The logic behind quitting while you are ahead

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

You have likely heard the saying that, when gambling, you should “quit while you are ahead.” But what is the basis of the expression, and is it good advice? We have deconstructed the saying, checked the science, and reached several conclusions. Keep reading to learn more about the logic of quitting while you are ahead and why you should incorporate this bit of advice into your gambling habits. 

Why you should stop when you are ahead

The reason you should stop playing when you are ahead is rooted in psychology. The peak-end rule is especially significant here; the peak-end rule is a rule in psychology whereby people judge an experience that they have had based on the feeling they had at the peak of the experience rather than at the end.

In other words, most of us do not think about experiences we have had in a way that takes all elements of the experience from beginning to end and averages out the highs and lows. Instead, we tend to mostly remember and associate the experience with the highs (peak) and lows we experienced and the final moment of the memory (end). Taken together, the peak-end rule determines how we will feel later on about an experience and how we will refer to it, psychologically, in the future.

After we have had an experience, our subconscious will determine whether it was a positive one that we would like to repeat and turn into a habit. When you quit while you are ahead, you can maximize the enjoyment and fun that you have in the experience. That will make the memory of the event more satisfying and the habit itself more enjoyable and positive.

Quitting can fuel feelings of shame, anxiety, and guilt, especially in our progress, achievement, and struggle obsessed culture. If you quit while you are ahead, you will be able to form a positive association with the activity you are doing while also avoiding the feelings of guilt and shame. Negative emotions of shame and guilt are essential to avoid as they can lead you to start spending more than you had intended to, while not even enjoying yourself!

The growing world of online casinos

If you are a gambler or are interested in the gambling industry, you will undoubtedly have noticed the changes in the sector over the last ten years. Online casinos have gone from being clunky and awkward to sophisticated, fun, and secure platforms. Over the last year especially, many gamblers have opted to choose online gambling platforms and apps over brick-and-mortar casinos.

As the industry continues to expand rapidly, it can sometimes prove challenging to find the online casinos that best fit your specific preferences. makes it easier for gamblers to find the gambling sites that best fit their preferences by listing hundreds of online casinos online on a state-by-state basis. Besides listing the online casinos, also provides gamblers with lists of the best registration bonus casinos and instant play at online casinos.

Achieving personal bests and stopping

In a slightly different vein, academic Etan Green, a Wharton professor of operation, information, and decisions at the University of Pennsylvania, has researched whether it is beneficial to stop an activity after achieving a personal best. Green’s paper “Personal bests as reference points” synthesizes psychology, economics, and neuroscience findings to discover whether or not it is beneficial to set goals and keep track of a person’s bests.

Green’s research looked at the activity of thousands of online chess players and studied whether or not it was beneficial for players to refer to past personal bests in order to win more chess matches. The research paper concluded that it was, in fact, beneficial for players to have benchmarks of previous personal bests to refer to and to allow the players to compete against themselves.

Although only tangentially related to online gambling, something of importance for gamblers can be drawn from the conclusions of the research. It could potentially help card players to keep track of their performance as a way to track their abilities and compete with a past self.

If you feel like you do not know how to quit while you are ahead, you want to adjust your gambling behaviors, or just learn more about how you can enjoy gambling more responsibly, you can review the wealth of resources available at the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS