Sports and Gambling Superstitions

Sports and Gambling Superstitions


Sports and Gambling Superstitions


Stadiums and casinos are well known to be filled with superstitious people. Gamblers and fanatical fans will go to extraordinary lengths to entice good fortune their way and keep lady luck onside. People, who would usually consider themselves rational thinkers ignore the laws of probability and create excessive rituals with the hope of promoting prosperity or giving their team that edge to sneak the win.

Alongside these fanatical superstitions, sports and casino culture is also filled with wild myths. From counting cards to an underground super league and from rigged games to umpires on the take, despite theories being disproven for decades, these myths are still treated as gospel by many. If you are unsure which of these are fact and which are fiction, you can find out more here.

Some superstitions and rituals are said to promote good luck whilst others entice bad luck. In this article we are going to look at those frequently practiced by both casual sports enthusiasts and extreme hardcore fans! Next time you tune into a game and decide to make a wager, maybe some of these will help boost your team’s luck.

Oct 27, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) holds up the World Series trophy after winning the Worls Series against the Tampa Bay Rays after game six of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Superstitions Believed to Promote Good Luck

  • Lucky Charms: One of the most common superstitions is the belief that an object will bring good luck. Some fans believe that wearing items like an old unwashed jersey or even lucky underwear during an important game can bring fans comfort and a belief that their team will be successful.
  •  However, not only superstitious fans believe in these lucky charms. Some of the greatest sports stars of all time also have special items that they believe will bring them success. For example, Michael Jordan wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his Bulls shorts as he helped the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships. In fact, this was the reason he requested longer and baggier shorts, which started a whole new trend in basketball!
  • Wear Red for Luck: For many sports gamblers, wearing red is their lucky token. This hope is believed to originate from the significance of red in Chinese culture where it represents wealth, luck, and joy (all things many gamblers are looking for). This superstition also means statistically gamblers are more likely to bet on red than black when playing on casino tables. Whether it is a pair of red socks, a red shirt, or some red underpants you will frequently find many customers at a casino supporting red and hoping tonight will be their lucky night.

Sep 6, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots a three point basket in front of Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) during the second half of game two of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Another sports star who has a similar superstition is Tiger Woods, who can be seen wearing his red polo when he tees off on the final day of a tournament. According to him:  “I’ve worn red ever since my college days basically, or junior golf days – big events on the last day. I just stuck with it out of superstition and it worked. I just happened to choose a school that actually was red, and we wore red on our final day of events. So, it worked out.’’

Superstitions Believed to Promote Bad Luck

  • Crossing Your Legs: Despite many gambler’s rituals of crossing their fingers whilst placing a bet, you will never find a superstitious player crossing their legs. This is because they believe that crossing their legs, crosses out their good fortune. 
  • One shoe after another: Sports stars themselves will dress the same way before every game they play. Wayne Gretzky put his pads on in the same order every time!
  • Number Thirteen: For many westerners, 13 is shrouded in bad luck and negative connotations, some even view it as scary. For this reason, many gamblers will fiercely avoid the number 13, especially when playing a game like roulette. Similarly, many soccer players will avoid the 13 jersey, especially in world cup finals.

As we can see, both athletes and fans put their trust in these rituals and look to them when they are hoping for success. There may not be much science to these superstitions, and some may say that they are a downright waste of time. However, if they give people hope and comfort when they are feeling under pressure then these superstitions can be seen to have value in the sporting world. 

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