The Guide to Good Gambling
by Clive Allcock and Mark Dickerson

1. Negative Recency - This refers to the belief people have that because an event has not happened for awhile then it is more likely to happen now….what people feel creates psychological pressure in them and people who may not have bet….will do so.

2. Utility - This means the attraction of winning a lot for a little…this attraction may incline you to put money into these forms of gambling rather than those that would have a better chance of return, albeit a smaller one, in other forms of betting.

3. Skill - One of the marketing "skills" in promoting gambling games is to make the game seem more skilful than it actually is. Strickland in 1966 found that people bet less in a dice throwing and gambling situation if they had already thrown the dice, but, of course, did not know the result. They would bet more if they could bet before throwing the dice… This "myth of skill" is tremendously important…the average punter believes they are more skilful than they really are, and this can influence them to bet more than is wise. If your ego really gets caught up, it can be difficult to stop betting…

4. Subjective and Objective Probability -…As far back as 1948 Preston and Baretta noted that longer priced choices in a gambling situation were selected more often than they should be, with shorter priced choices being selected less often. A number of studies (Synder, Griffith) at the racetrack confirm this. In other words we assess the chances of a 10/1 chance as being better than they actually are. That 10/1 shot should really be 15/1 or 20/1. Conversely the 6/4 chance is psychologically disliked because of the short price, but really should be 5/4 or shorter.

5. Superstition -…many otherwise logical people can become quite influenced by their superstitions, and they can even cloud their judgement making them bet more than logic suggests is wise. And occasionally such bets come off - meaning the superstitions are REINFORCED and likely to remain with a vengeance.

6. Risky Shift and Cautious Shift - Some studies have shown that when groups get together and make a choice in a gambling situation that the group is more cautious than the individual in their choice, and other studies have shown the groups to be less cautious. It seems likely that the size of the bet is the factor - when the group is betting much more than the individual members themselves would, they will be more cautious.

Date Posted: 30-Nov-1999

Excerpt from "The Guide to Good Gambling" by Clive Allcock and Mark Dickerson

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