Is luck an accident or a pattern?


What is luck? Some people think it’s just a happy coincidence, others think it depends on certain regularities. Maya Young, a management specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, recently tried to study this phenomenon. And she came to unexpected conclusions – that luck depends on the person’s personality!

Patience and hard work all over the place?

Luck or failure can be a property of a particular person, the result of exposure to certain personal characteristics, says Maya Yang. So, Chinese culture believes that if a person works hard, he or she will succeed. In Western culture, however, luck is often thought to depend on subjective factors. For example, a candidate is hired who likes the recruiter better at the interview, not the one who deserves it more by his or her professional qualities.

Our past luck or failures can affect how we behave in our later lives. We can also be influenced by our own ideas about fortune. So, if we are convinced that we deserve it, or if our life has started on a bright side, then we can unknowingly behave more confidently and thus increase our chances of success. The same happens if we believe in irrational support, say we use a talisman or “happy” clothes, go to the temple, and offer prayers for our cause to be solved in the best way possible…

Is there a “lucky streak”?

Stanford University psychologists Thomas Gilovich, Robert Wallonet and Amos Tversky, in their work published in 1985, tried to investigate the phenomenon of so-called “luck strip”, which manifests itself in particular in gambling, where a player makes one successful move after another. Scientists have come to the conclusion that there is no “luck strip”, it’s just an illusion, an attempt to see in a random sequence of events a certain pattern …

Last year, however, Harvard students Andrew Bokoski, John Ezekowitz and Carolyn Stain challenged the conclusions of their predecessors. They put forward the hypothesis that in a state of “intoxication” luck players with greater determination to go for complex actions, which temporarily increases the “effect of success.

For example,

the researchers analyzed video clips of basketball matches of the National Association in 20123-2013. After watching the videos, they found that players who made one or more successful shots, then began to make more complex shots, apparently believing that fortune turned to them face to face. And this led to new positive results.

So the luck stripes are, in a way, real. But what causes them to start? Jueming Xu and Nigel Harvey from University College London suggested it was a probability factor. After analyzing about half a million sports bets, they found that those players who started winning were more likely to continue to win. The same is true for losses. Statistics show that the probability here is higher than random – 50/50.

It turns out that the winning ones start making safer bets so as not to “frighten” luck. And losers, on the contrary, fall into excitement, hoping that in the end fortune will turn to them face. Therefore, the former keep winning and the latter lose.

A 2009 study, in which Maya Young took part, showed that students who believe in their luckiness achieve better results in their studies. “It is worth noting that a person who believes in sustainable luck is more motivated to choose difficult goals and achieve them,” says Maya Yang. – And if he believes that luck is fleeting and cannot be relied upon because today it is and tomorrow it is not, he is less likely to choose difficult tasks.

Good luck can be nurtured!

Richard Weisman, a former magician and now Professor of Psychology at Hertfordshire University, believes that luck can “grow” in itself. To prove this, Richard Weisman gathered 400 people who considered themselves either lucky or unsuccessful. After talking to them, he made the following conclusion. The “lucky” people are able to use the opportunities they have, listen to their own intuition more often, as well as have a positive attitude towards their future and persevere in the trials. Losers panic, anxiety, and tension for the slightest reason. After the psychologist has worked with losers on the method of behavioral impact, 80 percent admitted that they began to feel more satisfied with life and feel lucky.

It turns out that the same strategies in some situations lead to success, and in some – to the opposite result … Maybe we should not look for any patterns?

Casino luck factor. How do you win?

Casinos, lotteries and gaming machines are a matter in which no guarantee is given. What do players count on? What does winning really depend on: good luck, fate or is there an algorithm that can be explained?

Hiram Maxim, once witnessed the game that struck him. In one of the casinos in Monte Carlo, right before his eyes, in roulette “black” fell twenty-one times in a row! Logically, the probability of “black” falling out again decreased with each time, so the player sitting next to Maxim bet on the “red” – one day it should happen. However, the next six laps were also marked by “black”. The player was broke.

Jack Warner, tycoon of the film industry, once in two weeks, won the ex-King of Egypt Farouk two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. That was not the end of his luck, and Warner won a whole thirty million francs! Years went by, but Warner’s excitement didn’t leave the man alone. At one of the parties, when he was 66, he wins $40,000. After such a gift of fortune, Jack is happy to come home and have an accident. He’s been in the hospital for a long time, but he’s not afraid. After a while, beats the prince of Saudi Arabia 100 thousand dollars.

A New Orleans resident who survived the devastating hurricane Katrina won $1.6 million in casinos. Katrina destroyed the home of 57-year-old retiree Jacqueline Sherman in New Orleans and had to live with her sister in Opelusas.

Mathematicians and physicists believe there is a pattern to winning and have been building theories for hundreds of years about which one. The most popular is Martingale, which is over 300 years old. According to its algorithm, you should always put the same amount, for example, in turn on the even and odd, with each move increasing the rate by half. After a certain number of losses and bets, the winnings will come sometime. According to the calculations through geometric progression, if we subtract the total amount of losses by that time, the player will still win. But this strategy has disadvantages. It is necessary to have a initially decent amount of money and make a lot of bets until the very moment of X. But even if you have a lot of money, the casino limits the number of bets that a player can make in one game.

Theories and strategies are quite a lot, some scientists even unite in organized groups when they feel that they have found a pattern. They go to ruin the casino, win and lose, like everyone else playing according to Her Majesty’s laws of luck. In this case, there’s a great expression: “You can win at roulette, you can never win”.

The closest to the truth was in 1967, mathematician Richard Epstein.

His theory is based on the fact that, knowing the initial angular velocity of the ball relative to the wheel, you can predict in which half of this very wheel the ball will stop. Nowadays, scientists have decided to investigate this method. In the laboratory, they installed the wheel and the necessary equipment to fix the experiment. They had some tricky tools and a phone. With their help, participants were able to achieve a mathematical expectation of 0.18% of the bet, while the casinos themselves exist at a modest 0.027% of the player’s bet. It turns out that it is possible to make the winnings depend not only on luck. But the casino owners are also studying these strategies, so they complete the betting process before the speed of the ball can be calculated.

And then what is left to hope only for luck?

Well, I guess so. But even in this case, gamblers are looking for ways to influence the outcome. Someone chooses for themselves a lucky number, associated, for example, with some significant event. Some have items that they believe bring good luck. They could be talismans, fruit bones, a jacket, socks – anything. By the way, to come to the casino with a beautiful girl who will stand beside you during the game is not just a desire to impress.

Many believe that a beautiful partner brings good luck. And also if a stranger blows on the dice, the cards will be chosen with his left hand, and a coin rubbed against his clothes. In fact, there’s a chance that one of these cases will be followed by a win. But the probability is not a pattern with a 100% outcome. So there’s one conclusion – the casino always wins.

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