Psychology of Online Gambling

Psychology of Online Gambling

Posted on 29/10/07 - by Theodor Mavrodis Features

Let's hope you're not so naive to believe that gambling is all luck; granted, in the end luck is the biggest factor when it comes to winning big. The smartest World Class players will make all the right moves and still lose to Lady Luck.

Online Roulette

But luck is not everything when it comes to gambling.

There's psychology at work.

So what is the psychology of online gambling?

The psychology of gambling can be broken down into two categories: The science of psychology and the application of psychology.

Science and Sociology: The Dualities

There are two general views on what gambling means psychologically to a human

  • Gambling is a bad, deviant behavior.

  • Gambling is a normal extension of human behavior.

Most people fall into the first category.  

These people tend to have more straight laced, conventional worldviews that don't incorporate the elements of risk. These people would put their money in the bank rather than take a shot on a risky investment, including the stock market which is really the same thing as gambling.

These people are not instinctual and tend to view gambling as a pathological sickness that can’t be controlled and they may even pity the gambler and label them as diseased.

Those who view gambling as a natural extension of how we live, tend to view gambling as a rational and instinctual process, rather than a form of misguided behavior or a sickness.

These people view gambling as a healthy form of leisure. Entertainment, if you will.

That's not to say this gambler wants to lose or can't become addicted, just that they view gambling as a natural way to live one's life.

There's no wrong or right answer, neither should be judged; it really boils down to a basic fundamental way a person chooses to live their life.

Application: Control Your Emotions

There is no room in gambling to lose control of emotions. Losing control of emotions will distract a player from the proper mindset needed to be an intelligent player.

A successful gambler has a sense of timing when it comes to knowing when to play and when to walk away. A smart gambler will never go for broke.

Of course it's very hard to control one's emotions when riding the crazy roller-coaster of gambling; there are too many ups and downs; too many close calls not to get emotional. It's natural to get emotional but don't let the emotions stick to you.

Don't carry them into the next hand – find a way to release the stress and anxiety and hatred and anger and stay in the moment. Get angry in retrospect when you're not at the table.

Superstition in Gambling

Gamblers love superstitions, especially in games like craps and roulette in which players have little control over the outcome.

This is the definition of superstition:

A widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.

Superstitions play a big role in the psychology of gambling. Quite a few actions a gambler decides on are not based on intellectual thoughts; instead he gets a “feeling” of what’s the right thing to do.

Craps Superstitions

Craps DiceSame Dice

If a die goes off the table in craps, players consider it very bad luck to use the same die again. If the shooter wants to use the same dice, he must shout "same dice" immediately.

If not, players believe the die or dice will be tainted and produce losing rolls.

No Seven

Some players believe that just saying the word "seven" is enough to invoke a seven, causing all bets on the table to lose.

Some players say "big red," when they want to make reference to a seven without actually saying the word.

One Hand

Players consider it bad luck to pass the dice from hand to hand before rolling.

In some cases, the casino may also prohibit it, as it may increase the chances of someone slipping loaded dice into the game.

Roulette Superstitions


The biggest superstition in roulette is that there is some meaning to a trend in roulette, for example five reds in a row or six numbers in the first dozen in a row.

The reality is that unless the wheel is somehow biased, which is unlikely in a modern live casino and impossible if you play roulette in an online casino, past results have no bearing on future results.

Five reds in a row make the next spin coming up red no more or less likely than five blacks in a row.

Lucky Numbers

Many players have particular lucky numbers that they like to play in roulette. People should by all means play their lucky numbers since this adds to the fun of the game.

The reality of course is that no number is more or less likely to come up for one person than for anyone else.

Are Superstitious Gamblers Right?

The funny thing is that superstitious gamblers often can prove that they’re right.

Gambling psychology often make you remember the times when you won and forget the times you lost, and if you mostly remember winning sessions, then you can tell people about all the times you won by seeing trends in roulette games etc.

Of course this isn’t true – the answer lies in the definition of superstition – and the examples above, plus the thousands of other things people do to affect the outcome of a game, have no impact on the game.


For more information about Craps and Roulette, visit our Games Section.