The Gamblers Fallacy

Other than craps, roulette players are very likely to fall into the trap of the gambler’s fallacy. Because roulette is a game of chance, many people incorrectly believe that the occurrence of one event (or non-occurrence) is in some way influenced by other independent factors. Typically this fallacy takes four different forms, all of which relate to the frequency in which an event occurs, or doesn’t occur. Many gamblers take this fallacy to heart and formulate betting systems and strategies based on this false assumption. Below, we will discuss these fallacies, and debunk the myth that surrounds them.

The first and most common fallacy among roulette players is that if a number or color hasn’t hit recently, then it is more likely to hit soon. For example if the last fifteen hits have been on black pockets, players that follow this fallacy will likely place large bets on red because ‘a red pocket is due’. Some roulette players point to the law of averages to explain this rationale, but the roulette wheel has no memory and therefore no “law” can exist to dictate where the ball lands.

Let me say this again clearly; no system can predict what pockets the ball will land in. Another, similar fallacy to which roulette players succumb is the luck-based fallacy. This idea is based on a player or specific table having a streak of good or bad luck. For example you may hear a roulette player say “the table must be on a streak of good luck because the last four hits have landed on black pockets”. Although there is no evidence to support this other than the back-to-back occurrence of black pockets, many players will bet based on this falsehood.

Your chances of success in the game of roulette are based, in large part, on your ability to separate the fact from the fiction and actually learn the game. Succumbing to the gambler’s fallacy will make you just that, a gambler, rather than a skilled player that strives to improve their roulette odds. Even if you enjoy roulette as a game of leisure and relaxation, you’re more likely to win if you take the approach of a skilled player looking to decrease the house advantage instead of aiming for the impossible task of eliminating it altogether. The gambler’s fallacy is a trap into which casinos are happy to let you fall into because ultimately it means that you place bad bets, which increases their advantage over you. Even if you play for fun, it’s better to play safe and win money than play reckless and lose it all, right?

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