Beginner’s Luck

Beginners Luck

Getting professional at any sport, game, or other skill based activity is time consuming, especially when getting to the deeper levels of the activity’s strategy. Some dedicate their entire lives to mastering a certain activity, and will still confess that they do not feel they are on an expert level, since there always tends to be someone better, even after decades of practice. This is the nature of learning and improving, and something almost everyone has experienced, be it a card game, video game, sport, or artistic endeavour.

Why then, with the endless hours and practice some put in, is there such a thing as beginner’s luck? That is to say, the phenomenon that tends to occur where a complete newcomer to the activity is briefly, but instantly, good at it.

Beginner’s Luck

Little can be as frustrating, or sometimes amusing, as having a complete newcomer at a skill based activity being somehow better then the experts. It seems inexplicable, but tends to happen often, at least often enough that the occurrence has the name of beginner’s luck.

Some say that it is simply coincidence and a matter of perception, while others think that something deeper and more interesting is going on. It is theorised that those who have practiced something, studied it, and looked at if from every angle, are often over thinking something that was relatively simple to begin with. It is said that it can be, ironically, detrimental to get too involved in a skill based game, as the added layers of information tend to obscure the core aspects that really matter.

In this case, someone who has not clouded their views with unnecessary information is seeing the activity more clearly, hence giving them a natural advantage, at least for a while. Once that person gets more involved in the activity, so they begin to understand the intricacies, and the beginner’s luck fades. The natural skill based initial success, however, generally only applies to one aspect of activity, and is not true success.

Gambling Based Beginner’s Luck

A phenomenon that is less easily explained is a newcomer at a gambling game being met with instant, seemingly miraculous success. In this case winning is based on statistical chance, and a newcomer having success seems to defy the laws of logic.

A person, regardless of how new to a gambling game they are, should not have more or less success one way or the other, unless that game is based on skill. In this case it is more likely a matter of perception and coincidence coming together to create an illusion of beginner’s luck. One might also consider that there is no such term as beginner’s loss, which goes a long way to explaining how human perception can paint an outcome to seem like it is leaning one way or the other. In fact, a new comer to a game may lose repeatedly, only to have one large win. The large win is focused on, while the many loses are ignored, simply because the player is new to the game. There is really no phenomenon of any kind, simply a matter of perception.