Gamblers have always been a superstitious bunch. From blowing on dice for good luck to wearing your lucky boxer shorts for a trip to the casino, gamblers across the world have their own quirks for luck and good fortune.
The jury’s officially still out when it comes to whether these work or not. But for many of those who try, there’s no persuading them otherwise, and their lucky charms are an essential part of their gaming. So what are the weirdest common lucky charms and mascots you’ll find in the pockets and round the necks of aspiring gamblers?
One of the most well known, the rabbit’s foot has been long associated with good fortune. And not just in a gambling context. Rabbit’s feet represent fertility, notably high in rabbits, of course. But only when it’s from their hind legs – you don’t want any front feet if you want to get lucky. Apparently, carrying a rabbit’s foot will help you conceive a child – the gods are blessing you with the fertility of the rabbit.
The only thing that might put me off giving this a try is actually carrying a rabbit’s foot – it’s not exactly subtle. Imagine fumbling for your keys inside your pocket when you’re carrying a rabbit’s foot – it just feels a bit, weird. Nevertheless, some gamblers swear by it, and wouldn’t dream of heading out to the casino without their lucky rabbit’s feet.
Taming a rabbit is one thing – taming a badger is quite another. Badger’s teeth have long been associated with good luck, and is another common find in the top pockets of serious gamblers at casinos worldwide. Perhaps it’s lucky because you need some good fortune to survive harvesting a badger’s teeth in the first place, and that’s before we get to the rabies…whatever the reason, it’s at least a little easier to slip a tooth into your pocket.
If you’re up for trying a badger’s tooth for luck, make sure you store it in a left side pocket. Apparently, it only brings good luck on the left side, so make sure you abide by these laws of superstition so you’re not just carrying around a manky potentially-rabid tooth for no reason.
The dental theme continues with alligator’s teeth – I’m not sure why teeth are so lucky, particularly when they come from dead animals, but who am I to query good fortune. OK, so it wasn’t particularly lucky for dear old Steve Irwin, the Croc Hunter, but according to African legend, it’s exactly what you need for good luck when you’re gambling.
Again, it’s not for the faint of heart. And you need to live or at least visit somewhere alligators roam if you’re thinking about harvesting it yourself – good luck with that. But I suppose it’s pretty practical, plus your opponents need never know you’ve good that lucky charm on your side.
Lucky horseshoes are perhaps a more traditional good luck symbol, with universal application in gambling and beyond. In the UK, a horseshoe is a common blessing for a new home or marriage, in addition to its obvious symbolic meaning for gamblers. Carrying a horseshoe on your person is supposed to be particularly lucky, but only when it’s upside down – it’s the U shape you’re looking for.
Of course, if you’re storing a horseshoe in your pocket, you’re probably going to need to invest in a good belt. They are usually solid metal, so not the most discrete of good luck charms. In practice, people usually use horseshoe symbols, or smaller replicas rather than the real thing…but if you want to go the whole hog (or should that be, the whole horse), you’re going to have to suck it up.
Lucky Red Clothing
Lucky clothing is probably a bit more practical than any particular good luck chattel, and you can take advantage of these good luck benefits much more easily. Red is the colour when it comes to good luck, with long symbolic ties to fortune, wealth, fertility, love and a whole host of other positive things. It’s pretty universal too, applicable in both Western cultures and Chinese culture. So dust off those lucky red pants and make sure they’re always ready to go whenever you fancy a flutter.
Everyone has their own superstitions in gambling, and their own preferred lucky charms – some more ‘out there’ than others. I can’t tell you whether they work or not – and the only way you’re going to find out is by trying it for yourself.
Famous Players Charms
Daniel Negreanu, a well-known poker player, only eats meals his mother cooks for him during big tournaments because he believes it brings him luck.
Dan Harrington, 1995 World Series of Poker (WSOP) winner and a member of Poker Hall of Fame, has his lucky green Boston Red Sox hat on whilst he’s waiting for the flop.
Kun Dollison, a three-time WSOP bracelet champion brings a giant mechanical mouse with blinking eyes. Sometimes this toy walks around the table.
Doyle Brunson, a member of the WSOP’s Poker Hall of Fame, thinks women are bad luck. This famed pro player has a card protector with Casper, a Ghostbusters logo, on it.
Sami Farha, 2003 WSOP second prize winner holds an unlit cigarette in his mouth while gambling. If he loses, he changes the cigarette. The weirdest thing is that he doesn’t smoke.
Peter Muller, a pro poker player, took his dog with him to the poker tournaments. He believes the dog helped him to be the 4th in the 1998 WSOP.
Simon Trumper is a UK poker player and the winner of Late Night Poker series 2. He caps his cards a pair with gold and diamond aces. This player earned over $1 million while playing poker.
John Giannos, director of player development of the Golden Nugget, takes with him a red envelope he was given 20 years ago.
Johnny Chan, called “The Orient Express”, won 10 WSOP bracelets. He can often be seen next to an orange thing such as an orange or wearing an orange T-shirt.
Humberto Brenes, World Poker Open champion, often takes a toy shark with him to the poker table. He believes this good luck charm brings him luck. Thanks to this amulet he received a nickname “The Shark.”