The Gambler’s Fallacy leads to the financial ruin of a lot of gamblers. To be successful in gambling, gamblers need to have faith in a branch of mathematics called probability. Probability is the study of chance and it has a strong correlation to gaming. As a matter of fact, the study of probability was started by mathematicians who were gamblers.

So What is the Gamblers Fallacy?

The Gambler’s Fallacy is the belief that if something happens more frequently in a certain period of time, then it will happen less frequently in a following period of time. The classic example used to explain the fallacy is the toss of a two-sided coin. The fallacy states that if the coin lands heads up 10 times in a row then it must be time for it to land tails. People reason the coin will land tails because it landed heads so many times before. There is no mathematical or scientific proof to support the theory.

What is Statistical Independence?

Independent events are similar events that don’t affect each other. So when you are flipping coins, the first flip has no bearing on the second flip, or on the twentieth flip. It’s similar to gambling, multiple rolls of dice are independent of each of other. Likewise, multiple spins of a roulette table are independent. If you roll a seven with two dice then you are just as likely to roll a seven again the next throw, because the first throw doesn’t affect the second.

How Does This Apply to Gambling?

When you are gambling during games of chance, like roulette or craps, each spin of the table or throw of the dice won’t change the outcome of future events. During roulette, if a 9 comes up, it has the exact same chance of coming up again during the next spin. With dice, if 9 lands 9 times in a row, it’s still as likely to land 9 on the tenth time as it did the first time.

Reverse Gambler’s Fallacy

The reverse of the Gambler’s Fallacy is the belief that since an outcome occurred it is less like to occur in the future. So, some people won’t play the same lottery numbers that were recently chosen because they believe that number is “used up”, and won’t reoccur. But a legitimate lottery chooses its numbers randomly, one choice one day has no effect on future choices.

The Answer Is the Study of Probability

To gain a real understanding of the Gambler’s Fallacy, I encourage you to read a book or two about probability. You’ll see how the fallacy is wrong, and learn about many other myths of gambling.