Natural Born Gambler

Natural Born Gambler

Numerous experiments have confirmed the tendency for gambling in various animal species, including the cleverest of them all, humans. In one of these experiments, researchers had pigeons which were given the chance to either hit a button with their beak to get a standardized 3 seeds to eat every time, or hit another button, where they would either get 6 seeds or zero seeds.


The second button would give out 2 seeds on average, which is less than the certainty of 3 seeds at the first button. Once the bird made its choice, both buttons was retrieved and the bird wouldn’t get another chance to reach food for a couple of hours, so the choice was important.


{cartoon: pigeon with 2 red buttons to hit with beak and a question mark on top of its head}


After a period of learning for the pigeons, the experiment showed that the vast majority of them prefered the gambling button and the percentage of this preference was increasing the hungrier the pigeons became. The hope of winning more than they would normally was driving their instincts towards the choice of uncertainty and eventually, the choice of less food. We can never know if excitement of winning is a part of their thought process, but from what we see in other animals, it most probably plays some kind of a role in their decision making.


Looking deep to find the reasons behind the tendency to gamble in humans, the most obvious factor must be the appeal that hides within the feeling of winning in such games. Some psychologists believe that the feeling of winning when gambling is working along with some of our most ancient instincts, defeating fears and anxieties that exist in us since birth.


When we see two people fighting on the street, we instinctively make some kind of prediction for the outcome of the fight. This behaviour was embedded in us since tribal fights for leadership. We had motives to become good at predicting the winner of a confrontation in order to choose the winner’s side beforehand. It was for our best interest as individuals within a group.


Another reason for our gambling behaviour is our natural tendency to explain and rationalize everything around us, which helped us a lot in our quest for knowledge, but the same mechanism is working against us when the subject we are trying to make sense of, is a totally random event.


Players who are trying to rationalize the sequence of lottery outcomes, get consumed in imaginary algorithms that have absolutely zero effect in the actual results. No matter how many times they are proven wrong, the few times that the results will come close to confirming the players’ ideas, will provide enough fuel to keep the fire going and keep them believing that their rationale is correct.


In our modern society, we can find opportunities to gamble and win money everywhere around us. Internet has brought us so much closer to the entertainment of our choice and gambling is certainly one of the most popular kinds of entertainment today. Sports betting, poker and casino games are at the tips of our fingers at any time we choose and while sports betting and poker are games where information and analysis are vital, casino games’ results are a product of Random Numbers Generators (RNG’s).  They cannot be rationalized, cannot be sequenced, studied or predicted by anyone. It doesn’t matter if you have access to the previous 100,000 outcomes of an RNG online roulette, you will still be unable to predict the 100,001st outcome, because the algorithm used to produce that outcome, does not use any information from all the previous ones. The results are not connected, thus any information about previous outcomes has absolutely zero impact on the next outcome.


The most important thing when gambling, is to remember that it is a choice for entertainment. When money is wagered, money will change hands. I wish you find yourself in the good end of that equation as often as possible and in order to keep yourself entertained when gamble, please follow the golden rules of bankroll management.