Ever since the first game of Roulette, and the first time cards were shuffled for a game of Blackjack, there has always been a omnipotent presence (or lack) of luck. Every gambler will believe in good and bad luck to an extent, we even like to think that there are certain rituals that we can perform to improve our chances when playing at a casino.
This has given birth to many different superstitions. These will differ on where you’re playing, the mentality of gamblers from the East will vary greatly from the superstitions of the West, but you can guarantee that no matter where you go; there will be apparent ways of improving your luck! While luck could play a big part in your winnings, so can knowing what you’re playing, including all the tips and tricks of the trade.
So, before I go on for too long, here’s a quick list of some of my favourite gambling superstitions!
Unlucky Number 13
We all know how the number 13 is considered to be quite unlucky in the western cultures, but did you also know that many hotels in places like Las Vegas don’t have a 13th floor? The superstition behind the unlucky number is so dominant that hotel owners will completely skip out the 13th floor just in case it brings bad luck to their casino. Some casinos, like Circus Circus, used this as a variety of attraction and invited players up to the 13th floor for a scare!
Uncross Those Legs
You must have heard the phrase ‘Keep Your Fingers Crossed’. This is the simple idea that crossing your fingers will give you extra luck, but you’re only meant to cross one set of fingers, doing more than one pair cancels out the good luck. This is why many people think it is bad luck to cross your legs, since when you do want good luck you’ll cross your fingers, but because your legs are also crossed, you’ll cancel out your own luck. This might also be why chairs are placed so close to slot machines, to prevent people from being able to cross their legs.
No Dogs Allowed
Many people believe that seeing a dog at the table will bring bad luck to the players. Quite frankly I can’t think of many situations where a dog will be willingly brought to the roulette table, so this is probably seen as an omen. The only exception I can think of is if a blind person with a guide dog plays at the table, and in all fairness, if the dog is able to tell him what cards he has then I’d say that’s a pretty lucky dog.
Whistle While You Work (Not While You Play)
Here’s one that you can avoid practising while you’re playing from home. It’s considered to be extremely unlucky to sing or whistle while you’re gambling, regardless of whether you’re on the slots or at a table. Also, no one really wants to hear your sub-par singing, so just avoid doing it when you’re not alone.
This is mostly an American superstition, but there are some other cultures which follow similar rules. It’s considered to be highly detrimental to start counting how much money/chips you have while you’re still at the table, even if you’re about to leave. The only exception to this is when you’re playing Poker, where it’s kind of important to know just how much you have in your bank.
The second part of this is it’s unlucky to use $50 bills at a casino, regardless of whether you’re using them to play or being paid in them. Many players will actually insist that the cashier gives them change rather than being given a $50 note, so you can imagine there’s an excess of these in the casinos!
Take The Back Door
This is the last of the Western superstitions, and in my opinion one of the strangest. Many avid casino goers will consider it to be unlucky to use a casinos front door, and some will even insist on being allowed in through employee entrances or the back door. This is especially noticeable at the MGM Grand, where the entrance used to be the mouth of a lion, which people believed was twice as unlucky as a regular entrance.
In the East, red is known to be the lucky colour when you’re in a casino. But this isn’t a reference to games like roulette where red is an option, but more to what the customers wear. Many casino patrons will have a red item of clothing on their person whilst playing, and people will consider red pants to be the luckiest of clothing. I can imagine it being quite strange going into a casino knowing that everyone probably has the same colour underwear on…
A Holy Sighting
This is one of my favourites, simply because it seems impossible in the Western culture, but is probably more likely in the East. If you see a monk or a nun before or during a gambling session, then it’s advised that you stop placing chips for the day. This belief comes from the idea that most religions consider gambling to be a sin, and obviously monks and nuns are prominent symbols of religion.
What’s Your Lucky Number?
In the West, people stick to the firm belief that 7 is the luckiest of numbers, this is because it is the most likely number to show up when you’re rolling two die. In the East, it’s quite different, as they consider their lucky number to be 8, but the reasons behind this aren’t too different to our own. In Chinese, the word for ‘eight’ sounds very similar to the word ‘fortune’, making it quite easy to see why people would believe this to be the lucky number. The unlucky number in the East is also widely considered to be 4, as, much like the lucky number, the word for ‘four’ sounds very similar to the word for ‘death’.
They’re After My Lucky Charms
My last entry, and also probably one of the most well-known concepts, regardless of whether you’re a gambler or not. I had a lucky charm for all my school exams (a little Squirtle figure from the children’s show ‘Pokémon’), although I can’t remember if he actually ever bought me luck. Many people will believe in more traditional lucky charms like a rabbits foot, a horse shoe or a four leaf clover, and in fact, many of these symbols will show up every day at a lot of casinos. A lucky charm could be anything that you think helps you gain luck; an item, a person, some special pants, even a short ritual that you think brings more luck down upon you.
It has been said that gamblers are probably the most superstitious group of people that exist, and in honesty, it doesn’t hurt them to take some extra caution when it comes to risking money. A lot of superstitions have a reason or two behind them, and it can only really help a gamblers chances of winning, or at least boost their confidence.
Whether you think it’s just a game of chance, or if there is some sort of mystic force which makes us lucky, we all have some sort of rituals to perform when we sit down at the table, whether it’s wearing a certain shirt to your favourite casino, or just making a cup of tea when you sit down to play some Live Roulette.