Superstitions abound in every culture and country, irrespective of how modern and advanced those people may be. So it seems hardly surprising that there are superstitions galore in the world of poker too. In the following few paragraphs, I will share some of these often-interesting, wacky, weird, or even downright funny poker superstitions practiced by many gamblers to ward off an evil eye or to attract the Goddess of Luck.
Poker Superstition #1
All superstitions are unreasonable and baffle our sense of logic. But in a game of poker where the stakes are too high and losing a pot may bring about a gambler’s financial ruin, many players rely on poker superstitions to fortify their minds and to appease Lady Luck. One such famous poker superstition many gamblers religiously believe in is wearing the color red. This is because red is universally recognized as the color of good luck
Poker Superstition #2
It is generally believed that if players sit against the grain of any poker table, it will bring them ill luck
Poker Superstition #3
A player may cast an influence on his luck if he discards the four of clubs or spits on his cards or refuses to give permission to his opponents for placing their feet on his chair
Poker Superstition #4
You can dispel bad luck if you wear dirty clothes while playing
Poker Superstition #5
You may ‘cross out of luck’ if you sit cross legged!
Poker Superstition #6
A number of casinos often renovate to reward their patrons’ superstitious beliefs and to become more luck-friendly, if I may use the term. Perhaps the greatest example of this is the 1998 renovation of the world famous MGM Grand Hotel and Casino – one of Las Vegas’ most enduring landmarks. Before 1998, the entrance to MGM Grand’s casino was shaped like the mouth of a lion. But because of Asian gamblers’ beliefs that entering through a lion’s mouth brings bad luck, the hotel authorities decided to undergo a major renovation in view of that prejudice
Poker Superstition #7
Poker players often throw down candies and other similar items on the floor of a casino in the hope of distracting bad luck. I once heard a story where a poker player entered a casino with dolls he had dressed up like casino dealers! He did this hoping to manipulate a few cards and perhaps win a game or two
Poker Superstition #8
Many poker players believe that the worst hand in poker is pocket jacks. What it basically means though is actually something quite else. Pocket jacks is the most misplayed hand in poker. This hand, despite being a very solid starting hand, is often the trickiest. And it is beyond the capacity of average players to play this hand at the top notch level consistently in a game that is already quite tough. This is what led to the birth of this particular superstition
Poker Superstition #9
Another popular superstition is that if a player manages an all-in against a draw every time, his draw will be a hit. Players who believe in this superstition usually gloat over every win and mourn every loss
Poker Superstition #10
Another poker superstition that is a result of a total misunderstanding of the poker probability rules is that if a poker player has an AA in one hand at showdown, he definitely won’t have it in the next hand. But this is an erroneous concept. Many players who believe in this superstition have based their important decisions on this fallacy; and many of these players have lost and continue to lose dearly to this day.
It is, however, true that two pocket aces being dealt consecutively one after another in two subsequent hands is a rare phenomenon. It doesn’t happen often, but that doesn’t mean it will never happen. This is the place where most players bungle up
Poker Superstition #11
There is another common poker superstition about the zero winning power of pocket aces. There are many poker players who seriously believe that the ability of pocket aces to earn money in the long term is really low compared to how much they lose! However, this particular superstition is just as baseless as the others. If you repeatedly fail to make any money with your pocket aces, it means you should go right back to your basics and relearn the poker game all over. In reality, winners believe that pocket aces are the numero uno money winning strategy
Poker Superstition #12
Johnny Chan won the World Series of Poker Main Event in 1988. At the time, in order to combat the smoky odor found in casinos, he would sniff an orange. The strong citrus smell helped clear his nostrils, but as you can easily guess, Johnny Chan looks at orange now as his lucky charm; and whenever he hits the poker table, he is found with his quintessential symbol of luck
Poker Superstition #13
If you found that orange belief ridiculous, wait till you read this: Sam Farha stood second in the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event. Throughout the tournament, he would dangle an unlit cigarette from his lips despite not being a smoker. It’s anyone’s guess what purpose that served!
These are only a few instances of strange poker superstitions that abound in the poker universe. If you’d like to learn some more about these superstitions and other weird things people believe in, I think there is an interesting book on the subject: Michael Shermer’s Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition and Other Confusion of Our Time.