Even in a game like poker, where skill plays a massive role in your ability to win, many players have superstitions that they believe will affect their luck. Even pro players who have developed their understanding of poker and how to beat their opponents have some superstitious beliefs. This is why many players, including professionals, have rituals to help them ward off bad luck, regardless of whether they’re playing online poker or a live game.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most famous rituals used by players which they believe will increase their chances of winning, as well as some pro players’ lucky rituals or beliefs.
The most famous rituals practiced by players
Every player has their own beliefs when it comes to lucky rituals, but here are five that you are very likely to see at a live poker table or that players are likely to perform when they play poker games online.
1. Using a lucky charm
This is undoubtedly one of the most common rituals, with players around the world believing that an item can improve their chances of winning. Some of the most popular lucky charms that players use are:
- Card protectors
- Casino chips
- A lucky rabbit’s foot
2. Wearing a lucky piece of clothing
The second most popular when it comes to boosting your luck is wearing a piece of clothing that you believe is lucky. These pieces of clothing could be anything, including underwear, hats, jackets or even dirty old socks.
3. Enjoying your favorite drink
Some players swear by their favorite alcoholic, hot or sweet beverage before a game. While it may not help improve your luck, there is evidence that certain types of drinks (such as chamomile and green tea) can help reduce stress and anxiety, helping you improve your level of play, which some players may interpret as luck.
4. Taking some time to relieve yourself
There’s absolutely no doubt that when we get nervous, a quick trip to the restroom may be necessary to help calm us down. Some players have pre-empted the need to relieve themselves and have included a bathroom break as part of their pre-game ritual.
5. Stacking chips in a specific way
Most players will simply sort their chips by value, but some have very specific beliefs about how they stack and position their chips. For example, some players may alternate their chips by color or have their chips placed in a specific place on the table in order to feel at their luckiest when they play.
Pros and their rituals
You may think pro players are not a superstitious lot, but there are definitely some pros who have lucky charms and rituals to ensure they’re always playing at their best. Here’s a few examples of what the professionals get up to.
Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu watches Rocky movies to get ready for his games
Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu, who holds two WPT championship titles and six WSOP bracelets, believes part of his success is due to the fact that he marathons the Rocky movies (a pastime he’s shared on his Twitter account). Considering these are classic “underdog” sports films, it’s unsurprising that Negreanu finds them useful for getting him into the right frame of mind, ready to take on the world. After all, “If this is something you wanna do, and if this is something you gotta do, then you do it. Fighters fight.”
Doyle Brunson’s lucky card protector
In a 2009 interview with the Las Vegas Sun, Doyle Brunson, who’s been playing professional poker for more than 50 years, revealed that he always brings his lucky card protector, a small black rock with a picture of Casper the Friendly Ghost, with him to his games. He got it from someone about four decades ago and still keeps it with him. He even rents it out to other players who are looking for some good luck to rub off on them.
Johnny Chan and his orange
One of the stranger lucky items on this list belongs to Johnny Chan, the pro who won back-to-back WSOP titles in 1987 and 1988 and featured in the hit poker film Rounders. Chan has become known for bringing an orange with him to his games after he gave up smoking and wanted something to cover up the smell of cigarettes. Even though smoking indoors is no longer an issue for the former smoker, he still brings an orange with him to poker games as a good luck charm.
Pius Heinz wearing a white hoodie to victory
While it may not have been a permanent addition to his wardrobe, 22-year old Pius Heinz was noted to have worn a white hoodie for much of his run and his eventual win at the WSOP Main Event in 2011. His fans were even spotted wearing white in support of the young player. He has been seen at many other poker tournaments since then but seems to have expanded his wardrobe to include a bit more than his iconic white hoodie.
Sam “Sammy” Farha’s unlit cigarette
Even though he was a non-smoker, Sammy Farha was often seen with an unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth. However, his iconic cigarette may have been as much about image as it was about good fortune, and we can’t deny that it definitely added to his overall sense of style.
Play poker online at BetMGM
We don’t know whether practicing certain rituals will bring you good luck at the virtual or real felt, but what we do know is that you can find great poker games online at BetMGM. Our poker site offers players an incredible range of online poker tournaments, as well as casual real-money and live dealer poker games for those who enjoy a more relaxed setting.
And no need to worry if you’re still learning the ropes of the game. We offer an online poker guide filled with everything you need to know for standard poker, as well as poker tournament rules and poker tournament tips for those who are interested in more serious play.
No matter your level of experience or whether you have your own ways to bring about good luck, register at BetMGM to play some of the most exciting poker that you can find online.