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Numbers in Roulette: Lucky for Some?

June 27, 2024

The magnetic power of chance and chance-based strategy in the quintessential casino game has established roulette as one of the most popular games at gambling venues all over the world.

One of its many attractions is that it incorporates the principle of lucky and unlucky numbers. 

In addition to the allure of lucky numbers potentially landing in one of the pockets, another highly fascinating aspect of roulette is the numerous strategies and systems that mathematicians and players have devised despite the game being based entirely on luck and randomness.

As a nation, we consider certain inanimate objects to be endorsed by a touch of good luck: the lucky rabbit’s foot, the four-leaf clover and, for some, the lucky pair of underpants.

Lucky numbers are indeed lucky for some in roulette – whether played at land-based casinos or at one of the top online casinos.

In this article, we will cover some of the lucky and unlucky numbers associated with roulette, along with the history and psychology behind them.

Read on to find out more.

The History of Roulette and Lucky Numbers

Roulette as we know it first appeared in France in the 18th century. However, the game itself was, depending on who you believe, a descendant of even more ancient games which came from both China and ancient Rome.

It is fair to say that, as the game went viral worldwide, players brought with them personal and cultural superstitions that are still at work all around the world today.

The roulette wheel gives players the opportunity to interpret numbers as lucky or unlucky based on personal preference. Some players could use numbers associated with their astrological star signs; others could use mystical systems like Gematria’s Universal Numerology to establish their lucky numbers.

Others prefer the number relating to the temperature at which their steak is cooked or the year they were born. The lucky numbers of millions of disappointed players intermingle with the numbers associated with  birthdays of children, family anniversaries and the deaths of loved ones.

If you’re a regular roulette player, you will understand the relevance of lucky numbers as the majority of people have them, and they are personal and relevant to each individual for whatever reason.

The Significance of Lucky Numbers in Different Cultures

There are, in fact, many cultures that assign special meanings to numbers. These meanings seep into everyday life and even influence decisions people make at the roulette wheel. 

Number 7 for instance, is considered lucky in many Western cultures. Folklore tales from different parts of the world suggest that the seventh son of the seventh son will be endowed with magical powers (good or bad). In the Bible, God completed creation in six days, and took the seventh day to rest.  The number 7 has always been associated with luck, and various roulette players select 7 due to this positive yet timeless superstition.

Number 17 is strategically placed at the centre of the roulette layout and has been at the centre of some historic wins. The late, great James Bond actor Sean Connery famously bet on 17 multiple times in a row and walked away with a sizeable win. Hence, many players also choose to play this number. 

Number 13 is a lucky number in Italy, in stark contrast to the unlucky connotation that it has in most other Western countries. 

Number 8 represents wealth and prosperity and is considered a lucky choice in China.

Number 4, on the other hand, is avoided by many East Asians because of its similarity to the word for ‘death’ in the Chinese language.

Number 23 and Number 24 are also some of the most common and lucky numbers in roulette. It’s said that the eye is naturally drawn to these when glancing over the table, so many gamblers believe the ball will be drawn to them too.

Players’ reliance on luck, often associated with winning numbers for successful outcomes, may not fully explain their gambling habits that stray from the mathematical principles of casino games.

Numbers Players Should Avoid

Just like some numbers are thought to be the most common winning numbers in roulette, others are avoided by players. Below, we explore some of these further.

Number 13 is considered unlucky in Norse Mythology as the God Loki, was the 13th to arrive at the feast of Valhalla, and in Christianity, Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest at the last supper, which is another reason why the number 13 is thought to be unlucky. This means that many gamblers avoid it when choosing the best bet for roulette.

Number 0: As this number sits alone on the board, it’s unpopular when deciding the best numbers to play in roulette.

Number 6: In roulette, number 6 is thought to be unlucky, and many gamblers choose to avoid it.

Number 34: Finally, you’ve got number 34. This number is found at the very edge of the table and is an unpopular choice amongst players.

The Psychology of Believing in Lucky Numbers

Believing in lucky numbers might, in part, arise simply because believing in anything provides a sense of control in a world bursting with chaos and uncertainty. 

Humans detect patterns in events that appear random, often assigning importance to occurrences that may seem insignificant to others.

The way a player feels while betting is as important as the logical reasoning behind their choice of numbers.

When the player finishes the game, their specific emotions will be intensified to encourage betting on certain numbers due to previous successful bets and the ‘confirmation bias’ that leads players to pay more attention to wins than losses.

Superstitions and Gambling: Are Lucky Numbers Real?

Superstitions work, even if playing a high number in roulette doesn’t literally affect the odds.

Furthermore, the emotional state of a player can affect their strategy and betting pattern. 

The strength of lucky numbers doesn’t lie in the numbers themselves; it rests in the psychological boost they offer and the emotional investment put into them.

Players who believe in superstitions and their own set of lucky numbers can have a more enjoyable experience, especially if they have had a winning streak. As we have just discovered, it all boils down to fun in the end. Isn’t that ultimately what all of us are seeking?

How Roulette Players Choose Their Lucky Numbers

Players can come up with lucky numbers in many ways. Some select them for sentimental reasons – for example, the birthdays of loved ones, anniversaries or some other special occasions. 

Others choose for reasons of cultural beliefs or heirloom superstitions. They will all be affected by what is surrounding them while playing – namely, that statistically, each spin is completely independent. 

What all these methods of number selection have in common is emotional significance. They somehow personalise the game and create the feeling of being in on the trick, of being lucky and shrewd.

Lucky Numbers

The presence of lucky numbers betters the entertainment value of roulette. They are rooted in history, culture and psychology, and with each spin of the wheel, they acquire more emotional content. 

The argument against them is that they do not work, and there is no proven link between superstition and the laws of physics. However, the role of the lucky number in a gamer’s attitude is undeniable. 

It gives a sense of control and optimism in the unsteady world of chance, making every spin of the ball unique and charged with emotion.