10 Points to Battle Gambling’s “Selective Memory”

th-1Gambler – “I’ve noticed every time I double down in Blackjack, I get hands under 17. No more doubling down for me.”

Gambler – “When I first played that machine, I hit for $500.  Since then every trip I play it and get nothing.  They must have re-programmed that machine after I hit the $500!”

Gambler at Racebook – “Every time I bet the favorite, it doesn’t come in.  Must be rigged.”

When hearing such things, we should logically apply the scientific knowledge we know and say “hog-wash” to these perceptions.  The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste, but many gamblers do a great job wasting it when it comes to selective memory!

It all comes down to what we wish to believe and perceive, ignoring the basic truth of the mathematics involved to determine “house edge” and workings of the Random Number Generator.

Here’s are some truths to battle a gambler’s Selective Memory.  as usual, my “GO-TO” guy is John Grochowski. Being a BIG Cubbies fan, John has dealt with adversity.  Still, he approaches gambling from the point of knowledge and understanding. Here are some gems from his archives at Casino City Times, to accompany accompany NETG’s own advice:

  1. JG – If you go to casinos very often, I suspect there’s some selective memory at work. We humans are good at that, trying to see patterns and having incidents that seem to fit those patterns stick in our minds. Try writing down your result on each machine each time you play. If you have a record of multiple casino visits, I expect you’ll find that what you think always happens only happens sometimes.
  2. JG – You are as likely to win in the first 10 minutes as at any other point in your casino visit, and you are as likely to lose in the first 10 minutes as at any other point. The losses are more frequent than the wins, of course.
  3. rngAnything can happen in a short play, and our selective memory will only remember those things we begin to WATCH FOR.  The reality is your control on slots is minimal, the RNG controls the result.
  4. JG – Near miss slot and video poker programming is ruled to be illegal in the states of New Jersey, Nevada and many other U.S. states. Because the legality issue can affect the credibility of a casino, the near miss slot programming is frowned upon even in less regulated states and Tribal casinos. near-miss-slots
  5. Professional gamblers who play table games and video poker expect the “steaks” in gambling. It is expected and perceived scientifically because their reality includes time of play – lots of time!
  6. Recreational players fail to realize that one play for an hour on a slot or video poker machine doesn’t give a true picture of the machine’s payback percentage. 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 over the life of the machine – some machines up to 5-10 years.

    Some slots have been on the casino floors for years, such as Bally's "Hot Hot Jackpot."
    Some slots have been on the casino floors for years, such as Bally’s “Hot Hot Jackpot.”
  7. Selective memory deceives you into “stinkin’ thinkin’.”  Believing you know anything about a slot after a short play, is like saying you know a person well after talking with them for an afternoon – it’s just a tip of the iceberg.
  8. When you believe a casino is doing something to contribute to your losing, this becomes 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.  Remember, in this day and age, if you don’t like that casino, take your money elsewhere.Roulette sign
  9. If you are looking for patterns while gambling, you will find them – true or not, slots or table games.  Your mind will tend to ignore the broad assessment of all other plays not including what your looking for.
  10. Depending on the table games and their various rules, the house edge is always there. 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.”

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.