Counting Your Money at the Table

In gambling, as in any other profession or diversion, there are many traditions, things one must not do to be a part of the community. In games of chance where money is exchanged these traditions are often built around luck and how one handles winning and losing. When it comes to traditions at the table that can bring bad luck, one of the most notorious is counting your money before you leave the table. You might think that this is one of those things that might go unnoticed by the other players or the dealers, but to some this is a sure fire path to ruin.

The Kenny Rodgers Song

When someone bothers to write a song on a subject, it’s best to take notice. And if you are a gambler and the singer is Kenny “the gambler” Rodgers, you really should take his advice. In his song, ‘The Gambler’ Rodgers relates the rule of not counting your money at the table in a matter the fact way. It comes off as a sage suggestion when he sings “You never count your money when you are sitting at the table, there’ll be time enough for counting when the dealings done.” But the truth is there are some very good reasons for not to count your winnings at the table.

Decorum

Part of the reason certain superstitions exist is less about actually believing it can affect whether you win or lose; it’s about whether or not you respect the people at the table and how things are done in the world of gambling. Keep in mind that gamblers have their culture and respecting that culture’s taboos is nearly as important as winning. Part of the reason people frown on counting at the table is because in the eyes of many you’re celebrating before you have won essentially you are bragging.

Safety

In the early days of gambling, when the games were played in rough bars, before the invention of the telephone but after the invention of the gun and knife, a gambler counting his money at a table filled with individuals who may have just lost a fair sum of money with resentment. This made flashing money bad idea. Aside from the fact the that you could be drawing the attention of unsavory folks, that may later attempt to separate you from your winnings at a later time through violent means, you could be making enemies of savvy gamblers at the table looking to make sure you lose the next hand.

Just Plain Luck

At its core, the reason behind the prohibition on counting money at the table is a matter of protecting your luck.  The idea that you hurt you chances at future earnings by counting your money at the table, and that you could be spreading bad luck around to your fellow gamblers is very real to some. The fact is that for many people bad luck is like an infectious disease and by doing things like counting your money at the table you are propagating that plague to the table.

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