Eight Fascinating Chinese Gambling Superstitions

Think you have some quirky gambling superstitions? (Trust us, they’re quirky.) You have nothing on our Las Vegas visitors from China.

Here are eight Chinese gambling superstitions we find particularly fascinating.

chinese new year
Let’s get this wănhuì started!

1. Books Are to Be Avoided

The Chinese don’t like words that sound like unlucky things. For example, “book” in Chinese sounds like “lose,” and hearing the word is considered unlucky. Carrying or looking at books are also unlucky to Chinese gamblers.

2. Find the Right Spot

Many Chinese gamblers are into feng shui. The west side of a room (or casino), for example, or somewhere you can see a door, are considered good luck based upon this ancient philosophy.

A famous example of the importance of feng shui to gamblers is when the MGM Grand had to change its entrance, one that formerly forced customers to walk through the mouth of a lion (actually, under its chin, but close enough), deemed to be very bad mojo by players from Asia.

MGM Grand lion
Bad feng shui cost the MGM Grand a pretty penny.

3. Be An “Innie”

In Chinese culture, a concave navel is seen as good luck, as it symbolizes a prosperous life. Sorry, 10% of the population with outies, you’re on your own.

Belly button
Somebody’s getting lucky in Vegas tonight.

4. Luck By the Numbers

In Chinese culture, eight is a very lucky number because that number in Mandarin Chinese sounds like the Chinese word for “prosperity.” (Why do you think our list has eight numbers on it?)

Four, on the other hand, is unlucky, because it sounds like the Chinese word for “death.” This is why many hotels in Las Vegas skip floor numbers that start with the number four. The Rio Las Vegas, for example, is advertised as having 51 floors, but if you deduct the missing 40-49, it actually has just 41. The Encore is also missing floors 40-49.

Rio floors
Floors in the 40s are for suckas.

Interestingly, Chinese gamblers seek out room numbers that sound lucky when pronounced in Chinese. In Chinese, 84 sounds like “prosperous till death,” 168 sounds like “prosper all the way” and 998 sounds like “prosper for a long time.”

5. The Cold Shoulder

When a Chinese person is gambling, it’s a major faux pas to touch their shoulders. Shoulder-touching is considered no only very bad luck, but rude to boot.

6. Paint the Town Red

To the Chinese, the color red represents joy and good fortune. That’s the reason you’ll never see red at a Chinese funeral. Red is everywhere during the Chinese New Year and other holidays.

Chinese gamblers also believe wearing red underwear to the casino will bring them good luck.

Chinese New Year red
Seeing red in a casino can help keep you in the black.

7. It’s a Wash

For Chinese gamblers, washing their hands during a session in the casino can change their luck. If they’re losing, a good hand-washing can turn things around, according to the superstition. If a player is winning, hand-washing is to be avoided, as it could wash the good luck away.

8. No Sexing Before Gambling

Chinese males believe having sex before gambling is bad luck, so it’s to be avoided at all costs. Note: Unfortunately, this Las Vegas blog is really, really lucky. ‘Nuff said.

You say unlucky like it’s a bad thing.

Bonus Chinese superstition: In the Chinese culture, it’s considered especially good luck if a woman gambles during her period.

So, there you have it. If you play in Las Vegas casinos at all, you no doubt have your own wacky superstitions.

Then again, they’re only “wacky” if they don’t work!


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