Most people will typically be influenced by superstitions in their everyday lives, whether it be the belief that completing a certain action will either bring them good luck or avoid them suffering from bad.
Among the more common are the bad luck forthcoming should you open an umbrella indoors or walk under a ladder, while touching wood is considered a way of preventing something that has previously been good from turning sour.
Superstitions are also something adhered to by many casino visitors. This could be an action they complete upon entry, before sitting down to gamble their chips or something that is ongoing during play.
Again, these could be to boost the chances of good luck occurring or to reduce the chances of bad. Below are some examples from the casino world:
Johnny Chan is poker royalty, being the first man to win 10 World Series of Poker bracelets and twice winning the main event itself in 1987 and 1988.
Anyone familiar with Chan’s play will know that wherever he is seated, there will be an orange nearby.
The reason being that when casinos were more typically smoke-filled environments and cigarettes were commonplace at the tables, Chan brought an orange to smell to keep a clear head and sharpen his thoughts.
Wearing the same clothes
This slightly ties in with lucky charms as if a player is achieving a positive streak of results; the temptation is to believe that this good fortune is due to something they are wearing.
Pius Heinz won the 2011 World Series of Poker main event famously wearing a cream hoodie with crimson piping and a Boss logo. He returned wearing the same hoodie the following year, despite being £5.5 million richer.
Meanwhile, 2005 runner-up Steve Dannenmann has numerous superstitions. Alongside using a lucky globe as his card protector, he wore the same shirt and the same baseball cap for all seven days of the tournament, believing his outfit was a critical reason for his ever-increasing chip stack.
There are numerous theories as to why the number 13 is widely considered across different cultures to be unlucky.
Monks are said to have been caused severe problems in arranging calendars in the rare years with 13 full moons, instead of the more typical 12, because of the extra month this created in organising religious events.
Jesus Christ’s Last Supper had 13 people sat around the table, with the last to take their seat being his eventual betrayer Judas Iscariot, Meanwhile, ancient Norse lore refers to the treacherous god Loki, who was first responsible for bringing evil and turmoil to the world and who also happened to be the 13th attendee to a dinner party of the gods.
In China, the unlucky number switches from 13 to four, on account of it sounding a lot like the Chinese word for death.
Don’t expect these two numbers to be popular picks on a roulette wheel.
Other Chinese attitudes
Red is regarded as a particularly positive colour for Chinese players because it is said to symbolise joy and good fortune. Most common is the apparent need to arrive in any form of red underwear.
Meanwhile, the Bellagio is just one Las Vegas casino that has plenty of red on its gaming floor, primarily to satisfy the superstitions of Chinese visitors.
The MGM Grand went one step further by changing its entrance, as the previous one resembled the mouth of a lion. This was something that Chinese players were highly reluctant to walk through.
Witness some success on a particular slot and a player is bound to develop a superstition that this will be their go-to slot on the next occasion they visit the same casino.
Other players always stand when they spin the reels, believing that a slot has some type of in-built knowledge that ensures they suffer a losing streak when sitting comfortably and playing.
More outlandish is the thought that using either hot or cold coins will have a bearing on tricking a slot into paying out.
Rumour has it that Las Vegas mobsters would tuck $50 bills into the pockets of their victims before burying them in the desert. Many US gamblers now refuse to deal in $50 notes in a casino, particularly when collecting their winnings.
Some players will follow certain rituals when stacking their chips, both in terms of which colours and values are stacked above others and how high each stack is.
When enjoying winning streaks, there will be reluctance from superstitious players to get up from a table to get a drink or use the bathroom, fearing that this will alter their fortunes.
At the most basic level, craps players may blow the dice before releasing them for good luck, while roulette players may swear against the ball, cross their fingers or verbally shout out the number they want once the ball is in motion.