Luck plays a part in gambling, even with games like poker that require skill, there remains an element of luck required to win. However, in games of pure chance like bingo, roulette, and the lottery, where strategy or statistics are irrelevant, it is simply luck that decides whether a player wins or not. Luck can therefore be considered as a force that operates for or against an individual.
Bingo is a game of chance with numbers randomly called whether you play online or in a bingo hall. The game offers the chance to win big, so choosing the best bingo sites will win the most money. Ten days before Christmas 2012, 60-year-old John Orchard from Lincolnshire, UK, won a record-breaking GBP5.9 million jackpot on an online bingo site, beating the previous UK record holder from Scotland who won GBP1.2 million in 2008.
It is also unknown how many bingo cards Orchard played to win his fortune. It is likely to have been several cards since the probability distribution in a standard game of bingo with randomly generated cards falls from 50 numbers called to get a win on 10 cards to calling no more than 30 numbers to win with 100 cards. Other variants of the game that include X-out, four corners, postage stamp or blackout have different probability distributions.
Roulette is a thrilling casino game that can win players a good sum of money based purely on chance. Happily, this game is no longer exclusive to high-rollers; you can easily play it at trusted online casino sites. Players can bet on red or black, odd or even, or choose specific numbers, among other more complex bets. The challenge for new players is that the game has a large house edge which requires good bankroll management, so the money does not run out.
One of the luckiest numbers in roulette is considered to be 17. This number is in the centre of the roulette wheel and has caused some famous names to win millions in one case three times in one session.
Sean Connery’s luck in roulette is undisputed. He reportedly placed five consecutive bets on 17 at a casino in Italy. He lost the first two spins of the wheel but won at odds of 31:1 on the third spin. He put all the winnings for the fourth spin and beat all the odds to win again. He then put all the money on 17 for a fifth and final time, winning at odds of 50,000:1 or a 0.0000197 per cent chance of a win.
Very intriguing is the story of Françoise Sagan. Before receiving a fee for her first novel, “Hello Sadness!” Françoise dreamed of buying a small apartment. When she gets good money for her novel, she goes to have fun in the resorts of Honfleur and Deauville.
On 7 August 1959, Françoise visited one of the casinos there. She had her favourite numbers and believed they would bring her good luck at the roulette wheel. The numbers were 3, 8, and 11, and she bet on them all night but lost a large amount. Before she left, she decided to try one more wager with the last remaining money on “8 Black”. In this last spin of the wheel, she earned FRF80,000, worth EUR300,000 today. The same evening, she bought a hotel in the area because she had nowhere to stay. Françoise would go on to spend most of her life in this mansion, which she named “The House of My Heart”. Today there is a museum dedicated to her, a woman who ruined a casino with a single bet.
Whilst lottery numbers are randomly generated, most lottery companies will publish statistics that show the most common numbers, the largest jackpots and much more. Over 180 days between March to May 2021, the most popular winning numbers in the UK lottery were in descending order of popularity: 52, 8, 58, 54, 36 and 55. By US stats, most winning lottery numbers are 32, 41, 16, 12, 39 and 26. However, if you like statistics, the odds of drawing your chosen combination slowly increases with every session where you play the same numbers, so stick with the same numbers for a while.
The UK national lottery paid out the biggest jackpot in January 2016, which was just over GBP66 million. The previous biggest jackpot of GBP42 million had been won in January 1996. The US Powerball record jackpot stood at USD1.586 billion and was also won in January 2016. The odds of winning the jackpot in any of the major lotteries is around 1 in 250 million.
There are different opinions about which numbers are lucky or unlucky for superstitious gamblers. In Western culture, the number 13 is considered an unlucky number whilst the number 7 is widely considered to be lucky since it relates to seven days of the week, seven continents, seven colours in the rainbow and seven natural wonders of the world. In Italy, some are superstitious about Friday the 17th rather than Friday the 13th because the Roman numeral XVII can be altered to VIXI, which in Latin means “my life is over.”
In Chinese numerology, the number four is unlucky since it sounds like the Cantonese word for death. In China, many buildings will skip the fourth floor in the same way Western builders sometimes do not mark floor 13. Number eight is considered lucky because it sounds similar to the word for prosperity.
Other cultural differences in choosing numbers relate to the translation of the number. In Japan, the number nine is considered unlucky because it sounds similar to the Japanese word for torture or suffering. In Afghanistan, the number 39 literally means ‘dead cow’ or the slang for a pimp.
Winning games of chance rely on luck. Whether your luck is a mystical force, a thought process of positivity when approaching a situation or a matter of simply being born that way, it has certainly become a very powerful belief that makes many consider themselves either lucky or unlucky.