Bingo players share one thing very much in common with all gamblers. Many of them are highly superstitious and pay a great deal of attention to luck. While many people may play bingo for the fun of it, winning is still an important reason to play. People can follow all sorts of rituals to get ready for a night gaming – Some people have lucky clothes, lucky pens, lucky numbers. Some players at bingo halls have a lucky seat. A few people even have lucky pants which they wear. There’s even an old superstition among some players to walk around your chair three times before sitting down.
The number 13, as the famous bingo call goes, is “unlucky for some”, but other parts of the world attach similar significance to other numbers. In Japan, for instance, the number 4 is considered unlucky because the Japanese word for 4 is “shi” which also means death. More fortunately, in the same way the number 7 is considered a lucky number in the West, in China the number 8 is considered to be a highly auspicious number, capable of bringing great fortune. Because some superstitions run strongest in the big casinos, if you go to a place like Las Vegas, you won’t find any rooms or floors numbered 13, 4, or any other number which is considered bad luck in other cultures. You may also expect to pay slightly more to stay in room number 8 or on the 7th floor.
Bingo players are actually amongst the most superstitious of all gamblers though, and lucky numbers are possibly the most interesting of the traditions. Many players have both lucky and unlucky numbers, and usually those numbers may have purely personal significance. What this means is that there’s no easy rule to decide which numbers are lucky or not. For example, one player may swear blind that the number 27 always brings them luck, and go out of their way for a card with 27 on it. Another may curse the number as always making them lose and try to trade it in for another. Some players may even be convinced that 13 is their lucky number. Unlucky for some, but not for them!
Few people are as dogged in their superstitions as a veteran bingo player – it’s often so important for these people to sit in their lucky seat that they’ll politely ask someone else to move so that they can sit there. Of course, the unwritten rule is that you should always allow someone to sit in their lucky seat! Typically, the superstitious bingo player will have something they need to do before the game starts, whether, as we mentioned above, this means walking three times around their chair, asking the caller to touch their ticket, or something else. Usually, the belief is that if they can’t do this before the game starts, their luck will be bad. Some people even take this to mean that if they arrive late, they may as well not play at all.
Between them, bingo players may carry a whole galaxy of assorted lucky charms. Sometimes these may be the more traditional lucky charms, such as horseshoes or pressed four leaf clovers. Others may be items with sentimental value such as family photographs or cuddly toys. If a child gives his aunt Shirley a small plastic toy “for good luck”, you can almost guarantee that aunt Shirley will carry it with her when she goes to her next game.
The other thing about a lucky charm is that it if often proudly displayed. Walking into a bingo hall, you’ll see an array of troll dolls, beanie babies, dice, gemstones, lucky coins… The list goes on. All sitting on the table in front of the player who owns them. Go over to someone’s house for an online bingo evening, and you may well see the same kinds of lucky charms sitting on their computer desk.
Perhaps the biggest reason why superstitions are so common is that they aren’t costly. It doesn’t cost you anything to make sure you wear your lucky red socks or to sit in your favourite seat while playing bingo. These little traditions, which enrich the culture behind the game, come at no price at all to the player themselves. However, their sentimental value may well be priceless. At the end of the day, you may believe in good luck, or you may not. Many people ascribe one simple rule to superstition – trusting in a little superstition can’t hurt, so why not?