LEFTOVERS: Study puts streak bets back in play


Every Las Vegan has scoffed at hearing one of the famous ridiculous phrases from tourists and novice gamblers over the years.

When they are losing, they “are due.” Those on a hot streak will likely fret that the lucky run “can’t last forever.”

But we know that past results have nothing to do with the outcome of the next wager, so we scoff at those ridiculous fallacies.

A new study seems to show there might be some validity to the concept. According to a study of online gambling published in the journal Cognition, winning a bet does make a gambler more likely to win his next bet and vice versa.

The likelihood of winning the next bet in a long winning streak continues to go up during the streak and the probability of losing the next bet during a losing streak goes down at a similar rate.

The numbers are staggering at first glance. But a deeper look shows that there might be some other factors at play.

Bettors on a winning streak think the streak is likely to end because they don’t believe the run of good fortune can continue. Therefore, they tend to make “safer” bets that are more likely to win.

The converse is true of gamblers on a losing streak. They start to get desperate and think they are due, so they make riskier wagers that are less likely to win.

Deadspin broke down the numbers from the Cognition study. The “mean selected odds” for a single bet was 7.72, but, after two consecutive wins, the gamblers selected average odds of just 3.60. As a result, the winnings of gamblers who rode long streaks weren’t significantly higher than the winnings of the average gambler.

The whole thing is a fascinating look on faulty beliefs impacting decision-making and, in turn, results.

Of course, none of this means anything if you just took the easy money all year and bet against the Lakers every game.

■ SHAQ FU — Shaquille O’Neal will not be fighting Charles Barkley on “Inside the NBA” as he had hoped.

That hasn’t stopped him from going after other athletes.

O’Neal, a huge Ultimate Fighting Championship fan who has trained in mixed martial arts for several years, is back on his longstanding crusade to fight Jose Canseco.

Canseco, who made a feeble, short-lived attempt at an MMA career, fired back at the NBA star last week on Twitter, calling him a derogatory term for a female body part.

O’Neal immediately responded, referencing a beating Canseco suffered at the hands of Korean fighter Hong-man Choi in 2009 and Canseco’s decision to out fellow steroid users in baseball.

“ill beat your ass rat boy the whole world saw u run from hung man Choy. Set it up ill break your jaw. #snitchesgetstitches,” O’Neal replied on the social media site.

UFC president Dana White said he was not interested in promoting such a circus of a fight, but O’Neal said in an interview with Ariel Helwani of Fox Sports that it didn’t have to be done in the UFC.

He just wants to beat him.

“I’ll probably knock him out in 42 seconds. I need to just play with him a little bit, give the fans their money’s worth and then knock him out.” O’Neal said. “UFC, street fight, laser tag. It doesn’t matter.”

While there is a large segment of the population that would love to see Canseco get beat up, we must admit there is something intriguing about the thought of those two meeting in a laser tag arena.

COMPILED BY ADAM HILL LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

 

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