Luck In Gambling – Are Your Numbers Really Lucky Or Is It All In Your Mind?

By Peter Adams | 20th of July 2015
Luck In Gambling – Are Your Numbers Really Lucky Or Is It All In Your Mind?

The subject of luck in casino games can be difficult to tackle but we will take a look at it from different angles. Starting from whether or not luck exists and moving on its importance when playing gambling games for the players and for getting better results, arriving at the difference between some of the options found in the casino based on the level of skill required and the dependence on random chance, or pure luck.

It is one of the most common aspects talked about when it comes to gambling but luck can be seen in different ways, making the debate modern at any time of its discussion. And it is not just about the existence of luck or whether it actually has a place in the real world, but it can go well beyond the first meaning of the word and just represent a special fondness for certain outcomes, a special ritual that is as part of the action as the result itself or a great deal of other things.

To start things off with the right foot forward, it is safe to say that luck is on the minds of many gamblers when they enjoy games of chance and it is very common for them to associate a favorable result with the existence of good luck, while a losing outcome is just as easily due to bad luck. But stopping here would not do the subject justice and the understanding of luck as seen through the eyes of different people has always been interesting.

Does Luck Exist?

Many brilliant minds in history have wrestled with this very question and the results are generally split into two sections. Many believe that luck is just that, pure luck. Daniel Dennett, a famous American philosopher, has written about luck and presented a point of view where the presence of luck cannot be influenced by the actions of those involved in the scenario. The idea that “luck is pure luck” basically means that there is no point in dedicating efforts or time to it since it cannot be changed.

On the other hand there are other big names, like Carl Jung, Jean-Paul Sartre and Sigmund Freud, who have studied the concept in great detail. Their efforts actually made luck seem more tangible and seem like something that actually exists, despite the fact that this is the result of people wanting it to exist.

Sartre and Freud went on to talk on the matter in correlation with the locus of control and stated that some individuals will often times consider themselves able to change the outcome of events around them, having some sort of influence. This can be done by taking different measures or even thinking differently. While on the other end of the spectrum, others can simply be happy with the idea that they have no impact on certain events and they just take place due to random chance.

Modern psychologists are also asking themselves the question of luck and one of the most prevalent concepts was presented in the studies of Richard Wiseman. In The Luck Factor, he states that people who see themselves as being lucky in certain aspects of their lives, let’s say relationships, will actually act differently and be more confident and outgoing. As a result, the chances of having success are higher than those who are a bit shyer, who might be perceived as being unlucky.

The conclusion is that luck exists but it is not exactly what the broad definition of it is. The best way to describe luck can be nothing more than the means to an outcome, which can be either favorable (and thus we call it good luck) or unfavorable (and we say it’s bad luck).

Looking at Luck In Gambling

If we move back to the subject of luck in gambling, things get a bit more interesting since we now have a scoring system of some sorts. Since casino games are made to provide an advantage to the house, we can call players lucky those who win or even lose less than the house edge would account for. On the same logic, those who lose more than they should have due to the edge can be considered unlucky.

The problem here is that there is no defined period from which we can take the results. If a player wins $100 today on blackjack he can be considered lucky but if he comes back tomorrow and loses $50, he will be considered unlucky for the day but yet lucky for the period of the two days since he still made a profit of $50.

At the core concept of the games, they are based on odds and payouts for getting favorable results on bets. Winning can simply be explained by the odds in-play without even having to mention luck but yet, it is a popular subject among players. Some have their own little rituals which they believe will bring them good luck and this can be seen on the casino floors; no matter if it is in the form of lucky trinkets or short repetitive actions like blowing on the dice in craps before throwing them, bending the cards in baccarat before revealing them or even choosing a table based on unessential factors.

Lucky Numbers for Casino Games

Numbers are used in casino games very often and they can also represent different aspects for the player. A birthday, an anniversary, current date and other numbers can be easily introduced in casino games by players who believe they bring good luck. But are these numbers really lucky or is it just in the minds of the players?

Roulette is the best choice for those who really believe in their lucky numbers since it offers a wide range of options where players can simply choose one pocket on the wheel or go for several and thus cover more outcomes for a smaller payout if successful.

Blackjack can also be a game where lucky numbers play a big role and some will even go as far as to make the wrong decision due to these superstitions. One example would be that players might avoid getting another card when their current total is 13, fearing that they will bust, even if the recommended move here is to hit.

Other games try to incorporate lucky elements right into the gameplay and slots can often times come with symbols that many associate with luck. These can include four-leaf clovers, the number 7, horseshoes and more.

As we mentioned before, these numbers don’t have a different importance in the actual mechanics of the game but this doesn’t mean they can’t prove to be lucky. Gamblers are used to the random aspects of the games but it is human to look for patterns in everything in order to better predict the outcome of events. This can go as far as to ignore some of the results and focus more on the ones we considered lucky, thus offering the perception that they are actually lucky since they come up more often.

For example, if we are playing roulette and we believe that 27 is a very lucky number, we are more inclined to bet on it. Over 360 spins of the wheel, the odds are that our chosen number will be the winning one a total of 10 times. This of course can vary but even if it is spot on, the player will most likely give it more significance each time it appears, making it seem like a bigger deal than it actually is due to the odds involved. We already start with the idea that 27 is a lucky number so each of the 10 wins will just strengthen the idea even further. During the 350 spins on which the bets are lost, the results are not taken with the same importance and we just tend to ignore them.

Luck vs. Skill

In the world of casino games, the battle between luck and skill is certainly not a new one and it has been going on since the first gambling options made their way to the population. While some players will swear by their strategies, others can just as easily say that it is all luck. The truth on casino games is that most of them fall somewhere in the middle, but there are some options that are largely influenced by skill, while others are simply up to luck.

This is the beauty of casinos nowadays, and especially online casinos, as they provide a large variety of games to choose from and each of them comes with their own betting options and odds. As a new player, the goal is to learn the game very well before playing it for real money and even this step that is recommended for all gamblers can be considered as improving the skills of playing the respective games.

There is no shortage of resources available on the internet to help players become more familiar with the games and how they work so like most skills, these too require some dedication and practice in order to get better results.

Moving past the process of learning the games however and we find that there are some games which incorporate skill in their regular gameplay, while others leave it all to random chance. In the latter category we find very popular games that create an exciting session due to their purely random outcomes. Slots are arguably the best example here and we can also add keno, bingo and roulette. The idea is that the player doesn’t have any power to control the outcome of a round once the bet has been placed.

On the other side of the debate we find games where skill plays a big role, blackjack being the most significant in this category. Casino Hold’em and video poker can also be considered good examples and one of the things they have in common is the additional step added between placing a bet and getting the results. In blackjack, players can decide what to do with the starting hand and making the right choice for the best possible odds of winning requires skill in the game.

Having good skills when playing casino games can also refer to proper bankroll management or simply knowing when to stop. Good luck!