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Lucky Rituals

25 September 2009

Performing rituals to ensure a favorable outcome dates back to early man. Human sacrifices, tribal dancing, and other assorted ceremonies were performed to attract the favor of the Gods. Somewhere along the way individuals started to carry or wear a talisman, lucky charm, or amulet to attract good luck fortune or to keep safe.

Although most of these ancient rituals and practices have disappeared, there are still many intelligent and enlightened people who carry on some of the old practices, especially many players who visit the casino. Most players know that hitting the big jackpot is a matter of luck and some of them resort to some interesting and sometimes bizarre rituals of their own to ensure good luck while they play.

I love to watch people in the casino and over the years I have observed players performing some entertaining, bizarre and different rituals as they play the slots or table games. I know that I have not seen it all so I asked some of the readers of a few internet forums I post on to share some of the rituals that they have observed or practiced in the casino. The response I received was amazing and I found that there are many more players than I originally imagined who try to influence lady luck when they play. If you have ever openly or secretly performed a lucky ritual, rest assured, you are not alone. Although some rituals are unique, there are several general categories that these rituals fall into.

Before Gambling

Some players will try to attract good fortune before they leave for the casino. A number of players told me that they have lucky clothing or jewelry that they will always wear to the casino.

Debbie told me about the lucky meal she prepares. "Several times when we went on gambling trips, we had a ranch-style casserole on the night before and we won pretty big on the trip. So now my husband insists that on the night before every trip we have to have this dish. "

Many players will check their horoscopes or biorhythms before they start their trip. I don't know about you but I have never see a horoscopen that read, "Today is your unlucky day. Stay away from the casino!"

Lucky Charms

Carrying a lucky charm is the most popular ritual that players will do to try to bring about good fortune. Some of them will display them out in the open while others will keep the secretly hidden away. Many poker players like to use their lucky charms as card protectors. They think this will disguise the real purpose they have them at the table.

Wishniks and Trolls seem to be the lucky charm of choice among the Bingo crowd. Walk through any Bingo hall and you will see more different hair colors than you will in a box of Crayola crayons. Some of these are even on the dolls.

Teddy Bears and other stuffed animals can sometimes be seen on the casino floor. A couple was seen playing the slots with a bear dressed in a Chicago Cubs uniform. Since the Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908 I wonder why they thought this bear would be lucky.

One of the strangest sights was a man at a Las Vegas casino who played slots with a large Teddy bear, about the size of a four-year old child, on his knee facing the machine. He talked to the bear in a very animated way between spins and even used its paw to hit the spin button. I don't know who was the luckier of the two.

Apparently some players believe in the power of prayer as they play. Numerous times I have seen players with Rosary Beads and crosses in one hand as they pushed the spin button with the other. Some even pray out loud. There was a guy at a Midwest riverboat who prayed between holding cards and hitting the deal button on every hand he played. It was not just a quick bow of the head but an earnest plea with an Evangelical tone complete with promises to quit if the prayer was answered. He kept playing so it might not have been working for him.

Manipulating the Machine

Most players know that there is no way to influence the outcome of a spin on a slot machine but many of them will try different approaches as if the machine had feelings or was conscious of outside influences.

Some players like to get personal with the machines. They will kiss, fondle or talk intimately to the machine in hopes of persuading it to give up its charms. One player told me that she will always say hello to the machine before she starts playing. My friend sat next to a woman who was begging the machine saying, "Please, please, let me win, come on give me the money" as she was rubbing her hands all over it.

A player told me that if she is playing video poker and has won a hand she will push the re-deal button. If she loses a hand she will hit the singe bet button five times. She is not alone in trying to manipulate the machine by changing her routine while playing.

Another player said, "I also like to tap the right side of my VP machines before hitting the deal button. I seem to think I'm hypnotizing them, and I then tell the machine what cards to deal. Sometimes it works!"

Players will rub or draw patterns across the glass. I have seen many players sweeping a big X from one corner of the screen to the other. One player I watched would tap the screen five times before hitting the spin button.

The most common practice that I have seen is the player who removes and reinserts their slot cards as they play. I once asked a player why he was doing this and he told me it was because the machine would think there was a new player sitting down. Another player I saw was constantly cashing out and putting fresh bills into the machine and cited the same reason for doing this. They actually believe that the machines knows.

Lucky Bathrooms

Many good luck charms are made of porcelain. Maria told me that her father always carries a small porcelain frog from Puerto Rico when he plays. Maybe that would explain why some players find that bathrooms are lucky places. Jim wrote me with an interesting story:

I can't believe I'm going to give up a secret I have known for years. In 1983 I was using the men's room at Caesars Palace. A man in the second stall down said to me, do you realize you're using lucky Urinal Number 3. Well GUESS WHAT, I went back to my slot machine and won $7,500 bucks, went to another machine 500 bucks and then another 500 bucks. So now anytime I'm down on my luck I go to trusty Urinal Number 3, and things really do get better.

Amy told me about her ritual at one of the boats in Shreveport. "There was a Triple, Double Diamond machine that was located on the end right by the ladies room. When we hit the casino floor, I always went to the restroom then straight to that machine and before my first $100 was gone I had hit something really good. If I went straight to the machine without making a trip to the ladies room first, I NEVER won. If someone was playing it when I came in, I by passed it and the ladies room and went on somewhere else. If no one was playing it I had my husband guard the machine while I went the ladies room.

My friend Jim will always make a stop at the restroom to wash his hands immediately upon entering the casino but he refuses to use the sink closest to the door. If his luck starts running bad he will leave the game and go wash them again. It may not always help his luck but he has cut down the number of times he has caught a cold or become ill.

Unlucky People

Are some people bad luck? Several players told me that they stop playing when the casino cleanup folks are around them, dusting, cleaning trash and ashtrays, and vacuuming. One player swears that his slot machine always cools down or I earn less in my bonus rounds when these folks "linger" around me.

I was also surprised by the number of people who told me that the presence of their friend or spouse could change their luck. Most reported that the other person had a negative effect when they watched them play.

My friend Lisa says her good luck always changes when her husband comes up to her. "I will stop playing act like I am looking for the waitress or looking in my purse for money. If that doesn't work I give him 'the look' and then he will tell where he is going and walk away."

Make Your Own Luck

There is no proof that charms, clothes, spouses or anything else can change your luck at the casino. However I do know that people who feel lucky and happy seem to have a much more enjoyable time in whatever activity they participate in. If carrying a lucky charm or performing a little ritual while you play makes you feel good, then go right ahead as long as it does not infringe on your fellow players.

Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.
Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets

> More Books By Bill Burton

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

> More Books By Bill Burton