Bad Luck to Keep 50’s in your Wallet

Informant: William “Billy” Weiss is my grandfather who is 85 years old and was born in Hungary, but moved to New Your as an infant. His parents and other family members were Jewish and practiced their faith and traditions very seriously. He was raised in a Jewish section of the Bronx in which most of his friends and neighbors were Jewish as well. Synagogues were close by and a lot of the schooling was run by Jewish faculty. Therefore; a lot of his upbringing revolved around his Jewish heritage. He worked as a peanut salesman at Yankee Stadium in his adolescence, and later moved to Los Angeles were he became a very successful manager in the fashion industry in the 70’s and 80’s. His hobbies include gambling at the racetrack and spending time with his family whenever possible. He does not practice his Jewish religion often but expects to be buried in a Jewish cemetery with a traditional ceremony. My immediate family is Catholic, so he has learned that faith as well over the years and celebrates those holidays too.

William: “A true gambler never keeps 50 dollar bills in his/her pocket because it is bad luck. It is believed that you will not be as successful in your gambling if a 50 is present in your wallet.”

Gambling is an addictive and has a lot of random beliefs that do not make much real sense. Every gambler has their own idiosyncracies and superstitions. However, amongst the group of gambling partners that my grandfather has gone to the casinos and race tracks with for nearly 30 years, not one of them ever keeps a 50 dollar bill in their wallet. It is almost forbidden, and looked at as a very foolish move in their eyes. They genuinely believe that one would be putting oneself at a disadvantage if they were to keep a 50.

Even for Christmas and Birthday presents, my grandfather would never give me a 50$ bill. I am convinced that he would rather give me an 100$ bill than a 50$. It is funny to me how a gambling habit could transcend into everyday life. He despises the 50$ bill, almost as if President Grant did something awful too him. It is a hilarious belief that as no real reasoning, it just is. And I think that thats the beauty of it.