What’s Luck Got to do With It? Good Luck Charms & Totems
By Alex J. Coyne © 2018 Great Bridge Links
Most of us believe in luck and most of us believe lucky charms and lucky numbers can help us improve our luck.
From Serena Williams’ lucky socks to Tiger Williams’ red shirt, lucky charms are very common in the world of sport. But nowhere are lucky charms more popular than in the competitive world of cards.
Here’s what some card players have had to say about good luck charms, and what some of the professionals carry along to their games.
Alfred Sheinwold on Luck
Someone once said to me, “Luck is applied skill,” and bridge writer, teacher, and champion player Alfred Sheinwold apparently agrees:
“One way of dealing with misfortune is to search for the right lucky charm. Another way is to reach for a lesson.”
On Bridge from the Tucson Daily Citizen
04 February 1959
It would appear that bridge players are among some of the least superstitious of card players around.
Top Poker player Daniel Negreanu is rumoured to have a few superstitions related to his game. To get himself into the right mindset for the World Series of Poker, he is said to binge-watch the Rocky-flicks in preparation. According to a post on FlopTurnRiver poker forum, Daniel also doesn’t accept $50 bills.
Poker pro Sammy Farha has seen many World Series of Poker tournaments in his time as a player – and he’s well-known for having an unlit cigarette on him during a great deal of his interviews and games. According to user Vinetou on TwoPlusTwo poker forum, the cigarette comes from a losing streak when someone offered him a cigarette. This apparently changed his losing streak into a winning one – and he’s done it ever since.
The Shark’s Shark
Another poker player notable for his superstition is Humberto Brenes, professionally better known as “the Shark.” He first began with Baccarat, though later moved to poker. Why is he called the Shark? Because he uses a toy shark as a card protector – and he also has a few other weird playing habits, like singing during play.
Doyle Brunson’s Light
What’s the weirdest lucky charm that you’ve ever seen during a game? This one is certainly odd: Poker veteran Doyle Brunson carries a Zippo lighter with the Ghostbusters logo as his good luck charm. It’s even been copied by some fans in an attempt to grab some of his luck. Does it work? It sure has for Doyle: But then again, it just might have been his strategy, too.
Poker player Johnny Chan is known for carrying an orange to card games. Why on earth would someone do that? Simple, actually: A lot of poker rooms and casinos in Vegas used to be filled with smoke, and an orange turns into an air freshener that you can carry around pretty much anywhere. The fact that he owns a restaurant and knows the value of orange peel as a chef might just have something to do with it.
In a recent survey conducted by Betway Casino, the nation’s luckiest numbers were revealed, providing insight into which numbers bring people in the UK the most good fortune in their lives.
Lucky charms and bingo
Nowhere are lucky charms more ubiquitous than at a game of bingo. For a bingo player it’s not as much about winning a cash prize as about the thrill of being lucky. Many players at bingo tables in casinos have lucky totems, special daubers, troll dolls, waving cats, mementos, famous dead people (Elvis anyone?) and more surrounding them.
What is your lucky charm?
We’re leaving the comments open on this article so you can tell us about your favourite charm. Do you carry something made of wood so you can knock on it for luck? Do you have a little picture of your daughter when she was a child taped to the back of your scorecard?