Every player has poker superstition, in fact, poker superstitions have been a part of the game since the first time a player touched their lucky rabbit’s foot, crossed their fingers and toes and pushed their chip stack over the line, probably with some physical difficulty. But what are your favorite poker player superstitions, and are you going too far?
Your regular poker superstitions that are completely normal are often related to one of three things: what you wear, what you eat or which seat you’re in. Those are the trifecta that identifies you as a perfectly normal, rational person. After all, those topics are ones that people in everyday life refer to all the time. Sitting in the same seat as your niece’s birthdate? Winning. Lamb is on the menu and you’re playing in Wales? Hardly a coincidence. The only pair of underpants you brought with you survived Day 1a? You’ve got to wear them every day.
From a baseball cap that you wore to conquer a major poker event to a pair of socks you can’t help but slip on every time you play in Finland, poker apparel has always been a superstition. From the cowboy hat that the poker pioneers wore to a gambling saloon to the modern-day hoodie, no item of clothing is without the ability to transform itself from mere accessory into a magical talisman.
Food is vital to poker players, but superstitious foods are seldom healthy ones. Some date back to live tour supplies, think of that midnight bag of nachos you made it through Day 2 on after missing the line at breakfast. Now you’ve got to have nachos every time you make a Day 2… and nothing else.
Which seat you’re in always has a bearing on your mood. Seat 9 at Table 13 is obviously the worst seat in any cardroom, but while it affords the same obstructed view, Seat 1 at Table 1 feels like the winner’s seat. It may be based around the practicality of seeing everything and being dead center, but Seat 5 always feels like home, especially when we’re eating nachos and wearing our lucky Blue Jays cap.
The second category of poker superstitions relates to poker chips and is a level up in weirdness. What do you mean, you think it’s perfectly normal to stack your chips with the colors in an alternating pattern, while always using your lucky poker chip card protector?
Chips are, with the possible exception of a super high roller event such as the recent Super High Roller Bowl in the Bahamas, disgusting items. They carry germs around the table, and you want to riffle them, stroke them, flip them through your fingers, all in the name of superstition? We pity your doctor. Carry hand sanitizer.
If there’s one thing weirder than the poker chips being passed around the table like oh so many used handkerchiefs, it’s the cards themselves. While the elite players know that playing cards are merely the form of communicating the strength of the player’s hand, players of less experience have been known to attach enormous superstitious value to certain cards.
From the player who once won a pivotal hand with pocket deuces and now can never duck them to the online player who can’t resist one particular hand to such an extent that they name themselves ‘q7ofspades’, hole cards are a poker players’ peril. You simply cannot attach yourself with any favor to one hand more than any other, not pocket eights, or even pocket aces. The only hand you ever want is simply the winning hand.
That said, 5-6 of clubs always look lovely, doesn’t it?
The final taboo of poker table conversation is not politics, religion or sports, although none of those subjects is recommended for conversation without a pair of headphones and a WiFi connection.
Chip protectors, stuffed animals or pictures of loved ones should be preserved for pride of place on your mantelpiece, not at the poker table. Poker is a game of emotions, but not Happy Meal trinkets. There should be a worldwide ban on stuffed animals at the felt, and we hope it comes into effect the next time players get together to discuss improvements to the game. In fact, we just now found out that stuffed animals will be banned, by asking our Magic 8-Ball. Those things are never wrong.
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