The Weirdest Professional Poker Player Superstitions
If you’re not a superstitious person, you probably think that these kinds of beliefs aren’t that common. You might think they’re just plot points in horror movies. But look around and you’ll see that superstitions are all around us. Trust us, we’ve seen it firsthand in Ignition poker.
One of the most common superstitions surrounds the number 13. Friday the 13th is believed to be a night of peril because of the slasher film. But heaps of buildings omit a 13th floor or an apartment with the number 13. Some airlines don’t have a 13th row on their planes.
Another superstition is that black cats are an omen of bad luck. First of all, if you ask us, cats are weird in general (cue all the angry cat people in the comments). But black cats are particularly strange to some folks. Rumour has it that they scared the crap out of notorious figures like Hitler and Napoleon. If you can scare the likes of these dudes, then there’s gotta be something off about you, right?
Superstitious people also often believe that salt has special powers. According to legend, salt can purify your soul and keep evil spirits at bay. All we know is that it spikes your blood pressure – and for us, that’s scary enough.
So, what do all of these wild beliefs tell us? That people are f**king weird! Of course, poker players are people, which means that poker players must be weird. Especially the most experienced pros.
The two main pillars of poker are luck and skill. But sometimes, the luck part takes precedence over everything else. Many poker players, like many pro athletes, take part in some super strange rituals.
Let’s get one thing straight: we’re not here to criticise or make fun of them. Hell, these pros have mad riches playing the game we love the most! How could we ever criticise the people we idolise?
If you’ve been on the poker scene for a while, you’ve heard of Sammy Farha. He’s the winner of multiple WSOP titles, with a net worth of over $100 million. His staple aesthetic? The unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth. He’s a non-smoker and has been for life, but that lucky cigarette never leaves his lips when he’s seated at a poker table.
Farha swears that this lucky cig gave him that extra bit of luck he needed to reach the final table of the WSOP Main Event in 2003. Over the course of his career, he has won three WSOP bracelets. He has also won some sweet cash in the National Heads-Up Poker Championship. He once won $75,000 and took home $125,000 on another occasion. He also has three cash victories under his belt in the World Poker Tour events, totalling more than $100,000.
When Farha loses a hand, he immediately ditches that unlit cigarette and picks out another one.
Renowned poker player, Johnny Chan, has taken home not one, not two, but 10 WSOP bracelets! Sure, he’s got impressive poker-playing skills. But he claims his real luck comes from the orange that he sits near his chips. This unusual ritual began before smoking bans were implemented. Back when players could smoke freely, Chan would lift the orange to his nose and inhale to clear his sinuses from the thick smoke around him.
At the ripe (see what we did there?) age of 21, Chan left his studies at the University of Houston and moved to Las Vegas to pursue gambling as a career. When he was just 16, Chan managed to get in on a cash game in Vegas. During this game, he reportedly turned $500 to $20,000 in one night. In true 16-year-old-style, he lost it all the very next day.
In both 1987 and 1988, Chan won the WSOP. The victories made him the first foreign national to ever win the main event. The video of his 1988 WSOP final match was even featured in the movie Rounders.
A decade later, in 1998, Chan won the WSOP main event. With that, the orange became a representation of good luck. It is now a permanent fixture in his poker-playing ritual.
An icon. A legend. A poker star. These are just a few of the ways you could describe Doyle Brunson. He always said he wasn’t a superstitious bloke – until he began talking to his card protector, of course. That card protector’s name? Casper the Friendly Ghost. Yep, we’re serious.
Brunson first started chatting with the poker spirit as a bit, asking the ghost for some extra luck. But lo and behold, Casper came through on every request!
Brunson is the first-ever player to win $1 million in poker tourneys. He’s also one of four players to win the Main Event at the WSOP several times. He won the Main Event back-to-back in the years 1976 and 1977. He is one of three players to win WSOP tourneys four years in a row. He’s also the first of only six people to win both the WSOP Main Event as well as a World Poker Tour title.
Turns out Casper is really friendly. Who would’ve thought?
Fellow players took notice of Brunson whispering to his ghost friend (this would be kinda hard to miss if we’re honest). Unsurprisingly, they wanted some of that magic for themselves. But Brunson isn’t just a great poker player – he’s a savvy businessman. He saw an opportunity and took it, renting the ghost out for a whopping $500 per 30 minutes.
Excuse us while we search up the word “gullible” in the dictionary for a little refresher.
Brunson retired in 2018. When he did, he sold Casper to a fellow poker pro, Howard Lederer, for a cool $3,500. That aside, Brunson held on to his charm (and his wits allegedly) until he passes away. Then – and only then – will it be passed on to Howard, according to Doyle’s Will.
Pius’ poker-playing career started casually enough. He watched the Main Event and High Stakes Poker on TV and started playing a few hands with his mates. He soon realised how much skill is required to succeed. From there, he threw himself into studying the game and its strategies.
He would go on to win the 2010 Full Tilt Poker Sunday Mulligan and a 2011 PokerStars tourney that secured him $150,000. In his online gaming career, he has accumulated more than $700,000.
You know how heaps of pro athletes believe in lucky jerseys, underwear, hats, and so on? For Pius, his lucky piece of clothing is his white hoodie. He wore this hoodie throughout the whole 2011 Main Event. Once he reached the final table, half of the people in the room were wearing similar styles as a show of support.
Pius’ mindset is simple: if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Even if there’s only luck in one single strand of that hoodies, it’s better than no luck at all! With that logic, he still rocks that jumper to this day.
Find Your Ritual with Some Ignition Poker
Sure, superstitions might be weird and downright silly. But at the end of the day, no matter how skilled you are at strategy, you need luck to win big. So, where is your luck coming from?
Whether it’s a four-leaf clover (gotta love the luck of the Irish) or a rabbit’s foot, everyone has their thing. Why not find yours at Ignition Casino?
Join us today for some Ignition poker! You can check us out online or via the Ignition mobile poker app. To get it, just find the Ignition poker download and get the app directly on your smartphone. That way, the fun can come with you anywhere you go!
Why not put your superstitions to the ultimate test? Play some Ignition poker to see how they hold up!