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Lucky Rituals

The Things We Do For Luck

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Performing rituals to insure a favorable outcome dates back to early man. Tribal dancing, and other assorted ceremonies were performed to attract the favor of the Gods. Most of these ancient rituals and practices have disappeared but there are still many intelligent and enlightened people who carry on some of the old practices when they visit the casino. Although most players know that hitting the big jackpot is a matter of luck, some of them will resort to some interesting and sometimes bizarre rituals of their own to insure good luck while they play.

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 my readers to share their observations or relate the rituals that they perform for luck. The response I received was amazing. If you have ever openly or secretly performed a lucky ritual, rest assured, you are not alone. Here are some of the rituals that players perform.

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 a 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 like to check their horoscopes or biorhythms before they start their trip. I don’t know about you but I have never see a horoscope that read, “Today is your unlucky day. Stay away from the casino!”

Lucky Charms
Carrying a lucky charm is a 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 for having 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 find in a box of Crayola crayons. Some of these strange colors 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.

Perhaps the most common ritual performed is tossing money into any fountain or body of water in or near the casino. These “Wishing Wells” are quite lucky for the casinos who net thousands of dollars each year from players who think that throwing away money will bring them good luck as long as they make a wish while they do it.

Apparently some players believe in the power of prayer as they play. Numerous times I have seen players holding 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 of video poker hat 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 his 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 conscience 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.

Players will try to manipulate the machines by varying their routine as they play. One video poker player told me that she pushes the re-deal button if she wins a hand but if she loses a hand she will hit the singe bet button five times.

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!”

The most common practice that I have seen is the player who removes and reinserts his slot cards as he plays. 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 machine knows if someone new is sitting down to play.

Make Your Own Luck
There is no proof that charms, clothes, spouses or any other rituals you perform 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.

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