Casino Gambling Superstitions: Can They Bring You Luck?

Woman throwing dice at craps table in casino, friends watching
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Two gamblers were talking. One turned to the other and asked, “Are you superstitious?”

His friend replied, “I used to be but then I heard it was unlucky to be superstitious, so I stopped.”

Gamblers are probably the most superstitious people in the world and they will do anything to improve their chances of winning. Whether it is carrying a lucky charm or performing some sort of ritual before or during their gambling sessions; anything to influence lady luck to smile on them.

Gambling and Superstition

Psychologists have done many studies into the relationship between gambling and superstitions. The conclusions show that superstitions can develop in many gamblers and become a basis for future gambling sessions. If the player has won, he looks at what transpired during the winning session. This is where a player may decide that an article of clothing or some other activity was “responsible” for their good fortune. Likewise, if a player loses, he will look to see what may have caused his misfortune. If a player has one or two losing sessions with a particular dealer, they may develop a feeling that the dealer is unlucky and unbeatable.

Not all superstitions are developed by personal observations. Many gamblers just buy into the existing beliefs that have been passed down through the ages. They may choose to believe that something is unlucky and avoid it as to not tempt fate. Others may test a superstition only to discover a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think it is unlucky to sit with your legs crossed while playing poker and you do it, you may lose because subconsciously you expect to lose. If you do lose, it will reinforce your belief.

Many gamblers have “selective amnesia.” They only remember those events that correspond to their own personal beliefs, forgetting everything else. That great session of blackjack on Saturday leads them to believe Saturday's are lucky for them.

Popular Gambling Superstitions

Many gamblers feel that it is unlucky to enter a casino through the main entrance. Years ago the MGM in Las Vegas had the main entrance that led through the mouth of a large MGM statue lion. Many players would not enter the casino by going into the mouth of the lion. They considered it a double curse to walk into the mouth of the beast along with the fact that it was the main entrance to the casino.

Many gamblers believe that $50 bills are unlucky and they will not accept being paid with them. There are several casinos that do not give out $50 bills from the cage when players cash in their chips. The casinos that do use $50 bills often find that gamblers will refuse them as payment. Some people also regard the two dollar bill as unlucky and this might explain why the numerous attempts to bring them back into general circulation have failed.

In his song "The Gambler," Kenny Rogers sang "You never count your money when you're sitting at the table, there’ll be time enough for counting when the dealing's done.” Many people follow his advice. And in another vein, there seems to be a continuing fear of singing or whistling while gambling. Is it really bad luck? 

An Asian superstition popularized in the film "Kung Fu Mahjong" is that wearing red clothing while gambling is best, while other players simply have a favorite color that they wear while they gamble.

There's even the saying, "Don’t cross your legs while playing or you will cross out your good luck”

Harmless Fun

Even though we claim not to be, most of us have one or two superstitions we subscribe to while gambling. Eighty percent of the gamblers who responded to a survey said that they believed in superstitions or carried out some sort of lucky ritual while gambling. As long as you don’t let your superstitions control you, believing something will bring you good luck can actually be beneficial. If you feel lucky you will be happy and have a more enjoyable time while you play. Less stress leads to better decisions.

Are you superstitious? Do you believe in any gambling superstitions? Share your thoughts and superstitions here.