Rather than preview the WSOP Main Event and try to predict/guess who the “November Nine” may be from a field of thousands, we thought it might be a little more interesting (and eminently more entertaining) to reveal some of the superstitions that players competing in the world´s premier poker event engage in.
Back in 1987 – when players were still allowed to smoke at the poker table – Johnny Chan would bring an orange to the felt, claiming it would clear his nostrils in the smoky atmosphere. Chan won the Main Event that year, followed up with a double victory in 1988 and was only denied an unprecedented third consecutive title in 1989 by a young whippersnapper called Phil Hellmuth! As other poker players latched onto Chan´s lucky orange, the poker rooms in Vegas subsequently banned all fruit and vegetables at the table.
Non-smoker, Sam Farha, was famously known for having an unlit cigarette between his lips in the 2003 WSOP Main Event. He claimed that if he had a winning session, he would use the same cigarette time and time again, and only if he lost a major pot would he discard it – for another!
A great story came out of the 2005 WSOP Main Event from Doyle Brunson who sadly will not be competing this year. The back-to-back Main Event winner (1976/77) and ten times bracelet winner used to have a card protector called “Casper” because of its Ghostbuster´s logo. Casper’s alleged ability to bring good luck was considered to be so powerful that Brunson was able to rent it out to other players for $200 for 30 minute intervals. He reckoned he made $15,000 in one year alone!
Another player who will be not be gracing the Main Event possibly has one of the cruellest superstitions in light of this year´s events. He believes that Phil Hellmuth is his lucky charm, for whenever Ivey and Hellmuth meet on the final table of a major tournament, Ivey wins!
The UK´s Dirty Laundry
In an interview last year, UK poker player Praz Bansi acknowledged that there is a lot of superstition in poker. He commented that he, and a number of players he knew, would wear the same shirt on Day 2 of a tournament if they had a good first day (Jake Cody did it in the Heads Up event), and would continue to wear that same shirt throughout a tournament as long as they remained in it. We would like to remind all poker players that the Main Event in this year´s World Series of Poker lasts for eight days and, if you make it to the “November Nine”, please wash your shirt before you turn up to play.