Why Are Gamblers Superstitious

Why do people who gamble become superstitious, and what's the psychology behind superstitious beliefs within gambling circles?

why are gamblers superstitious
Why Are Gamblers Superstitious

There are many reasons why gamblers become superstitious. Most of the time their behavior has nothing to do with luck. Historically, gambling in casinos has been closely tied to superstition. Many gamblers are so devoted to their rituals that they will not play if they are unable to follow them for whatever reason.

In this article, we've summed up the reasons why gamblers are superstitious.

Source of Gambling Superstitions 

New research has shown that gamblers are significantly more superstitious than the average population.

According to a survey conducted in the U.K., over 80% of U.K. bingo players are superstitious. Some attributed their luck to seats, friends, and even the night of the week. Commonly reported superstitions include avoiding walking under a ladder, touching wood for luck, and throwing salt over one's shoulder

Mark Griffiths explains that superstitions exist even in a technologically advanced world. Meanwhile, a different study from London's National Problem Gambling Clinic used a combination of surveys to analyze gambling habits. The study includes 30 gamblers and compares them to a control group of 30 people without any gambling issues.

To check impulsivity, the researchers had participants answer financial questions. The test involves trade-offs between smaller amounts of money received immediately and larger amounts available in the future. The gamblers are more inclined to choose the immediate reward, although it is less money.

The study found that gamblers with higher impulsivity levels are more likely to make errors in reasoning during gambling. For instance, highly impulsive gamblers are more likely to have superstitious rituals. Rituals such as carrying a lucky coin or blowing on a die before rolling it. They are also more likely to blame their losses on bad luck irrationally.

According to Luke Clark of the University of Cambridge's Department of Experimental Psychiatry, "high impulsivity can predispose a range of more complex distortions - such as superstitions - that gamblers often experience."

Common Lucky Gambler Beliefs

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The gambling industry has its own set of superstitions (gambling superstitions) well known among all gamblers. These superstitions are often associated with certain colors, actions, and etiquette, attracting luck and keeping bad luck at bay.

Below are four of the many popular gambling superstitions globally.

Itchy Hands

You know that old saying, "When your palms itch, money is on the way?"

There are several beliefs about the meaning of itchy hands. Some cultures, like Serbia, see it as a good omen. Others believe it to bring bad luck or be a sign of stress.

It's also a common superstition that an itchy left palm means you're about to lose money. Meanwhile, if you're itching on the right one, this could mean that you're about to hit the jackpot.

Use If Lucky Charms

In the old days, gamblers would bring a long list of 'lucky charms' to the casino. These included rabbit feet, four-leafed clovers, and horseshoes. Of course, a lot of people realize that killing rabbits is unethical, thus decreasing popularity.

Aside from charms, there are also rituals such as making a wish and blowing on the dice before rolling. Others include stacking chips in certain ways and shouting out a number before rolling the dice.

In a casino, a lucky gambling charm can be anything. Even if it might not bring good luck, the proof is in the pudding if you happen to win big while wearing it. 

Avoiding Numbers And Colors

In western cultures, 13 is normally associated with bad luck and the paranormal. It is so ingrained in the belief that even most buildings avoid "designating" a floor 13 because of this connotation. 

Meanwhile, for Asian cultures, specifically China, number 4 has the equivalent case. This reason is due to the number 4 sounds similar to death in the Chinese language.

In the domain of colors, the famous superstition is that black is unlucky for roulette and card games. The belief may have sprung from the similar correlation of black with death. 

Crossing One's Legs

Another popular superstition among gamblers is not to cross your legs before a big bet. Crossing one's legs are thought to bring bad luck.

This superstition may have origins that date back to a time when people were more polite. It is said that if you cross your legs while gambling, you will cross out your luck.

Some theories about this superstition explain a logic when women are discouraged from gambling. See, if women are expected to sit when they gamble at a table, it is customary to cross their legs. Thus, if women were discouraged from gambling, it would make sense to concoct it as a bad omen.

gambling superstitions infographic
Gambling Superstitions: What Are They, And Why Do They Exist?

Can Gamblers Superstition Change a Player's Luck?

Gamblers who are superstitious have been shown to help some people feel more at ease. However, there is more than to gambling than just rituals and superstitions.

Behind all the seemingly incomprehensible facade, you can play gambling logically. And in here comes the concept of probability, skills, and critical thinking. We want to take the idea of gambling as a fifty-fifty mix of both luck and skill. As you keep playing, you'll get better at it, and your chances of winning will increase. 

For example, there's a misconception that Poker is all luck and chance. But Poker professionals exist who know how to play the odds and maximize their chances. Does luck play a part in this? Maybe. But within it underlies their comprehensive knowledge of the game to increase the chances of winning.

Another example is the lottery in which purchasing a ticket and not winning can hardly be just bad luck. You are just playing a high-risk game with a low probability of success. Why not try a different game with a higher probability of winning? Might you consider playing other games like red and black roulettes or pass line bets on craps? 

You see, there is this value called odds that you should also understand to make the most of your wagers. A smart gambler does not blindly rely on luck. Instead, the ones that win conceptually make or find their luck.

Gamblers and non-gamblers alike have many superstitious beliefs to try and win a game. As long as your beliefs are healthy, and keep you at ease, go with it. However, you should not discard the concept of skills and odds that could help you ace your games. Play your games ahead of more than just gambling superstitions.

This article was published on January 13, 2022, and last updated on January 12, 2022.