We all want to be lucky

At its most base level, all superstitions are intertwined. While cultures or groups of people may have a collective consciousness of a particular set of superstitions, essentially, they all boil down to luck or good luck. Therefore, anyone who is involved in the risky business of gambling or walking the boards is going to try and do whatever they can to get Lady Luck on their side.

Superstitions are part of being human

It could be said that superstition is part of what makes us human. Sometimes coincidence seems too unlikely to explain a series of events that are either lucky or unlucky. Part of being human also means that most of us are naturally optimistic or pessimistic. The optimist tends to believe the signs of good luck, like a black cat crossing the road, while the pessimist might be drawn to thinking that bad things always come in threes. The black cat superstition is a particularly funny one as, in some cultures, it is regarded as a sign of good luck and, in others, bad.

Bond and luck

When we mention gambling, film, and superstitions in the same breath, it is hard not to think of James Bond. There is a famous line in Ian Fleming’s original book where Goldfinger says,

“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.”
Goldfinger is not ascribing Bond turning up in his life as lucky or unlucky. He does not appear to have any superstitions around the number three. Perhaps he should have done, as Bond, the consummate gambler, ensures Goldfinger’s bullion heist fails. While Bond never reveals any of his own superstitions, his insistence on his dry martini being ‘shaken not stirred’ is the sort of habit a casino gambler might adopt for good luck.

What is it with legs?

When it comes to movies and theatre productions, wishing actors good luck is definitely not the done thing. Instead, they are told to ‘break a leg’. While gamblers do not follow the same superstition, they also have a superstition surrounding legs. Crossing your legs at the gambling tables is regarded as bad luck. Therefore, gamblers avoid crossing their legs to avoid losing money. Whether it works or not, no one knows, but should you risk it?

No whistling

Whistling is one of the superstitions that crops up both for actors and gamblers. Whistling backstage is regarded as the height of bad luck. Whistling at card tables is to be avoided at all costs. You never see these superstitions being remarked on in online reviews. However, the quality casinos rated by independent reviewers do advise you to familiarise yourself with the rules of the game before laying any bets. Whether playing in a land-based casino or at virtual live dealer tables, whistling will annoy your fellow players and possibly bring you bad luck, so best to avoid it.

Consider the colours

Colours also play a significant part in the traditions of casinos and films. Red is regarded as a lucky colour in casinos. This does not necessarily mean that gamblers always place their bets on red. It could be more subtle than this. For example, some gamblers like to wear red clothing or carry a subtle red pocket handkerchief, red socks, or even red underwear. In the world of film, it is the colour green that gets attention. Green is supposed to be bad luck. In fact, some productions have been known to ban the wearing of green costumes.
While green is now regarded as bad luck in theatrical circles, it comes from the colour not showing up well in the original theatre spotlights. The lights were created by burning quicklime – hence the phrase limelight. Lime burned with a greenish glow, and anyone wearing it was in danger of becoming invisible.
Blue is another colour which is regarded as unlucky in the cinema. However, it is likely that this originated for financial rather than visual reasons. Blue dye is the most expensive colour – producers started a rumour that blue costumes were unlucky to keep the wardrobe budget down. Ironically, silver-lined blue outfits were regarded as lucky. This is probably because only the most successful actors could afford such luxury.

Lucky charms

Because superstitions are often cultural, a cross-over will inevitably occur between films and casinos. For example, many gamblers have their lucky talisman that they will not be without. It could be a pair of cufflinks, a lucky tie, or a charm they keep in their pocket. They may go through a routine before entering the casino or taking their place at the table. Actors have similar superstitions.

Consider the doors

It has been reported that Jennifer Aniston always walks onto an airplane right foot first, and she taps the outside of the plane as she enters the door. She has said that she has always done it for luck. In the theatre, the superstition is to always go out of the dressing room door left foot first. Conversely, gamblers have a superstition not to enter the casino through the front door.

13 – not always unlucky

Meanwhile, Taylor Swift is drawn to the number 13. She was born on the 13th. Her first number-one song had a 13-second intro. She said that if she ever won an award, she would be in the 13th seat or the 13th row.
Unlike Taylor, many people regard 13 as an unlucky number and try to avoid it or miss it out altogether. There are several casinos situated in large tower-style hotels. It is not uncommon in these buildings for there to be no floor 13 at all. Instead, the floor numbers simply jump from 12 to 14. With so much superstition around the number, it appears no one wants to take a chance and stay on the unlucky floor.