Friday 13th: Superstitions in Gambling

Fearful for some, lucky for others, Friday the 13th is not an ordinary day. For 24 hours, the superstitious implement a whole series of rituals to protect themselves from bad luck or, on the contrary, to attract luck to them. But where does this superstition of Friday the 13th come from? What are the other superstitions of casino players? How to reconcile superstition and gambling? GAMRFIRST investigates.

What is superstition?

Each individual has their own perception of luck. Some consider it uncontrollable, while others believe it directly stems from their actions and decisions.

This is where superstitions come in. They consist of belief in supernatural forces or signs of good or bad fortune that can influence the outcome of a game. It manifests through a series of behaviors and rituals aimed at attracting luck or avoiding misfortune.

Superstitions related to gambling vary from one culture to another. However, they often share similarities, such as avoiding certain numbers, looking for signs of luck, or using lucky charms.

Superstition may seem irrational, but it plays a significant role in the psychology of players. It influences their decisions and behaviors when they bet or play games of chance. It is important for players to keep in mind that gambling depends solely on chance.

Where does the superstition of Friday the 13th come from?

The superstition of Friday the 13th is very common. No one really knows where this belief comes from. It would have an origin that is both religious, historical, and symbolic.

Friday the 13th: A religious history

The superstition surrounding Friday the 13th largely derives its origins from religious symbolism. In monotheistic and polytheistic religions, Friday and the number 13 carry a particularly strong symbolic charge.

Take the example of Christians. In this religion, Friday is inexorably linked to penance following the death of Jesus. According to the Gospel of John, his crucifixion took place on Friday, April 7th in the year 30. This biblical tragedy occurred after his last supper with his 12 apostles. Thirteen people are gathered at the Last Supper, including a traitor, Judas, who will facilitate the arrest of Jesus by the high priests of Jerusalem. The connotation of betrayal and death may have contributed to the negative perception associated with Friday the 13th in Western culture.

Parallel to this, religious history is full of other unfortunate events that occurred on a Friday. Among them, the temptation of Adam and Eve by the devil, as well as the story of the flood on Earth with the construction of Noah's ark. Also worth noting, in the Bible, chapter 13 is that of the Apocalypse.

These biblical stories have helped reinforce the association between Friday, the number 13, and tragic events in the collective imagination.

13, a symbolic number

Since antiquity, the number 13 has been perceived as unreliable. Its fault: following 12, considered the perfect number. Olympus counts 12 deities. The constellations of the zodiac number 12, just like the labors of Hercules. Add to that the 12 months of the year, the 12 hours of the day, and 12 hours of the night. The number 13 breaks this harmony.

Other civilizations throughout time have attached particular importance to the number 13. In ancient Egypt, it shone as a symbol of radiant prosperity. It occupied a central place in the beliefs of the Mayans. The lunar months were divided into 13 days of the new moon, 13 days of the full moon, and 13 days of the new moon. The Mayans worshipped 13 deities, each with their own paradise, totaling 13 heavenly realms. This number is also sacred for the Hebrew people. According to the Talmud, the territory of Israel "will be divided into thirteen parts, the thirteenth of which will return to the Messiah."

To accommodate some superstitious customers, certain hotels do not offer room number 13 to their guests. Similarly, some airlines have removed rows and seats bearing the number 13 from their planes.

Fun fact: Does the number 4 bring bad luck in China? In China, the number 4 brings bad luck. It is phonetically very close to the Chinese word "sǐ" meaning "death." In some hospitals, rooms and floors bearing the number 4 are avoided. Phone numbers or license plates containing the number 4 may be perceived as unlucky. Many companies and public buildings avoid using the number 4 in their numbers or names to avoid discouraging customers.

Friday 13th: Unfortunate associations

Friday the 13th is often associated with unfortunate events, ingrained in the collective imagination.

Philip IV, king of France, arrests and tortures the Templars on Friday the 13th, 1307. That day, according to legend, Jacques de Molay, grand master of the Knights Templar, would have cast a curse on Pope Clement and the king. Both will die a few months later...

We can also mention the unfortunate adventure of the Apollo 13 mission in 1970. The module exploded in mid-flight after taking off at 1:13 p.m. from a platform bearing the number 39... a multiple of 13.

Other tragedies have marked Friday the 13th:

  • Hurricane Charley devastates Florida on Friday the 13th of August 2004
  • The Costa Concordia, having sunk on Friday the 13th of January 2012
  • On Friday the 13th of November 2015, France is struck by one of the deadliest attacks in its history

Did you know? The fear of Friday the 13th has a name. It's called paraskevidekatriaphobia.

The most popular superstitions in gambling

The famous beginner's luck

According to this well-known superstition, when a novice plays for the first time, if they win, it's beginner's luck. This belief is directly linked to the purity and innocence that beginners are supposed to possess. In reality, it is obvious that novice and experienced players are constantly on an equal footing because it is all about games of chance.

Numbers believed to bring luck

Like the number 13, superstitions are often associated with numbers. 7, 77, or 777 are perceived by players as lucky numbers. The numbers 5 and 3, and all their combinations, are sometimes associated with bad luck. Once again, this reasoning is flawed since chance is in no way influenced by luck or bad luck.

Amulets and other lucky charms

It is not uncommon to see casino players carrying a small object intended to attract luck to them. Think, for example, of four-leaf clovers, horseshoes, rabbit feet, rosaries, or even coins. Whatever the case, the result of a game of chance will remain the same whether one carries a lucky charm or not.

The superstition of "almost winning"

This is a well-known psychological phenomenon. The player gets a result close to the jackpot (4 correct numbers out of 5 in a lottery, for example). For them, it's a sign! If they keep playing, they will inevitably win the jackpot. If they get the black ball several times in a row, they think it increases the probability of drawing the red ball. In reality, it is an unconscious bias. Let's remember: each game is independent. The result of one has no impact on the next.

Carriers of bad luck

Some players go out of their way to avoid encountering a bearer of bad luck before their blackjack or poker game.

The black cat is a well-known legend. This harmless animal is perceived as a bad omen by a large number of players.


You may have noticed this already. In casinos, at blackjack tables or in front of slot machines, some players have their little quirks. They blow on the dice, press the button only with their right hand (or left hand), etc.

Some eagerly await Friday the 13th to play at the online casino, except that games depend solely on chance, there is no possibility of influencing luck.