• Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

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Is the Number 7 Really Lucky for Some?

Of the many superstitions in the world, some of the most strongly held are to do with numbers. Of course, probably the most well-known of these concerns the number 13. Most cultures are suspicious about it, some excessively so. That’s why in many hotels and other tall buildings in the Far East don’t have a 13th floor and it’s often considered very unlucky to have 13 guests at a meal.

But, to balance things out, there are even more numbers that many people generally consider to be lucky, and the one that leads the way in this respect is the number 7.


Final: Luck Number 7” (CC BY 2.0) by U like my stash of pix??

What is especially mystifying is that it shares one particular characteristic with the number 13 that is thought to contribute to the latter’s unlucky nature. This is that it’s a prime number, divisible only by the number 1 and itself. To the rational human brain that likes to be able to neatly divide the world up into equal elements, like 3 months creating 4 seasons in the 12 months of the year, prime numbers can be oddly jarring.

But, for the number 7, its prime number status seems to make it stand out. This is best exemplified by the fact that when asked to pick a favourite number, from all the numbers available, around 10% of people choose it. This was also confirmed when mathematician and blogger Alex Bellos did some of his own research amongst a sample group of 44,000 people drawn from all around the world. Another observation that he made was that numbers ending with 0 or 5 hardly featured at all.

Lucky Letterbox” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by mikecogh

Familiarity with the number also surely plays a part in the choice of 7 as a lucky number. After all, it crops up everywhere from the number of days of the week to the ancient wonders of the world and from the ages of man to the number of seas in the world. Put all these together and its special mystique begins to build.

There are many other examples in which it is directly attributed to being lucky, including the world of online casino where it is quite common including one casino which uses the number not once, but three times in its name. Many of the slots games that the site features also feature the number as a symbol on their reels. And, no doubt, many players on their games of roulette chose to put their money on number 7 too.

But the real question is whether the number 7 can really be lucky – and the evidence may not be that strong. After all, there’s no reason why it should bring better fortune than any of the other infinite choice of numbers out there – the law of probability sees to that. It’s more likely that it’s a case of confirmation bias on the parts of believers – so if they have faith that 7 can bring fortune, each time this randomly turns out to be true it serves to strengthen that conviction.

So it all adds up to the fact that, whatever some of us may believe, 7 really isn’t any luckier than 17, 27 or even 703.

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