Popular Casino Superstitions and How they Impact Players

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We all have superstitions that we believe in.  Some of us approach Friday the 13th with a dose of trepidation while others get the heebie-jeebies when they spill a bit of salt on the dining room table.  In the same way, casino superstitions are something not to be fooled around with for some players.

Gamblers are believed to be some of the most superstitious people on Earth, with many gambling beliefs tracing their origins back to the middle ages.  While the majority of us would shrug away most of these colourful theories, some gambling dogmas have found a surprisingly solid grounding in rational thought.  Others, on the other hand, have remained within the domain of old wives’ tales. 

Popular Casino Superstitions Governing Good and Bad Luck

Here’re some of the most popular good and bad luck superstitions that are entrenched within the mindsets of individual gamblers:

Good Luck Casino Superstitions

Gamblers have long been associated with good luck charms and, even today, many come to the casino with a lucky pendant or item hidden in their pocket, with the hope of striking it rich.  Here are some lucky casino superstitions:

  • Clothing and colour – Some gamblers have lucky sets of clothing that they wear each time they visit a casino (e.g. 2005 World Series Poker runner-up Steve Dannenmann wore the same cap and shirt for the duration of the seven-day tournament). In other cultures, specific colours represent luck.  This is the case in China, where red symbolises success, wealth and joy and is often worn when gambling.
  • Blowing on the dice – Blowing the dice became popular in the 1955 silver screen classic Guys and Dolls when Marlon Brando evoked Lady Luck by uttering “wander all over the room and blow on some other guy’s dice”. While this belief is popular amongst gamblers, it got a bit of slack when it was reported that some less scrupulous players were using heat-activated adhesives on their dice to rig the gameplay.
  • Lucky charms – While it might only represent a figure of speech these days, the lucky rabbit’s foot was a real thing back in the 19th century, with many gamblers wearing it around their necks whenever they dared the dice. However, for it to work, the rabbit would have to be hunted down and killed in a cemetery!  Some other less gory charms popular amongst gamblers include horseshoes, four-leaf clovers and brooches.

Bad Luck Casino Superstitions

As with everything, there are the antitheses for all good things, and superstitious gamblers try to avoid these as much as possible:

  • Crossing one’s legs – While it’s all good to cross your fingers for good luck, crossing your legs while placing a bet is a sure way to lose your money. So, make sure that you sit up straight and keep both your feet firmly on the ground at all times.
  • Numbers – Fear of number 13 or Friday the 13th is widespread in western culture, and it even has a name in the psychological world, namely triskaidekaphobia. The origin of the phobia is unknown, although many link it to the medieval Knights Templar.  In China, it is number four that’s got a bad reputation as the word for it is almost the same as the word for death.  On the brighter side, the Chinese word for “eight” sounds similar to “prosperity”, which makes this number a welcome accomplice to any gambling session.
  • Singing/whistling – If you plan to serenade a sultry player sitting next to you, rather don’t do it. An old legend says that melody angers the gods of gambling, so any song or tune should be avoided while throwing your dice.
  • Counting money at the table – while some may view this as just another superstition, others point out that it’s based on etiquette. Counting your money while the game is taking place or immediately thereafter is considered rude, as it can be viewed as insensitive towards those who weren’t as lucky.  Of course, if you are superstitious, the old adage of pride comes before a fall can hint a warning to how you should handle your money after winning.

Casino superstitions are here to stay, with many of them have become an intricate part of our gambling milieu.  Loathe them or not, there’s a half-truth in any lie.  Or perhaps, it’s the other way around?

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