Tag Archives: sequences

Eliminate all records

As a man who recently dabbled a bit too much in gambling (it’s fine, I only lost the house, not the consoles/beanbag etc), I am not a big fan of records, runs, in-a-rows or sequences. I watch football, whenever I can, and am constantly confronted with “this team haven’t won here in 30 years”, or “this player has never scored against this team” and other such balls.

Obviously I know there are psychological effects when it comes to records like this – having never won at a ground means you would place yourself under pressure (if you actually cared) and would therefore be more prone to pressure-enforced mistakes, or something better-sounding, meaning you’d still not win. But generally speaking, I really don’t see why these numbers, stats, facts and figures hold any importance whatsoever, as things change all the time, results and outcomes – not just in sports, but in anything – can vary and saying “oh, it’s been that way for five years running, so it has to be that way again today” – even if it’s only implied – is fucking stupid.

Back to the gambling thing I brought up, it reminds me of people who claim to have ‘skill’ when it comes to roulette. Believe me, I’ve spoken to them. I’ve tried to listen to their vaguely-literate ravings about how there is skill and technique to a game that is utterly random*, but it just fills me with FURY. Alright, not fury, but when you tell me “if it’s come out as black eight times in a row it’s definitely going to be red next” then I’m not going to take you very seriously.

A run of one thing does not guarantee this thing will always happen, just as a run of different things does not mean it will always alternate. I understand the need for fun little tidbits here and there – something for commentators to fall back on, or to introduce a game with, but I do wish they’d be more imaginative with them. Sequences of games lost: boring. Times Joey Barton has been accused of punching someone: less boring. Just a quick example, but you get the point.

And roulette is still entirely random, so shut up about that. I’m sure I had a point here.

*And always in favour of the house thanks to 0, fact fans.

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