NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Evidence from Blackjack Tables

Bruce Ian Carlin, David T. Robinson

NBER Working Paper No. 14955
Issued in May 2009
NBER Program(s):   CF

Psychologists study regret primarily by measuring subjects' attitudes in laboratory experiments. This does not shed light on how expected regret affects economic actions in market settings. To address this, we use proprietary data from a blackjack table in Las Vegas to analyze how expected regret affects peoples''decisions during gambles. Even among a group of people who choose to participate in a risk-taking activity, we find strong evidence of an economically significant omission bias: players incur substantial losses by playing too conservatively. This behavior is prevalent even among large stakes gamblers, and becomes more severe following previous aggressive play, suggesting a rebound effect after aggressive play.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14955

Published: Bruce I. Carlin & David T. Robinson, 2009. "Fear and loathing in Las Vegas: Evidence from blackjack tables," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(5), pages 385-396, August.

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