Along with many gambling superstitions and myths believed by casino players across the world there certain numbers which are considered to be either lucky or unlucky depending on where in the world you find yourself. Each culture has its own unique reasons for believing that a number is either lucky or unlucky and many explanations originate from religious beliefs, or have been handed down from one generation to the next.
No matter where the beliefs originate though, the subject is very intriguing and here we look at the numbers which are believed to be lucky or unlucky and where these connotations began.
Lucky and Unlucky Numbers in Western Cultures
Seven is considered to be a popular lucky number in western cultures and is considered to be so for a variety of reasons. Firstly, in Christian religions, it is believed that God created the universe in 7 days and 7 is a significant biblical number speaking to fullness, completion and blessing. Until the 17th century there were 7 known planets which meant that 7 was a lucky number in astrology. Many famous people, including the renowned mathematician Pythagoras believed the number 7 to be lucky too. And most bizarrely, lady bugs which are believed to be “lucky insects” have seven spots.
For this reason the number 7 is often displayed on Slot machines and is the winning number in a game of craps. It is also the most popular number associated with casinos across the world.
While not as popular a lucky number as seven, three is thought to be lucky because it represents a triangle which is an indestructible shape. It is also the number of the trinity in Christianity.
Eleven is an ambivalent number and is associated with both luck and misfortune. In numerology as well as in the game of craps 11 is a lucky number but more recently due to the tragic events in the US on the 11th of September involving flight 11, it has developed negative connotations for some.
The number thirteen is widely thought of as one of the most unlucky numbers that there are. In fact many people fear the number 13 so much that the phobia even has its own name triskaidekaphobia. The aversion to the number is so widely held that many buildings do not have a thirteenth floor.
While the reason for the fear of the number thirteen is unknown it appears in many places including the painting of the Last Supper with Judas, the betrayer of Christ, being the 13th person at the table. Friday the 13th is said to be an extremely unlucky day and many superstitious people will not leave the house on this day let alone gamble. The fear of Friday the 13th is associated with the massacre of the Knights Templar on Friday the 13th in 1307.
666 is a disturbing and unlucky number due to the fact that is associated with the mark of the beast in the book of Revelation in the Bible and also with Satanism and the occult. For this reason it is a widely avoided number combination in western civilization.
Interestingly, the number 666 is often associated with the game of roulette as it is said that it’s the inventor of European Roulette gained his secrets from the devil and earned great success because of it.
Lucky and Unlucky numbers in Eastern Cultures
Fortune and misfortune are generally associated with even and odd numbers respectively in Asian cultures. Due to these beliefs, Asian couples plan their wedding days on even numbered days and most important events are also arranged as such.
Is a very lucky number in Eastern culture as it is believed that good things happen in pairs (as opposed to threes in western culture). As such, the number two appears in Advertising and Asian casinos and is associated with “double the happiness/effectiveness“. Asian people also believe that luck is associated with the pronunciation of words and the word for two sounds the same as the word for “easy“.
Unlucky numbers are also associated with pronunciation. The number 4 is said to be very unlucky and is avoided due to the fact that it sounds like the word for “die” in Japanese, Chinese and Korean languages. For this reason, buildings and hospitals do not have a 4th floor.
Eight is the luckiest number of all in Asian culture, and even its pronunciation is similar to the phrase for “good luck”.. It is deemed to be so lucky that the telephone number 8888-8888 was sold for an amount in excess of $200k.
In stark contrast to Western beliefs, in eastern cultures the pronunciation of the number 666 is similar to “things going smoothly” which is strongly fortunate. So you will find many homes and shops with the numbers 666 carved into their doors for luck.
Globally lucky numbers
The number five is considered to be lucky as it is significant in many religions including Christianity, Judaism and Islam and featured in many religious icons. The ancient Greeks believed there were 5 elements that made up the universe (Fire, water, earth, air and ether) and the Japanese believe that 5 is lucky because 5 planets can be seen with the naked eye.