Superstitions and Rituals

ImageA form of magical thinking is the belief in superstitions or rituals. If you win a prize while wearing your red shirt, you may believe that wearing it again might help you to win again. If you cross your fingers or recite a poem and it works once, you may believe that repeating that behaviour might help you to win again. Other common examples of superstitions or good luck charms include:

  • a rabbit’s foot
  • horseshoes
  • four leaf clovers
  • troll dolls (for bingo players)

While people may take some comfort from having their good luck charms, the reality is that the outcomes are random – there is no connection between any superstitions and/or rituals and the results.

Superstitions or rituals are also common among athletes – the difference is that athletes can actually influence the outcome. For example, wearing a certain baseball cap may give an athlete increased confidence, and he may perform better. But in games of chance, such as slots and VLTs, increased confidence won’t make any difference to the result. The results in gambling are completely random and unaffected by your beliefs.

Gamblers with a strong belief in the existence of “lucky years” or “lucky numbers” (such as 7 in some Western cultures or 8 in the some Eastern cultures) may risk more than they are prepared to lose because they think their chances of winning are better on a certain date or during a certain time frame. It’s best to always treat gambling with caution and only bet what you are prepared to lose.

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