Casino Gambling & Human Perception – The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

It is still amazing to me that many humans who play slots (not including video poker, although it may apply) come in two types:

1) The eternal victim of the voodoo-like force of the casino; never winning and expecting the casino to “give them something” for it
2) The Braggers who, according to them, always win, which, when hearing such things, we should logically apply the scientific knowledge we know and say “hog-wash!”

It all comes down to what we wish to believe and perceive compared to the science of the RNG – random number generator.

A few friends of mine were talking about winning and losing at casinos. These were some of the comments made by my friends, and then the reality of it all.

Perception: “I put $100 through this $1 slot (3 reels, Red White & Blue), left it to go to get a drink. A lady sat down at that machine and hit the $10,000 jackpot on the first pull. I should have stayed….”
Reality: It didn’t matter. Slots are never “due,” it wasn’t going to hit on the next pull unless you pressed the button at the exact same moment, and the only way to get that payout is to pull on the exact nano-second of the RNG that provides that winning result. Be happy for that player and just move on, knowing that nano-second exists on all the slots and the next could always be yours.

Perception: “Whenever I play Caribbean Stud Poker, I always win.”
Reality: Good for you – enjoy it while it lasts. Any casino that would introduce a game that lucrative would pull it off the casino quicker than you could order your next “free” drink. Depending on the table rules that are variable, the house edge is around 5.25%. Not bad, considering the house edge on slot machines vary between 80%-93%. But over the long haul, YOU WILL LOSE. The Wizard of Odds, Michael Shackelford, sums it up like this: “If you play long enough, the only results you will see is that you will lose all your money. Caribbean Stud Poker has a house edge of 5.22%, so if you’re trying to stay in the game as long as possible, I would avoid that one.”
Thank You Michael. (You can link to his website, the “Wizard of Odds” from my website faves on the right.)

Perception: “I played video poker at XYZ casino, and every machine seemed to have the same thing about it – whenever I needed a one card draw, the same card came up on the draw in a different suit. It must be programmed to do that!”
Reality: Near miss slot and video poker programming is ruled to be illegal in the states of New Jersey and Nevada and some other U.S. states. The near miss slot programming is the display of combinations that are closely similar to the winning combination that may frequently occur when the slot machine is played. Because the legality issue can affect the credibility of a casino, the near miss slot programming is no longer used in the gaming software of slot machines. When you believe this is your reality, try watching for other patterns. As humans, we will notice what we focus on, not necessarily what the scientific reality is nor what is happening in a long sequence of play.

The bottom line is to know your control on slots is minimal. The RNG is in control. Professional gamblers who play blackjack, poker and video poker expect the “steakiness” in gambling. It is expected and perceived scientifically because their reality includes time of play – lots of time! That is something the recreational player doesn’t have. The house edge on slots cannot be seen in one day, one week or one month.  They are programmed to payout at a certain percentage by the manufacturer using the RNG over a very long period of time.

So, check your perceptions and myths at the door and enjoy gambling for what it is for the vast majority of us – recreation. And if you win? Then it’s even better!

That’s all for now.