Psychology of Gambling


Gambling Psychology 101: What You Need To Know

Many people gamble without giving it much thought – or do they? Psychology is actually involved from the start (“I feel lucky – maybe I’ll go play”) to finish (“I don’t want to quit when I’m down – maybe I’ll just play a little longer”).

If you plan to gamble, wouldn’t it be a good idea to first really understand how psychology affects everything, from the games you play to how much you bet to how you handle winning and losing?

Here’s a sampling of the concepts we’ll cover:

Optimism in Gambling: Good or Bad?

Some people tend to always see the glass as half full. In most areas of life, optimism is a positive quality, but in gambling, being too optimistic may be risky. Find out why.

Systems in Gambling: Trying to Make Sense of Randomness

The desire to make sense of randomness is natural. Over the years, countless gamblers have tried – without success – to develop systems to help them win. We’ll look at the faulty thinking behind many systems and explore why, with very few possible exceptions, betting systems just don’t work.

20/20 Hindsight in Gambling: Useful or Misleading?

Gambling would be easy if we could make all our bets after we know the results. It’s human nature to try to learn from our past experiences. Find out what you can learn from the past in gambling and what you should ignore.

Near Miss Beliefs: Close Doesn’t Count

Almost winning can sometimes be pretty exciting. Some people mistakenly believe that when you almost win on a machine, it means an actual win is coming soon. Read on to explore how “near misses” can affect how we think about gambling.

Hot and Cold Machines: There’s No Such Thing

A common myth among gamblers involves the idea that “hot” machines pay a lot and “cold” ones barely pay at all. Read on to learn why this just isn’t true – and where the myth comes from.

Selective Attention and Selective Recall: “I Only See What I Want to See”

It’s natural for us to focus on what’s happening right now, especially if it includes winning. Learn how our selective attention and selective memories can sometimes get in the way of seeing what’s really happening in gambling.

Unpredictable Payoffs: Learn How You Might be Affected

The chance to win can be very appealing. Knowing that every play gives you another chance to win can sometimes make it hard to quit. However, almost every form of gambling is based on a variable ratio reinforcement schedule, which means that the payoffs are unpredictable. Read on for a definition of this aspect of gambling and what it means to you.

Entrapment: “I’m Stuck at the Bus Stop”

We’ve all experienced the feeling of waiting for something that just doesn’t seem to be coming, whether it’s a bus, a phone call, or a friend we’re supposed to meet. When do you give up waiting – and what does this have to do with gambling? Read on to find out.

Don’t Get Caught Chasing

“The Chase” may sound exciting, but in gambling it can lead to disaster. Find out how to avoid the temptation to chase your losses.

Illusion of Control

Making bets, pushing buttons, choosing cards – these are all things people do when they gamble. But what do you actually control when you gamble? What do you have no control over whatsoever? Read on to find out.

Magical Thinking

Have you ever wished for something, and then it came true? Do you think your wish actually made it happen, or was it just a nice coincidence? Many gamblers look for magical intervention to bring them fortune and wins in gambling. Read on to explore how magical thinking might influence someone’s gambling and why these kinds of thoughts might be risky for some gamblers.

Superstitions and Rituals

Lucky numbers, rabbits’ feet, four leaf clovers, horseshoes – all are symbols of luck often associated with gambling. Read on to learn more about gambling superstitions and rituals, where they come from and why they can’t help you win.

The Appeal of Gambling: What Gambling Means to Different People

Some people might like the social aspect of playing blackjack at a table with friends, while others might prefer to relax by themselves at a slot machine or VLT. Read on to explore what gambling can mean for different people.

Gambling and Keeping It Real

Exotic themes with waterfalls, talking statues, gladiators and fantastic prizes for the winning – none of these things would seem out of place in a major casino. Casinos offer a temporary escape from day-to-day routine; but don’t get too caught up in the fantasy. Learn some important tips for keeping your feet firmly grounded in reality.

Back to Top