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The meaning of gambler’s ruin and gambler’s conceit

Published on August 3, 2020, 5:14 pm

by Jeff Grant Twitter account Jeff Grant LinkedIn account

The gambler’s ruin and gambler’s conceit

Gamblers tend to exhibit different behaviors as they ply their trade. By observing them, you can understand a gambler’s way of thinking. The gambler’s conceit and the gambler’s ruin are the most common behaviors. If left unchecked, these compulsive behaviors can lead to “problem gambling.” For many people, especially those showing symptoms of these traits, gambling is harmless fun. For the purpose of this article, perhaps it is important to shed light on the gambler’s ruin and the gambler’s conceit.

Gambler’s ruin

In the world of gambling, you are face two options, to win or lose money. There are instances a gambler makes it a habit to add a fixed amount onto the next bet after a win. On the same breadth, the gambler reduces the amount wagered by a specific amount when he loses. If you are this gambler, you could be battling the gambler’s ruin. The concept behind this behavior is it will render you broke at the end.

A further illustration of the gambler’s ruin is when two persistent gamblers go head-to-head. The only difference between the two is one of them has finite wealth. On the contrary, the other boasts of infinite wealth. In this scenario, the gambler’s ruin will manifest itself and the individual with finite wealth may end up broke.

The famous dice-game in ancient India helps to illustrate the thought process behind the gambler’s ruin. Back then, it iwas reffered as two prominent individuals, Yudhisthira and Shakuni, who hailed from different kingdoms, engaged each other in a game of dice (Pachisi). However, Yudhisthira was reluctant to play probably because he feared not to have much money to his name. True to his fears, he began to lose to his opponent. In any case, Shakuni was a past master in the art of gambling. The duel saw Yudhisthira lose his money, jewels, gold, and silver. Having lost every material possession, Yudhisthira wagered his wife, siblings, and himself. Still, he ended up losing those as well.

Shakuni playing an ancient Indian craps game (Chausar)
Shakuni playing an ancient Indian craps game known as Chausar (source)

Gambler’s conceit

Many are times when gamblers believe to steer from risky behavior. Nonetheless, they entertain it in thoughts and deeds. Such gamblers believe to be capable of exerting self-control. If caught up in this behavioral pattern, you're probably thinking of how to quit playing after reaching positive cash territory.

While your intention might be noble, the gambler’s conceit is likely to impede you from achieving your objective. Time and again, a gambler has little motivation to quit. The string of winnings will persuade the gambler to return for more. The more the wins the more the desire for gambling, which is detrimental to one's financial freedom.

In essence, this behavioral pattern appears to follow the footsteps of the gambler’s fallacy.

In games of chance, an instant payout casino has sometimes an upper hand, often if you play for a long time. If the player is addicted or not smart enough to stop at the right time, soonest or later, the casino will be on the verge of taking away the entire player's money. Not to appear greedy, the casino will afford you a few wins (sometimes big if you are in luck). The idea is to keep you occupied for as long as possible. This psychological warfare illustrates the idea behind the gambler’s conceit. Many land-based casinos or betting shops will go further to provide players with free alcoholic drinks. This simple gesture encourages players to keep on gambling.

What have we learned

The secret to avoiding the gambler’s ruin and conceit is restraining yourself from gambling. Quit gambling for a while, and when you resume, ensure to apply some sane and sensible strategies. If you opt to quit, you will derive intellectual satisfaction of having let go of a dangerous addiction. Do not console yourself to give up this practice once the profits are gone. To further beat these compulsive behaviors, always aim for consistency. If you happen to be deep into the game of risky practices, cut it off right now.

Brief periods of success may instill false confidence that elicits an unnecessary psyche. Such a kind of unwarranted psyche will deprive you of the discipline needed to drive towards the path of responsible gaming. Doing away with these behaviors will put you in the bracket of gamblers in it for the long haul.


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