The Psychology behind Chasing Casino Losses
One of the first tips you'll come across when reading general casino games strategy is this: don't chase your losses. The reasoning is simple because chasing after losses leads to risking money that you can't afford to lose. But as simple as the logic is behind not trying to win back losses, pretty much all players are guilty of this at some point.
So why is it that we're insistent on chasing losses when we know it goes against logic? Let's attempt to answer this question by looking at some psychology behind gaming.
We Believe Luck will Always Turn Around
When you play blackjack, you've got about a 43% chance of winning on any single hand. Of course, this might as well be close to 50% when you're actually on the felt. And this feeling that you'll win nearly half the time is a powerful incentive to keep playing, even when you're losing.
For example, let's say that we've lost $200 in a blackjack session and have $100 left. Obviously this isn't the world's most successful session, but if you lost $200, the prevailing wisdom is that luck will turn around and you'll win most of that money back.
However, the reality of the situation is that you're facing the same 43% chance of winning each hand as you were with a $300 bankroll. And even though the house edge is usually only around 0.5%, it's still a house edge nonetheless. So the idea of luck turning back in your favor is just a myth.
We want Revenge
There's a deeper underlying notion behind why many people want to win their money back from casinos - we want revenge! Casino games are about winning and losing, and nobody wants to walk away from the casino a loser.
So a line of thinking develops where you need to get revenge on the casino for taking part of your bankroll. And when these thoughts set in, it's highly unlikely that you're thinking about a 2.70% European roulette house edge or a 1.36% craps house advantage. Instead, you're blindly going after what the casino won off you.
We are Angry
Expanding on the concept of wanting revenge, some bettors just get plain angry when they lose. Many times this anger doesn't result in productivity, but rather the hopeless, angry feeling that you've already lose this much money so you might as well risk the rest.
Commonly known as "tilt" in the poker world, taking this frustration out on the gaming tables usually results in strategical mistakes and errors. And this is an especially bad combination when you're playing games like blackjack or video poker, where strategy is critical.
We All hold out Hope
The overall theme here is that chasing after losses goes against logic. This brings us to the last point in that all players hold out hope that they can battle back and recover losses. We all have this deep belief that if we play long enough, we'll be the exception to the norm. Sure the guy next to us may have lost his entire bankroll by continuing to play; but not us.
Like we discussed earlier with thinking that luck will turn around, we're still facing the same conditions as before when chasing losses. Sure a win here or there may convince us that things are turning around. However, the reality for most players is that they'll just continue losing.
What should We do?
Seeing as how logic doesn't always win out on the tables, it's difficult to just say, "I won't chase losses anymore!" But understanding the reasons why we continue playing when we've already lost is part of the solution.
Taking this further, knowing why we experience these emotions and how they won't help you overcome the house edge is a strong deterrent from over-betting. And if you can quit chasing losses, you have a much better chance of winning money with casino games.
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