From four leaf clovers to lucky charms to favourite items of clothing, there is no shortage of bizarre superstitious beliefs that hopeful Aussie punters hold dear when playing the lottery. When it comes to gambling for real money, the most popular superstitions typically involve certain numbers that are either deemed to be lucky or unlucky.
When picking lottery numbers, it’s the norm for players to choose things like birthdays, anniversary dates or other memorable numbers that carry some form of personal meaning, but there are actually detailed reasons behind why some numbers carry particular superstitious beliefs.
We’ll take you through some of the more common numbers that are either preferred or avoided by lottery players.
Influence of numerology on lottery selections
Numerology is an ancient practice, with different cultures and countries adapting their own beliefs regarding lucky and unlucky number based on various explanations. The study of numerology pertains to mystical or special relationships between a number and an event and may be influenced by mathematics, the number’s occurrence in nature or because the number relates to an important event.
Even selecting your own birthday when choosing lottery numbers is a form of numerology, and there are detailed methods that can help people calculate their own personal lucky numbers. Some particularly superstitious gamblers even go as far as employing a numerologist to help them determine their lucky number for a specific lottery draw.
Lottery numbers influenced by Chinese numerology
Numerology is particularly fascinating in Chinese culture, with many deep seeded ancient beliefs as to what constitutes a lucky or unlucky number. The Chinese believe that some numbers are to be favoured or avoided simply for the way the number sounds; if the pronunciation of the number is similar in sound to a positive Chinese word therefore the number will also be positive, with the same theory applying for inauspicious numbers.
The number eight is widely accepted in Chinese culture as a very lucky number, while the number four is the unluckiest. These two numbers are therefore commonly chosen or avoided by superstitious lottery players.
The number eight is considered lucky as the Chinese pronunciation for the word eight sounds similar to the word for wealth or prosperity, while the figure 8 is also the sign for infinity. The Chinese belief in eight as a lucky number is very strong, with many Chinese airlines and global flights to China having flight numbers starting with eight. The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics even started on eight seconds and eight minutes past 8PM on the 8/08/08.
The number four is considered unlucky for similar reasons, as the pronunciation of the Chinese word for four sounds almost exactly the same as the Chinese word for death. Traditionally, the Chinese avoid the number four entirely where possible, with many buildings eliminating a floor numbered four, and manufacturers skipping product lines numbered four. For example, Chinese mobile phone manufacturers like Nokia went straight from a series three product to a series five product. In Chinese culture, four is similar in misfortune to the Western belief of the number 13.
Thirteen – unlucky for some
In Western culture, the number 13 is considered the unluckiest of all the numbers and it’s so widely avoided that there’s even a word for those who fear the number 13; “triskaidekaphobics”. While there is no statistical evidence to support the fact that 13 is unlucky, there are legitimate reasons as to why some people consider 13 so unlucky, extending from religious beliefs to historical events.
One of the oldest beliefs surrounding triskaidekaphobics is that there were 13 people present at The Last Supper and the 13th guest to sit down at the table was Judas. A similar Norse myth tells the story of the God called Loki, who shows up uninvited as the 13th guest to a dinner of the Gods which results in an onslaught of horrific natural disasters and the demise of the natural world.
Further fallacies that add to the superstition of 13 as unlucky include the fact that Apollo 13 was the only mission to the moon that wasn’t successful, that in the olden days of public executions there were 13 steps leading up to the gallows and an old wives tale believing that names made up of 13 letters will incur the devils luck upon the name barer.
Popular culture like the Friday the 13th horror films play on these fears to further feed the notion of 13 as an unlucky number. Some sceptical architects have even gone as far as not including a thirteenth floor in their buildings.
It’s all these reasons and more that many people avoid the number 13 at all costs and why it’s not a common choice when it comes to selecting lottery numbers. Bizarrely enough, it’s not unheard of for Aussie lottery players to twist this around and turn 13 into their own personal lucky number, so it’s more commonly chosen than you’d expect.
Do lucky lottery numbers exist?
Luck is a funny thing, and save for a few strategic card games like blackjack and poker, luck forms the very basis of all gambling games, especially lottery. While there is no such thing as a lucky lottery number, there are some tactics that players can consider in an attempt to increase their chances of choosing winning numbers.
Australian lottery websites like Lotterywest and Oz Lotto provide data on previous winning numbers, so a bit of online research will tell you which lottery numbers have shown up more often than others in recent draws. However, whether or not a number with a higher record of being drawn in the past does have a higher chance of being drawn in the future is a hotly debated strategy by dedicated lottery players.
The Internet is a melting pot of lottery fanatics who think they have successful strategies, offering all kinds of eBooks and blogs surrounding state, country and world-wide lotteries and theories surrounding the predicted numbers, but these are all completely speculative.
To save yourself from being taken advantage of, keep in mind that if someone did hold the wisdom of predicting winning lottery numbers, they wouldn’t be handing this knowledge out to strangers online.
The bottom line is that lottery numbers are drawn completely at random, with no influence from external factors, so if you have a number that you find personally lucky, stick with it. Your own personal superstitions won’t change the outcome, but offer as good a chance as any.