Don't Fall for the Gambler's Fallacy!

The roulette has been hitting on black for many times in a row now. The best action then is to bet on red, since the odds of getting another black would be very small, right? Wrong. An easy trap that gamblers could fall into is the belief that a result that hasn't been happening for quite some time is most likely to happen. This is called the gambler's fallacy.

The gambler's fallacy is a belief that is based on flawed mathematics. It assumes that results are accumulative, and that each outcome is dependent on the one before it. Let's take a closer look at this phenomenon using an example of even money bet.

Let's say we are gambling using a fair coin. The chances to get heads or tails therefore should be 50%, or . If for example heads has been coming up ten times in a row, the most common belief would be that it has 'exhausted' its chances of coming up, and therefore tails should be coming up anytime soon.

Some would even support this through mathematical means. They would use the following formula: x x x x x x x x x x = 1/2048.

They would argue that since the possibility of a heads coming up 11 times in a row is only one in 2048, then after ten consecutive heads, there is only a miniscule possibility that the next result would still be heads. The mathematics may be correct but the assumption is not.

The possibility of a heads coming up 11 times in a row is one in 2048, given that the coin hasn't been flipped yet. The equation could only predict how possible a sequence could be, but not the odds of a next coin flip. In fact, the odds of a heads or tails is always , no matter what the results are before.

The correct equation after ten consecutive flips of heads should be: 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 x = .

What did the halves become one? Once a result is seen, it could not be represented in the equation as an odd, but as a defined result. Therefore, a heads is only represented as if the coin hasn't been flipped yet.

If you are gambling on slots, roulette, craps, or any other game which involves chance, never fall into the gambler's fallacy. Remember that your odds remain the same and is not dependent on the outcome. Gamble smart and with a correct strategy, and you will surely go home a winner.

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