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Is Your Hot Hand Real or Just a Fallacy?

May 1, 2014

gamblers-fallacy-300414Real or fallacy?

Researchers have discovered results that support both sides about the hot hand, however it generally depends on the circumstance and point of view.

There are a number of people that maintain certain gambling beliefs. Whether they believe that they were born under Halley’s Comet, or that their luck can never run out, after a while they are often found to be wrong.

“Gambler’s Fallacy” is the belief that a losing streak will eventually turn around and make a profit for the player, however that is often regarded as an erroneous judgment.

However, there is another theory that involves the delusion of repetitive winning. The assumption is that if a player has been winning, he is more likely to keep on winning while on the hot streak. It is commonly referred to as the “Hot Hand Fallacy.”

Real deal system

Numerous studies involving the research of the hot hand have failed to discover any significant result, as to whether the system really works.

Extensive research pertaining to a mobile casino, shows that the probability of winning after an initial win is almost always close to 50%, plus or minus a few percentages.

• Sportsmen sometimes rely on hot hands

• Fallacy found in some gambling practices

• The realism of the belief depends on several factors

After the first win, the chances of winning stood at 49%, while winning third time in a row saw considerable increase in the probability. The results showed that a third win in a row has a 57% chance of winning.

What is most remarkable is that odds increased to 67% for a fourth consecutive win. The fifth and six straight win in a streak had odds of 72% and 75% respectively. While the seventh bet subsides drastically, as there was a mere increase of 1% from the previous bet.

The hot hand fallacy can be attributed to any field of play, whether that be a casino or a sport. Many people witness sports teams go on winning runs for great lengths at a time.

This propels people to believe that if they have placed wagers on the previous game and won, then they should continue doing do for the following game as well, therefore putting the hot hand belief in effect.

Just a Fallacy

The hot hand may boost one’s confidence in winning, as he is under the impression that he cannot lose while on a roll. However, it does not guarantee success. It is merely an idea, a theory.

For instance in basketball, commentators will say that a player is “on fire” once he has scored several shots in a row, and they expect this trend to continue. The notion that once a player scores even one shot, he is more likely score another one right after.

When it comes to sports in general, athletes derive much of their good game performance from their sky high confidence. In one game, a basketball player may score almost every shot he takes, but then he might get in a slump after, from which he cannot get out of.

Card games on the other hand have more to do with calculations, rather than the outcome depending on one’s personality traits and their level of confidence. Blackjack strategies involve making the right call on the card given to a gambler, as confidence will not affect his potential win.

Therefore, one can conclude that betting and gambling is rather concerned with luck, while athletes and sportsmen rely on their faith in their abilities.

Gambler’s fallacy more common than hot hand in casino games

Players that are regulars at casinos, generally believe in the gambler’s fallacy. They are assured that their luck will turn, and fortunes will reverse in the positive direction. The hot hand emerges as a consequence of the reversal.

Comprehensive research shows that gamblers that bet on consecutive losses experience much less chances of winning the following hands. Starting from the initial loss, the odds of winning the next subsided gradually.

The study found that following six consecutive losses, the chances of winning the next hand stands at a meagre 23%. The main reason why bettors chose to continue betting while on a losing streak, is because they are convinced their luck will turn any minute.

Additionally, some gamblers’ casino strategy can be considered quite flawed. They tend to pick bets that have substantially worse odds, mainly due to their belief that they’re long awaited win is about to happen. And once the win happens, it is highly expected that they adopt the hot hand philosophy.

Researchers and scientists alike believe that the hot hand comes from the gambler’s fallacy. According to them, a gambler traditionally believes that he will experience a minor loss, before the onset of the winning form.

A gambler can then take solace in the fact that he can rely on the respective belief in certain cases, while at other times he will not be able to utilize the same philosophy.

There are apparent contradictions in the findings of this belief, as it both works and does not. Generally, one could argue that it merely depends on the circumstances.

Finance professor at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Jeffrey Zwiebel, explains just why the fallacy may be real, at specific moments.

“Think of all the clichés that managers give for why they’re playing one guy today. It’s always, ‘He’s swinging the bat well.’ And we hear exactly the opposite, too. ‘I’m going to sit him down for a few days. He’s not swinging the bat well.’” The findings suggest that such notions might actually mean something. “These things really do matter.”


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