20 common thinking mistakes casino players make
There are many persistent thinking mistakes made by casino players
By hanging on to this wrong way of thinking, many players feel disadvantaged or see game patterns that aren’t there.
It is kind of fun to list some of these thinking errors and find out why we are so convinced of specific casino theories.
By increasing your knowledge, you may be able to avoid certain pitfalls in the future.
We hope you can learn from these common mistakes and put your new-found knowledge to your advantage.
These are 20 of the biggest mistakes (online) casino players make
We have listed 20 of the biggest and most common thinking errors. How many do you recognize?
1. If the colour red hits 10 x in a row on the roulette wheel, then the wheel has clearly been tampered with
Many people think that the chance of red hitting again is greater than the possibility of black hitting (the wheel is red-oriented). Others believe that the chance of black hitting is much higher at the next turn because red has hit so many times before. Both camps are wrong.
The chance of red hitting in the next turn is precisely as high as the chance of black hitting (18 out of 37, or 48.6%).
Should the wheel genuinely have a preference for a specific colour, then the test sample of 10 turns is far too small to be able to confirm or invalidate this theory.
2. You can base your play on a series of outcomes
This, too, is a common thinking mistake. Every outcome of a new game is independent of past results.
No matter how many times a number has hit in Roulette or how many times a particular colour has hit in a row, you can only determine afterwards whether there was a trend in the results.
3. The Confirmation Bias: events that support your theory weigh more heavily
Everyone might have experienced this. You play roulette all night, betting on your favourite number 23.
And it doesn’t hit or hardly hits. It’s enough to drive you crazy. And then (this always happens!), when you go to the bathroom, the number 23 hits twice in a row! How is this possible?
This phenomenon is called “Confirmation Bias,” and it works like this: you give more weight to events that support your theory.
Your theory, in this case, is: “My number always hits when I am not playing.” Because you pay so much attention to “your” number, the times this happens are especially noticeable. Those hundreds of times your number didn’t hit when you were on your break are conveniently forgotten.
4. Players with big stacks of chips in front of them have a better understanding of the game
Someone with a large pile of chips in front of them at the Blackjack table must be very skilled in the game, right? Wrong. Maybe he’s been incredibly lucky, and he’s in a winning flow. Perhaps he’s bought a lot of chips. Only in the game of poker is this line of thinking somewhat correct. Poker is, in the long run, a skill-based game. There, the best players (usually) do have the most chips.
5. You win more often at your favourite casino, even if all the rules are the same as anywhere else
This is another type of Confirmation Bias. And yet some players swear by it: at this casino, I never lose at the Roulette table, which is a fact. Just last week, I had another big win!
However, if a casino has identical game rules, your chances of winning are also the same, regardless of where you are playing.
6. New players always win
Again: this popular train of thought is utter nonsense. New players win (and lose!) just as often as experienced players.
However, you will notice it more often when it happens because it confirms a widespread thinking error.
Furthermore, new players tend to appreciate winning more than seasoned casino players. Like a puppy dog that feels grass beneath its paws for the first time, they will make every effort to let the whole casino know they have just won a hundred dollars.
7. The choices other Blackjack players make affect my results
Sometimes a player will buy a card at the Blackjack table with a 13 showing against a dealer with 16. The inevitable happens: he hits a 10, goes bust and the dealer draws a 5 that brings him to a 21. The whole table loses, and moans and groans ensue. Had the player stood, he would have made the dealer go bust, and people would have been a lot happier.
Sure, this scenario happens often, and yes, it is annoying as hell when players go against basic Blackjack strategy.
But so that you know, wrong player decisions can just as well benefit you. A player may take a low card away from the dealer so the dealer will go bust. It all balances out in the long run, and the game is random and unpredictable. In the end, it doesn’t make any difference.
It is, of course, always nice to have a scapegoat when things are not going well for you.
8. Card shuffling is rigged in a casino to increase the house edge
This is not true either. A casino can lose its license if it turns out that cards are being manipulated. Besides, it would mean that there would be many different people involved in the fraud (dealers, floor managers, suppliers, management), which makes it almost impossible to keep it under wraps.
And let’s face it, the casino already has a healthy house edge, so it really doesn’t need any additional help.
9. It’s smart to split a pair of 10’s at Blackjack
If you’ve got two 10’s, you’ve got 20 points in your hand. This gives you, the player, a leg up to win the hand.
If you split the 10’s, the chances of winning are significantly reduced. Long story short? Don’t get greedy; be happy with the 10’s you have. Stand, and look forward to doubling your money (most of the time).
10. Using a player’s card will lead to smaller (or bigger!) payouts
Many casino players firmly believe that playing with a player card in the slot machines will result in a lower payout, especially if you won shortly before. This way, the casino can take your winnings back quickly.
Along the same line of thinking, consider this widespread mistake: the first day/hours you use the card, you win a lot more, so you will lose a lot more the next day. This way of thinking is wrong.
A player card provides the casino with useful information about your playing behaviour. It allows them to come up with a tailor-made bonus based on how you play your game and gain insight into players’ playing behaviour in general. But a player card cannot change the inner workings of a slot machine.
11. It is impossible to win real money with bonus money
Whether it’s free game credit at a Las Vegas casino or bonus money at an online casino, it’s possible to win real money with bonus money. All you have to do is abide by the bonus rules. In Las Vegas, you only need to wager free game credit once, and some slots are excluded (often progressive slots) – so it’s best to bet this money on video poker, which has a high payout rate.
You are bound by a maximum bet per spin at an online casino, and you have to wager the bonus several times before it is released.
Also, some slots are often excluded from betting with bonus money. But if you follow these bonus rules correctly, you can unlock a casino bonus regularly, especially if the wagering conditions are 35 x the bonus or lower.
12. Slot machines pay out more on weekends and in the morning
This theory’s idea is that people are in a party mood during the weekend, and the casino likes to add to that.
In the mornings, the slot machines are still full of all the money that has been thrown in the night before, and that has to be paid out at some time, right?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Slot machines use a Random Number Generator, which generates random results. This RNG can’t look back, can’t look forward and can’t see how much you’ve won or lost. In other words, it is impossible to determine when a slot machine will pay out.
Alas, no. Rubbing a slot screen while the reels are spinning is a useless exercise. And to be honest, it looks a tiny bit strange, as well.
The same goes for lucky dolls, rabbit feet, your lucky shirt or touching all of the buttons before pressing the spin button. None of these actions has any effect. We have even seen players go as far as licking their player card in a desperate attempt to get lucky.
Online casinos use software that runs on servers of third parties. In other words, they only function as a distribution channel or portal for a game service provider. They are not able to manipulate the software or the outcome of the games themselves.
An exception to this is if an online casino uses its own software to which they do have access. In the Netherlands, there was a court case where the owners of Amsterdam Casino were convicted of fraud. They were able to rig the system and made sure that big prizes were barely won, and if they were paid out at all, they always ended up with acquaintances and family members.
So make sure you only play at reliable online casinos that use respected, third-party tested software such as Netent, Thunderkick or Pragmatic Play.
15. A so-called cooler can make a “hot” table go dead
We don’t dispute the fact that coolers were used in the casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City in the past. A cooler is the name for a casino’s staff member who ensures that bad karma is brought to a winning table. As a result, the players who won before suddenly couldn’t catch a break.
Coolers were indeed used, but a cooler can, of course, never influence the course of a game.
16. By stopping the reels early on a slot machine, you can change the outcome
In many slot machines, you can stop the reels by quickly pressing the spin button twice.
A lot of players think that by doing so, you are mixing up the game in some way, which makes the outcome different. This is complete nonsense. After all, the result of the outcome was already determined when you pressed the play button the first time.
The rest of it is just bells and whistles. The only thing you do achieve, you significantly reduce the time between spins.
Stopping the reels manually is mainly a way to lose your money faster, and that is precisely why slots manufacturers have included this option.
17. The more paylines, the higher the chances of winning
We regularly read the following sentence on other casino portals: always play the maximum number of paylines; otherwise, a slot (machine) will pay less.
This is a persistent thinking mistake. The payout rate of a slot (machine) does not depend on the number of paylines you play. The payout rate always remains the same.
However, some players will reduce the number of paylines and increase the bet per line to achieve a higher variance (volatility). But in the long run, a slot (machine) pays out the same, whether you play with 1 payline or 40.
18. Roulette tables have magnets to have the ball drop into specific pockets.
Other popular theories: blowing techniques, suction techniques, deceleration techniques.
Again, roulette tables are regularly calibrated and checked. The casino already has a house edge and will not easily risk its license to increase its advantage further.
19. Online casinos are never to be trusted
Our experience has not been like this at all. There are undoubtedly unreliable casinos. But for every untrustworthy casino, there are at least another 40 that can be trusted. Fortunately, the time of online cowboys is far behind us.
Because it is becoming ever easier for players to find information about an online casino’s reliability via the Internet, it has also become easier to distinguish the good online casinos from the rogue ones.
20. All casino games are ultimately the same: you always lose
Although every casino game does have a house edge, there are significant differences between the various casino games. The most profitable games for the casino are slots, Bingo, Keno and the Wheel of Fortune. In these cases, the house edge can run up to (far) over 10%.
Table games pay out at much better rates, especially if you apply the right strategy in Blackjack or Video Poker. European roulette also has a low house edge of only 2.7% and, therefore, a high RTP of 97.3% (100%- 2.7%).
There are several types of roulette, and some are more profitable, others are not. Which to avoid? Check out our post, “Three types of Roulette you should always avoid.”
Also, something to keep in mind, games at an online casino often have a much higher payout rate than a land-based casino.
If you are looking for the best possible payout percentages, you are better off gambling online rather than playing at your local land-based casino.1
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