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Asian Gaming Traits & Extrapolations To Business and Markets

Go to any casino in the world, be it Perth, Sentosa, Vegas, Seoul, London, ... and you are likely to hear occasional shouts of "Picture". Mind you, the shouts will largely come from groups of Asian gamblers from various countries, most of who will not be able to pass English at O Levels.

I have often wondered how the locals (those in non-Asian countries) viewed these Asian gamblers. Should you classify them as rude, boorish, madcap, poor appreciation of math and house margins', "should be in gamblers' anonymous", class-less, "does not know the value of money", etc...

As in any generalizations, there are more truths in these generalizations rather than pure myths. 

The Game

Ask a group of diverse people, you can easily separate true gamblers from amateurs:  the last 4 games of baccarat showed the PLAYER winning ... will you bet, and if you do, what will you bet on?

Normal Gamblers: BANKER, even though each game does not rely on past events, it is more unlikely that a fifth game will be won by PLAYER

Real Gamblers: PLAYER, a trend is hard to find, and when you find a trend, it is not just your friend but a best friend ... the fact that its 4th time in a row does not mean it more unlikely to be PLAYER, it just reinforced the momentum of the PLAYER going forward ... FOMO (fear of missing out)... this might be the only trend to run more than 10x tonight ... for every time it hits PLAYER you are just going to get a more religious group of converts shouting catchphrases like true believers .. they do not think of the negative but only positive, they visualize the 10th or 15th time it hits PLAYER

Conservative Gambler: Wait for the trend to turn, then bet. Thinking that they missed out on 4 of the runs, they just don't think it is worth it. These people want to catch it all rather than a tiny bit of it

Fate vs Destiny

To most Asians, gambling is more than just a past time activity. It is a means of challenging your own fate against destiny. Destiny is the bigger over-riding preordained feature for oneself. Fate is the inevitability of a usually adverse outcome. Like the saying goes, you won't know you are lucky unless you gamble. It sounds more like a gambler's epithet. 

Risk-Taking Nature

Asians by nature are ranked higher in risk-taking. The same argument can be made for early migrants to foreign shores as that must have been a massive risk-taking. It is also said that owing to that "genetic predisposition", you will find most migrants in foreign shores having a strong predisposition towards gambling. Not just Asians, in fact, you can include Greeks, Lebanese, Italians, etc... Generally, it takes one or two generations before that "genetic predisposition" is tamed (lol, need further study).

Trend Is Your Friend

This is probably the most correlatable trait. Most Asian gamblers did not even know that they were master chartists even before they were born. Never go against a trend, even if there is a slight aberration, you can more easily explain it away to continue riding the trend. This is why history has shown consistently that Asian bull runs have been more vociferous and boisterous than Western bull runs. Part of the reasoning may be due to a larger market participation rate by individuals in Asian bourses compared to no-Asian bourses. Nonetheless, robust market activity in a bull run will be heightened on this "trend factor" or FOMO (fear of missing out). 

Math Is For Business

Will a smart business person be a good gambler. well, a truly smart business person will not be a reckless gambler. If I were to survey the Chinese company owners in Malaysia, there are just as many who are avid casino players and also as many who rather shun the place. Hence a good business person is and should not be a reckless gambler. 

Of course, there have been cases aplenty where company owners have gambled away their companies. As in anything, if you give in to excesses in life, be it gambling, drinking, sex or drugs ... there's no way your business life will be untouched.

Surely smart business people know the odds are stacked against them at casino games. Here, math matters only a little. However, one should know the odds margin that the casino holds against you in all games. Baccarat and blackjack have the smallest margins favouring the house. The more exotic the games become (e.g. 3 cards poker, 5 cards Carribean, ...) the margins are higher to the house. Don't even get me started on slots.

Control and Strategy

In gambling as in business, there must be a strategy, control factors and exit plan. Going in without them will almost guarantee "play till you lose it all".

Gambling Highs vs Business Highs - The Dopamine Effect

Research has shown that the drugs most commonly abused by humans (including opiates, alcohol, nicotine, amphetamines, and cocaine) create a neurochemical reaction that significantly increases the amount of dopamine that is released by neurons in the brain's reward center. 

These highs can be achieved in a smaller way via good companionship, regular exercise, a bit of alcohol and jolly friendships. People will tend to seek out the "darker evils" for dopamine when they cannot find them in their normal lifestyles. 


If you are going to gamble, first find something you are good at, or you like passionately. At the crux of it all its betting red or black, player or banker. If you are going to do that, do it where there are more variables involved, such as trading forex ... but you have to be good at reading economic variables, be on top of major business developments, read trends in economic figures, as well as be cognizant of chart movements and volume spikes ... then you may have a better than 0.5 chance of winning ... pick the best instrument that you are familiar with e.g. sgd/usd, or aud/usd, or yen/usd ... only do cross rates when you are really good.

If you are going to gamble, again find things that have more variables like stocks... earnings projections, aberrations and anomalies, learn to read financials, read industry trends, judge market sentiment, monitor shareholding changes, read charts for entry and exit points, etc... then if you are good at it you may have a better than 0.5 chance of winning.

Another safer way, go play Texas Poker among your friends, with a controlled budget. Even then, I doubt your chance of winning is 0.5.


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