Superstitious beliefs can be found anywhere and can be believed by anyone. Even the gambling world is not free from these beliefs and lots of gamblers from China to Europe to the US have their own set of dogmas when they enter casinos, whether online or in real life. These beliefs range from the simple to the absurd, and even though some of these are pretty far-out, it does not stop believers from doing them when they go out to try their luck.
What are these superstitious beliefs and should you believe in any of them? Where do these originate from and why do people put their faith in them? Here are some of the more popular gambling superstitious beliefs around the world, where they come from, and why people believe in them:
Blowing the dice before throwing them – you’ve seen this numerous times on many movies and TV shows where the person handling the dice on a craps table blows on the dice before throwing them. What is the superstition behind this? Why do people do this when they play craps? It has been said that this move gives the player luck and will help them win when they throw the dice.
There are other explanations for this move however. One such explanation is that in the olden days, people would cheat on this game by putting a sticky substance on one side of the dice and this would activate when the moisture that comes from the person’s breath hits it, hence the blow before the throw. Another explanation for this move, which is more innocent, is that people blow on the dice before a throw to simply remove any dirt that may affect the outcome of the throw.
Never enter a casino from the main entrance – this is another superstitious belief that a lot of gamblers believe in. This is why a lot of casinos have side entrances that people can use to get to their favorite tables, slot machines, and other casino games. The reason behind this is that people leaving the casino usually do so because they’ve lost. When you run into these people who have lost in the casino as you enter the building, their bad luck may rub off on you, hence the fear of entering through the front entrance of such an establishment.
In the case of MGM Grand, with its main entrance shaped like the mouth of a lion, people thought that the casino’s entrance would give them a double whammy of bad luck. Not only will the bad luck of leaving players rub off on those who are just entering but the symbolism of entering the mouth of a beast also indicates bad luck and that you are being eaten alive.
Counting your money at the table – if you’ve heard the song The Gambler by Kenny Rogers, you will know that this superstition is one of the things he is singing about. The lyrics go “You never count your money when you’re sitting at the table. There’ll be time enough for counting when the dealing’s done.” This superstition stems from the belief that if you start counting your money while you are playing, you will start losing instead of winning.
Another reason why people believe this is because of the saying “pride comes before a fall” and counting your winnings while you are still playing shows your pride in what you won and can inevitably begin your losing streak, or as the saying goes, your fall. Some people however point out that this belief actually stems from good manners and that counting money in front of others while everyone else is still playing is a sign of bad manners.
Wearing something red when gambling – this superstition originates from China and is believed by many because it has been around for ages. What harm is there any way in wearing red when gambling, right? Some people find it rather embarrassing that they are wearing red when they gamble since it shows that they believe in this superstitious belief. This is why some gamblers wear this color underneath their clothes. Red underwear, red handkerchiefs, and any other red item on their person will help fulfill this superstitious belief.
The reason why red is considered an auspicious color is because in Chinese culture, this color represents good fortune, wealth, and joy. This color has been used in China for many occasions, particularly during weddings, to help usher in good luck for the couple. This belief has crossed over into gambling and other endeavors that require some luck, and has found its way west to casinos and gambling joints elsewhere.
Crossing your legs when playing – another belief that seems to be harmless and can be easily followed is the act of NOT crossing your legs when you are gambling. This is said to bring bad luck to whoever is playing since you are essentially “crossing out” the good luck you are supposed to have when you do this. This is why people who are new to casino gaming and wagering are often told by friends who have been playing for some time to not cross their legs when they are at a table.
Crossing your fingers – this is another belief that a lot of people believe in, and not just while they are betting on something or playing at a casino table. The act of crossing fingers is a symbolism for trying to ward off bad luck. This stems from the time when the cross was considered a powerful tool against witches and evil, and making a cross with your fingers will help keep them and the bad luck they bring, away from you.
Using $50 bills – people who go to land-based casinos know that using $50 bills when gaming is frowned upon by old-timers who are with them on the same table when they play. This is because it is said that these bills bring about bad luck to whoever is at the same table. The superstition comes from rumors of mobsters in the old days putting a $50 bill into the jacket pocket of anyone they kill before they bury the person out in the desert.
This is why people who are heading to a casino don’t accept $50 as change for their purchases and why cashiers in casinos don’t give this amount to players who cash out their winnings for the day. Some gamblers even choose to accept change in smaller denominations and coins rather than in a $50 bill just to avoid courting bad luck when they go to play.
Knocking on wood – this is a luck superstition that actually goes beyond gambling and is used by many people for a lot of things. This comes from pagan beliefs that wood, or anything made out of wood like trees, doors, and tables, house spirits that can help you with your life and your luck. Knocking on wood is an act of calling upon these spirits to help you either with good luck or to ward off bad luck in whatever it is you are doing, whether it is to get a raise, to win on a blackjack table, or to get the outcome you need on any venture.
This belief also has some Christian meaning attached to it. Since Jesus Christ was nailed to a wooden cross, it is said by some that knocking on wood before doing something will call on your faith to protect you. It is said to be a form of homage in some Christian practices.
Lucky numbers and unlucky numbers – there are many numbers that are considered good luck and a few that are considered bad luck when it comes to gambling and life in general. For instance, the number 13 has always carried with it the stigma that it is an unlucky number. One explanation for this fear of the number 13 is that Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th apostle. Another reason why 13 is considered an unlucky number is because of a Norse legend where 12 gods sat down to dinner and Loki, the 13th god to arrive and who was uninvited, killed one of the 12 gods and ushered in the destruction of Asgard, which is Ragnarok.
For lucky numbers, there are a few that people mention. One is the number 8. In Chinese culture, the number 8 is considered lucky because it sounds like the word for fortune or prosperity. It is also said that the shape of this number is endless or looping, which means your fortune will continue endlessly, looping for all eternity.
One number that seems to shift from good to bad and back is the number 7. If you notice most slot machines have this number on them and is often the highest paying symbol, with three of these on the reels triggering the jackpot at times. The number 7 is said to be lucky because it is considered the Lord’s number. It is not considered lucky all the time though since mentioning this number at the craps table will give you evil looks all around. Even when the dealer hands a player the dice for this table, they take care not to have the number 7 facing up when doing so since this will earn him the ire of the player who is about to toss.
Other Gambling Superstitions Around the World
Aside from these general beliefs, there are other places around the world that have their own beliefs that they try to stick to when they wager. Here are some of them:
India – when you want luck to follow you all week, whether in general or when you go out to a casino to try your luck, it is considered unlucky to trim your nails on a Tuesday or a Saturday. It is also considered bad luck for a person to wash their hair on Thursdays and to groom themselves on a Tuesday.
Thailand – in this country, wearing talismans and good luck charms to remove any chances of losing is commonplace. One particular necklace that some gamblers swear by is the Palad Khik, which is said to bring not only good luck to the wearer when it comes to gambling but is also a tool that helps increase a person’s sexual prowess and libido.
Serbia- before anyone ventures out to try their luck, some Serbians get a spraying of water behind them from people who care about them. This is because of the belief that the water will help smooth the person’s path and the calming effect of the water will have a positive effect on the activity the person is to engage in.
Europe – while not necessarily considered a gambling practice, breaking plates in this continent is considered fortuitous since it means evil is leaving and good luck is entering. This is a popular custom in Greece and is often used at weddings and other similar occasions. In Russia, the accidental breaking of a glass or plate is also considered lucky.
Should You Put Some Stock in These Beliefs?
With all the superstitious beliefs that people live by when it comes to gambling, and for life in general, the question to ask is, should you believe in any of these? The question as to whether or not these superstitious beliefs do bring good luck or usher in bad luck, is actually dependent on the person believing in them. If you did something and you were lucky, you attribute it to the belief that you enacted. If you did not win or was hit by a stroke of bad luck, then you can attribute it to not doing the ritual right or not believing in it wholeheartedly.
At the end of the day, these superstitious beliefs that people lean on when they gamble serves merely as inspiration for winning or increases the positive vibes that a person feels when they play. This, in turn, will make them more open to winning since they have a strong feeling of luck because of it. Also, what’s the harm in carrying with you a rabbit’s foot or wearing a red bra for luck when you gamble, right?SAC