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Beginner’s Luck Explanation by Two Scientific Theories

By January 26, 2020May 5th, 2021No Comments

The idea of beginner’s luck has been around for generations. We at the casino world know it best. Some players may have been playing online slots for days on and come up empty-handed. On the other hand, a newbie may win a jackpot. The question is does beginner’s luck really exist or is it all in our heads? Two scientific theories have the answer.

The Theory of Flow

This is the theory that Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, American-Hungarian psychologist popularized in 1975. It is a positive form of psychology based on the hyper-focus. The premise is that beginners achieve an optimal mental state when they are engaged in an activity that they enjoy. This activity is challenging enough but is proportionate to the participant’s skill level.

When we talk about gambling it means that beginners are more likely to win primarily because they don’t make strategies and plans, they just go with the flow. Beginners play based on a simple rule. They only enjoy the moment of the game and not really worry too much about winning and losing. Unlike them, professional gamblers are always considering their next move, take strategies in their play and a dozen other things. They have the tendency to complicate the game and it makes the so-called experts lose.

The Sparrow Theory

Several students from Tel Aviv University in Israel conducted a study to research this phenomenon. They tested how sparrows would decide on foraging for food and how that is related to beginner’s luck. They took 60 sparrows and let them forage for food in a plot of land divided into 2 sides. One side had a large number of holes, each filled with a little bit of food. The other side had just as many holes but only a few of them actually had food inside them. The holes that did have food had plenty of it. This part represented the high-risk side and at the end of the experiment, only 7 sparrows were left on this side.

These 7 sparrows are like beginners at the casino. They did not make a conscious choice, they took a chance and won right away. The rest of the sparrows represent experienced players who have learned to take low-risk for low-rewards.

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