A Guide to Cognitive Biases That Could Impact Gambling

by Tim | Jul 21, 2023

A Guide to Cognitive Biases That Could Impact Gambling

Cognitive biases are like little mental traps that mess with our judgement and decision-making. Our brains take shortcuts and rely on patterns to process information quickly, but sometimes these shortcuts lead us astray. When it comes to casino games, these biases can have a big impact on our choices and outcomes when we play games like Online Slots in UK.

With a little help, we can navigate these biases and make smarter decisions while playing slots at a casino online or other types of online casino gaming. It all starts with understanding them and being aware of how they affect us. Once we know the enemy, we can develop strategies to overcome them and level up our gambling game.

Let’s dive into some specific cognitive biases that you should watch out for when you’re at the casino or playing online. We’ll also explore some handy tips to help you overcome them and make more rational choices. 

Specific cognitive biases in gambling

There is a vast array of cognitive biases that affect people in all aspects of their lives. From simple interactions with other people to choosing our favourite desserts, we are always subjected to cognitive biases. Here are the most common ones that affect gamblers. 

Gambler’s fallacy

Here, gamblers believe that past outcomes affect future ones. For example, if a roulette wheel lands on black several times in a row, the gambler may start to believe that red is due to come up next, leading to irrational bets based on this misconception. The truth is, every spin is independent of previous spins. There is no relationship between them, which is one of the facts that have been established about this fallacy

Recency bias/the availability heuristic

This bias leads gamblers to rely heavily on recent events or information when making decisions. They overestimate the significance of recent outcomes and ignore long-term patterns. For instance, if a horse has won several races in a row, gamblers may overestimate its chances of winning the next race, overlooking factors like competitors or track conditions.

Outcome bias

Gamblers tend to judge the quality of a decision based solely on the outcome rather than evaluating the decision-making process itself. This bias can lead to misplaced confidence or a misunderstanding of the underlying probabilities involved. For instance, if a gambler wins a bet based on a risky strategy, they may view the strategy as successful, even if it is statistically unlikely to pay off.

Confirmation bias

This bias causes gamblers to seek and interpret information that confirms their existing beliefs or expectations while ignoring contradictory evidence. For example, if a gambler believes that a particular slot machine is “lucky,” they will selectively remember and emphasise the wins they have had on that machine while downplaying or forgetting losses.

Ratio bias

Gamblers often make irrational choices based on the presentation of probabilities. They may favour bets that offer small but frequent wins over less probable larger wins, even if the expected value of the bets is lower. This bias can lead to suboptimal decision-making and a misunderstanding of risk-reward trade-offs.

Team bias

Gamblers tend to show bias towards their favourite teams or players, leading them to make emotionally driven and irrational bets. This bias can cloud their judgement and lead to poor decision-making based on loyalty rather than objective analysis.

Hindsight bias

After an event occurs, gamblers tend to believe that they predicted the outcome accurately, leading to overconfidence and distorted memory of their initial predictions. This bias can lead to a false sense of security and can negatively impact future decision-making.

Self-serving bias

Gamblers attribute their wins to their own skills or abilities while attributing losses to external factors or bad luck. This bias protects their self-esteem and allows them to maintain a positive self-image. However, it can also prevent them from critically evaluating their decisions and learning from their mistakes.

Overcoming cognitive bias in gambling

a close up of a man picking up a stack of red poker chips from a green felt poker table with other stacks of poker chips on it, the man is holding his two hole cards in his other hand

Recognising and overcoming cognitive biases is crucial for making rational and informed gambling decisions. Here are some strategies to help overcome cognitive biases in gambling and develop a winning mentality

Awareness and education

Most importantly, be aware of the existence of cognitive biases and how they can impact your decision-making. Educate yourself about different biases and their specific effects on gambling outcomes. This knowledge will empower you to make more informed choices and avoid falling into common cognitive traps.

Analytical thinking

Develop and apply analytical thinking skills when evaluating probabilities, odds, and risks associated with different gambling scenarios. Train yourself to think critically and objectively, considering all relevant factors rather than relying on intuition or gut feelings.

Data-driven approach

Base your decisions on reliable data, statistics, and evidence rather than personal beliefs or emotional impulses. Utilise historical data, expert analysis, and empirical research to inform your gambling choices. By relying on concrete information, you can reduce the influence of biases and make more rational decisions.

Peer review

Seek opinions and input from others to gain different perspectives and challenge your own biases. Engage in discussions with fellow gamblers, consult experts, or participate in gambling-related forums and communities. By exposing yourself to diverse viewpoints, you can gain valuable insights and reduce the impact of personal biases.

Take breaks

Taking breaks from gambling activities can help you clear your mind and reduce the impact of biases accumulated during prolonged gambling sessions. Stepping away from the game allows you to reset your thinking and approach subsequent decisions with a fresh perspective.

Set limits

Establish predetermined betting limits and stick to them, regardless of recent wins or losses. Setting clear boundaries and adhering to them can help prevent impulsive and emotionally driven decisions. Having predefined limits ensures that you approach gambling with a rational mindset and helps you avoid falling victim to biases driven by short-term outcomes.

Seek professional help

If you find it challenging to overcome cognitive biases on your own or if your gambling behaviour becomes problematic, consider seeking professional help. Gambling addiction counsellors and therapists can provide guidance and support tailored to your specific situation. They can help you identify and address cognitive biases while assisting in developing responsible gambling habits.

Practice self-reflection and evaluation

Regularly reflect on your gambling experiences and evaluate your decision-making process. Be honest with yourself about your biases and learn from your past mistakes. This self-awareness can help you improve your gambling skills, make better choices, and mitigate the influence of cognitive biases.

Overcome your biases with The Phone Casino

Register with The Phone Casino to experience some of the best slots online. Test your resolve against cognitive biases while enjoying the numerous games of chance as well as the host of table games available at the best live online casino available on your mobile. 

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