Sunday, July 1, 2012

E-23: Intermittent Reward

Understanding what encourages you to gamble is one of the most important aspects of gambling knowledge. If you know how your mind works and the tricks casino use to take your money, you are much less likely to fall victim to the traps.

The human mind generally works by positive reinforcement. When we do something and achieve a positive result, we feel good and want the feeling again. But, this is not the most effective way to condition the mind to gambling.

If I was to pay you a $1 for every time you jumped on the spot, you would keep doing it for quite a long time. But if I was to suddenly stop paying you that $1, you would quickly stop jumping as you would realise there is no reward for you to continue.

Intermittent reward is the concept of rewarding someone’s actions randomly.
Now I ask you to jump and pay you the dollars randomly, maybe 3 in a row and then a break and then another 2 and so on. You would jump for hours, as you never know when the money is coming and would want to achieve as much as you can.

Many forms of casino games are designed this way, in particular slot machines.
You don’t win on every spin on a slot, it is always random. This makes them highly addictive as you are always hoping for another win. If you were to win 5 spins in a row and then lose 5 spins in a row, you would quickly lose interest.

But when you are winning randomly it can be very hard to stand up from the machine, as you think another payout is coming. You are constantly thinking about the win you got earlier and because it’s random, think it may be on the next spin.

Be aware of how you are conditioned by a casino and understand that being rewarded for an action does not mean that you will be again.

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