Well-Known Superstitions Popular in Gambling

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Superstitions. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Charms, lucky paraphernalia and talismans have been a part of human beliefs for thousands of years, and many of these superstitions have crept into the arena of gambling and games of luck.

When it comes to popular beliefs, we all can recall a time when we’ve crossed our fingers in the hope of a particular result, did a few knocks on wood, or worn a “special” garment in the hope that lady luck will assist us in breezing through an important event. Charms, talismans, and objects of fortune have been part of human habits for millennia. And even though no one can scientifically prove that these beliefs work, we still cling to them and the associated traditions.  

Humans so desperately desire things to go right in our lives that we’ll do anything to get the best out of a bad scenario. For gamblers, there’s a list of superstitions that can be put to practice in the hope of having a rewarding casino session. Whether it’s blowing on dice, arriving at the poker tables with a horseshoe buckle or a rabbit foot around our neck, or simply chafing a coin before slotting it into a machine — there are endless tricks players have employed to pull the odds in their favour.

Here are some common gambling superstitions still practised at casinos around the world:

Lucky 7

When mentioning lucky numbers, the one that comes to mind is the number seven, and for a good reason too. This number seems to be present everywhere: seven days in a week, seven colours in the rainbow, seven oceans, seven wonders of the ancient world, and seven heavens across several religions.

Even though some cultures consider numbers like three and eight to be more significant than seven, there is so much godliness and positivity associated with seven that most gamblers believe it to be an accurate representation of luck and fortune. 

Lending Cash to Other Players

Another big no-no within gambling mythology is lending your money to other players. While this probably stemmed from people loaning cash to their buddies and never receiving a dime back, it’s thought that the real reason is that their pals might win with the borrowed money.

Imagine chucking your chum ten dollars.  After five minutes, he happens to strike it big on a slot machine.  You stand mortified after you spent four hours with nothing but dead hands at a blackjack table. It would naturally feel pretty soul-crushing. Then imagine they were unkind enough to share some of their winnings with you. Yep, it would sure hurt. It is thus understandable that loaning money is the pinnacle of risk for most gamblers.

Red Clothing

Green felt can be seen at almost every casino table in Las Vegas. It’s the colour of money, good health and harmony. However, in China and some other Asian cultures, red is the colour that symbolises prosperity, beauty, joy and luck. It’s the most prominent colour used in everything from Chinese New Year celebrations to wedding themes and is believed to safeguard people from the mythical demon figure known as Nian.  Over the years, the West became influenced by the Orient, and some gamblers have incorporated red into their wardrobe when gambling. 

Manners Around a Table

Counting cards is frowned upon, but so are tallying chips and cash at most casino tables. Gambling etiquette deems counting your winnings as discourteous and insensitive towards other players. On the other hand, it is considered lucky to leave the table after placing your bet or looking away from the wheel as the ball is about to land. Even players of online roulette are known to glance away from their screens due to this superstition.

US$50 Banknote

Most people would be thrilled to receive a US$50 bill, but superstitious gamblers are horrified if they are paid out their winnings using this denomination. There are even casinos that prevent payments using the US$50 bill. Some establishments that ignore this superstition have had players refuse to take their winnings upon cashing in their chips. We know we certainly wouldn’t be complaining if it was us!

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