Lucky Rituals for Winning at the Casino

Gamblers' Traditions for Trying to Up The Winning Odds

Slot Machines At MGM
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Relying on lucky rituals in an attempt to up the odds of a favorable outcome dates back to early man. Tribal dancing and other assorted ceremonies have been performed to attract the favor of the Gods since ancient times. While most of these ritual superstitions have disappeared, there are still many intelligent and enlightened people who carry vestiges of the old ways when they visit a casino. Sure, most players know that hitting the big jackpot is a matter of chance. Even so, some of them resort to some interesting and sometimes bizarre rituals of their own to ensure good luck while they play. Here are just a few.

Pre-Gambling Rituals

Many players check their horoscopes before they head out for a trip to the casino but whether or not good fortune can really be foretold in the stars is anyone's guess. Biorhythms are also consulted prior to hitting the slots or the tables—but again, it's not the kind of science that's entirely scientific.

Some players try to attract good luck even before they head out the door, donning so-called "lucky" clothing or jewelry that they always wear while gambling. Almost anything can become a lucky gambling tradition—even a casserole. “Several times when we went on gambling trips, we had a ranch style casserole the night before and we won pretty big," one casino goer recalls. "So, now my husband insists that on the night before every trip we have to have this dish."

Wishes and Prayers

Perhaps the most common lucky ritual is tossing money into a fountain or other body of water (like a koi pond) in or near the casino. These “wishing wells” are actually more lucky for the casinos than the gamblers. The house nets thousands of dollars each year from players who believe releasing a little coin karma can bring them good luck as long as they make a wish while they're doing it.

Some players believe in the power of prayer. It's not uncommon to see players holding rosary beads, crosses, or crucifixes in one hand as they push the spin button with the other. Some even pray out loud. (If you're this type of holy high roller, it's recommended that you keep your religious entreaties to a reasonable decibel level so as not to disturb your fellow players.)

Lucky Talisman

Carrying a lucky charm is another popular ritual that players use in an effort to lure Lady Luck to their sides. Some players display their trinkets openly, while others keep them hidden. Poker players often use lucky charms as card protectors in the belief that this tactic disguises their true purpose at the table.

Wishniks and Trolls (the fuzzy-headed dolls that came to fame in the 1960s) seem to be the lucky charm of choice among the Bingo crowd. Walk through any Bingo hall and you'll see more different hair colors than you will find in a box of Crayola crayons—and some of these rainbow colors are even on the dolls.

Teddy Bears and other stuffed animals—and the people who own them—are also frequent visitors to the casino floor. One of the stranger sights in Las Vegas was the slot machine player who was regularly accompanied by a large Teddy bear—we're talking the size of a four-year-old child. The bear was seen perched on the man's knee facing the machine. He talked to his Teddy in a very animated way between spins and even used its paw to hit the spin button. It's hard to say who was the luckier of the two.

Manipulating the Machine

Most players know that there's no way to influence the outcome of a spin on a slot machine but many of them still try different approaches, as if the machine had feelings or was conscious of their attention. Some players actually get personal with the machines, kissing, fondling or sweet talking them in hopes of persuading the machine to grant them favors, regardless of the odds. In one casino, a player was overheard pleading with the slot to “Please, please, let me win! Come on, give me the money!" as she rubbed her hands all over it.

Players also attempt to up their odds by varying their routine as they play. One video poker player revealed her mix-it-up strategy as follows: She'd push the re-deal button if she won a hand but if she lost, she'd hit the single bet button five times.

Another player confessed, “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!”

The most common practice involves players removing and reinserting slot cards as they play, working on the theory that the machine might think a new player was sitting down when they did. Other players frequently cash out so they are able to feed fresh bills into their machine of choice. Like the slot-card swappers, they actually believe the machine knows if someone new is sitting down to play.

Make Your Own Luck

There's absolutely no proof that charms, clothes, casseroles, or Teddy Bears can influence your luck at the casino. However, people who feel lucky and happy seem to have a much more enjoyable wherever they go and whatever they do. If carrying a lucky charm or performing a little ritual while you play makes you feel good, then go right ahead.