Sunday, September 30, 2012

E-32: Gambling Superstitions

Gamblers are probably the most superstitious people in the world and will do anything to improve their chance of winning.

If a player has won, he looks at what transpired during the winning session. This is where a player may decide that something was responsible for their good fortune. Likewise if a player loses, he will look to see what may have caused it.

Many gamblers form what is referred to as "Selective Gambling Amnesia." We only remember those events that correspond to our own personal beliefs. This is a very common form of delusion, where people only remember what reinforces what they wish to be true.

Common gambling superstitions:
  1. Many gamblers feel that is unlucky to enter a casino through the main entrance.
  2. Many gamblers believe that $50 bills are unlucky and they will not accept being paid with them. The origin of this is debated, but one reason is that people could confuse a $5 bill for a $50.
  3. Counting your money while playing is said to tempt fate and you should always wait till you have finished.
  4. Never whistle while gambling. This comes from the fact that whistling in a graveyard is considered poor taste and has carried over to gambling. In a sense you are trying to remain cheerful in a difficult situation.
  5. Never wear red while gambling is a common Asian superstition.
Superstitions are generally harmless and are developed by the average player to enhance the experience, but if you do hold these to be the reason for your gambling luck, then you should seek help.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

E-31: Gambling Addiction

The following 20 questions are from Gamblers Anonymous. Answer them honestly to establish if you need to seek help.

  1. Did you ever lose time from work due to gambling?
  2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
  3. Did gambling ever affect your reputation?
  4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
  5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
  6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
  7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
  8. After a win, did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
  9. Do you often gamble until your last dollar is gone?
  10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
  11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
  12. Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
  13. Does gambling make you careless of the welfare or yourself or family?
  14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
  15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
  16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing and illegal act to finance gambling?
  17. Did gambling cause you difficulty in sleeping?
  18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
  19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
  20. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?
If you answered yes to 7 or more of those questions you are considered a gambling addict by Gamblers Anonymous and should seek help.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

E-30: Pathological Gambling

Understanding your own mind and what drives you to gamble will help protect you from yourself.

Pathological Gambling is characterised by the following 5 factors:
  1. Preoccupation with gambling
  2. Difficulty controlling gambling and unsuccessful attempts to stop
  3. Negative consequences in life, such as family, job disruption and lying about the extent of your gambling
  4. Financial problems due to gambling
  5. Chasing your losses

Pathological gamblers often distort the truth in their own minds to further support their problem. Gambling addicts can suffer from some, if not all of the following:
  • Attribution- believing your winnings occur as a result of your efforts and not randomly
  • Magical Thinking- believing that thinking or hoping in a certain way will bring about a win or that random outcomes can be predicted. Also believing that because of previous results you are due a win from the gambling gods.
  • Superstitions- lucky charms, articles of clothing, ways of throwing the dice or cutting the cards may cause a win.
  • Systems- believing that you have worked out a betting system that will overcome the house edge.
  • Selective Memory- remembering your wins, but failing to remember your losses or altering the truth of the result.
  • Personification of gambling- attaching human characteristics to a machine or deck of cards etc. Thinking that the deck is punishing or rewarding you.
  • Near miss beliefs- reducing the number of losing experiences in your mind by thinking you almost won.
  • Chasing losses- believing the money isn't lost, it can be won back by gambling further to win it back.
Always keep your gambling controlled and keep a sound mathematical mind. Always use logic and keep emotions at the door when you enter the casino. Don't be a robot, but stay in control. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

E-29: Blackjack House Edge Misconceptions

There are many parts of casino odds that people don't quite understand.

* How do the casinos have an edge in blackjack when they are forced to play a set of rules, such as always hitting on 16 and no option to surrender etc?

Casinos gain the edge by always playing their hand last. By going last, the advantage is solely theirs. The player may have already bust and the dealer has collected their chips, even before they have hit their hand.
The dealer may also win by simply beating the remaining players. The casino gets two bites of the cherry.

*Do automatic continuous shuffle machines increase the house edge?

No. A shuffle machine doesn't change the odds at all, it just means you play more hands per hour and therefore expose more of your bankroll to the existing house edge.
A shuffle machine is completely random and can not be rigged to advantage the house.