Who doesn’t love a casino myth? The gambling centers of Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, and Macau are full of them. One myth made famous by mafia tale writer Mario Puzo in his book “Fools Die” involves casinos pumping oxygen into their gaming rooms to keep the patrons awake, and therefore making more money off them.
To the rational person, it’s nonsense, but might a casino try it, if they knew they could get away with it? Then there’s the common myth that if a number comes up in roulette, it won’t come up again. Any schoolchild should be able to tell you that this is true and false. There’s a 1 in 35 chance it will come up again, and a 1 in 35 chance that it won’t.
Many players of roulette try the sleeping number tactic. This is the variant of the lightning not striking twice scenario described above. They think that if a number hasn’t been the recipient of the silver ball, then it’s high time it is. They keep records of the outcome of each spin until one number is left to win, and they stick a small fortune on it. Again, the odds of it winning are the same whether they carried out this tactic or not.
Casinos are packed with these superstitions and no amount of logic is likely to win the ardent gamblers away from their precious delusions. Casinos would probably do well offering lucky charms to their patrons to squeeze and rub as the ball spins around the roulette wheel.
Then, of course, there’s Lady Luck herself. How often do you hear someone say it’s not their lucky night? However, psychology also plays a part in the whole gambling experience. There’s little doubt that a player who’s up for the night, on a “lucky streak” is likely to play better, and make more correct decisions with their betting than one who’s down on his luck, who is more likely to play recklessly and end up an even bigger loser.