The Fallacy of Winning in Gambling
People often have inaccurate perceptions about random processes. For example, basketball fans and players tend to believe the chances of an individual player scoring a basket are greater if the player was successful in making previous shots (i.e., streak shooting). However, streak shooting is a misconception, as previous shots provide no reliable information about the success of subsequent shots. Specifically, many people possess an overconfidence in the stability of results obtained from a single small sample. Various researchers speculated that students generalize the precision of large samples to small samples because of an erroneous belief that random processes are self-correcting. The following discussion is based on the book “Casino Gambling” by Jerry Patterson who argues that gambling can be predicted, researched, and properly learned, whereas the truth is that any kind of random event has an equal chance of either occurring or not and certainly ca not be learned or precisely calculated.
For example, people often infer a greater probability of a coin landing tails when preceded by several consecutive heads. This misconception implies an expectation that even short sequences (or small samples) will self-correct chance deviations. This generalization from large to small samples occurs despite learning the standard error formula that shows the relation between sample size and statistical precision. Thus, individuals may not routinely retain a basic logical principle because of a misinterpretation about the influences of random processes on statistical outcomes. Several variations of regression toward the mean demonstrations are available to illustrate the influences of chance contributions to extreme scores. However, these demonstrations imply a corrective mechanism toward the mean, without an explanation about how random processes truly function. Furthermore, the demonstrations provided in the book do not address how random processes can alter group results or the relation between sample size and variability. Thus, such examples do not prove anything in reality but the subjective assumption that is based on relatively small sample size and is not analyzed critically (taking all considerations into account). The author makes one believe that there is a very specific rule, according to which all casinos and gambling function. He implies that if one learns the basics of the mentioned above principal, this individual will be able to win most of the times. Nevertheless, casinos are businesses that are created with the purpose of making money but not giving its funds for free to anyone. What is more, gambling institutions are almost the only organizations that offer winning advice and sell best statistics for the players. If these doings are true, then such fact contradicts the original purpose of having business, which is to make profit. In other words, if one really teaches numerous customers how to trick his or her organization, he acts against the organization that will supposedly lose money as a result of these activities.
It is possible to make a clear confusion that “Casino Gambling” by Jerry Patterson is merely an attempt to make money and to lure more customers into the gambling business. People who are dependent on playing are eager to find any kind of semi- logical or even completely illogical advice that they think can improve their particular chances of winning.
The true realities of gambling are the facts that no advantages exist in the short run based on past events and that the gambler loses over the long run because Las Vegas casinos do not pay off at a one to one rate. Finally, an introductory course in statistics rather than shadowy gambling advise may help one realize the real nature of random choice, events and probability of various independent events occurring over a certain period of time.
Patterson, Jerry “Casino Gambling”, New York: New York independent Press, 2001.