The Illogicality of Roulette Players

There’s something about gambling that seems to lead even the smartest people away from common sense and logic.

You’ll see it at any game. At Blackjack, even with a strategy card in hand to advise players on the optimal play, you’ll still see them double down when they shouldn’t, or stay when they should hit.

At slots, you’ll see players continue to play simply because they feel they are “due”, or feel that because the slot machine hasn’t paid out anything big in a while, it is bound to soon. This is ignoring the fact that each spin of the slot machine is independent of past spins at that slot.

And of course, you’ll see it at roulette.

It’s so common that it even has a name. It is known as Gambler’s Fallacy. It’s not the complete lack of logic, but instead, players coming up with illogical reasons to make plays.

Every spin of the roulette wheel is independent. Yes, there is a law of averages, but you need thousands of spins of that wheel for it to balance out. With a small sample size of 100 spins, for example, it’s completely plausible to see the ball land on a red number 70 or 80 times.

The most common illogical plays people make are based on streaks. The most common of course is colours. If the ball lands on a red number 4 times in a row, then the player is convinced the next spin must be black. You would think they would learn their lesson if it lands on red again.

Instead, this just makes them even more certain that the next spin is going to land on black, and so they will likely increase their bet. If it ends up on red again? Well, it makes it even MORE likely that the next one will be black.

And so on, and so forth.

Others look at it from a different perspective. If it has come up four times in red, then it is clearly favouring the red numbers and will come up red more often, so it is best to bet on red.

People will make the same decisions about odd or even as well.

There is actually a famous story that took place in the early 1900s in Monte Carlo. At the casino there, black came up 26 times in a row. Many people lost a lot of money betting red on that day. When it comes to Roulette, some actually refer to it as the Monte Carlo Fallacy, due to that story.

There is even software available for people who play roulette online, which allows you to track all of the numbers that come up. Usually, it requires at least 10-30 numbers, and then it will start providing the “chances” that a certain number will come up, or advising you when to bet on a specific column or colour.

This is of course all nonsense, but it plays into that sort of logic. It’s why a lot of online and live casinos display the last 10 or 20 numbers that came up. It’s not for any sort of transparency; it’s so you can make illogical bets based on that.

People often come up with illogical betting systems based on this, or previous bets they have made at roulette games. If 24 comes up, they’ll say that “I always bet 34 after 24 as it always comes up”. If you ask them why, you’ll learn that once it came up and they have decided that it’s going to keep happening, despite the many spins that should have taught them that it won’t work.

Or you will see players follow another player’s bets at the table, or bet in stark contrast to them, due to that player running “hot” or “cold”. There is of course no such thing as a hot streak or cold streak in relation to the actual bets placed. The player is either getting lucky, or unlucky.

If you want to place bets based on the numbers that have already come up in a roulette game, then that’s fine. It can be fun to have some sort of system while playing roulette as it can keep you in check in terms of what bets you are making. It also gives you an endorphin rush when you win, and makes you feel like you have an edge.

Just be aware that it doesn’t. Each spin is independent, and any sort of system based on previous numbers coming should be used only to add some entertainment value. » For Dummies » The Illogicality of Roulette Players
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