The following few posts are influenced by the constant unqualified assumptions and opinions recreational gamblers succumb to. These biased beliefs are maddening to hear and read. You do it; I do it; we all do it at one time or another. Based on small samples, human expectations, false knowledge, and unfounded opinions plague the recreational gambler's understanding of the gaming industry. Let's look at this annoying rhetoric founded on Casino Expectations and Small Samples.
Related Post – The law of small numbers in sports betting
Gambler's Preoccupation With Bias
Listening to gamblers speak, or read about their adventures on any social platform, you'd think we are all victims of Big Brother Casino. Is it paranoia? Or maybe just the ignorance of the gaming built on overly small or single sample sizes. Ever heard examples such as:
- “Every time I hit a soft 17 (Blackjack, 6 + Ace), I bust! Correct strategy? The dealer must be doing something.”
- “When I play video poker, and I'm dealt four to the Royal Flush, I draw the same card in different suits. The casino must have it programmed that way.”
- “I can tell that the Binbin Casino tightens the slots on the weekend. I never win on the weekend! They must change the slot payout percentage because the casino is packed on the weekends.”
Concerning Casino Expectations and Small Samples, Dr. Itamar Shatz states, “The law of small numbers is the incorrect belief that assumes small samples fully represent the result of large samples.” However, predictions from small samples in the casino produce biased perceptions, often shared by gamblers as reality.
The Human Need For Patterns
Humans get fooled by small sample sizes because we are wired to see patterns in randomness. Even when there isn't enough information to validate an opinion, people, primarily recreational gamblers, must find an answer – right or wrong.
“And we really are a decidedly strange species – seeking out games with patterns in them. It's as if we were addicted to spotting structures of information, and if we do not exercise this yearning, we then experience a deep pleasure in artificially finding them.”
Social Media Arguments
Many Facebook / Twitter (X) arguments summarize personal stories with a small sample. A few single experiences of excess is no way to decide an issue. Discussions concerning the best hotel, place to play, and restaurant usually include definitive opinions. Many of these opinions are based on very few times – usually, one. A person's rant or experience may be true (with embellishments). Still, it's not enough to make an absolute determination. “Jumping to conclusions” is natural and often immediately satisfying – everyone likes to believe in the clusters they see – but basing decisions on small sample sizes can be a big problem.
Gambler's Belief in Past Results
A familiar gamblers' misconception falsely assumes two things:
- Each play, deal, or push of a slot button in a game of chance is dependent on the previous ones and
- A series of outcomes of one sort should be balanced in the short run by the other possibilities.
Several winning systems of play have been invented by gamblers primarily based on this falsehood, and casino operators are happy to encourage the use of such systems. After all, exploiting any gambler's neglect of the strict rules of probability and independent plays is suitable for the cashbox.
Preventing Your Own Gambling Bias
You can do several things to stay away from the trap of Casino Expectations and Small Samples:
- First, understand the law of small numbers, why it's problematic, and when and how it can influence your thinking.
- Second, identify specific situations you tend to believe in a small sample. Identify such cases as casino payout rates, control of slot payouts, and beliefs based on the time of day or day of the week.
- Finally, acceptance. Accept the science behind the games and the math behind the house edge.
Related Post – Gambler's Fallacy and Randomness
My next post will deal with crazy opinions of the casino's control and manipulation of Slot Machine payout percentages. But until then, EMBRACE the MATH, NOT the MYTH.
Related Post – Embrace the Math, Not the Myth – Accept the House Edge
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