Poker is a game of luck but also of skill, with players outwitting their opponents using logic and math. But did you know that poker players – even some of the pros – are actually quite superstitious? From lucky chip stacking to preferring a certain position at the table, there’s no shortage of rituals and good-fortune trinkets on the felt – even in online poker!
Most players, whether they play Texas Hold’em online or any other online casino games, like to feel as though they’re able to control and influence random events by bringing a bit of extra luck with them to the table, in whichever way they think will work. Some bring a special lucky charm to place on or near their cards, while others have rituals and traditions they can’t skip when they’re preparing for a poker tournament. If they don’t stick to these rituals, they believe the cards won’t fall as they must for a good run.
Let’s take a look at some of the more common – and some of the most bizarre – poker superstitions on record.
Lucky card protectors
By far the most common gambling superstition or lucky charm in poker is the “lucky card protector.” Online poker players might not have come across this superstition since there are no physical cards to protect, but take a seat at any poker table in a casino and you’re likely to see some strange and wonderful little trinkets resting on (or “protecting”) your opponents’ cards.
Having a card protector isn’t always a sign of superstition, though. Some players simply feel more confident when they have a little charm, which is usually good for their state of mind at the table, while other players tend to take their luck quite seriously and may even refuse to sit down at the table if they’ve forgotten to bring their card protector.
Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson, a poker legend, author and two-time WSOP (World Series of Poker) champion, carries a card protector to every poker game he plays. Brunson’s trinket of choice is a small rectangular stone with a Ghostbusters logo on it and “Dolly” written underneath. He has even been known to rent it out to other players at $200 for 30 minutes when they felt they were running bad or their luck needed a bit of a boost. That may seem like a steep price, but considering the amount of “luck” it has brought Doyle in the form of poker tournament winnings, it’s likely worth every penny. Of course, one may quite legitimately wonder just how “transferable” luck can be.
Lucky chip stacking
Every player at an in-person poker table fiddles with or riffles their chips, one way or another. Whether they roll them in their fingers or constantly stack and restack them, the casino is constantly buzzing with the sound of chips being stacked. It’s safe to say that poker players can’t get enough of playing with their chip stacks and some of them even require chips to be ordered in a certain way if they are to be lucky.
Some players have very specific rules for chip stacking, such as never stacking more than 10 or 20 in a single pile or even building stacks on top of others. Other players like to keep mixed stacks, which might work for them but can be problematic for the table, making counting their chips much more difficult than neatly ordered stacks. However you like to stack your odds, remember it’s never socially acceptable to “splash the pot” by throwing in a load of chips together with everyone else’s because the croupier will have real trouble counting what you’ve added to the total!
Online poker players have it easy since the software stacks and displays your chips automatically. Still, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if most players participating in online poker tournaments have a physical stack of lucky chips nearby to fiddle with while they play and which they believe will grant them the luck they need when a bluff goes bad.
Wearing your luck
Another massively popular superstition among poker players, including those who play online, is having lucky clothes. It could be a hat, a hoodie, sunglasses or a pair of lucky socks, but whatever it is, it will be worn to every game. As far as superstitions go, this one isn’t the most bizarre and can likely be chalked up to players feeling confident in their favorite piece of clothing, although some players do take it to the extreme.
Pius Heinz, the 2011 WSOP Main event winner, wore the same (filthy) white hoodie for his entire seven-day run to the title. Even his fans and family who were watching from the rails wore white to show their support for his superstition, though his mother had to leave the venue either due to the stress of the game or because she could no longer stand the sight of her son in such a filthy hoodie! Hopefully, Heinz has put some of his $8.7 million poker tournament winnings towards buying a few spare hoodies for the next time he plays this casino game.
When it comes to weird superstitions, these poker rituals, traditions or behaviors that players exhibit can be a bit more far-fetched than simply wearing a lucky white hoodie for a week straight. Many poker professionals have their own little rituals and behaviors that they believe bring them the lucky edge they need, even when playing poker games online. Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu, six-time WSOP bracelet winner and two-time WPT (World Poker Tour) champion, watches Rocky movies before sitting down to his games, even when he’s playing online poker tournaments. While Negreanu isn’t quite the size of Rocky Balboa and is likely not as competent in a fight, opponents are still intimidated by him at the tables. But surely, the success of his career and his massive lifetime poker tournament winnings can’t all be chalked up to his skill at the table, can it?
Of course, poker is not the only casino game in which you’ll find interesting superstitions. In fact, there are some bingo superstitions from around the world that may well surprise you!
Test your luck at Borgata Online
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