Babette’s or Babette’s Supper Club was a supper club and bar at 2211 Pacific Avenue on the Boardwalk of Atlantic City, New Jersey. It operated from the early 1920s onwards and was sold in 1950. The bar was designed like a ship’s bow. In the backroom was a gambling den, which was investigated by the federal authorities and raided in 1943…
Though considered one of the city’s most upmarket clubs, Babette’s gained a reputation for hosting illegal gambling, prompting a federal investigation in the 1930s. There was a backroom at Babette’s containing card tables and horse-race betting, which was illegal at the time. The gambling den attracted the high rollers of the period; Astors, Vanderbilts and others from New York’s social register could be found in the rooms at Babette’s. Stebbins was able to protect his casino business by his connections with politicians and those in the legal profession. His niece Gloria Vallee recalled in 1980 that the venue was continually being raided by police, but they would tip her uncle off that there would be a raid, so he could protect his clients. The mode of escaping the police was to exit through a trap door in the horse betting room. This led to a staircase to the roof. The gamblers crossed the roof and came down another flight of stairs on the side of the building which led into the Stebbins’ home. In 1943, Babette’s was raided by the authorities and booking equipment was confiscated. Stebbins was fined several thousand dollars for facilitating illegal gambling. –Wikipedia
The Gambler’s Fallacy is the idea that past behavior influences future behavior. In everyday life, it’s a good strategy — there are all kinds of ways that events in the past affect events in the future. When gamblers take that idea into a casino, things get very bad, very quickly. At least, things get bad for the people; the casino can wring some profit out of that cognitive bias, and it did at the Monte Carlo Casino on August 18th, 1913. It was an ordinary night, until someone noticed that the roulette ball had fallen on black for quite some time. When it just kept falling, people got interested. Then they started pushing money onto the table. The thought process was that the ball had fallen on black so many times that it had to fall on red sometime soon. –Esther Inglis-Arkel
Although boredom is often seen as a trivial and temporary discomfort that can be alleviated by a simple change in circumstances, it can also be a chronic and pervasive stressor that can have significant consequences for health and well-being.
Boredom at work may cause serious accidents when safety depends on continuous vigilance, as in medical monitoring or long-haul truck driving. On a behavioral level, boredom has been linked with problems with impulse control, leading to overeating and binge eating, drug and alcohol abuse, and problem gambling. Boredom has even been associated with mortality, lending grim weight to the popular phrase “bored to death.” –Science Daily
It is intuitive that most people would be less likely to take risks after an unexpected loss. What happens after a surprising win?
It turns out that the very same trend applies, according to Case Western Reserve University psychologist Heath Demaree. In other words, it’s not whether you win or lose, but whether the outcome is expected. People appear to decrease their risk-taking levels after experiencing any surprising outcome – even positive ones. –Case Western Reserve University press release
“For a long time we’ve asked ourselves, ‘How come smart, rational people carry out short-term schemes that in the long-term undoubtedly are going to sink them?'” says author Ramy Elitzur, who holds the Edward J. Kernaghan Professorship in Financial Analysis and is an associate professor of accounting.
“The answer is — we’re not rational. We’re rational only in a limited sense.”
The study bases its findings on a model of the manager-owner relationship over time. The model is also noteworthy for combining principles of game theory — used to predict strategic behaviour — with the idea of bounded rationality — that our decisions are always made within the limits of available time, information, and the human capacity to analyze it. –Science Daily
…overconfidence frequently brings rewards, as long as spoils of conflict are sufficiently large compared with the costs of competing for them. In contrast, people with unbiased, accurate perceptions usually fare worse.
The implications are that, over a long period of time the evolutionary principal of natural selection is likely to have favored a bias towards overconfidence. Therefore people with the mentality of someone like boxer Mohammad Ali would have left more descendents than those with the mindset of film maker Woody Allen.
The evolutionary model also showed that overconfidence becomes greatest in the face of high levels of uncertainty and risk. When we face unfamiliar enemies or new technologies, overconfidence becomes an even better strategy.
Dr Dominic Johnson, reader in Politics and International Relations at the University: ‘The model shows that overconfidence can plausibly evolve in wide range of environments, as well as the situations in which it will fail. The question now is how to channel human overconfidence so we can exploit its benefits while avoiding occasional disasters.’ –Science Daily
The rewards outweigh the risks — when you’re in a group, anyway. A new USC study explains why people take stupid chances when all of their friends are watching that they would never take by themselves. According to the study, the human brain places more value on winning in a social setting than it does on winning when you’re alone.
“These findings suggest that the brain is equipped with the ability to detect and encode social signals, make social signals salient, and then, use these signals to optimize future behavior,” Coricelli said.
As Coricelli explained, in private environments, losing can more easily be life-threatening. With no social support network in place, a bad gamble can spell doom.
In group environments, on the other hand, rewards tend to be winner-takes-all. Nowhere is this more clear than in sexual competition, where — to borrow a phrase from racing legend Dale Earnhardt, Sr. — second place is just first loser.
“Among animals, there are strong incentives for wanting to be at the top of the social ranking,” Coricelli said. “Animals in the dominant position use their status to secure privileged access to resources, such as food and mates.” –Science Daily
For years, psychologists have observed that people routinely overestimate their abilities, said study leader Dominic Johnson, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Some experts have suggested that overconfidence can be a good thing, perhaps by boosting ambition, resolve, and other traits, creating self-fulfilling prophecies.
But positive self-delusion can also lead to faulty assessments, unrealistic expectations, and hazardous decisions, according to the study—making it a mystery why overconfidence remains a key human trait despite thousands of years of natural selection, which typically weeds out harmful traits over generations.
Now, new computer simulations show that a false sense of optimism, whether when deciding to go to war or investing in a new stock, can often improve your chances of winning. -Christine Dell’Amore, National Geographic News
Photo Credit: Mustafa Khayat on Flickr
The experimental findings, in the paper “Washing Away Your (Good or Bad) Luck: Physical Cleansing Affects Risk-Taking Behavior,” converge with anecdotal reports of superstitious practices, such as an athlete wearing the same unwashed shirt during a winning streak, and show that magical beliefs about luck have behavioral consequences.
Magical beliefs are exhibited, for example, by having confidence in one’s ability to predict the outcome of a random event beyond the known probabilities if one can exert irrelevant control on the situation. For example, research has shown people are more confident they will have a winning scratch-off lottery ticket if they pick the ticket instead of being given one by a clerk.
Debriefing conversations with participants suggest that people remain unaware of these influences, as has also been observed in other studies. Although participants are familiar with the underlying metaphors and related superstitious practices, they do not realize that this knowledge is applicable to the experiment and, needless to say, insist that they would never be influenced by such a thing. –Science Daily
Studying compulsive gamblers who were seeking treatment at the National Problem Gambling Clinic, the researchers found that those gamblers with higher levels of impulsivity were much more susceptible to errors in reasoning associated with gambling, such as superstitious rituals (e.g. carrying a lucky charm) and explaining away recent losses (e.g. on bad luck or ‘cold’ machines). –Science Daily
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