Superstitious unlucky numbers

When it comes to unlucky numbers, we all know that 13 is deemed one to avoid, but where did this belief come from? And why do the Chinese so fearfully avoid the number four? We take a look at some of the numbers that are commonly believed to be unlucky and the superstitions surrounding them so you know which numbers to avoid next time you’re at the roulette wheel or picking lottery numbers.


The number 13 is so heavily condemned in western culture that there’s even a medical name for those who fear it – triskaidekaphobics. Researchers in the USA have determined that the economy suffers by $800 million each year due to people avoiding travelling, getting married or making any big business transactions on Friday the 13th.

Unlucky number 13 in gamblingDespite there being no scientific evidence that the number 13 carries any specific misfortunes, the roots of its supposed curse date way to back to ancient times. In the ancient world, the number 12 was considered to be the perfect number, hence its prevalence in numerical systems, like the 12 month calendar and two 12 hour halves in the 24 hour clock, and poor 13 was considered unlucky by default simply for coming after the perfect number 12.

There’s also religious beliefs behind 13’s misfortune, including that Judas was the 13th guest at the Last Supper and the Nordic god Loki was the 13th guest at a dinner party in Valhalla, upsetting the other gods and introducing evil to the world.


In China and Japan, the number four is so widely feared that most high-rise buildings are built without a level four, some residential buildings omit all numbers involving four (14, 24, 34, etc) and manufacturers with numbered product lines will skip any models with the number four.

Superstition surrounding the number 4 in ChinaChinese numerology is a fascinating thing, with numbers considered to be auspicious or unlucky based on the way they sound. If a number shares similar pronunciation to a negative word it is deemed unlucky and numbers that sound similar to positive words are considered fortunate.

The number four is homophonous to the Chinse word for death and is therefore considered incredibly unlucky and to be avoided at all costs. Having a fear of the number four is called tetraphobia. The Chinese and Japanese are mighty fond of gambling, but will still well clear of four when it comes to picking numbers.


17 unlucky number beliefsIn a similar way that people avoid the number 13, many Italians fear that the number 17 is unlucky, a superstition that dates back to the Roman Empire. The Roman numeral for 17, which is XVII, can be rearranged to form the anagram VIXI which in Latin means “I have lived.”

This translation is said to share the sentiment that “my life is over” and carries with it the air of death. Because of this, Friday the 17th is considered an unlucky day to the Italians, many hotels do not have a room 17 and some Italian airplanes even omit a 17th row.


The number 666 is infamously known to be associated with the devil and while numbers at a casino don’t go up this high, many players avoid variants of six because of its association with this satanic symbolism. Fear of the number 666 (or hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia as it’s officially called) stems from the Book of Revelations, where John the Apostle refers to the number 666 as the number of the beast in passage 13:18: “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is 666.”

666 - unlucky numbers with satanic symbolismAs the beast he’s referring to is widely considered to be the devil, 666 is known to be linked with the Antichrist and is a sign of impending evil. Superstitious players may avoid the number six, 16 or 26 purely for the poor sixes association with the sinful 666.

How to avoid unlucky numbers at online casinos

Convinced of the superstitions surrounding these unlucky numbers, or perhaps have a number of your own that you personally avoid? Why not head to one of our recommended casinos where you can try games for free in practice mode so you can put these unlucky numbers to the test.

Practice mode, also known as free play, means you can play demo versions of games like baccarat, blackjack, roulette, poker and video slots without spending any real money. You get to try out a game’s features, learn the rules and gameplay without having to put down any cash – and you can work out which numbers work for you, and which don’t in the process.

If you want to put your superstitions to the test, we recommend as our top-rated casino site for players from United States, which has some excellent welcome bonuses available for new players along with a great range of instant-play casino games to choose from.

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