Jan 21, 2019

Gambler's Fallacy and Other Myths of Roulette Players

author Peter S.

If you are among those who still believe that roulette can be won in the long run, you will not like the following article. But if you want to get familiarised with the facts, then these lines will help you open your eyes. Before you start the career of a professional roulette player, read this article and maybe you will reconsider everything.

1) The Roulette Ball has a Memory

This might be a summary of perhaps the most common myth around which many roulette systems revolve. But unfortunately! The ball has no memory! The results of previous spins do not affect the next spins in any way. The probability of each round is always the same!

Gambler's Fallacy

Imagine that the ball in roulette has already hit the black x7. Do you think that in the next round is more likely to strike red? No, of course not. The probability for the black is still the same. Let us take a closer look at this.

Probability in roulette indicates the chance that a certain phenomenon will happen.

There are three ways to express probability. Let us say you have five boxes and one is €100,000. What chance do you have of choosing this box? It can also be said as follows: in one of the five cases, you choose just that winning box. The notation can be a fraction, a decimal number or a percentage.

  • 1/5
  • 2
  • 20%

All three of these notations say the same thing, just in a different way. Also, note that these numbers are very easy to convert. You can simply get to the number 0.2 by dividing 1: 5 on the calculator. And to 20% by multiplying the result by 100.

The number 1 indicates a 100% chance that something will happen - so it's not so much a chance as, say, certainty :). On the contrary, something that does not happen with certainty has a probability value of 0. Thus, the larger the number, the greater the chance that the phenomenon will occur and vice versa.

So far, very easy and surprisingly it will continue to be so. You just cannot stay boarded!

Now let us look at the calculation of the probability of a recurring phenomenon - that is, that an event will be repeated X times. For simplicity, we will use the classic example with a coin flip. The probability that the head will fall is ½, 0.5, or 50%. However, what is the chance that the head will fall twice in a row? To find out, we simply multiply the probabilities of both phenomena and get the result.

½ * ½ = ¼

Another way to express the result is 25% or 0.25.

Now let us see what the probability is that the head will fall even ten times in a row.

½ * ½ * ½ * ½ * ½ * ½ * ½ * ½ * ½ * ½ = 1/1024

So very low chance. And this is where we come to the gambler's fallacy! Imagine that you flipped a coin 9 times in a row and, surprisingly, the head strike 9 times in the row. It is from this case that many players conclude that to fall even after the tenth; the probability is that 1/1024, which is a small chance.

But let's look at the calculation, but once again, you will very easily find an error in such thinking.

It is clear from the picture that the probability of every flip is the same. It does not matter which one we choose. You may also notice that when comparing repetitive phenomena, you have to look at it as a whole - the probability of such a compound phenomenon is again calculated by multiplying the individual chances.

The situation of the tenth throw can also be seen in the following way, which will be even more convincing.

Pravděpodobnost - stále stejná!

Once you flip a coin and get the result, you can no longer calculate with 50% probability, but with 100%! Again, it doesn't matter which side of the coin you choose, if you already know how it turned out. In this case, you count on certainty, in other words, you multiply ones by one, so the result will again be 1, ie 100%, and it doesn't matter how many throws you have already made.

2) Recurring Sequences

Many of players' questions were about the modification of some sequences - for example, some alternation of the Martingale Betting System. But all these modifications are just a psychological intoxication of the player. This can be beautifully assumed from the previous explanation and illustrative pictures.

It does not matter at all which sequence of results you choose. So it doesn't matter if you want the head to strike five times in a row, or come up with a combination where it alternates with the tail. To be sure, we would rather show it clearly:

The combination of five flip you have chosen will look like this - the head and the tail will alternate:

  • First flip - head - probability 50%
  • Second flip - tail - probability 50%
  • Third flip - head - probability 50%
  • Fourth flip - tail - probability 50%
  • Fifth hour - head - probability 50%

Every flip, whether head or tail, the probability is always only 50%! The coin has no memory or consciousness. The probability is calculated in this case in the same way as we have already explained.

Based on this fact, you can bury any roulette betting system in advance - in terms of its long-term profitability. None of that, we did not even have to explain. All it takes is common sense - to realize that every spin in roulette has the same probability and that the payout ratios do not correspond to the real chances - the probability!

You can often read something similar in discussions:

I customized XXX and I win every day

By modifying a system, you only get another system, which is useless again in the long run. Like any system.

Most often, those who got to the so-called professional system on the Internet or bought it, write these “gems” and they want to get rid of it for a lower price. It does not matter what discounts you get, it is not worth giving a penny for any system.

3) The Myth of Unfairness of Electronic Roulette and Online Software

The comments also related to these problems - in short, it seems to you that electronic or online roulette is in some way manipulated. We can always start with the explanation of the Gambler's Fallacy - every normal casino operator knows that no fraud is necessary. The company's profit has long been guaranteed by the House Edge.

a) Electronic Roulette

I wonder how you would find a certified producer who would make such a manipulated roulette for you. Also, electronic roulettes are being tested in some way. The task of such a device is quite simple: electronic roulette can now be placed in almost any larger pub or game room. Many players also prefer to place bets on the computer than to communicate with the dealer in some way, in which case you will save his salary in this case.

b) Online software

Practically exactly what has already been said for electronic roulette applies. Besides, the software in online casinos is in the vast majority of cases is provided by independent companies, which only rent their software. Again, nowadays it is necessary to have a certificate. The most common and most renowned provider of the fair game certificate is eCOGRA, which not only tests the regularity of the software but also ensures other rights of each player and is possibly able to solve various problems, if any. Although the random number generator (RNG) is a debatable problem, I guarantee you that the results do not depend on where your chips are! Therefore, the software is completely as fair as it could be.

I know that these last two sentences could bother you or shock you. So what did I mean by the fact that the randomness of the RNG is a debatable problem? It is relatively simple. Even in a live game with a dealer, the result of the spin depends on some variables - the strength of the throw, the speed of the roulette wheel or the place from where the ball was thrown into the roulette (and more). The spin result is therefore determined long before the ball lands on a field. The software only differs in those variables (throw strength, ...) - for example, the moment you start the spin. The effort of all software developers is the opposite of what you think. And to program the RNG as random as possible!

For a more detailed explanation of software myths and mistakes, read the article - Is Casino Software a Scam? The Big Debate.

4) It would Work on "Fair" Roulette

So where does nonsense of this type come from? The reason for these accusations is relatively simple - these players do not like to lose!

"At first I won and everything worked perfectly, but out of nowhere the software started to behave absolutely insanely and a number of incredible 12 reds fell in a row!"

Of course, this is just a paraphrase of the most common comments, which you can find in discussions and forums in various variations, but almost all of them are similar to ours. Note the highlighted part in particular - everything worked normally. The problem is that the player applying the roulette systems perceives all winnings as normal. As long as he succeeds, he sees nothing special in it - after all, he thinks he is using some invincible system, which he is not.

Another reason is also simple:

A player who plays online on some software will play many times more spins than in a live game. Therefore, the long-term advantage of the casino will show much earlier!

In a live game, few people dare to question the regularity, but even there it happens. If you would visit a casino while it is still closed, you would see how it works there. Practically every day, roulettes are checked, balanced or other tasks are performed, which ensure that roulettes are as normal as possible.  If roulette were not regular, the casino would be in danger of a player being able to spot an unusual phenomenon and bet accordingly. Other games also have relatively strict security conditions - for example, used cards are shredded at the end of the day and every day starts with completely new decks.

5) Free Game vs. Real Money Game - Is it different?

If you've read this far, you probably already know what I'm going to write about it :) DON'T DIFFERENT! But let's explain the reasons for these myths in more detail.

The vast majority of players think that by manipulating free versions of roulette, the casino wants to lure the players to play with real money. But again, they are not right.

Both of these modes work the same, not to mention that because of such assumptions, everything is tested and checked again! In any case, do you think that a player who loses in a practice game or even in children's roulette will brag about it somewhere? And yes, even the percentage of players who try the game for money will be a bit lower, however, if the player loses in both of these variants, he will certainly not find anything strange and will not usually write it anywhere. But if the opposite happens, it will seem suspicious to the vast majority of beginners who, with their troubles and "injustices" they have just experienced, will want to share with someone.

The difference between a practice game and a money game is primarily in the behaviour of the player himself, who, under the pressure of real money, acts differently.

6) The Luck of the Beginner

The player who loses right away is usually not surprised, but those who win from the beginning are caught right in the fishing net! They got the feeling that they would be rich. This is a so-called phenomenon - the Beginner's Luck. You can meet this phenomenon much more often in live play! The reason is simple: the live play has a different atmosphere and also have a longer interval between rounds, so the player wins "longer". When he loses, he thinks he did something wrong and that the loss was caused by his mistake. That's why he returns to the casino and hopes that happiness will turn. It's quite difficult to get rid of such a fun hobby. Those feelings about winning are simply amazing.

7) Humble and Patient Players Win

Another nice example of a misconception that you may encounter in discussions. Posts of this type say something in the sense that it is enough to win, for example, only a few dollars a day and feel free to use a classic martingale or any other system.

Sure, another nonsense!

The reason is simple: the long-term perspective does not show itself in time as well as in the number of spins you play. So even if you only play a few spins a day and settle for just five dollars, it doesn't matter. Sooner or later, the house edge will catch up with you anyway.

An interesting question in this context would be - when will I actually "enter" in the long run? Although I wouldn't normally find this question particularly amazing, in this case, it's quite appropriate.

The answer is not easy. However, we will try to show it on one graph, which belongs to the Wait Martingale System.

wait martingale

That brutal descent, which is highlighted on the graph, could have occurred at any time. It can also easily happen that two such sharp declines come shortly in a row. What matters is the average, which can occur in the order of a million spins. If you only compare the colour ratio, a much smaller sample will usually suffice to arrive at a number that is very similar to 50/50. So now it should not be a problem to understand that the casino has a percentage of each bet you make - on average! E.g. for classic roulette it will be about 2.65%. In practice, this means that you only get back about 97 cents on every dollar wagered!

If something is not clear to you or we have forgotten something, do not hesitate to write to us in the comments.

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