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Gambler's Fallacy Fallacy

Updated Jan 29, 2023

The Gambler's Fallacy Fallacy: Debunking Misconceptions about Probability


In the world of gambling and decision-making, our minds can sometimes play tricks on us. One such trick is known as the "Gambler's Fallacy," where individuals falsely believe that past events can influence future outcomes. However, today we will explore the concept of the "Gambler's Fallacy Fallacy," which aims to debunk the misconceptions surrounding this fallacy and shed light on the true nature of probability.

Understanding the Gambler's Fallacy

What is the Gambler's Fallacy?

The Gambler's Fallacy refers to the mistaken belief that if a specific event has occurred more frequently than usual in the past, it is less likely to happen in the future. For example, in a game of roulette, if the ball lands on black for several consecutive spins, some may believe that red is more likely to occur next. This fallacy stems from our tendency to seek patterns and order in random events.

The Fallacy Fallacy Explained

While the Gambler's Fallacy highlights a cognitive bias towards predicting future outcomes based on past events, the Gambler's Fallacy Fallacy challenges the misconception that the opposite is always true. This fallacy fallacy asserts that just because the Gambler's Fallacy exists, it doesn't mean that all predictions of future outcomes based on past events are incorrect.

Debunking Misconceptions about Probability

The True Nature of Probability

To understand the Gambler's Fallacy Fallacy, we must first grasp the true nature of probability. Probability is a mathematical concept that quantifies the likelihood of an event occurring. It is essential to remember that probability is independent of past events. Each event has its own unique probability, unaffected by what has happened before.

The Law of Large Numbers

To better understand the fallacy fallacy, we can turn to the Law of Large Numbers. This law states that as the number of events increases, the observed frequency of an event approaches its true probability. In simpler terms, the more times an event occurs, the more likely it becomes that the observed frequency aligns with the actual probability.

Examples of the Fallacy Fallacy

While the Gambler's Fallacy Fallacy reminds us not to dismiss all predictions based on past events, it is crucial to recognize its limitations. Here are a few examples:

  1. Coin Flips: If a fair coin lands on heads five times in a row, some might argue that the next flip is more likely to be tails. However, since each flip is independent, the probability of heads or tails remains 50% regardless of past outcomes.

  2. Lottery Numbers: If a particular set of numbers has not been drawn in a lottery for a while, some may believe it is more likely to be drawn soon. However, each draw is independent, and the probability of any set of numbers being drawn remains the same regardless of past outcomes.


While the Gambler's Fallacy warns us against predicting future outcomes solely based on past events, the Gambler's Fallacy Fallacy reminds us not to dismiss all predictions altogether. Probability, as a mathematical concept, remains separate from past events. Understanding the true nature of probability and the limitations of the Gambler's Fallacy Fallacy can help us make more informed decisions, both in gambling scenarios and in everyday life.

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