Most people believe in superstitions to a certain extent – walking under a ladder or spilling salt can feel a little uncomfortable even if you know there’s no rational reason for it. In gambling, where being lucky is vitally important, superstitions abound. We’ve put together a short list of peculiar habits that are believed to bring good fortune.

Wear red for good luck

In China red is considered a lucky colour, representing happiness and success – and it’s also on their national flag, which doesn’t hurt! During Chinese New Year there is a tradition of giving money in red envelopes, so it’s clear why red is considered good luck when it comes to finances. The casinos in Macau, such as the Sands Macau and Wynn Macau, use red décor to boost players’ confidence. Wearing red underwear is thought to be especially helpful.

Itchy hands – lucky or unlucky?

In some parts of the world, having itchy palms is thought to bring good luck – or, paradoxically, bad luck, depending on where you are. In Serbia having itchy hands is thought to predict financial gain, while in Bulgaria the opposite is true. Many Bulgarians people don’t chance their luck if their hands are prickling. In some other countries people also see itchiness as significant – mostly believing that it is lucky.

Swear at the roulette ball

This particular superstition is definitely a bit “out there”. Roulette players sometimes believe that if they swear at the ball while it’s spinning they’re more likely to bad a win. This has gained traction in online games especially.

Don’t cross your legs

Crossing fingers is believed by many to be good luck, but in casinos it’s best to avoid crossing any part of your body – legs and arms in particular. Some people see crossed arms or legs as a barrier that repels any luck that could come your way.

Don’t accept $50 bills

This idea is specific to America – players believe that accepting a $50 bill in their payout brings bad luck. This might have originated from the time when mobs used to plant $50 bills on the bodies of people they’d killed.

Don’t gamble near someone reading a book

The idea that gambling close to someone reading a book brings bad luck originated in China. It’s quite unlikely that you’ll be sitting next to someone reading in a casino, which is good news! This superstition is based on the fact that the words for “lose” and “book” are very similar in Chinese – “Shīqù” and “Shū”.

Smoke dried vulture brains

One of the most bizarre superstitions has to be the belief that smoking dried vulture brains brings good fortune. This is a South African custom: it is thought that smoking the brains – in a rolled cigarette, usually – can give people visions of winning Lottery numbers or the best horse to bet on in the races.

Whether or not superstitions really help when it comes to increasing your odds of winning is still a question to be answered.