Conceit Leads to Ruin

A gambler’s conceit leads to ruin.

Gamber’s conceit is a phrase which describes a gambler’s belief that he is always able to keep his winnings ahead of his losses. When a gambler says, “I’ll stop when I’m ahead,” he is expressing the gambler’s conceit. When a gambler plans to quit playing after making a certain percentage of his bankroll, for example, 10%, he is operating from gambler’s conceit. He thinks he is practicing “good money management,” but underlying this apparently positive discipline is a false sense of invincibility.

Gambler’s ruin is a phrase which describes the fact that a gambler, who has relatively smaller resources, will eventually lose his entire bankroll to an opponent who has relatively greater resources. In context, the opponent is the House, which has in principle an infinite bankroll.

A simple example illustrates how a gambler’s conceit ultimately leads to ruin in a perfectly fair, even-bet game. Aaron has 100 pennies, while Ben has 12,800 pennies. Every time Aaron wins, Ben gives him one of his pennies, and vice versa.

So, Aaron and Ben begin to play. Because the game is entirely fair, each has a perfectly even chance of winning or losing each decision. However, because Ben has more pennies, the chance that Aaron will go bankrupt before Ben does is almost certain. In fact, Aaron has a greater than 99% chance of going broke before Ben does.

Look at it this way. There are only two possible outcomes for Aaron: 1) he will double his 100 pennies, or 2) he will lose all 100 of his pennies. Each possibility occurs with a 50% chance. So, Aaron’s outcomes are like a coin-toss in itself: heads, Aaron doubles his money; or tails, Aaron loses his bankroll. In order for Aaron to win all of Ben’s pennies, this “outcome coin” would need come up “heads” 7 times in a row, netting Aaron 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, and 12,800 pennies, to finally bankrupt Ben. But it only takes 1 “tails” at any time to bankrupt Aaron. The chance of getting 7 “heads” in a row is (0.50)^7 = 0.78%, which means his chance of ruin is more than 99%.

Ben’s chance of winning is higher simply because he has a larger bankroll and can survive more losses (“tails” of the “outcome coin”) than Aaron can.

If Aaron includes a stop-loss or profit-target for each game session, he only prolongs the inevitable and does not change his odds.

Aaron’s chance of success becomes even smaller when the game has a built-in mathematical advantage in Ben’s favor, and of course, when Ben has a practically infinite bankroll. Ben represents the House, and in the long run, its winning against Aaron is virtually guaranteed.

A gambler’s conceit that leads him to believe he can always stay one step ahead of the House is an example of irrational thinking, because in order for the gambler to stay ahead, he must continue playing, but because he continues playing, he increases the chances that he will meet his ruin. This is why the House generously lavishes enticing comps on the winning gambler to encourage him to keep coming back to play. The longer and more often he plays, the greater the chances he will lose it all back to the House. In fact, the chances he will ultimately be ruined rises exponentially the longer he plays.

Clearly, in order for a gambler to consistently stay ahead, he must win more often than he loses. But in a perfectly fair, coin-toss type of game, the best one can hope to achieve is 50% accuracy in the long term. To be consistently more than 50% accurate requires one to be able to see into the future or to alter the odds of the game in one’s favor, both presently impossible. A more sophisticated gambler might employ a betting progression to dig himself out of temporary holes, but eventually, all betting progressions require 1 more unit than is available in the bankroll, resulting in ruin.

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18 Responses to “Conceit Leads to Ruin”

  1. […] Played long enough, the Law of Averages dictates he will eventually run out of bankroll to sustain his drawdowns. They call it a Law for a reason, and it is the gambler’s conceit to believe he can avoid ruin. […]

  2. […] Admittedly, he shows all the characteristics of someone who has gambler’s conceit, since the core of his money management philosophy is to make 10% of one’s bankroll every session and to continuously repeat the process indefinitely. […]

  3. […] allowing you to “quit while you’re ahead.”  While this is a characteristic of gambler’s conceit, it is by definition necessary for a consistently winning […]

  4. “Clearly, in order for a gambler to consistently stay ahead, he must win more often than he loses.” I do not agree with this. A strategic negative progression can help someone win even if he continuously hits below (50%-house edge-dispersion against his bet). If this can not be done, one should never try to gamble.

    • virtuoid Says:

      You took my comment out of context. I was referring to flat betting.

      In the same paragraph from which you lifted my comment, I close with:

      A more sophisticated gambler might employ a betting progression to dig himself out of temporary holes, but eventually, all betting progressions require 1 more unit than is available in the bankroll, resulting in ruin.

      … which is equivalent to (but more realistic than) what you wrote in your above comment.

  5. “all betting progressions require 1 more unit than is available in the bankroll, resulting in ruin.”
    It is not necessary. There are many betting styles, which resets the progression quite often to 1 unit. If you do not get crazy and keep a reasonable surrender point too to restart betting from 1 unit, you may keep winning, in long run. You can never win in all probability but certainly, in most and I only work for that.

    • virtuoid Says:

      I was being poetic there … but it is mathematically true. It’s your prerogative to disagree, but doing so is like insisting that 1+1 may not be 2.

      Your insistence upon irrationalities is simply the same conceit which I described in this post. It is the sad consequence of the spell which the casino industry (as well as much of the so-called “investment” industry) casts. How many otherwise good hearts and minds they have blinded, wasted, and ruined by exploiting human greed is truly sickening.

      Nevertheless, the victims have themselves to blame, since the light is ever freely present to help guide them out of their truly miserable state, if only they would open their eyes to the truth about themselves and objective reality. Hopefully it won’t require too much time, energy, and resources before they are able to finally graduate out of their desperate ignorance, and salvage what’s left of their lives.

      In the meantime, the fat cats of the casino and “investment” worlds get ever fatter.

  6. All these conclusions of yours are due to the stereotype thinking and testings. In real sessions, I can beat dozens/columns, earning about 200 units in 100 spins approximately, without ever going sky high in bets. I have given a primary idea and illustration to Roy, to showcase this. He can confirm my claims soon.

    • virtuoid Says:

      As I’ve always said, I wish you and Roy godspeed to your bountiful fortunes. 😉

      Up until now, I have been tolerant of your boasting and self-promotions, but since you have already made abundantly clear how little regard you have for my work and experiences, please reserve further sentiments for your own forum and audience, for whom I sincerely wish you will be a genuinely good and positive factor in their lives.

      Thanks.

      • I appreciate the way you are handling this forum. Being 100% moderated, it is very easy to control the quality of the posts. If you can recall, I even asked you to do some testings for me which you denied with the belief that it won’t work. Now, I can say that I can beat maximum possible real sessions, within reasonable table limits and bankroll. If you are open to understand the reality of my claim, Roy may come up with his true findings here. Otherwise, I don’t need to boast in a blog.

      • virtuoid Says:

        For the past many years, I’ve helped dozens of other holy grailers test their systems, and I’ve ridden the rollercoaster of false hope too many times. Players of all classes have confided in me, from bums to businessmen to lawyers to authors to seminarians to whales who literally bet with 6 figure chips. I’ve personally met and played at the tables with many of them. But when objectively tested, all bow to the simple one-lined odds equation which dictates the long term expectations of the game.

        The real road to riches which I’ve discovered is a healthy respect for simple but powerful math. It never lies, though others may use it to lie, even if only to lie to themselves.

        I’m happy to post Roy’s results of testing your approach. If he performed the tests accurately and honestly, I don’t expect them to be any different than what the simple math dictates all along. He will be simply proving the obvious.

  7. I want to know one viewpoint of yours in this regard. Please have a look upon http://www.rouletteforum.cc/index.php?topic=3689.0
    you can see about 90 real sessions screenshot, of a real casino, each having 185 spins. Do you feel them valid samples to test any method? If I talk of outside bets like dozens/columns, do they suffice to establish that a method is good enough in a normal session?

    • virtuoid Says:

      They appear to be good historical data material. However, realize that there are so many possible sequences of outcomes that the same sequence ever played live in a casino or generated by a computer RNG (either for real play or simulation) will never be experienced again in your entire lifetime. That is, if you can beat a particular historical data set, it doesn’t mean very much, because it’s extremely unlikely you’ll ever encounter those outcomes ever again.

      In other words, being able to win those data sets is a necessary but not sufficient condition of a truly positive expectancy method.

  8. As I said that no method covers all probabilities but if we talk of outside bets, so many real sessions compiled over a long period by different people can at least show a very large variety of the flow of dozens/columns in a session and can also attest the merit of a concept, if it is not just obtained by reverse engineering of a data.
    After beating 10m spins through Ophis bot, only task left for me was to beat the game in a realistic playable session and this 185 spins data looked very good to me to analyse short sessions. Another good alternative that found of unbiased truly random data is to get 185 spins sessions from http://www.random.org. 185 spins represents 5 cycles of 37 numbers of an european wheel. On an automated wheel, it should take upto 3 and half hours and in manual dealers, it may take upto 5 hours.
    Apart from this, german casino sessions may also be used.They are real and can be verified too.

    • virtuoid Says:

      As I’ve said many times before, I wish you Godspeed to your fortunes. I’ve already completed my own journey and am grateful for the true wealth it has rewarded me.

    • virtuoid Says:

      Also, as I’ve asked you before, until you have Roy’s results ready to publicly share, please reserve your self-promotions for your own forums and audience. This is the final warning. Thanks.

    • Al,

      I believe the man is basically telling you to either produce what you claim or be quiet until such time that you can provide those results.

      This should be evident to pretty much anyone wading though the thread.

      GL

      • virtuoid Says:

        Thanks, GL … I don’t know who albalaha is, but the core of his convictions is the same as the many dozens of others I’ve worked with in the past who are equally adamant of the glories of their own holy grails. With all these holy grailers out there, it’s a wonder casinos are still in business! 😉

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