I am sure that you have heard of the gambler’s fallacy before. But just in case you need your memory to be refreshed, let me state it in simple terms. The gambler’s fallacy is the belief that something that the odds can increase and decrease depending on previous occurrences, even for something that has a fixed probability.
The most common example used to illustrate the gambler’s fallacy is the flipping of a coin. The probability of getting heads on any toss is 1 out of 2, or 50 percent. Statistically, the odds will remain the same, no matter how many times you toss the coin. However, the gambler’s fallacy dictates that perhaps if you flip the coin 9 times and each time, it turns up heads, the chances are that it would turn up heads on the 10th throw. That is because the first 9 flips were heads.
Though at first thought, the idea makes sense, it really does not make any sense at all. No matter how many times you flip that coin, there are always two possibilities – either heads or tails. Hence, the odds remain at 1 is to 2.
Now some people extend this fallacy to other gambling activities like the roulette. For example, they think that if the roulette has showed red for the past several spins, the next should still be a red. You do not have to have much experience playing the roulette to know that doing so would be disastrous. The odds of a red coming up are the same, no matter what.
The next time that you go to the casino, make sure that you know the real odds and that you do not bet on something simply because “it is due.” Remember the gambler’s fallacy.