Tag Archives: gambler’s ruin

Beating Gambler’s Ruin

The shocking truth is that no matter what game of chance you play, over the long term a gambler will go broke!  This is known as the theory of the ‘Gambler’s Ruin’.  Put simply it means that whatever the odds of the game, even if you expect to win, a bad run can wipe out your bank balance.

When you’re gambling against someone with almost infinite resources, for example, a casino, the casino can sustain a bad run much longer than the gambler.  Therefore, over time, the casino will always take all the gambler’s money.

There is a solution to this problem, of course. As usual the solution is counter-intuitive.

If the gambler loses then the size of bets should be reduced by the appropriate amount.  In this way, the risk of bankruptcy is reduced to almost nothing. Many people when they gamble try to win back their losses. This is an example of a disastrous strategy which will only ensure that the gambler loses more and faster.

Similarly of this is that as the gambler wins more the size of bets should be increased to increase the amount of money that could be won.

This is the truth of the mathematics of gambling.

More information.