Roulette and the Gambler’s Fallacy: Are You A Believer or Not?

Man’s success in evolution is in part, affected by his unique perception towards the phenomenon of cyclical events. Almost all of the things important to our survival happens in such a way that it follows a “predictable” pattern. Take for example our food: hunter-gatherers of the primitive times were able to feed themselves because they were able to know that a specific kind of animal would return in this time of the season; farmers, on the other hand, were able to grow, harvest, and stock crops because they also observed the cycle of the season.

This consequently leads us to believe that things which seems to happen randomly in this world is not really… random.

If we noticed a flock of migrating birds gathering at a lake, we would assume right away that soon, they would all fly out towards north because it’s that time of the year for them to do so.

In the same manner, if we get hundred heads in a coin toss, we would think right away that they “gathered together” and a specific event (a tail, perhaps) would likely to happen next.

This way of thinking is called the Gambler’s Fallacy. This “mistaken belief,” however, has long been debunked by people who like to take things as it is.

For the skeptics of the fallacy, with regards to the coin toss scenario, the hundred heads didn’t just happen for a reason. They simply “occur” and each of the tossing events have no direct connection to the last outcome.

By definition, the gambler’s fallacy is a belief that any random process becomes “less random” and more predictable when they repeatedly happen. This phenomenon happens commonly in gambling, hence the attribution of the name.

A specific example would be in the game of craps. A player, having failed to win in a number of rolls, may feel that the dice are now “due” for a certain number and would likely to come up with a favourable result.

Gambler’s Fallacy and Roulette

Another famous example of a gambling fallacy which happens in roulette was back in August 18, 1913 at the Monte Carlo Casino. According to history, a ball fell in Black for 26 times, consecutively. An extremely rare occurrence, gamblers held the belief that at a certain length of series, a Red would eventually come up. In the end, they lost millions in bets for betting against Black.

This further gave rise to the notion among roulette players that if one lose a number of games in a row, he is bound to make a big win “anytime” soon, which is why he needs to keep on playing.

If you come to think of it, the premise somehow makes sense. It is known for a fact that each spin made in a particular round has completely nothing to do with the previous result or the ones that would come next to it in the future. What if during a series of Reds, you followed your guts to bet on a Black. Since the next spin is an independent event, thus there’s an almost equal chance for Black to occur as with Red.

Should You Believe the Gambler’s Fallacy?

To be successful in roulette, one has to keep in mind that roulette, like any casino game relies purely on chances. Unless done illegally, there is no known device or technique that one could use to affect the outcome.

If you ask us, it is better not to bank on the idea in which you have to pile up on loses so that you will get a big win later. Each spin is its own event. Take it as it is. Bet accordingly. This way, you become more of a cautious and mindful roulette player rather than a gambler who puts faith on some unforeseen forces.

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