Many players erroneously believe certain events are due. For example, if the roulette ball lands on a red number five times in a row, some gamblers feel black is due to hit.
It’s true that, over time, 50-50propositions Oike flipping a coin) even out and finish close to the average. But the most likely outcome for the short-term is
anything but average. It’s not unusual to have seven heads and three tails in ten flips of a coin. Even if you take time off work and meticulously keep track
of a million flips, it’s highly unlikely the results will be exactly 500,000 for each. The occurrence of heads and tails will be close to 50 percent, but there
still may be thousands more heads than tails.
How does this example relate to gambling? Don’t get sucked into illusory concepts such as hot dice, cold cards, or streaky machines. This fact is just the principle of random walk at work; short-term fluctuation is normal in any game.
But can you predict that fluctuation or make money off it? Absolutely not!
Forecasting the trends
Some gamblers mistakenly believe that trends develop in some games – and that smart players can spot these trends and use them to predict the future.
To encourage this strategy, casinos even display previous numbers hit on the roulette wheel and give players paper and pencils to track results at the baccarat table. Unless you’re planning a future career as the scorekeeper for the Lakers, such activities are a waste of time. The previous results are only meaningful if
there were a bias in the machine or wheel. But modern casinos are extremely vigilant about regulating all their games, and it’s very rare for non random events to creep into games of chance.
Succumbing to sefective memory
All gambling superstitions and misconceptions share one common denominator – they all lose in the long run. You don’t believe me? Perhaps you have a friend who always wins at slots or crushes the craps tables every trip. The truth is that people do win sometimes – otherwise no one would ever return to the casinos. But I would speculate that an average gambler finishes ahead about one out of every three trips. That’s simply short-term fluctuation at work.
The problem for most people is that they don’t keep records, and it is human nature to recall big wins and minimize losses. Consequently, many gamblers think that they’re winners when actually they’re net losers.