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Bad Luck Casino Superstitions


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1. Thirteen and Four Numbers

In Western cultures the number 13 is notoriously associated with bad luck but other cultures have their own unluckily picks. In China for example, 4 is the unluckiest number because when pronounced in Chinese it sounds like the word 'death'. Any mention of 'books' around the casino table will also be highly unwelcomed for a similar reason – it is pronounced a lot like 'lose'. But it’s not all negative though. Given the number 8 sounds like 'prosperity', it is a preferred number for many Chinese players with gambling superstitions.


2. Crossing Your Legs

You may cross your fingers for good luck, but never cross your legs when placing a bet because it is believed to ‘cross out’ your good luck. Strange as it may sound, many believe in this casino superstition and will not cross their legs at the tables.


3. Counting Your Money at the Table

Another popular gambling superstition says you should never count your money or chips when playing. As Kenny Rogers famously sang in 'The Gambler': "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 actually sets grounds for reasonable behaviour.

Counting your money before the game is over, or even immediately afterwards, is considered to be in extremely bad taste. Not only is it insensitive to fellow gamblers that may be down on their luck, but it’s also part of a wider belief that pride comes before a fall. So it is best to wait until you are well outside of the casino, ideally all the way back home (or in your hotel room) before totting up your night's earnings. You are also more likely to hold on to your winnings that way!


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4. Using the Casino Front Entrance

This casino superstition sounds a bit more irrational than others, but it has its avid followers nonetheless. Some gamblers believe that it is unlucky to enter the casino through the front entrance because they will come into contact with those who are leaving (likely because of a losing streak) and their bad luck will rub off on others.

Related to this gambling superstition was the problem that many gamblers had with the previous entrance to the MGM Grand casino which was shaped as a big, roaring lion’s mouth. ‘Walking into the lion’s mouth’ symbolized ‘being eaten alive’ and was considered to bring bad luck especially amongst Chinese gamblers. It was replaced in 1998, and no gambler has been reported to be ‘eaten alive’ (at least not by a lion) at the MGM Grand ever since.


5. Itchy Hands

Have you ever felt your palms are itchy? Depending on where you are from, there are gambling superstitions that say you are about to win money, whilst others predict you are about lose. The belief that itchy hands bring good luck has its roots in ancient African and Native American folklore. However in Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, having itchy hands means downright bad luck.


6. Using $50 Bills

We had all seen the American mafia movies about the days Las Vegas was ruled by the mob, and legend has it that gangsters would stick in the jacket of their victims a $50 note before burying them in the Nevada desert. Since then one of the common casino superstitions, especially amongst American gamblers in Las Vegas, is that $50 bills are considered extremely unlucky. This superstition has many players refusing to accept $50 notes as payment at the casino cage.



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