The gambler’s fallacy is the mistaken idea that the results of one event can influence the likelihood of a subsequent event. This flawed way of thinking about chance and odds costs regular gamblers hundreds of dollars if not thousands of dollars annually.
Players keep betting money despite the fact that their chances haven’t improved because they believe their terrible luck portends an approaching stretch of good luck. This self-destructive style of thinking is, unfortunately, rather common amongst humans. It can be useful sometimes, but it shouldn’t be used for online gambling.
This article explores the gambler’s fallacy and the apophenia bias employed by casinos to keep gamblers coming back for more. You will improve as a gambler if you learn to recognize common myths and misunderstandings.
The Internet: A Boiling Cauldron of Facts and Lies
We are, in many respects, amidst the Age of Misinformation. Because of the abundance of information available nowadays, many people actively seek out data that supports their preconceived notions. Without the ability to think critically, we risk falling for various forms of illogic and conspiracy theories.
One example of the many ways in which people can fall prey to false information is through the medium of online gambling. There are a lot of myths and falsehoods floating around about casinos. Some examples include “pattern strategies” in baccarat, “slots tips for predicting jackpots,” and “can’t-miss progressive betting techniques.”
If you’re new to gambling, you’ll quickly discover that there are countless games available with countless restrictions. After a few setbacks, they could try to learn all they can about the game in order to increase their chances of winning the following time. Gambling in casinos is big business, so players have easy access to a wealth of information about how to win. There will be both good and bad ones.
The Roulette Trap for Beginners
The roulette gambler’s fallacy
Roulette players are susceptible to a common casino misconception thanks to the gambler’s fallacy. People often assume that if the ball has fallen on black six times in a row, the next roll will be red.
A roulette wheel that is perfectly balanced will have no correlation between any two spins. The chances of the ball landing on black or red remain equal.
In many traditional brick-and-mortar casinos, the results of the last 10-20 spins of the roulette wheel are shown on an electronic board. This promotes gambler’s fallacy since it provides data that facilitates pattern recognition. People may be more likely to place a bet on red if 14 of the previous 20 spins had yielded black.
Online roulette follows the same pattern. The roulette software used by online casinos also displays previous outcomes, feeding the gambler’s fallacy. However, unlike in physical casinos, the results of one spin of online roulette have no bearing on the results of subsequent spins. A RNG ensures that no two spins are linked since it generates truly random results.
The Law of Averages, in the Eyes of Gamblers
Many players, when confronted with the gambler’s fallacy, resort to the “law of averages” That’s the premise that if both outcomes are equally likely, then they should average out over time. The gambler’s fallacy is given the appearance of mathematical probability by the rule of averages. This is contrary to what common sense would have you believe.
It’s an error in thinking about how a hypothetical “law of averages” operates. This theoretical law of averages says that if you spun the roulette wheel a billion times, the odds of landing on black or red would be roughly equal. The greater the number of spins, the closer they will approximate the arithmetic probability. But that’s after a very large number of rotations.
That’s usually where the confusion starts for most people. They use first-person pronouns to refer to “a lot of spins” when they think about it. For example, people might assume that after a hundred, a thousand, or even a million spins, the odds are evenly split. That is not the case at all. A sample size of a few thousand spins is negligible in the big picture. If you spin the roulette wheel 5,000 times, you can get drastically different results.
Gambler’s fallacy and the rise of online gambling
Online casinos have figured out how to communicate with customers in order to keep them glued to their screens.
Online casino software developers have perfected the art of transmitting signals to players through a variety of sensory inputs. They take cues from traditional casinos and the advertising sector to ensure that individuals are constantly exposed to incentives to keep playing. One of the tricks they use on players is the so-called “gambler’s fallacy.”
Some instances are as follows:
Game of Chance Flashing lights and jingling bells are common in online slots with multiple paylines to let you know you’re winning (and that you should spin again).
Scoreboards of various kinds encourage baccarat players to employ “pattern strategy” while deciding how to proceed with their wagers.
Roulette Tote Boards: Electronic displays in both virtual and brick-and-mortar casinos that show the outcomes of the previous 10-20 spins.
Online keno, like its brick-and-mortar counterpart, displays the most recent outcome or the “luckiest” numbers on the board.
Pattern recognition is a useful tactic in gambling since some games benefit from it. In blackjack, card counting can increase your chances of winning by keeping track of when specific cards (those having a value of 10) are removed from the deck. Finding the patterns there is useful. In poker, too, it pays to be a pattern spotter.
Blackjack and poker are both games of skill, but for different reasons. There is an element of luck involved, but one can also improve at them with preparation, memory, and calculation. However, games like roulette, baccarat, slots, and keno rely entirely on chance.
There are restrictions even in games of skill like poker and blackjack. Because the RNG reshuffles the deck after each hand, strategies like card counting are completely ineffective in online blackjack.
Making Sense of the Uncertain
Harvard and McGill University professor Steven Pinker writes that humans are “always interpreting patterns” in their heads. The human mind has evolved to make inferences and understand incomplete data sets. Whether you’re a prey animal trying to locate a predator among the jungle vegetation or a puzzle solver piecing together clues, the ability to recognize patterns and draw conclusions is a valuable skill.
To sum up, our minds operate on a kind of shorthand that allows us to make educated predictions about the world. It’s a good skill to have, but it’s not a flawless method. No matter how much is at risk, we could be completely incorrect. The human tendency to make snap judgments based on fragmented data can get us into trouble when playing the slots.
Gambling on the Internet and Depression
Apophenia is defined as “the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things,” and was first used in 1958 by psychiatrist Klaus Conrad. Those with vivid imaginations may detect human features in the clouds. Apophenics may place emotional value on abstract forms.
Consider astrology as an illustration. Shapes are uncovered when humans make connections between stars separated by thousands or millions of years. Ancient people who lacked modern scientific knowledge yet ascribed meaning to these recurring designs. Despite astronomy’s efforts to discredit astrology, many people find solace in perusing their daily horoscope.
Astrology provides a sense of order in an otherwise chaotic world, much like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) does. Similarly, apophenia enables sufferers to view their problems in life as the work of an external cabal. The conspirators could be the people next to you or the most powerful people in the world, depending on your point of view.
Like any other aspect of life, going to a casino can be stressful at times. Thus, the existence of gambler’s fallacy should come as no surprise. The gambler’s fallacy is a strategy that can help you win in gambling. The issue is that it provides a false sense of security.
Gambling Advice: It’s Possible That It’s Just a Coincidence
One common error, as Dr. Pinker points out, is giving coincidences too much weight. According to Pinker, coincidences are a normal part of life, but we prefer to treat them as if they were miraculous. There is a one in two probability that two people in a room of sixty share the same birthday, but we treat this as a remarkable and, in some cases, significant coincidence.
Klaus Conrad made the observation that hallucinations are not typically the onset symptom of delusions. Instead, he argued that “self-referential over-interpretations” of external stimuli (such as words, sounds, and numbers) are where delusions begin. Information from the environment is taken in, patterns are identified, and importance is ascribed.
Therefore, the key to making good selections in an online casino is becoming aware of our own gambler’s fallacies. Keep in mind as your session of online gambling progresses that coincidences are possible and, in fact, fairly frequent.
Roulette, baccarat, keno, and slot machine outcomes from the past have no bearing on the next spin.
You have no way of knowing when the jackpot on an online slot machine will be won.
The house edge remains the same regardless of whether you utilize the Martingale system or any other betting strategy.
All of these ideas regarding gambling online are false. Realize that the outcomes of slot machines, roulette, keno, and baccarat are completely out of your hands. It’s only for fun, so kick back, take it easy, and cash out while you’re ahead.