Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2023 16:08

Gambling psychology at a casino

Gambling psychology at a casino
The game is a serious matter, that is what many psychologists will tell you, and they will be right. In psychology, sociology and political science, various game concepts of human behaviour have long been studied and widely distributed. We propose to focus on such a curious aspect of the game as gambling psychology. Despite a long history of gambling, as it turned out, gambling psychology is not a much-studied factor of the human psyche. What pushes the players to a gambling table or a slot machine? Today we will try to answer this question.

I want to know everything

The psychologists have established some evolutionary patterns of human psychology and found that the gambling psychology has in its core the inherent desire of the human to understand the cause and effect of the events in the surrounding world. For example, you know exactly why the sky is blue, and the grass is green. A three-year child needs to know the answers to these questions and a thousand others.

Those who have children will understand us. A more complex example: medieval chroniclers, narrating about the battles, described their result in such expressions "and God gave Prince a victory" or "and God turned away from the Prince".

Search for excuses in circumstances

If the cause cannot be explained in the material world, there are various signs, predictions, astrology and other magical stuff. Why people can't accept even the elements of uncertainty? The answer is obvious: we can't control them, and thus we lose control of our lives.  You will be surprised, but gamblers are often driven by the desire to find regularities in the game. Everyone knows that there is no more superstitious man than the player. Lucky numbers, signs, small everyday rituals, even the players pray for winnings. Being excited about finding light patterns reminds of the passion of a scientist obsessed with the subject of his/her study.

Too hard, you say? Perhaps, but it is only at first glance. We recently wrote about a new study of gambling psychology and the method of fighting against gambling, proposed by scientists from Boston. During their studies, they found that most of their patients had no idea how the casino games (slot machines, roulette and card games) work. But they enthusiastically come up with their successful approach: a lucky positioning at the table, the sequence of buttons pushed at a slot machine, lucky jacket, etc. During the therapy, the doctors just explained to the patients how the RNG (random number generator) works, what is the probability theory, what are slots and other gambling patterns. The result of this «therapy with Mathematics» is just stunning: 80-90% of patients got rid of gambling addiction forever.

I am the best

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Everyone needs to believe in himself. Well at least in anything I do it better? Have you ever seen on the road an old car with a high sticker on the rear window? It's an excellent example.

Everyone deep down is sure in his/her exceptionalism. Just this illusion pushes some players to a gambling table. This player knows all the gameplay mechanics but is still confident that he could beat the slot, the probability theory and to overcome the law "casino always wins." Perhaps the rapidly melting pile of chips will be able to convince him, but, as practice shows are unlikely. Indeed, the conviction of his/her exceptionalism is not explained by logic and not refuted. In this case, the gambling psychology of this man lies in the field of the irrationality.

Moreover, the confidence in our ability to control the gambling addiction will be doubted as soon as we say: "Gambling is not about me, it's all about weaklings, but I'm the best, I will always be able to control myself." By the way, the same arguments are given by those who start smoking or taking drugs...

I still recall that magic moment

S. Dovlatov once wrote about memories, which will be translated as the following "Our memories are selective, like a ballot box". Indeed, long observed that memory permanently stores the less important events, those associated with intense emotional experiences. And where else in everyday life we can feel such a rush of adrenaline, as not at the table game or slot machine?

Oh, what a flurry of emotions is going through a player! But the most interesting: even though the win and loss bring similar emotional experiences, the memory more readily keeps the "winning" emotions, having an impact on the decision when thinking whether to make another bet, go to the casino or stay at home. In turn, the gaming house will do everything possible to fix in the memory of the visitor the moments when he rode the wave: the house congratulations, respectful attention, and free champagne are all to heighten the emotional experience of the win.

It is noteworthy that the novice casino workers often come to these tricks, especially young dealers. Oddly enough, their memory is fixed on the big winnings of other players too, and they studiously ignore the much more frequent instances of bad luck. Many novice dealers have hands itching to pull the tail of Bluebird of luck, taking the player position at a table. Fortunately for them, it is strictly forbidden by the rules of the casino.


Gambling psychology includes several components. First and foremost are the intense emotions that you rarely experience in everyday life. Gambling is an excellent remedy from boredom and melancholy. The second component is the competition. With the dealer, the other players, the probability theory, with himself/herself. All to prove to ourselves and the world: We are better than anyone else. We do not pretend to complete the study of such a complex subject as gambling psychology, but we had summarised the primary results of modern research. Hope, the understanding of gambling psychology will allow you to control yourself and your game confidently.

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Written by Vladislav Dibrov
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