Do you want to get a little more familiar with Lady Luck? Check out our list of some superstitions that can bring you both good luck and bad at the casino.
There are dozens of odd superstitions and good luck rituals that players swear by. Here’s a rundown of some of the most widely known casino superstitions and their inspirations to help you get in the know, avoid casino faux pas, and maybe turn your luck around.
Bad Luck Casino Superstitions
These are some of the bad omens and faux pas you may see, hear, and believe in when at the casino or playing your favorite online casino games.
1. Unlucky #13
This is one of the most well-known symbols of bad luck in Western culture. Many people often associate it with Friday the 13th, a day of serious misfortune and even death made even more prevalent by the slasher movies of the same name. But the idea that the number 13 is somehow bad can be connected to many different mythologies:
The ancient Code of Hammurabi apparently omitted the 13th law from its rules, and even though historians have since realized this was just the result of a clerical error in the first reading of this document, this link still exists.
In the Bible, the Last Supper is depicted to have 13 guests, with the 13th arrival being Judas Iscariot, who eventually betrayed Jesus.
In Norse mythology, 12 gods held a dinner party in which Loki, notorious god of mischief, showed up as the 13th guest, offsetting the balance and causing a ruckus.
Because of the fear around the number 13, you’ll find that many people at casinos never bet on this number and avoid it if they can. This fear extends to high-rise buildings, such as hotels attached to casinos, which may omit the number 13 from their numbered floors. Even some planes may omit the number when counting rows.
2. Unlucky #4
The number 4 is seen as unlucky in many Eastern cultures, including across Asia. That’s because the word for “four” in the Chinese language (and other languages in the region influenced by Chinese) sounds a lot like the word for “death.” So if you believe superstitions can cross cultural lines, you might want to stay away from the number 4.
3. Crossing Your Legs
It’s hard to pin down where this superstition really comes from, but many players staunchly believe that crossing your legs while seated at a gaming table or slot machine blocks the potentially good luck that could be coming your way. Others believe it has to do more with psychology — keeping your legs uncrossed and on the floor can promote more stability in your seat and better posture, both of which can translate to more focus and confidence.
4. Counting Your Money or Chips at the Table
Depending on who you ask, this superstition could come from a few different sources. Some believe it’s a bit of psychology where counting your money can lead to pride and overconfidence that shakes your focus and leads to losses. Others think it’s just bad manners and gambling etiquette, which can take away good luck. Fans of Kenny Rogers will know this superstition from the lyrics of his song, “The Gambler.”
And while this superstition is big in the blackjack scene, it’s safe to say that it can impact your game at nearly any table.
5. Itchy Hands
Some European cultures believe that itchy hands are a sign of bad luck, and the ancient superstition of an itchy left palm being a sign that you’re about to lose money could be another source for this bad omen.
However, this superstition is a bit tricky because it can depend on which hand is itchy. Plus, some cultures don’t find itchy hands to be a bad omen at all, which you can learn about more in the Good Luck Casino Superstitions section below.
6. Using the Casino’s Front Door
This superstition comes from Asian cultures, including in China, where the idea is that, by coming in through the front entrance, the bad luck of people who lost and left may rub off on you and impact your game.
So if you’re not supposed to come in through the front door, where do you come in? The rear entrance, of course!
7. Lending Money to Another Player
While letting someone borrow some cash can be a great way to pay it forward outside of gambling, it’s considered an easy way to usher in bad luck at the casino. It may come from the fact that there’s a 50/50 chance (or worse) that you won’t get your money back. Plus, it’s seen as just giving money away, which may be the trend of your next few rounds at the baccarat table if you tempt fate by lending money out.
8. Playing With $50 Bills
One reason playing with or receiving $50 bills is considered a superstition is because a large portion of counterfeit currency in the U.S. is made up of $50s. Another more popular reason for this superstition comes from the mafia and that, when they put out a hit on someone, that person would end up buried in the Nevada desert with a $50 bill in their pocket. Whether you believe it or not, maybe consider bringing $10s and $20s instead.
9. Whistling While You Play
This odd superstition seems to have come from old British sailor culture where whistling was thought to bring heavy winds and the bad luck that comes with being on a ship in a windy storm. Nowadays, it’s considered both bad luck in general and pretty annoying.
10. Playing Near Someone Reading a Book
This superstition, which comes from Chinese culture, discourages players from gambling in the vicinity of someone reading a book. And like other superstitions that derive from Chinese culture, it all has to do with how similar the words for “lose” and “book” sound. Though it’s not likely that you’ll find someone in the casino reading a book, you might want to ask your roommate or partner to read their book in the other room when you play at an online New Jersey casino.
Good Luck Casino Superstitions
Channel some good luck with these positive casino superstitions.
11. Itchy Right Palm
What may seem unlucky to one person may be a good luck omen to another. Even though some cultures believe any sign of itchiness on your hands, especially your left palm, is bad luck, many Western cultures actually believe that an itchy right palm is a sign that you’re about to come into money.
12. Blowing on the Dice
You’ve likely seen craps players in-person and in the movies blowing on the dice before rolling them down the table. But this positive superstition actually comes from the musical “Guys and Dolls” and was popularized by the 1955 movie version, which brought the idea to the wider gambling public through the lyrics of “Luck Be a Lady.”
13. Wearing Red at the Casino
In some Asian cultures, the color red is synonymous with prosperity and wealth, making it a great color to wear to the casino. In fact, many gamblers in those cultures (and others throughout the world) wear red to channel good luck. Next time you’re playing in-person or online, try wearing a red shirt, red socks, red undergarments, or a full red ensemble.
14. Bringing a Lucky Charm
Many cultures assign luck to unique or mundane items, and eager gamblers often take these items as good luck charms when they play. While you can have well-known charms like a rabbit’s foot or four-leaf clover, you might also have a lucky charm of your own, like a piece of jewelry or a lucky shirt or hat that’s brought you luck in the past.
15. Sitting or Standing While Playing
This superstition is two-fold, with influences in psychology and the lucky charm mythology known as the “gambler’s fallacy.” Sitting up straight or standing tall may help you feel more stable and confident, which might positively impact how you play strategic games, like poker.
However, you may be sitting or standing a particular way when you make a big win, which may lead you to believe that you have to sit or stand that way in order to win. While the math doesn’t support this theory as truth, having a specific way to sit or stand can bring you luck in the form of excitement to keep winning.
16. Having a Personal Good Luck Ritual
Much like sitting or standing a certain way, many players also have a ritual or action they do to promote good luck and ensure a win (as much as luck will allow). Here are some common actions and rituals you may want to try:
Crossing your fingers at the beginning of a play.
Blowing on the dice in craps.
Stacking your chips a certain way.
Chanting a mantra.
Wearing lucky clothing items.
Calling out for a specific number or card.
Knocking on wood.
Kissing a companion before a play.
Standing instead of sitting at a slot machine.
Swearing at the Roulette ball until it stops.
17. Betting on a Lucky Number or Color
Since red has that reputation for bringing wealth, many players bet red when playing Roulette. Other players may also have lucky numbers (like their birthday, anniversary, etc.) they like to bet on. Here are some lucky numbers you might consider playing:
Seven (7) is considered a lucky number in many cultures, including Western and Asian cultures, and can even be found in old-school-themed slot machines.
Eight (8) is considered very lucky in Chinese culture because the word “eight” sounds like a positive phrase that translates to “to generate wealth.”
Three (3), six (6), and nine (9) are considered lucky in Chinese culture when combined with the number 8.
18. Having an Unlucky Love Life
You may have heard the phrase “Unlucky in love, lucky in cards.” This superstition may come from the idea that to be a good gambler, you have to give up personal relationships or you don’t have emotional intelligence to sustain strong relationships. While this is a sad superstition (that hasn’t ever been proven), some people believe that when their love life isn’t going too great, they can turn to the casino and win big.
Now that you know the good and bad omens of casino culture, put this knowledge to work and play your favorite online casino games with renewed luck.