I’m not a superstitious sort. I don’t carry lucky icons, wear lucky clothing or perform good-luck rituals while I play. I’ve been known to egg on my brother Jay in his jackpot dance, probably to the amusement of surveillance rooms everywhere.
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If others have rituals they like to follow, more power to them. As long as they’re not betting money they can’t afford to lose or making bets with high house edges, their bids for luck fall into the “it can’t hurt” category.
I emailed a group of 20 slot players to ask if they followed any superstitions when playing. The majority said they didn’t, but a few responded in the affirmative:
WANDA: I used to have a lucky T-shirt. I wore that one into the ground.
The first time I won a big jackpot was with three Double Diamonds on a three-reel, quarter machine. I won $625 — 2,500 quarters, except they paid by hand and gave me five $100 bills, six twenties and a five.
I’ve never been so excited! I’m not sure I’d ever held a $100 bill before.
They also gave me a casino T-shirt, and the next time I played, I wore it. I decided to take one of my $100 bills and try a dollar machine for the first time. Naturally, I chose Double Diamond. I noticed the pays were a little different. Three Double Diamonds paid 8,000 in dollars.
I didn’t get the Double Diamonds, but I got a spin with Double Diamonds on the first reel and again on the second, and I kind of held my breath. Then I got a 7 on the third reel!
Three 7s paid $240, and the diamonds doubled it twice. This time they gave me nine $100 bills and six twenties.
That did it. I wore that T-shirt every time I played for 10 years or more. I didn’t win all the time; in fact, I’m sure I lost more than I won. But how could I tempt fate?
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DAVE: I don’t know if this is a superstition, but I guess it’s a ritual. I always start my day at any casino by walking around and checking to see if they have a Money Rain slot, or one of the similar ones with pictures of money.
Naturally, that started with a winning session, but I get a kick out of the game, too, with the presidents smiling when they win.
I had a few nice wins, one with $100 bills and another with $50s, then when I got the rain feature and all those bills came flying around the screen, it seemed like every one I touched was a big payer.
For a couple of years now, I do the Money Rain walk first, and figure if I can find it, it’s going to be a good day.
TRISH: I got this from my mom, who’s a bingo player. I went with her a few times, and all these women had their lucky dolls and stuffed animals. My mom even had her lucky marker. She always had to have it there, even if she was playing on a video screen.
She gave me this really ugly key ring. I found out it came from an old Las Vegas casino called the Lady Luck, and it has this two-inch, bright, almost witchlike character called Mad Money.
That became my good luck charm. I don’t put dolls up on the machine while I play like my mom at bingo, but I’ll confess to feeling better when I have old Mad with me.
Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).