Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Gambler's Fallacy

As we began to learn about the different fallacies in class, my eyes were opened to things I knew about but could never put a name to. I never knew there was a name for all the different ways of arguing and proving points.

I was just recently in Las Vegas for spring break, so the fallacy titled, "Gambler's Fallacy" stuck out to me. As I entered the first casino I have ever been in, I noticed three kinds of people, 
1. The spring breakers: the ones leisurely sitting at the slot machines putting in one dollar bills and randomly pushing buttons, while surrounded by a group of girls cheering as the dollars went up.
2. The high-rollers: the groups of (usually) men sitting around slot machines putting in hundreds because they could, and nonchalantly adding 20's, maybe making half of it back but not really caring. 
3. The regulars: the middle-aged ladies or men sitting at a slot machine with a cigarette in one hand, coffee in the other hand, and a beer sitting next to them. Stressed faces, they pounded on the buttons and loaded money almost like it was their job. 

The Gambler's Fallacy reminded me of the regulars in the casino. The definition of the Gambler's Fallacy is when an individual believes that the onset of a certain random event is less likely to happen following an event or a series of events. This can be proved incorrect because past events don't change the probability that certain events in the future will happen. For example, when a regular sits at a slot machine and the last 5 spins were not successful, they would assume that the next spin would be successful, and that is how they get addicted. Addicted to the feeling that the "next time" will be successful because the past few haven't been, and its bound to happen for them now. 

The example the video used (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eVluL-idkM) was the flipping of a coin. If you flip a coin, and it continuously lands on heads, according to the Gambler's Fallacy you will believe that since it has been landing on heads so much, its bound to land on tails the next time. 

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