Gambler's Fallacy

Gambler's Fallacy

What is it?

Gambler's Fallacy is a bias that makes people believe that the odds of an event happening increase if it hasn't happened recently.

The Gambler's Fallacy, also known as the Monte Carlo Fallacy, is a cognitive bias where people mistakenly believe that past events can influence the probability of future independent events. In other words, individuals may incorrectly think that the outcome of a random event will "even out" over time or that a certain outcome is "due" to occur after a series of different outcomes.

Here are two simple examples to help you understand the Gambler's Fallacy:

Coin toss: Imagine you're flipping a fair coin and have just observed a streak of six heads in a row. You might be tempted to believe that tails is more likely to come up on the next flip to "balance out" the streak. However, the probability of getting heads or tails remains 50% for each flip, regardless of the previous outcomes, as each flip is an independent event.

Roulette wheel: Suppose you're at a casino watching a roulette wheel that has just landed on red five times in a row. You might think that black is more likely to come up next because it hasn't appeared for a while. However, the probability of landing on red or black remains the same for each spin (ignoring the green zero), regardless of the previous outcomes, as ea ...