Betting Articles

The Gambler's Fallacy


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I'm super chuffed that  I posted the early season trainer angles on Monday!

I couldn't have chosen a better day to point out the merits of the 'Spring Training Masters' as their performance since has shown: Roger Charlton: From 2 runners -  a winner at 20/1 and a 3rd at 15/2 Ralph Beckett: No runners as yet. Alan King:  1 runner -  3rd at 16/1 I love it when a plan comes together!

On to today: The Gamblers Fallacy

Here's a scenario:

You've just watched me flip a coin 10 times.

On every one of those 10 flips, the coin has come up heads.

I know it seems unlikely but it can and does happen (If you were to toss a coin 1000 times you would have a 62% chance of at some point hitting a run of 10 consecutive heads)

After determining that the coin is a genuine, non -trick coin, (it is),  I've now got a question for you:

When I toss the coin for an 11th time, which is more likely to come up? Heads or Tail?

Well, the correct answer is neither is more likely.

Each coin toss is an independent event, entirely uninfluenced by the result of those that preceded it and those that come after.

Neither heads nor tails is more likely - they both have a 50% probability regardless of what has gone before.

If you answered that either heads or tails was more likely, then you are falling prey to The Gamblers Fallacy - and it could well be costing you money.

The Gambler's Fallacy is defined as:

'the mistaken belief that if something happens more frequently than normal during some period, then it will happen less frequently in the future; likewise, if something happens less frequently than normal during some period, then it will happen more frequently in the future (presumably as a means of balancing nature). In situations where what is being observed is truly random this belief, though appealing to the human mind, is false. This fallacy can arise in many practical situations although it is most strongly associated with gambling where such mistakes are common among players.'

The most common problem that arises when you fall into this way of thinking is chasing losses and increasing stakes because you're "due a winner".

It's so  easily done - I know, I've been there!

When you've had a series of losers (and they are always unlucky losers!) you start to think, the next one must come in, I'm due a winner after all this bad luck, the law of averages says this has to turn around shortly blah blah blah.

You need to avoid this kind of thinking at all costs!

Always keep in mind that your selections don't know that you have been losing more often than you would expect from your long term strike rate.

Don't fall victim to the Gamblers Fallacy - it's been the ruin of many, many brave punters!  

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