Gambling Superstitions Unveiled

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a very superstitious person, you’d probably think twice about walking under a ladder, and you may be extra cautious on Friday 13th. Most of us will also say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes, even though it’s an ancient ritual that’s said to prevent the devil from stealing the sneezer’s soul! 

Superstitions like these appear across the world and come in many different forms, but the one thing that unites them is the desire to influence unpredictable events. This explains why gambling superstitions are so common, as they give players a sense of control over the outcomes of their bets and the hope that divine favor will be on their side!

Blowing on the dice

Blowing on the dice is such a popular superstition in gambling that you’ve probably even done it at home during a board game session with the family. It involves a player shaking the dice in their hand and then gently blowing on them before each roll. It’s often seen during games such as craps, in which winners are decided based on how the dice land. Players might see this as a way of charging the dice or imbuing them with positive energy before an important throw. 

Many people think that this superstition started on the streets, as historically people often played dice games out in the open. By blowing on the dice, players cleaned them and readied them for a fair role. It has also been speculated that some players cheated by coating one face of their dice with a sticky substance that made it easier to predict the throw. The substance only worked after coming into contact with moisture, so the player had to blow on the dice beforehand. 

However, this particular gambling superstition began, you’ll still see players at casinos around the world giving their dice a little blow for good luck. 

Wearing red to the casino

Another widely practiced gaming ritual, and one that started in Asia, is wearing red to bring luck at the casino. In countries such as China, red is considered a bringer of good fortune and financial prosperity. In fact, during the Chinese New Year celebrations in February, red envelopes that have money inside them are given out to children and members of the family. It’s not just about being generous – these gifts are also offered as a way of wishing the recipients a prosperous and happy New Year. With so many links to joy, money and good fortune, it makes sense that this vibrant color is linked closely to gambling. 

People who like to follow this superstition will choose at least one item of red clothing to wear to the casino. This could be shoes, trousers, a scarf, or even an entire outfit based on the color. In many Chinese casinos, entire rooms are painted red in a nod to this belief, while others include many red elements, such as traditional lanterns, tableware or lighting. 

Looking or not looking after placing a bet

This superstition is practiced differently by different players, with some believing that it’s bad luck to look away when they’ve placed a bet and some preferring to do so!

Looking away after placing a bet, or even leaving the table for a few seconds, is a superstition that is most associated with roulette, and may have started in France. Players often feel a combination of excitement and a little anxiety when they are gambling, especially if the stakes are high. Maybe that’s why some people can’t bring themselves to stare at the wheel! 

In the US, an old casino tale tells of a time when a gambler turned his attention to a waitress during a game to request a drink. In doing so, he left the substantial winnings that he had accumulated in the betting circle, and when he turned back to the table, he’d been dealt in for the entire amount! In the story, he’d been lucky enough to get a natural blackjack and wasn’t out of pocket. However, for many players, the thought of losing their hard-earned winnings because of a momentary loss of concentration means that they prefer to keep watch over the proceedings at all times! They feel that looking elsewhere, even for a few seconds, will have a negative impact on the game.

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Avoiding the front door of a casino

Gamblers in the US might avoid the front doors of a casino, as they feel that entering a house in this way could bring them bad luck on the tables. This is why most casinos have at least one side door for people who prefer to enter without using the main entrance. However, it’s not one of the widely practiced gambling superstitions, and the vast majority of players would not even think about looking around for a less conspicuous door when they arrive to play. 

For those who do follow the ritual, their belief seems to be based on the fact that players who are in the process of leaving the casino through the front entrance are likely to be going because they’ve had a streak of bad luck. Superstitious people worry that some of this bad luck will rub off onto them as they pass on their way inside the casino.

Giving the baby ghost some sugar

Feeding the baby ghost is a superstition from China, a country with a rich tradition of folklore. It involves gamblers taking a moment to feed sugar to the baby ghost who sits behind the chairs of every gambling table. This ritual mainly relates to blackjack and is carried out before the start of each game. It’s believed that if the little ghost is happy and full, it will bless the players with enough good luck to score a few wins.

Some players have a slightly different view. They believe that the ghost is hiding behind the table to keep out of the player’s sight. As it lives in the casino environment, it can influence whether players will win and can even prevent them from losing too heavily. For the little resident ghost to look favorably on an individual, it needs to be placated with some sugar. 

If you plan to get the baby ghost on your side next time you’re at a casino, just be sure to keep any sugar away from the card table – an angry dealer is never a lucky omen!

Pregnant women bring luck to the casino

In many cultures and religions, touching a sacred or lucky object is thought to bring you good fortune or protection. The idea of touching or knocking on wood is probably one of the most common superstitions when it comes to protecting ourselves from harm. 

In the Philippines, this extends to the bellies of pregnant women. Here, it’s thought that a gentle rub can bring luck to both the expectant mother and the person who touches her tum. Therefore, if a pregnant woman enters the casino, it can encourage other players to be more adventurous with their bets. This is because they believe that she will drive out bad energy and bring good fortune to people at the tables. 

Don’t cross your legs – but crossing your fingers is fine!

Wish-makers have been crossing their fingers to attract positive outcomes for centuries. It’s believed that this superstition dates back to early Christians, who evoked the protection of the cross by replicating it. Many of us still use the sign as a way of hoping for the best possible outcome, especially in situations where we will benefit from a little luck, such as gambling. 

However, according to some gambling superstitions, getting comfortable by crossing your legs can have the opposite effect. This is because players who sit in this position are crossing out their luck and as a result will struggle to have any wins. Worse still, you might find yourself upsetting other players, as some people believe that anyone sitting cross-legged can cancel out a winning streak for the entire table.

Bet on the lucky 7 or triple 7s

If you’ve ever wondered why many slot machines feature 777 as a symbol, it’s because this number is thought to be one of the luckiest in many cultures. Depending on your point of view, this could be because Christians believe that God rested on the seventh day, or because in math, seven is both a prime and an odd number. 

Of course, we also have seven days of the week, seven colors in a rainbow, and seven seas. In China, the number seven represents harmony, a coming together of all five elements – fire, earth, metal, water and wood – with the more spiritual forces of yin and yang. As all these associations are positive, the number seven has become one to watch at the casino for people the world over. 

In the 1950s, the classic Mills slot machines began to use the 777 combination as a special award jackpot, and in the US especially this number has been associated with big wins ever since. Aside from counting on the power of lucky seven in slot games, many players also choose this number when placing a bet at the roulette table.

Bring along a lucky charm to attract good fortune

The luck of the Irish may be something that all gamblers aspire to, but the people who live in the Emerald Isle also use charms such as the shamrock to attract good fortune. The idea of a lucky shamrock dates back to the country’s patron saint, Saint Patrick. He is said to have used the three leaves of the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity. However, in more ancient Irish folklore, the three leaves are said to stand for hope, love and luck. 

Aside from the three-leafed shamrock, lucky clovers with four leaves are a traditional charm in Ireland. This is probably because in a field of clover, finding one with four leaves is very difficult. Therefore, people feel lucky when they do manage to spot one of these delicate little plants with an extra leaf. 

Traditionally, Irish people, and many others, apply the same logic to casino gaming and will bring along a lucky clover or shamrock charm when they gamble to attract more wins. European gamblers might also opt for other objects that are associated with good fortune. These include horseshoe-shaped charms, which are said to fill with luck when facing upwards, and even rabbit’s feet, which have been considered tokens of luck for hundreds of years.  

Avoid the number 13, or maybe don’t!

In Western culture, the number 13 has been considered unlucky for centuries. Although there are many possible reasons for this, most people believe that it dates back to the description of the Last Supper in the Bible. The 13th guest to sit down for this meal was Judas, the betrayer of Jesus. Even today, many hotels have no 13th floor, and even airlines move straight from 12 to 14 when numbering the rows in their aircraft. 

In most of Europe and America, unlucky 13 has become one of the most common gambling superstitions, and it’s one of the least-played numbers in games such as roulette. Italy is a notable exception to this, as for them the number 17 is to be avoided, while 13 gives cause for celebration. Italian casino players are so fond of the number that jackpots are often referred to as ‘fare il tredici’, which translates as ‘making the 13’. It’s also a different story in many Asian cultures because in Mandarin, the number 13 can be translated as ‘reliable growth’ and therefore isn’t avoided at the casino. 

Author: Tanya Fields

Campaign Acquisition Manager Length with RC: 1 year, 9 months Favorite Casino Game: Starburst Background in iGaming: Opened the iGaming Department at Hard Rock Atlantic City in 2018 in both Customer Service, and then CRM, prior to moving over to RC in January 2021 Location: Based in NJ at the RC HQ Content: Occasionally, but only as it pertains to RC