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Prevent Gambling Addiction: Understand Gambler's Fallacy

By Edited Jun 15, 2015 1 0

It's quite a common, but sad, tale to hear: one of gambling addiction. Many

Gambling addict
people cannot ever enter a casino for the purpose of entertainment alone, and feel a compulsive need to win. Oftentimes, the basis for this gambling addiction lies within what is known as gambler's fallacy.

What is "gambler's fallacy"?
Gambler's fallacy is, essentially, the statement that a gambling victory is "due." Most people who visit a casino, I imagine, fall victim to the fallacy. People who do not understand this logical flaw often say things like, "I'm about due for a blackjack," "The ball has landed on red seven times in a row - it's gotta be black next," and the ubiquitous, "Just one more spin!"
Although casino games can provide an exciting buzz, it's important not to be swept up by this train of thought. Crying "one more" too many times can lead to gambling addiction.

The reason behind the falsehood of the fallacy
Saying that you're bound to win big eventually if you play long enough is false for, really, just one reason: inanimate objects don't have memories. It's kind of silly when you think about it.
What are the odds of flipping tails on a two-sided coin? 50%
Let's say you flipped the coin ten times, and each of those times it was tails. The odds of that happening are about .09% -- quite extraordinary. So, what are the odds of flipping heads on the next flip? 50%

You see, it doesn't matter what the previous outcomes were -- it's still 50/50. Washington's face on that quarter doesn't have a working brain.

A common example of the fallacy
Probably the most prime example of gambler's fallacy is in the lottery. Thousands of players, many who could be classed as having a gambling addiction, purchase tickets week after week, o
Lottery balls
ften with various beliefs:
  • The simple, "If I play long enough, I'm bound to win."
  • Cold numbers. "17 hasn't been drawn in over two years. It's got to be coming up soon."
  • Hot numbers. "44 seems to get drawn more than any other number. I'll get a ticket with 44."
As you hopefully understand by now, none of those statements are true. If you have lost $1,000,000 buying lottery tickets, not only have you wasted an ample amount of money, but you'd be foolish to think that by playing again, you'd be more likely to win. And no matter what supposed "patterns" there may be in the draws, each is completely random and independent of previous outcomes.

But what about computerized games?
One specific point I would like to end on are video slot machines and other computerized casino games. A reputable online casino (essentially, one that obeys the laws), as well as a land-based casino, is required to make each spin completely random. Casinos cannot program these machines to payout every x games, and thus, they are no exception to the lie that is gambler's fallacy.

From all this math-talk and examples, I hope you understand that, when in a casino, either an online casino or a land-based casino, each wager you make is independent of others, and having a losing streak doesn't mean it will ever end. No casino secret or betting system can ever overcome this fact. So, with all of this in mind, remember to bet responsibly. Never bet more than you can afford, and never try to chase your losses.


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