Poker players often are superstitious

Jun 25, 2013 3:00 AM

According to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, superstition is the belief that one event leads to another without any natural process linking the two events.

The word superstition is often applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings, particularly that future events can be foretold by specific unrelated prior events. Players often are superstitious in games of chance, including poker. We have all seen a player place a lucky charm atop his hole cards. You may have done it yourself.

There are many common superstitions, such as:

• Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. (Better not play poker on that day.)

• A rabbit’s foot brings good luck. (It wasn’t very lucky for the poor rabbit.)

• An apple a day keeps the doctor away. (There may be some truth in that.)

• At the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold. (Want to bet on that one?)

• Your fate is written in the stars. (How do you prove or disprove that?)

But what about superstitions that can actually hurt your poker results?

• A beginner will always have “beginner’s luck.” I’ll give you odds on that one. He’ll be lucky not to go home broke if he’s playing against experienced players.

• Is it bad luck to sleep at the table? Well, if you are not alert and therefore not focusing on the game, call it bad luck if you want, but you are much more likely to go home a loser.

• An itchy palm means money will come your way. I’m not sure what caused the itchy palm but it could distract you from paying closer attention at the table – and costing you some chips along the way.

• Crossing your fingers helps to avoid bad luck and helps your wish come true. Actually, crossed fingers make it harder to pick up your chips or to examine your hole cards. Don’t try it.

• Break a bad luck spell by turning around seven times in a clockwise circle. Try that at the poker table and your opponents will think you have gone mad.

There are players who are superstitious about the seat at which they are playing. Well, if he won while playing in the seat just to the left of the dealer (seat position 1), then he wants that seat the next time he comes to the casino. Actually that is one of the worst seats at which to be seated. You have the worst view of the board and of the player on the other side of the dealer.

Perhaps you won the last time you were seated at a particular table – your “lucky table.” Don’t count on it again. More important is the type of players at your table. For most of us, a loose-passive table is best.

Perhaps you have a “lucky” hat or ring you wore to the casino the day you were a big winner. If you happen to lose the next time, well then, you’ll just have to find a different lucky charm. Sure, you know it’s nothing more than superstition. So why do it?

In fact, I used to be guilty of a flagrant poker abuse. As I did it, I knew it was stupid, but nevertheless I persisted in my foolish superstitious act.

If I was in the big blind, when the betting came around to me, I would look at just one of my hole cards. If it was a middle or high card, I would call a single raise – without seeing my other holecard. And I have seen players in late position, call to see the flop without even a glance at their hole cards.

We all realize your hole cards are whatever they happen to be, and not looking at one or both won’t change anything.

Perhaps you have a foolish superstition to share with our readers. Just email it to me. There will be a prize for the best one.

We invite your comments. Email to [email protected].

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