Why are certain numbers on the roulette table more popular than others?
Gambling has been surrounded by myths and superstitions since the time that the very first dice were thrown. Coupled with the human brain’s natural ability to recognize patterns, and it’s no surprise to see certain numbers eventually garner legendary status for illogical or superstitious reasons.
It’s also important to remember that there is an unavoidable upper limit to the amount of time you can stand watching or participating in the action at a casino or gaming table. Even if you were to sit at the roulette table in a casino for several hours every day during a week in Vegas or you play a few sessions of roulette with a live dealer online, thanks to the new technologies available on the market, the total number of spins you would witness is still going to be tiny when compared to the number you would need to see before you could draw any meaningful conclusions.
If you did collect data from millions of spins on a roulette wheel, then notice a bias towards certain numbers, it’s a fair bet that those numbers will all be located in reasonably close proximity to one another on the wheel. This is known as a biased wheel and is the only reasonable explanation for such phenomena.
Lucky Number 17
Positioned in the center of the middle row on all types of roulette layout, the number 17 receives more bets than any other number. This leads many players to believe that the ball “must” be destined to end up there more often than any other number, despite there being no statistical basis for this.
There’s also the legendary tale of Mike Ashley throwing down the house maximum on every combination including the number 17 and it coming in, winning him close to £1.3million and forever attaching his name to the formerly recognized “betting the maximum”.
Sean Connery also bet the equivalent of $10,000 of 17 three times in a row back in Monte Carlo in the 1980s, losing the first two times before it came in on the third try, returning a cool $350,000. I guess when you earn James Bond’s wages, losing $20,000 doesn’t dissuade you from the insane strategy of betting the house maximum on a single number. I’ll bet Connery was as surprised as the croupier when his number landed, though!
Some might mock the Chinese for believing that the number eight is lucky simply because it is pronounced similarly to their word for prosperity. Why do we in the West believe seven to be lucky, though? Is there any sensible or logical reason for it? The only suggestions I could find related to the fact that, in the bible, God is said to have rested on the seventh day. I’d say both reasons are equally well-founded, personally!
We just mentioned a moment ago that the number seven is considered lucky in Western culture, so of course, it makes the list here too. The number seven is by far the most popular number picked in lotteries all around the world, and people will often just throw an extra chip on the number whenever they play purely as a result of its perceived “luckiness”. The number 11 comes in just behind these top three picks, though it’s unclear why it’s so popular – lotteries again report this as being one of the most commonly chosen numbers.
On the Other Hand…
If you like to go against the grain, 13 is universally known as being “unlucky for some”, and is considered so unlucky that many buildings do not even have a 13th floor. The same applies to the number four in China, which is routinely avoided by almost the entire populace because of its pronunciation, which sounds much like the Chinese word for death – the same reasoning behind Eight’s perceived luckiness in the country.