The Hot-Hand Fallacy: Why Your Winning (or Losing) Streak Is an Illusion

The Hot-Hand Fallacy: Why Your Winning (or Losing) Streak Is an Illusion

No matter what game you play, you’re bound to hit a lucky streak every now and then. And when it finally happens? There’s nothing better.

There’s only one catch: it’s not real.

Winning (and losing) streaks in action

I’m no stranger to the wonderful world of hot tables and slots that seem like they’re your personal ATM. When luck is in your favor, it seems like everything is going right. There’s a real sense of control and accomplishment. You can almost feel a positive vibe coming out of the game keeping you winning round after round.

And I know that when that luck comes to a screeching halt, the losses sometimes seem like they never end. Just hand after hand, spin after spin with nothing to show for it. But we press on hoping for the tides to turn again. It’s only human!

What’s really going on when you’re on fire

We all know that casino games are based on chance. But when you’re “in the zone,” it often feels more than that. You might feel like the game has warmed up to you. Or maybe that you’ve just caught it at just the right moment.

But that’s just the hot-hand fallacy at work.

The reality of the situation? It’s just a random upswing in variance – the math behind the concept of luck.

You see, every single game in the casino has one thing in common: they don’t have a memory. Whether you’re playing the slots or hitting the tables, the game has no way of remembering what just happened.

The reality of the situation? It’s just a random upswing in variance

It also can’t predict the future. And, unfortunately, neither can we.

We can’t control when the games will be nice to us because THEY don’t know when they’re going to be nice to us. The only thing that’s certain is that, in the long run, you’re always bucking the house edge.

But what if I’m due?

When you just can’t seem to catch a break, it’s easy to think that your time to shine has to be coming soon. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve kept spinning thinking, “There’s no WAY I can lose that much that fast!”

Let me assure you – you can.

Sometimes there’s just no way out of a losing streak. Even if you’ve lost on every single game round for the past 10 minutes, you’re just as likely to lose on the next one. It’s truly just random.

When you’re losing way faster than you planned, it’s easy to give into the idea that you’ve got to be “due”. Believe me, I know. But it just isn’t true. In fact, this misguided belief is so common among casino patrons that it’s earned its own name: the gambler’s fallacy. Believing in it can make it hard to stop playing when you should.

Nothing lasts forever

Ultimately, big winning sessions and seemingly endless losses all come to an end at some point. It’s gambling, after all! Sure, it’s fun to try and “pr­edi­ct” when a game will hit, but the truth is that no one really knows. The game doesn’t even know!

So what’s the best thing you can do? Realize that every hot or cold streak is just a product of randomness. It can’t last forever, but you can’t predict when it will end either. So keep a level head and enjoy the ride.