Superstitions Run Rampant in Casino Gambling
There’s something about gambling that brings out the superstitions in people. Want a good example? The next time you’re walking through a casino and you hear loud, jubilant cheers from a crowded craps table, walk over there and plop down a couple of chips on the “don’t pass.” About the least thing that can happen is a sudden hush may fall over the table. The worst is that the guy next to you may punch your lights out.
If he did, it wouldn’t be anything personal. That would just be his way of showing that he doesn’t appreciate your “jinxing” the table by betting against the dice now that they’re finally hot.
Craps shooters may be among the most superstitious gamblers in the casino. Many of them tend to feel that if they all think and bet together as one, it will actually affect the outcome of the dice.
I don’t think so. At the craps table, the pass line is the most popular bet, the very crux of the game, really. The pure mathematical odds are such that if a team of 15 trained chimpanzees swarmed the dice table and continuously bet on the pass line, the chimps should win 493 bets out of 1,000. That’s pretty close to 50-50 without any telepathic intervention at all. Now, if 15 frenzied, superstitious humans all chanting and betting in unison can’t raise the number from 493 to 500, how much can it be helping? And the last time I checked the gambling board report, the craps tables in Illinois were still making money.
At the mini-baccarat or Caribbean stud table, some players are reluctant to sit down if their “lucky seat” is already occupied by somebody else. And if they do sit down in some other seat and begin to lose, they may bemoan the fact that they were forced to sit in the “electric chair.” But if that person should win in that seat, of course it will have been due to his expert play and not good cards. We do tend to blame our losing on bad luck and dismiss our winning as merely a natural by-product of our astute gambling proficiency.
Blackjack players have plenty of their own superstitions as well. How many times have you walked up to a “21? table and a player there asks you to wait until the end of the shoe before sitting in? Why? He doesn’t want you to change the order of the cards. That would be tampering with something sacred. Blackjack players are also very superstitious about being involved in a hand where another player makes a wrong decision. The general belief is that bad players bring bad luck.
Casino players harbor many other false beliefs that may or may not be considered as superstitious, but really just stem from a lack of understanding of how chance events work. Following is a list of remarks I’ve heard in casinos that have no bearing on the future. Have you ever uttered any of them?
- (craps) “If we can just get on a hot table, we’ll win.”
- (blackjack) “Every time I hit 12 I bust; I’m good.”
- (baccarat) “The banker’s on a run; go with him.”
- (any game) “I’m due to win one.”
Every one of these “famous last words” assumes that the results of upcoming events are dependent upon recent outcomes. Not true. All of these trends are as likely to immediately reverse themselves as they are to continue. Disregard them and pay attention to legitimate strategic details. You’ll be better off.