Gambling Psychology - Why Do We Play?

Author: Larry N.
Whether presented as a luxurious lifestyle in the glamorous world of the jet set, where you just take a short trip to a casino in Monaco, or as the stark opposite - the fascination of the adrenaline rush that drives a child prodigy into the downward spiral of addiction - gambling is a must always to humanity. From the casual "How much should we bet?" That is thrown into the room here and there as a challenge for a friend, to cheering for your favorite team after you bet on them at the bookmaker, to years of learning how Counting cards and memorizing strategies in hopes of hitting the big jackpot - there's something about the nature of gambling that strikes us as exciting. But what exactly is it? More importantly, how can we manage it so that we don't leave the casino completely bankrupt? Here are the motivators behind gambling as scientifically explained by psychologists.
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Gambling creates an illusion of control

Our brains are set to overestimate themselves - for example, the illusion of knowledge that gives us a false sense of security about the day-to-day decisions we make, as our brains simply refuse to admit that we don't know something obvious or unable to make an accurate, educated guess. This confidence is reinforced by the illusion of control that gambling gives us, or the belief that we can use skills to influence an outcome that is strictly random. People tend to gamble more when they think they can control the outcome of a game. Psychologists point to two main factors that contribute to the gamer's illusion of control: "marginally off" results and personal choices.

The "just next to" results

"Nothing" results occur in many games of gambling and can generally be described as very close to the jackpot, but just as no actual profit - for example, if a real number is missing the six in the lottery when the number comes in the roulette In addition to the number, on which one has set or if the horse, to which you have bet, is only second. The average frequency of such cases makes the players courage to continue playing, hoping that the profit is close, and the deceptive feeling that they improve their skills with these fast gains.

Personal decision

The illusion of control is also determined by the idea that a personal choice can affect happiness. In situations in which the player is given the opportunity to actively participate in the game of chance - such as selecting the numbers on the lottery ticket, rolling the dice on the craps table or throwing the ball on the roulette wheel instead of the croupier - the Illusion that the player is exercising an ability to control the outcome of the game, which in reality is completely random. Both “just off” results and personal decisions have been shown to lead to a longer dwell time in gambling and an increase in the stakes that players make. Of course, this is known in the gaming industry and is often used for one's own benefit.

Betting and winning give us a natural feeling of happiness

Gambling seems like a very contradicting activity - why would anyone gamble when we know that "the bank always wins" and that it is much more likely to lose than to win? Because it's exciting to take risks. It's as simple as that. There is also a tempting promise: If we win, we will win big - get something for nothing. Scientists have discovered a pattern of brain activity when people make money. The striatum - a region near the center of the brain - plays an important role in the process of reward and is also involved in the processing of natural substances such as food and sexual stimuli, as well as abusive substances such as cocaine and other drugs. According to a neuroscientific study, gambling and drug addiction share many of the same neural processes. So when you win there is an instant natural high, but even the very high rise can be just as powerful and exciting for some people. The feeling of anticipation as you wait for the end result of the game, the numbers in the lottery, or the next card drawn - all of this creates the adrenaline rush that many people seek in entertainment.

The mistake of the player

Another flaw behind the incentive to gamble that leads people to have false expectations about predicting or influencing the outcome of a random game is the gambler's error. In this case, players see greater odds of winning based on previous results. This is essentially the foundation for roulette progression strategies - the belief that if you keep playing and raise your stake to, say, red, you will eventually win. This ultimately leads to you maximizing your stakes on red with no guarantee that this will lead to a win. Even after one hundred blacks in a row, the chances of black falling again are 50/50.

The most common fallacy is that changing the betting limits (or progression) will help you win, and any potential win will help you go home with a at the end of the day. In reality, however, previous spins do not affect subsequent spins and you cannot use long-term equilibrium as a fail-safe strategy. If you increase your stake further, you will ultimately reach the maximum stake, so that the payout of a possible win is not enough to compensate for previous losses. Believing in "equalizing" or the feeling of achieving a long overdue win after successive losses is the gambler 's mistake.

Aversion to loss

Nobody starts gambling thinking about losing. Losing is uncomfortable to say the least. Research has shown that for individuals who resume gambling immediately after losing, the frustration of losing outweighs the thrill of winning. Other studies show that women have a bigger problem with being seen losing. Therefore, they tend to prefer private games where this is not so obvious, such as slots. Men, on the other hand, prefer games where they can use their own skills and do not have to rely so much on chance. For example, they choose games that rely on supposed ability, like poker (although chance also plays a big role here), where they are given the feeling that they are cracking a pattern or one through cognitive processes such as the illusion of control Can develop strategy to influence the odds in their favor.

Even the male attitude towards losing is different - even if you lose hundreds of Euro at poker, your self-confidence will draw attention to the fact that you can afford to lose this money, which conceals the embarrassment of losing. In the long term, people who have made tremendous losses have less due to the tension of a potential profit, as a way, therefore, to compensate for previous losses. One thing that eliminates their cloudy assessment is how unlikely it is that such a strategy can lead to profit. This tendency is called "loss hunt" and is one of the main features of the compulsive gambling.

The social aspect of gambling

Many children and young adults encounter gambling at home. People who have participated in card games, their parents played with their friends, also later organize casino nights for their friends to create shared entertainment experiences that generally help bring people together. The pursuit of sociability often leads people to real-world casinos or online gaming tables where they can interact in real time, even when they are at home alone. The flair of gambling is also a way to get away from it all. An arcade shop, a vibrant bingo hall or a glamorous casino (even if it is online) arouse new emotions in people because they are exposed to new stimuli and can interact with other people.

Jump on the train

The spectrum of incentives and reasons for gambling is enormous. While some people seek the adrenaline rush of gambling risk, others seek financial gain, and even begin to gamble professionally. Furthermore, there are also those who only gamble to belong to a certain group with which they would like to be associated. This can be seen in the increased number of players when the lottery jackpot hits record highs again - even people who have never played before don't want to miss anything, so buy a few tickets and join the frenzy.

The seductive world of high-end gambling

Another aspect of what can lead people to gamble (one that is very well understood by marketing) is the glamorous image associated with it by the media and pop culture. The formulaic concept of gambling usually represents it as a champagne-laden extravaganza of wealthy people in a glamorous setting, with everything focused on the stacks of money lying on the tables. Well that seems like something everyone would like to be a part of, doesn't it? Or let's take a look at horse racing - it becomes associated with posh people in elegant clothes drinking champagne while discussing the agenda of their busy social calendar, and this gives the feeling of high social standing some people desire to achieve.

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