Do you have lucky pants? Bizarre lottery rituals revealed

Lucky lottery rituals

It doesn't matter how logical and rational we usually are when it comes to money; when we play the lottery, all sensible thought seems to go out of the window.

We know the whole thing is based on chance, and incredibly long odds, and yet a new study has revealed that we perform all kinds of 'rituals' when we buy a lottery ticket - in order to 'bring luck'.

SEE ALSO: The luckiest lottery numbers in the world

SEE ALSO: Would you keep working if you won the lottery? Probably

The study, by found that some people rub a lucky item while they are buying a ticket, others tap or clap a number of times - in a specific order, and others do a special dance.

The researchers found people who had used lucky rituals and won. They then matched each odd practice to the people who had scored the biggest wins - in order to find the 'luckiest' rituals.


1. Doing a special dance = average win of £25,501
2. Tapping/clapping/clicking body part(s) a certain number of times/sequence = average win of £17,705
3. Saying "white rabbit" before getting out of bed on 1st of month = average win of £948
4. Having a model elephant (e.g. Ganesh) = average win of £737
5. Throwing salt over your shoulder = average win of £648
6. Hanging up a horseshoe = average win of £617
7. Rubbing a lucky item = average win of £617
8. Having a black cat cross your path = average win of £552
9. Making a wish on a wishbone = average win of £546
10. Using a lucky number = average win of £518

Their somewhat unexpected conclusion was that we're doing the wrong rituals - because the most popular ones - including winners and non-winners - are touching wood, picking up a penny, and throwing salt over their shoulder.

What's really lucky?

Of course, when we take a rational approach, we know this is all nonsense. The way the draw is designed, every number has an exactly equal chance of being picked - every time. It doesn't matter whether you put on a show of fantastic lucky lottery dances all day, it won't make the slightest bit of difference.

As we have reported before, the best way to play the lottery is to buy a lucky dip. That way you avoid all the conscious and unconscious biases involved in choosing numbers of your own. You therefore stand a better chance of picking numbers that aren't enormously popular, so in the very unlikely event that you win, you shouldn't have to share with too many people.

Of course, even then, the most likely outcome for every lottery player is that they lose - and walk away with nothing. So perhaps the best lucky ritual of all is to walk away from the shop without buying a ticket. You can always go and play the free postcode lottery instead.

Biggest UK lottery winners
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Biggest UK lottery winners

Colin and Chris Weir, from Largs in Ayrshire scooped 161 million in the EuroMillions draw after several rollovers in 2011. They are the biggest British lottery winners in history.

Adrian Bayford, who won an astonishing £148m on the Euromillions with his wife Gillian, had to shut up the music shop he owns, because people targeted it with requests for money.
One British ticket won  £113,019,926 in October 2010 but decided not to go public.
Car mechanic and racing driver Neil Trotter scooped a staggering £107.9 million jackpot on the Euromillions lottery in March 2014.
Dave and Angela Dawes won £101 million on the EuroMillions in 2011. It was only the third time the couple, from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, had played the lottery. The couple are said to have since split up.
The sum was won in May 2010 but the winner kept their identity a secret.
One lucky British ticket-holder picked up a £81million EuroMillions rollover but remained anonymous.

Nigel Page and Justine Laycock from Cirencester bagged a £56 million jackpot back in February 2011. On winning the jackpot, Page said: 'I'd already checked my National Lottery account and had seen I'd won £55 on Lotto when I decided to buy two Lucky Dips for the big EuroMillions jackpot on Friday.'

One lucky winner won shy of 50 million but chose to remain anonymous.

Les and Sam Scadding from Newport, South Wales, and a syndicate of seven Liverpudlian call-centre workers shared a staggering £91 million in November 2009. Les, an unemployed mechanic, was £68 overdrawn on the day he bought his ticket, while the Liverpool syndicate only started playing EuroMillions together four months before their win.

Carrington, 22, from Stapleford in Nottingham, banked £45 million after matching all five numbers and two Lucky Stars in a EuroMillions draw in February 2012. The Iceland supervisor said she planned to marry painter fiancee Matt Topham, 22, following the Lucky Dip win.

Husband and wife Gareth and Catherine Bull have fairly modest spending plans despite their £40.6 million jackpot win in January. Speaking about what she planned to do now that she was rich, Catherine explained that she intended to use part of their winnings to replace the carpet on her upstairs landing...

Angela Kelly became one of the biggest lottery winners in UK history back in 2007, after scooping a £35 million EuroMillions jackpot. This is estimated to earn £5,000 a day in interest alone, meaning she's unlikely to ever be short of cash.

In June 2009, 74-year-old Brian Caswell got the surprise of his life when he took his lottery ticket to his local newsagent and discovered he'd won almost £25 million.

Belfast housewife Iris Jeffrey, 58, was the lucky holder of the record 20.1 million rollover lottery winning ticket back in 2004.

Jeffrey, 58, a cancer sufferer, only realised three weeks after the draw took place that she had won the  jackpot after organisers Camelot pleaded for the person holding the prize ticket to come forward and claim the prize.

Stephen Smith and his wife Ida from Hemel Hempstead, Herts, won nearly 19 million in the National Lottery. Mr Smith said he would give up his winnings if he could have his health and the chance to live a longer life with his wife.

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