Beginner’s Casino Luck Theory Explained

Beginner’s luck – it’s such a well-worn phrase that we have used time and again in many situations and probably throughout our lives. Beaten your sibling at a board game? Beginner’s luck! Completely floored your squash opponent and never picked up a racquet before? Definitely beginner’s luck! In fact, the concept is so well-known that the phrase exists across the world in many different languages.

But what is it exactly? The phrase ‘beginner’s luck’ refers to the notion of complete novices succeeding and outperforming more experienced participants or players. This is counter-intuitive as the opposite would usually be expected to happen based on the skill set or experience of that expert.

Can you believe it?

Now, the interesting thing is, does beginner’s luck really exist? Those who doubt its existence would say that actually, the expert is having an ‘off day’ or that the novice has perhaps played similar games before that utilise the same or similar skills. They might also say that, rather than being down to luck, the novice is actually looking at the game or task from a completely unbiased perspective and is not encumbered by complex thought processes around the next move.

This is why beginner’s luck is seen so often in card games like poker or blackjack for example, although it does exist right across the casino floor. And it doesn’t matter whether we are talking about traditional or online from real money casions such as, the ability for the novice to outperform the expert is well-known.

Novices versus experts

Experts can be so totally absorbed in the complex moves that they know to be available that they don’t actually ‘see the wood for the trees’. And, if you are an expert at something, the pressure to perform is much greater than if you are a novice – think about the pressure that is placed on strikers to score goals or tennis players to win championships. Too much focus is placed on minute details at the expense of playing a more solid game by being less blinkered. The beginner, on the other hand, is completely free to actually take more risk as there is no expectation on them.

Another aspect is that novices aren’t already pre-programmed to think in certain ways and therefore they are free to consider all sorts of solutions to the game in progress. Experts, on the other hand, can operate almost automatically and that’s where mistakes are made.

Luck by any other name

In casinos, this winning streak phenomenon is known as the honeymoon period or winning phase and is seen across cards, slots and the wheel. But is it really luck and does fortune really favour the brave? As we have already seen, there are several solid explanations for this ‘luck’ and, as the player becomes confident in the game, the likelihood is that things will change they become more familiar with the rules and start to develop a game strategy.

In reality, everything is transitional and that includes the winning streak – it’s going to come to an end at some stage and how you, as a player, then deal with that is what’s key. At what point do you stop? It’s important to understand that most games are based on statistical probability and therefore, not to be too greedy and end up chasing losses.

Final thoughts

When it comes to casinos, it’s a fact that the house has the advantage, although the house edge does vary from game to game. Therefore a good strategy for the novice is to go along and enjoy the game for what it is rather than just focusing purely on winning big. If you succeed in encountering beginner’s luck then get into the habit early of stopping the session when you win a certain amount and withdraw the profit. Good habits will always pay dividends!

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