Of Superstition And The Gamblers’ Naiveté

From the start, I need to ascertain that the winning/losing streaks of a gambler are influenced by luck as much as they are dependent on utilizing a viable strategy that is in accordance with the game, the number of players at the table, or the proprietary rules imposed by the house. Although the application of an effective method can maximize the chances of winning – to be read also as minimizing the losses – chance is an important factor. Now, without denying this obvious fact, the following article aims to criticize the belief that the superstitious rituals of a gambler are able to turn the odds in his favor in any way.

What do superstitious slot machine players believe?

Let’s take the slots players first, whom you will always see arguing with the machines, whispering smoothly at them, petting their display, or even begging for a jackpot/winning combination. It is pretty difficult to believe that a collection of circuitry encased in a metal frame that conveys a random combination of symbols once you pull the lever can be swayed in this matter, but good luck telling that to a superstitious player. The belief that their little ‘ritual” has the power to modify the outcome is enforced by lucky coincidences and, when it isn’t, excuses for its failure can be easily fabricated.

Logical fallacies practiced by craps players

By all accounts, the probabilities of rolling a dice combination can be calculated utilizing basic mathematical principles. You can’t “guess” the outcome, but you can estimate the results with a fair degree of accuracy when given a sufficient number of rolls. Leaving the unorthodox practices of swapping the dice for rigged versions aside, many craps players erroneously consider that their throwing method can determine a favorable roll.

As of such, you’ll probably see a lot of them performing a wide variety of inconceivable moves, from high arc throws to bouncing them off the rails of the table and anything in between. Not only would you have to know the original position of the dice in your hand in order to estimate the results, but you’d also have executed a perfect, 100% deviation free toss and account for all external factors, which is essentially impossible.

However, since craps players are generally the most superstitious of the bunch, second only to blackjack players, you will probably have a difficult time explaining the concept of a coincidence to them. On a side note, craps is the game that brought us the popular and humorous tale about the old man who believed that the positive outcome of his dice tosses was directly related to the fact that he was wearing his underwear backward!

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