The Strangest Good Luck Charms Throughout History

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Top view of an expanse of four-leaf clovers of different height and dimensions.
BetMGM Oct 20, 2023, 4:32 AM

Gambling is a great way to pass time, whether you prefer online casino games or enjoy visiting a brick-and-mortar casino. It’s even more fun when you have Lady Luck on your side. Some gamblers feel that this is best achieved with a little help from a good-luck charm.

Of course, most of us are no strangers to horseshoes, four-leaf clovers, and the lucky rabbit’s foot. Lucky pennies, cat’s eye amulets, and the number 8 are also said to bring good fortune. However, some bettors have more unusual ideas when it comes to drawing on luck. Check out these strange good-luck charms that gamblers have relied on throughout history.

The Jin Chan

In China, the three-legged, red-eyed toad – otherwise known as the Jin Chan – is believed to attract good luck and prosperity, which you’ll certainly want on your side when playing online slots or casino table games. You’ll also spot these ugly ornaments at the entrances of many businesses and homes of people hoping to bring good fortune through the door. And hey, if it works, why not? After all, even toads have inner beauty!

Carp Scales

Carp is a traditional Christmas dish in Poland, and it’s believed that keeping the scales in your wallet all year round will bring good fortune and prosperity. A bunch of fish scales in your pocket may attract luck, but you might not enjoy the odor… On the upside, if you prefer playing at an online casino, nobody else will notice the smell!

The Red Bat

While many of us may associate bats with witches, Halloween, and winged creatures getting caught in our hair, in China, this mysterious flying animal is a symbol of good fortune. The red bat, in particular, is associated with the five good fortunes, namely health, long life, love, wealth and virtue. And who wouldn’t want those on your side – whether you’re playing casino table games or just through life in general?


If you’re going to take the concept of “getting lucky” to new levels, what better way than to keep a fascinus to hand. “What’s that?” you may ask. Well, to put it delicately, it’s a phallus (yes, that,) ideally with wings. Trust the Romans to come up with this little number! Originally it was intended to ward off the “evil eye” – which might come in handy against your opponents in your next online poker game.


And while on the subject of Romans and their interesting ideas on things that bring luck, another of their charms is the Tintinnabulum. While to the casual observer it’s merely a wind chime, closer inspection will reveal that the collection of bells surrounds a carving of yet another winged “what-d’you-call-it.” Said to ward off evil spirits and bring luck, it’ll probably also prove to be an interesting talking point if you hang one in plain sight.

Hangman’s Rope

While they may not have brought much luck to the condemned, the hangman’s rope has been seen as a source of good luck by some gamblers since the days of public executions in the US and Europe. Believed to possess special powers, they were even used by the ailing to cure their ills – wrapping a rope around the head was believed to fend off fevers and headaches. A little too close to the throat for our liking… but who are we to judge?

Crocodile Teeth

Ever wonder why some of your poker opponents wear tooth amulets?  Some African cultures view the crocodile as a lucky creature due to its strength, perseverance, and ability to hold onto its prey. Of course, those tenacious qualities would also stand you in good stead if you were entering a poker tournament, though whether a tooth from a prehistoric beast would bring you any luck, good or bad, we couldn’t say. 


More quirky than strange, the fumsup is a sweet-faced doll with both hands raised in a thumbs-up gesture. Usually made of metal, with a wooden head, it allows wearers to “touch wood” for luck when they feel inclined. Essentially, it combines the idea of “giving a thumbs up” with touching wood to bring fortune. Some even have a four-leaf clover painted onto their head for an extra boost!  

Back to That Rabbit

Before we write off that poor old rabbit’s foot as just an ordinary charm, we need to consider that it’s a pretty macabre thing to carry around in the first place… particularly if it’s harvested according to North American folklore tradition. If you really want that foot to be “lucky” when you play casino games, it should be the left hind foot of a rabbit caught in a cemetery during a full moon and ideally dispatched with a silver bullet. So there’s that.

Try Your Luck Playing the Best Casino Games at BetMGM

While you may not feel inspired to use any of these charms for your own luck, you may want to see how you get on at a live casino online. Register at BetMGM to play live dealer games, casino table games, online slots, and much more! We also have an online sportsbook with tons of betting options for those whose best luck lies within the sporting world.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.