Winning streaks are real! A study has found that a taste of success means gamblers make safer bets.
A recent study suggests that winning streaks are indeed real, meaning that the idea of ‘quitting while you’re ahead’ might be null and void.
Researchers have found that once a person wins a bet, they are increasingly likely to win again because they seek out safer bets.
It seems that winning gamblers increasingly choose safer odds meaning that after a high hand in poker or a fruitful flutter on the horses you may be wise to try your luck again.
University College of London mathematicians examined 565,915 online bets made by 776 people to study chains of six bets.
And the researchers found that winning streaks, or ‘hot hands’ are real.
The study showed that the probability of a first bet winning was 48%, but the final sixth bet was as high as 75% as the winning streak gathered pace.
The Economist reported that mathematicians Juemin Xu and Nigel Harvey examined the 565,915 online bets made on sports such as horse-racing and football, taking into account timing and winning and losing streaks up to six bets long.
However, the study also found that once a person loses a bet, they become increasingly more likely to carry on with the losing streak.
Feeling the pinch of pressure, losers took riskier bets and were therefore more likely to end up losing.
So, it seems that there is truth in the advice ‘cut your losses’.
The UCL researchers discovered that people who continue to bet after losing do not even manage to recoup their losses, while winners are more likely to keep winning.