a couple of psychological fallacies.
The reverse gambler’s fallacy is an invented situation, in which an observed double-six on a set of dice is assumed to be part of a long sequence, as getting a double six on the first attempt would be too lucky.
A retrospective gambler’s fallacy imagines that past events can be calculated from observing present ones.
The Real-Life Monte Carlo Fallacy
Monte Carlo Casino is the best-known example of the gambler’s fallacy causing damage in real life.
On August 18th, 1913 a roulette wheel delivered a run of 26 blacks in a row. The odds against this are massive: 1 in 66.6 million roughly. But, if the wheel wasn’t fixed in some way, each spin remained an independent and fair 50/50 chance.
Reportedly gamblers watching this run lost millions of francs because they believed that the wheel was “due” to deliver a red.
When the Gambler’s Fallacy Might Fool You
Gambler’s fallacies apply when events are independent. But they aren’t always.
It’s by knowing that probabilities do change in some situations that players are able to predict (to a very small degree) what cards might drop next in blackjack.
Unfortunately, in most online live casino games, infinite cards make this card counting impossible.
There is only really one place where the Gambler’s Fallacy doesn’t work in the modern online casino world and that is in the case of progressive jackpots and particularly due-to-drop jackpots.
Progressives have a mechanism that triggers them to pay out over a certain amount. They are also sometimes time-limited. So, if you see a due-to-drop jackpot and it is coming to the end of its lifespan then it is by definition slightly more likely to drop than it was earlier in the cycle.
However, because such jackpots are single prizes the fact that it is much more likely to pay out means that more players are likely to gamble on winning it. And that means that there’s more competition, so you may not be any more likely in practical terms to win.
Psychology, mathematics, you and safety
Gambling is a powerful psychological pull. Players can find themselves thinking all sorts of things. We’re not going to try to talk you out of some fairly harmless superstitions, like a lucky pair of pants or something, but if you do have any of those beliefs it’s important to recognise that they have no influence on the events you’re betting on and that gambling is best understood in purely mathematical terms.
You can be sure that the casino sites are working that way, and the sum that matters is that most gamblers will lose small amounts of money over the long term.
Bear this in mind, bear your own personal mental and financial health in mind, and keep yourself down to earth and logical while you play any game. And remember, that each spin is a blank piece of paper!