While poker is considered a game of skill, various elements of luck are still involved in poker games. It doesn't matter how good you are at playing the game - you still need some good fortune to get the right cards and create a winning hand.
Over the years, multiple successful poker pros discussed the fact that they sometimes rely on lucky charms to feel more confident and boost their wins at the poker table. What kind of charms did they use? And do they really work? It is time to review this lucky topic!
Top 3 Lucky Charms in Poker
- The Orange – Johnny Chan, also known as the Orient Express, is a highly successful poker pro. Throughout his career, Chan won 10 WSOP bracelets, earning almost $9,000,000 in total.
In the early days, Chan won the main events two years in a row (in 1987 and 1988) and came in second the year after that. Those consecutive wins made people wonder what his secret was, and they concluded that the ever-present orange was his lucky charm.
But apparently, the orange served an entirely different purpose at first! According to Chan, he used the citrus fruit as an air freshener back when poker rooms were filled with smokers. But even though cigarettes were banned from casinos since then, the orange stayed.
- Unlit Cigarettes – No one represents old-school poker better than Sam Farha, with his iconic look that includes a crisp suit, a gold necklace, and a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. But even though Farha always has a cigarette when playing poker, he apparently doesn't even smoke – and never has!
The cigarette became his lucky charm, and it seems it helped him win on multiple occasions, as he won 3 WSOP bracelets in his career. Over the years, he won $2,884,300, and the unlit cigarette might have something to do with it.
- 'Casper' the Card Protector – One of the most renowned lucky charms in poker history must be Casper, Doyle Brunson's card protector. Funnily enough, the ghost featured on this charm is the Ghostbusters logo, but somehow the nickname stuck.
Over the years, the now-retired poker pro was seen with his little ghost friend at every poker game. That's why people believe the movie-inspired lighter helped 'Texas Dolly' win multiple WSOP bracelets. He also got inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, which is a rather impressive accomplishment.
Apparently, the lighter became so well-known among poker players, some were even happy to pay Brunson hundreds of dollars to borrow the lucky charm. The retired poker player claims that he made as much as $15,000 from renting it out. How crazy is that?
How Lucky Charms Work
Most people think that lucky charms are simply a manifestation of our superstitions and that they don't really work. However, according to Psychology Today, that is not necessarily true.
Apparently, carrying around a lucky charm helps people feel more self-sufficient – believing they are more capable of succeeding - which improves both their mental and physical capabilities. For example, when professional golfers were told they were playing with a lucky ball, they did much better than other players.
In another experiment, people had to play a hand-held dexterity game. Before they began playing, half of the players were told someone was keeping his fingers crossed for them. And apparently, those who heard those words got better results.
Psychologist Lysann Damisch performed more studies, asking people to complete a few tasks while some of the participants brought their personal charms along. And guess what? Those who had their lucky objects with them had more confidence in their abilities before performing the required tasks, which also led to a better outcome.
Do You Think Luck is On Your Side?
So, at the end of the day, while there may be nothing magical about lucky charms, as research clearly showed they have a psychological effect on people – and probably poker players as well.
Do you have a lucky charm to boost your confidence while playing poker?