Hot and Cold Streaks in Casino Gambling
Many people who intellectually understand the principles just discussed nevertheless take curious attitudes toward gambling.
Every gambler has periods of play in which luck is almost unbelievably good. At other times, it is deplorably bad. These episodes are usually called 'hot' and 'cold' streaks. They must not be misunderstood.
While some people learn by experience, gamblers often seem to be deceived by it. Every now and then, they do win for a while with uncommon frequency, begin to bet wildly, and continue to win for a while longer. They congratulate themselves on their cleverness. But just as often, after any series of wins, a series of losses will begin. After a few such losses, the gambler will either quit or revert to small bets. Again, he will feel highly pleased with his supposed expertise, although often just those few large bets will have obliterated the winnings of the several prior smaller bets.
The thing such gamblers forget is the many times they lose from the start.
True, if they quit after a short period of losing, they will minimize their losses for any one session; but they will never know how often fortune would have changed immediately for the better. They also forget the many times when they win very briefly at the beginning but then promptly revert to losing.
On the average, any overall appraisal of the total winning and losing of players who think they can predict lucky and unlucky sequences, based upon prior sequences, will simply be reflected by the odds on the game. The player who limits his 'cold streaks' to small loses and thinks he is waiting for a 'hot streak' will normally have to endure a much larger number of those cold streaks, in one way or another, than the few sustained hot streaks that appear to provide a large win.
A gambler should put in mind two minor ways that such streaks can alter him or her to play in a reasonable manner. First, if you have either won or lost enough to change the size of your total capital substantially, the danger of gambler's ruin will be altered accordingly. This fact may sometimes lead you to make some adjustment in the overall size of your bets. Second, an undue pattern of losses may suggest at least the possibility of cheating.
Dou unsound gambling methods ever succeed? Naturally, through sheer luck, many brief contests are won against house odds. Otherwise there would be not be the bait to keep potentially losing players returning to the casinos.