The Strange and Surprising: Gambling Superstitions from Different Cultures

Regardless of where we hail from or what games we play, many of us harbor strange and surprising superstitions that shape our gambling habits. These rich traditions blend the tangible world of the casino with the intangible mysteries of luck, threading a vibrant tapestry of cultural stories and personal mythologies.

From Asia to America, Europe to Oceania, Africa to the Middle East, and beyond, each region possesses its own unique set of gambling superstitions. Gambling superstitions and beliefs on SPY-casino and other online platforms are equally as present. They can add an extra layer of excitement and anticipation to the gambling experience. Following are the strangest and most surprising beliefs from around the globe.

Superstition in Asia


Widely celebrated as the gambling hub of the world, Asia is home to an abundance of intriguing superstitions. The number “8,” for instance, is considered incredibly lucky in Chinese culture due to its phonetic similarity to the word for wealth or prosper. You will often find players betting more heavily when this digit comes into play. In contrast, the number “4” is viewed as an omen of misfortune as it sounds akin to the word for death.

Japanese players, too, harbor fascinating beliefs around numbers. The number “9,” pronounced as “ku,” is shunned as it shares its pronunciation with the word for suffering. However, “7,” known as “shichi,” is esteemed due to its association with happiness. Moreover, many Asian gamblers adhere to the belief that entering a casino through the main entrance will invite bad luck. This conviction led to the creation of a special “player’s entrance” at the MGM Grand Casino in Macau.

European Gambling Superstitions

Moving westward to Europe, the cradle of many casino games, we discover an equally varied landscape of betting beliefs. In Italy, for instance, the number “13” that’s often dreaded in other cultures is seen as incredibly lucky. Italians believe that making the “horns” hand gesture, known as the “mano cornuto,” will protect them against ill fortune. However, it’s imperative not to place your hat on the bed before a gambling session, as it’s seen as a harbinger of doom.

In the UK, the number “7” is perceived as fortuitous, while “13” signifies bad luck. One pervasive belief revolves around handling money: handing cash directly to another person is thought to invite misfortune, leading many to prefer placing it on the table first. Roulette players often favor wearing red, believing the color increases the odds of winning. And it’s not uncommon to spot a gambler with a horseshoe or a four-leaf clover charm, symbolic of good luck in many parts of Europe.

African Beliefs


Africa, a vibrant continent known for its cultural diversity, holds a rich cache of fascinating gambling beliefs. One widespread superstition in South Africa is the fear of whistling. In gambling establishments, whistling is believed to invoke bad spirits and bring about an unfavorable outcome. Additionally, the mention of the word “monkey” while gambling is considered to portend disaster.

North Africans, with their strong ties to Islamic culture, have unique gambling traditions as well. There’s a widespread belief that gambling during prayer times, particularly on Fridays, is an absolute no-no as it can bring about bad luck. Also, wearing the color green, associated with prosperity in Islamic culture, is believed to increase the gambler’s chance of success.

Tales from the Tribes: Native American Legends

Native American cultures, rich in folklore and spiritual traditions, have intriguing gambling superstitions of their own. Some believe that carrying a rabbit’s foot, a symbol associated with fertility and prosperity in many tribes, can bring luck. Conversely, mentioning the word “snake,” an animal often associated with deception and danger in Native American lore, is considered a bad omen.

Native American gamblers also put faith in the power of dreams. They often pay heed to their nocturnal visions, considering them prophetic signs. If they dream of winning, they’re likely to place more substantial bets. However, if their dreams hint at a loss, they may opt to sit out or play cautiously. The belief that dreams can influence real-world outcomes underscores the deep connection to the spiritual realm that characterizes many Native American cultures.

South American Gambling Beliefs


A wealth of intriguing superstitions await in South America. For instance, Brazilian gamblers believe that wearing red, a color associated with good fortune, can enhance their chances of success. The Brazilians also adhere to the belief that entering a casino through the main entrance brings bad luck, similar to their Asian counterparts.

In Argentina, there’s a widespread belief that Tuesday the 13th brings ill luck, an intriguing twist on the “Friday the 13th” superstition seen in many western cultures. Therefore, many Argentine gamblers avoid playing on this day. As for lucky charms, a popular choice is the “figa,” a charm resembling a closed fist with the thumb peeking between the index and middle fingers, believed to bring good fortune.

Superstitions Down Under

The island nations of Oceania, including Australia and New Zealand, harbor their own set of captivating gambling superstitions. In Australia, where slot machines or “pokies” are a national pastime, players believe that hitting the machine or the button on the machine with a certain force can influence the game’s outcome. Wearing a lucky item of clothing, often a hat, is another common practice among Australian gamblers.

In New Zealand, Maori culture strongly influences gambling superstitions. Many Maori gamblers believe in the power of certain spiritual tokens or “taonga” to attract good fortune. On the other hand, the mention of certain taboo words or “tapu” during gambling sessions is believed to invite bad luck, reflecting the strong influence of cultural traditions and language in shaping these beliefs.

Middle Eastern Superstitions


Last but not least, we journey to the Middle East, a region known for its rich cultural tapestry and complex history. Islamic law’s prohibition of gambling has given rise to a unique set of superstitions around clandestine gambling activities. Many believe that gambling on religiously significant days or near sacred objects invites divine wrath and ensuing bad luck.

A common belief is that gambling while facing west, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, is unlucky. On the other hand, wearing the color green, emblematic of Islam and viewed as a color of good fortune, is seen as auspicious. In Iran, many consider “4” to be a harbinger of bad luck, echoing a similar belief in many East Asian cultures, while “7” is believed to bring good fortune.

Final Words

It’s amazing how famous these gambling superstitions are, even today. These beliefs may have a different look and feel, depending on the culture it comes from, but all of them offer unique insight into our shared fascination with luck and destiny. Gambling will always be part of our lives because we search for that sense of uncertainty in order to make life more exciting. The next time you play cards or hit the slots, recall some of the strange and surprising superstitions from around the world – you never know if they’ll bring you good fortune!