Playing Cards with a Dog in the Room

Most of us love dogs, and there is a certain amount of lore that connects gambling to man’s best friend; however when it comes to playing cards. Bringing your pooch into the room is a big mistake. For as long as there have been gamblers, going back as far as before the days when poker was played without using the 52 card deck, and before it was even called poker, it was taboo to bring a dog into the room. In fact, you know that portrait of dogs playing poker? It’s an inside gambling joke. According to the superstition not a dog at that table is going to have its day. All the chaos in the portrait is meant to show that a dog at a poker table is nothing but trouble.

The Particulars

Not having dogs in a room while you are gambling is the sort of superstition that has lots to do with what’s called confirmation bias. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of people losing big pots to make bringing one into the room an embarrassing social train wreck that will make you more enemies than money.  Some think that it is a matter of proximity, as if the bad luck increases with the dog getting closer to the table and decreases as the dog moves further away. Logically speaking this might be because of the adorable affectionate nature of dogs and that they may snuggle up and distract your thought process in those tense moments. The type of dog even matters to some gamblers with bulldogs being extremely unlucky. But, for the most part, any dog is bad luck or a distraction.

The Excuse

Because of the stigma of having dogs in the room, most private games and even the big public casinos, frown on having dogs to close to the table. This stigma is part of a tradition of course, but what this unofficial prohibition is meant to do is to remove the excuse of a dog having caused someone to lose a pot as a factor. Gamblers are superstitious, so there is no doubt that some people genuinely have an apprehension about having dogs around while their playing. However, some people will use the excuse of a dog to nullify a game.

Exceptions to the Rule and Playing Online

There are only a few exceptions s concerning having a dog near the table while you are gambling. One of them is in the case of a Seeing Eye dog or if they need the dog for another medical reason, the other is if the dog happens to be someone else good luck charm, though this is hardly tolerated as it will cause a disruption at the table. Now with people gambling online more than ever, some have adopted the ‘no dogs in the room’ rule at home, which just goes to show you that in the world of gambling rituals can only change so much with the times.

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