Are you superstitious? If you answered no, you’re not alone – most people will immediately deny the label. Then again, how often do you find yourself crossing your fingers or knocking on wood to avoid bad luck? Although you may not take superstitions very seriously, they have remained ingrained the mind for centuries as an indispensable part of every culture.

According to the Study of Public Opinion Research Center in 2011, 54% of adults believe in at least one common superstition. Gambling, in particular, has an extraordinary number of superstitious beliefs. Why?  An activity completely dependent on luck naturally leads people to create superstitions which could control the outcome in their favor.

Some people go beyond good luck charms and casino superstitions. Learn some of the most surprising cheats at the casino.



Science explains the formation of superstitions as a way to better understand the world when dealing with unexplained phenomena. In short, whether we believe in superstitions depends on our brains’ analysis of experiences that we can’t control. We believe in superstitions if we perform a certain action that results in a desired outcome. Then it reinforces the superstition. In some cases, this way of thinking demonstrates how much superstitions cloud our judgment. Superstitions give us a sense of control when it doesn’t exist and gives meaning to things that may really just be coincidence.


Players analyze wins and losses hoping to find something that brought them good luck at the casino  or broke a winning streak. Gamblers often commit the logical fallacy known as the “Gamblers Paradox”, thinking a series of the same results will correspond with a series of the opposite outcome. For example, if a roulette wheel lands on black for a number of times in a row, it will then land on red.

The Gamblers Paradox represents a complete misunderstanding of the theory of probability. Casino games of chance like slots, roulette, and dice games exhibit random behavior. Each spin of the roulette wheel has the same random odds of landing on black or red each time, regardless of the previous turn.

In 1946, a mathematician named Stanislaw Ulam became the first to solve the probability of outcomes generated by random numbers. Known as the “Monte Carlo Method”, the method refers to the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco where Ulam’s uncle gambled. Ulam developed the theory using the random results in casino games. Unfortunately for gamblers, The Monte Carlo Method proves that even when a roulette wheel lands on black 26 times, the next turn could just as likely land on black again with no rhyme or reason!


What’s bad luck at the casino? Many popular gambling rituals relate to all kinds of situations at the casino and behaviors that seal the gambler’s fate. Below are some gambling superstitions that bring bad luck:

  • Lending money to another player
  • Playing on a polished table
  • Turning in the chair while playing
  • Counting money while playing
  • Whistling during a game
  • Crossing legs or crossing fingers while playing
  • Unlucky number 13
  • 50 dollar banknote: American players will not accept 50 dollar bills as payment because it’s considered unlucky. According to urban legend, the superstition comes from mob members sticking a 50 dollar into the pockets of their dead victims.

LUCK BE A LADY – How to be Lucky in Gambling

It’s not enough to protect yourself from bad luck. Gamblers want the big win and have all sorts of superstitions about how to get lucky in the casino, including:

  • Cursing at the ball during a game of roulette – It sounds strange, but many players believe cursing at a roulette ball wills it to fall into the wagered number.
  • Leaving the table – A lot of players believe that looking away or leaving the table during a game will help win at slot machines. Others also hide the screen. Others believe the opposite and do not look away for a moment fearing that their absence would interfere.
  • Lucky gambling charms – From Four Leaf Clovers to a rabbit’s foot, all kinds of lucky charms are said to bring good fortune.
  • Lucky attire – Some claim wearing the same clothes that they had on during a previous big win will bring more good luck.
  • A partner that brings good luck – Some like to bring along a lucky companion to help win at the casino. Especially in the Bond films, when the secret agent brings along beautiful women to cheer him on or blow on his dice. If you don’t have a partner, you can blow on the dice yourself!

The following scene comes from “Casino Royale” in which Vesper tries to help Bond when playing poker, and achieves exactly the opposite effect… but I love it!

Make like James Bond with his favorite casino game in the Ultimate Guide to Baccarat.

Different cultures have all kinds of lucky numbers. Some parts of the world consider 3 a lucky number, while for others, 7 seems particularly lucky. Lucky numbers vary around the world with roots in everything from astrology and the Bible to Celtic beliefs and even Christian theology.


Gambling has always been a common activity in Asian cultures, and Asian casino games such as Keno and Pai Gow have become increasingly popular around the world. Even the title of the World’s Capital of Gambling belongs more to the Chinese city of Macau than the iconic Las Vegas. Chinese culture has all kinds of gambling superstitions, and some have already spread to other parts of the world.

  • Wearing red – Red represents the luckiest color in Chinese culture and attracts big wins and good fortune at the casino. Men and women alike might even wear red underwear to bring luck.
  • Turning on all the lights in the house before going to the casino brings good luck.
  • Entering the main entrance of a casino brings bad luck – always, and especially when it looks like the jaws of the beast. I don’t know what the owners of the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas were thinking when in 1993 they opened an impressive building shaped like the mouth of a lion. The desire to acquire more Asian gamblers led them to rebuild the casino in 1997.

    mgm grand lion

    The entrance to the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas has been rebuilt due to the reluctance of Asian players who consider walking into a lion's mouth bad luck.

  • Touching the arm of a player during the game also brings bad luck, and may harm rather than help.
  • For men – In contrast to Western casino superstitions, the Chinese do not recommend picking a partner to join them at the casino or seek female company at all. To avoid bad luck, you should abstain from sex before going to the casino. We all know luck in love isn’t in the cards for these gamblers.
  • For the ladies – According to Chinese superstition, luck in gambling comes more often for women during menstruation. During the difficult days, it’s so much easier to win.
  • Hand washing – Washing hands, the player can reverse their fate. It is much better not to wash your hands for as long as a winning streak lasts.
  • Numbers – The meaning of numbers has a lot to do with the sound of the word, depending on the dialect. Lucky numbers usually include 6, 7, 8, and 9, 2, and 3. Meanwhile, the number 4 brings bad luck because it phonetically resembles the word for death in Chinese. Often, the Chinese avoid this number not only at the casino, but on telephone numbers, buses, and building floors.

Find out more about popular casino games from Asia.


People have been playing dice games for a long time, and therefore, many gambling routines and customs relate to luck in playing dice such as the following:

  • If the dice falls off the table, the player should use it again, and not reach for a new one.
  • Dice should not hit the player’s hand – so you better not keep your hands on the edge of the table.
  • A woman who has never played has a greater chance at getting lucky the first time.
  • On the other hand, men playing for the first time, unfortunately, do not have beginner’s luck according to superstition.

dice superstition

Superstitions at the casino are the same as in all other areas of life. Using good luck charms or rituals can at least help you improve your confidence and do better at the game. It’s good to allow other players their good luck superstitions rather than spoil the fun. However, you should always treat them worth a grain of salt. Luck comes in its own way – what really matters is a having fun, regardless of whether you win or lose.