Misconceptions About Gambling

They think they can force lady luck to favor them again after a few losses. Unfortunately, such “influence” is absolutely worthless. What are some of the most common gambling myths?

Slots and Statistics

“Slot machines pay out at regular intervals,” goes the saying. This saying is one of the most common gambling mistakes. In reality, slot machines are programmed to be completely random. They are as likely to pay out each time someone plays as any other time someone plays. One can see the same misconception in the belief that a flipped coin will somehow be more likely to come up heads after being flipped 20 times in a row as tails. The chance is always 50 percent for each outcome. Statistical outcomes of this kind “even out” in the end through what’s known as “swamping.” For example, if you flip that coin 20 times and get 20 tails, that’s very significant for a sample size of 20. In a sample size of a million, however, 20 outcomes is quite insignificant. Those 20 tails in a row are swamped under a million other results. There is no such thing as “compensation.”


You Can’t “Time it Perfectly”

Similarly, nothing anyone does can affect the outcome of a slot machine once the lever is pulled or the button is pressed. In reality, the spinning dials are an illusion. Modern slot machines are computer controlled, and the computer generates the result immediately. Consequently, no amount of timing the button press or counting oranges, bars, lemons, or jackpot symbols will mean anything. Part of each slot machine’s program is to ensure that it pays less than it takes in over time. You also have to remember that there is no “almost.” You either win, or you lose. Missing that “third bar” by one tick on a slot machine is also an illusion. In short, the longer you play slot machines, the more money you lose.


The House Always Wins

Remember, the odds always favor the house. Casinos are a business, and if they were to pay out more than they took in, they would be out of business before you could say knife. Even roulette, which seems to offer a 50-50 chance with the option of betting red or black, isn’t truly “this-or-that.” There are, after all, two green spaces on a roulette wheel across the pond and one green space on a roulette wheel here at home to go with 18 red and 18 black spaces. The chance of someone winning on a red or black bet, therefore, is 48.64 percent. That means that you will “win” only 97.28 quid for every 100 you bet.


The House Edge

The same favor carries over to other games. For example, sevens are more common on two dice than any point in craps. If you hold the dice and roll a point, you will lose money in the long run. Punto Banco is a pure-chance derivative of Baccarat. Baccarat allows for some skill because two players play against each other, but Punto Banco does not. It has a similar “house edge” built in that ensures the casino makes money and you don’t. What is a “cooler?” The concept of a “cooler” is an urban myth concerning casinos that send someone perceived as hard cheese to your table to “break your luck.” Because all games in a casino operate mathematically with the odds in the house’s favour, there is no such thing as a jinx or a “cooler.”


No, Really, You Won’t Win in the Long Run

Is there any way to win consistently in a casino? Despite everything you might have heard, the answer is no. You will always lose money over time playing honestly. What about card counting? Isn’t it possible to win over time at blackjack counting cards? Yes, it is possible to make small gains counting cards. Almost all casinos, however, will either ban you from the property or forbid you from playing blackjack, even if they allow you in, if they know you’re a card counter. Using anything other than your mind to count cards is illegal.


Other Gambling Problem Areas

In the United Kingdom, problem gamblers aren’t just found in casinos. Sports betting is a gigantic industry whether it involves the Premier League, Rugby Union, overseas cricket, or almost any other sport you consider. Through certain popular websites, you can even bet on snooker or the outcomes of battles between teams of fantasy warriors involved in online video games. There is another common gambling fallacy inherent in this kind of betting: that collections of bets of low odds pay out more than long shots. Bookmakers tend to push these so-called accumulator bets because they’re good for the bookmakers’ profits, not yours. Yes, it is possible to win as much as 50 times your initial investment even if it’s as small as one pound. If only one portion of your accumulator bet fails to come in, however, the entire bet is lost.


The Bottom Line

The best way to look at gambling in all forms is as entertainment. The long-term prospects of winning untold riches are practically nil. For every bloke who hits the progressive jackpot on a slot machine, there are hundreds of thousands of others who will drive themselves all the way to Carey Street trying to duplicate his success. How can you be responsible about gambling? There are three laws you should always follow:

  • Never play for more than you can afford to lose.
  • Never chase money you’ve already lost.
  • Always quit while you’re ahead no matter how small your winnings.

Here are a few tips to accomplish these things:

  • Decide how much you’re willing to risk and take only that amount with you.
  • Leave your checkbook, credit cards, and ATM cards at home.
  • Never drink while gambling so that you stay mentally sharp.
  • Take someone with you to “keep you honest” and out of trouble.

Gambling can be fun and exciting. As stated, it should be treated as entertainment. If you happen to win, that’s right ace, but it shouldn’t be the your chief goal.