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Wizard of Odds or Even Steven? The Science of Gambling Fallacies

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  • Playing a free slots no download game imposes no risks, but if you are playing with real money, there is always a risk of going bankrupt. This risk is further increased if a situation known as gambler’s fallacy occurs: You continue to increase your stakes continuously because you believe you will win. Well, what is gambler’s fallacy actually? Is there a scientific explanation for it? Below, you will find answers to all these questions and be able to better understand why you are losing.

    What Is Gambler’s Fallacy?

    This is actually a psychology term that is used to describe a belief without foundation. So, if you believe something will happen when there is no reason, it is called gambler’s fallacy. The source of the term comes from roulette games and perhaps explains why many players have lost in this game. Let’s explain with the most common example used: On a roulette table, you can bet that the ball will stop on the red or black slot. Let’s say the wheel turned ten times and the ball stopped on the red slot every time. What will be the result in the eleventh spin? Do you think this time the chance has increased for the ball to stop on the black slot?

    If you answer yes to this question, congratulations, you are also a proud example of gambler’s fallacy. This is a psychological situation: It is believed that if a certain probability has not been realized for a long time, the probability of its occurrence is increased. There are even gambling strategies based on this belief. For example, the Martingale strategy, well known to roulette players, requires betting on the same probability and increasing the stake continuously. Why? Because, in the end, that possibility will happen. So if you play for long enough and you put your money on red all the time, you will eventually win.

    At first glance, this belief seems to have a basis. In fact, eventually the red will win, this is correct. But the problem is when this happens. This possibility may not occur during hundreds of spins and may cause you to go bankrupt.

    The Odds and Probabilities

    But why? Let’s use the heads/tails game to explain this situation. There are two possible outcomes in this game: heads or tails. In each game, the probability of both possibilities is 50%. This ratio never decreases or increases. In other words, even the result was “heads” 20 times in a row, the probability of “tails” in the twenty-first game is still 50%.

    If you don’t believe this, and you think these rates will change, you don’t have any evidence other than a belief without foundation. Call it a “hunch” – do you think the possibility of getting tails is increasing? Or is it 50% each and every time? This applies to all casino games. Probabilities are recalculated at each spin or roll. No possibility increases or decreases. Your chances of winning always remain the same.

    This is the reason why this situation can lead to your bankruptcy: If you believe that your luck will eventually turn or that the likelihood of a particular probability is increasing, you continue to increase the stakes. If that possibility does not occur within a certain period of time, you go bankrupt. You may be able to make a profit in the short term because the luck factor is always valid. But this situation is misleading: If you make a profit, you believe the system works, and you start to place higher bets. In the long run, you always lose. The most beautiful example of this situation is an “incident” happened in 1913: In this year, in a roulette game at the Monte Carlo Casino, “black” was the result 26 times in a row. Every player who placed money on red lost millions of francs, and they all believed that the possibility of red increased with every spin.

    The Reason for Gambler’s Fallacy

    The reason for this unfounded belief may be a problem in your brain. An article published in the National Academy of Sciences of America claims that gambler’s fallacy is caused by damage to the “insula” region of the brain. Insula has many functions: In addition to controlling autonomic responses such as heartbeats, it controls our emotional state and our social interaction with other people. It is also known that the sense of empathy is controlled by the insula.

    The research claims that players who have gambler’s fallacy problem lack the ability to feel empathy. The brains of these players are more primitive: Their risk/reward mechanisms that cause endorphin secretion are damaged and they can only get enough endorphin by taking big risks. In other words, the reason they continuously increase the amount of bets is a physical flaw: They like to take more risks. Therefore, it is not possible to convince such players otherwise, because they all really believe that they have a “system” and that they will eventually win.

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