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How Cognitive Biases Affect Gamblers

Cognitive bias is what causes people to behave irrationally. In gambling, such irrational behavior may result in huge disappointment for a player. Gambling terms are such, that you cannot rely on logic to guide you in the game. There is no logic because only masterminds are able to make predictions and derive probabilities while gambling. To all the rest, cognitive bias is more of a rule than an exception. Let’s take a look at some of the most common cognitive biases that affect gamblers.

Motivational Biases in Gambling

Most online gambling cognitive biases can be attributed to motivational biases.  

  1. The Positive Recency Bias. This kind of bias lead gamblers into thinking that the previous results can somehow impact the following ones. For example, it is natural for us to predict that two, three, four or more tails in a row should be followed by a head. And the more times it is tails, the stronger our conviction that the heads will be next. However, the truth is, there is no relation between the previous and the next outcome. These are separate cases, the outcomes of which rely on statistical probability yet not on the recent outcomes.
  2. Ratio Bias. This bias is common for players who desperately wish to get lucky each time they lose a lot of money. In the state of stress and anxiety, they tend to play large, disregarding the low probability of their magic number to pop out. It is like having the opportunity to draw a black marble from a jar with 10 and 100 marbles. Even though, it is highly possible to draw the right marble out of 10 existing, gamblers would go for 100 because they like to play it cool.
  3. Optimism Bias. Many sports gamblers overestimate the strengths of their favourite team and bet against the expected result. As a rule, there is no miracle happening afterwards and the optimistic gamblers simply lose their money. It is same with poker players. Once they start losing money two or more times in a row, they come to casino with arsenal of tokens to bring them luck with complete assurance that this time it will be different. Optimism bias in dangerous when it comes to gambling, betting, trading, etc. On the contrary, when huge money is at stake, one has got to have clear head and cold mind to know when to stop.

In online gambling, the situation is similar. Gamblers tend to spend hours checking the recent results, looking for correlation or trend in odds. They may use different probability tools and techniques to get ahead in the game. The key thing to realize is that there can be no trends, no correlation, and no logical sequence of the results we see. Random chance is the only thing behind gambler’s luck and there is no use wasting your energy trying to predict the outcomes.

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