Tag Archives: gambling

Kpop Pull Rituals


[i.e. having someone else pull K-pop merch for her as a lucky charm]

Alright, so if you listen to k-pop, and you buy something called, buy physical albums, they tend to come with physical inclusions that are more than just the CD or just like a small lyric book. There is usually a photoshoot book, sometimes there stickers, sometimes there’s like extra random like goods. But they almost always have something called a photocard which is like a small card that people like to um trade or buy after pulling it. It’s kind of like the same concept as a baseball card, for example, or Pokemon cards, where you basically, it’s like a gacha system where you can get one of the members in a group, or if it’s just a soloist then you just a soloist card. But there are generally different versions so collectors really like to collect all of them, similar to how like people like to collect all of the Pokemon cards or try to get certain rarities. 

So, in this case, what it means to be rare is to try to get the card that you want in particular, um which usually tends to be either a member you really like or a card from a set.

Um, so I guess in terms of like, ritualistic things that happen with this, I would say uh

one of my friends has really good luck with getting pulls that she wants and so recently, my friends have all been making her choose which albums we choose to purchase. Just because her, the chance of her getting the card we want has been… quite high in terms of like um which one what our pulls end up being. Most recently, she and I were getting the same album, but I wanted different cards from her. She didn’t really have a particular card she wanted, so she manifested for me instead. And I was wary, so I decided to switch the albums over. And the one she opened had all the cards that I wanted that she had originally given to me. So,…it’s been kind of interesting because if she is really sure about wanting a certain card, that card tends to appear. So um I guess that’s an example.


Context of Performance: In-person conversation

Me: Do you see any other cases of other K-Pop pull groups doing this, like having a specific lucky pull person?

Informant: um I have seen on like TikTok, that there’s this one guy who apparently. This one person’s boyfriend who also pulls what they want. I don’t know since I’m mostly referencing it from my group of friends.

Me: Do you think having her pull truly increases your chances?

Informant: I didn’t think so, but the coincidences have been kind of high as of late. She’s been able to get other people their pulls if she thinks hard enough about it. I don’t know if it’s really real or just a lot of coincidence, but it has happened enough that I’m suspicious.

Personal Thoughts:

The idea of having someone else participate in a heavily luck based thing is not unique to my informant’s experience, or K-pop pulls. There’s an entire genre of games referred to as Gacha games where players gamble to obtain playable characters. In addition, characters or other gamble-to-obtain items tend to be heavily objectified. In all heavily luck-based games there is a common thread of having someone else pull for you because they are luckier (an example is linked below). This is some that correlates with the past – for example gamblers having lucky rabbit’s feet. However this practice has also changed as we have moved into the modern era. Now, because we can SHARE our luck based experiences, people have lucky PEOPLE instead of lucky charms.

Additional Notes:

For another example of having a lucky person instead of a lucky charm:
Komemos. (2022, April 22). My best pulls ever???? Ayato and venti pulls … – youtube.com. Retrieved April 28, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGrNpwNzAq8 

Gambling: Winning a 50

Main Piece: GC’s father used to go and play dominoes and gamble on that. She said that she “always liked it because [her] daddy would give the 50 dollar bills to me,” because he was superstitious that winning a 50 dollar bill and keeping it was bad luck. GC said that her father would never keep or spend a 50 dollar bill he’d won gambling himself, he would always give it away. Whenever he won a 50, he would leave the game immediately so that his bad luck didn’t start during his next game.

When GC grew up and began going to casinos and gambling, she continued the superstition under the impression that it was bad luck. She’s never even “seen a 50 dollar bill in a casino, never, even on the slot machines. They’ll accept 5s, 10s, 20s, 100s, just not 50s.” She said that when she cashes out from a session, they’ll always pay a 50 with two 20s and a 10 rather than one bill. When she asked her husband, who also goes to casinos, if he’d ever kept a 50 dollar bill when he’d won one, she said he was shocked, almost offended. 

Context: This superstition applies to gambling either in a local community setting or a casino, when the winner of a pot gets a 50 dollar bill. GC is a 76 year old woman living in Arkansas. She goes to casinos with her husband semi-frequently.

Informant’s Thoughts: GC said that she would guess the tradition started due to the relative rarity of 50 dollar bills compared to other bills like a common 20 or 10. While she doesn’t know the origins of this superstition, this could be a reason why it started.

Archivist’s Thoughts: I think that this shows the common idea of gamblers being superstitious. So much of gambling relies on luck that it’s easy to formulate superstitions that attribute one’s bad luck to a misstep they made. Keeping a 50 dollar bill, because of their rarity, could have happened to precede a loss streak, and the tradition became so prevalent that even casinos couldn’t carry 50 dollar bills because it would lose them business.

Straight Pocket Bet


Informant: “My grandfather loved the Reds, the Cincinnati Reds, but he didn’t hear well, so he had this radio that he would put up on a ledge at his house, it was just about your height. So he would go stand by that, with his good… with his better ear up against the radio and listen to a ball game from start to finish. And we would see them every Sunday, this was part of our routine, and he would always want to make a bet… I think I did this with you guys too… so we would negotiate a bet about the Reds or something and we would finally shake hands and he would say straight pocket bet. ‘Well, what’s that mean grandpa?’ I would say. And he always responded: ‘no matter what happens we each keep our money in our pocket.’”


The informant learned the expression “straight pocket bet” from his grandfather and their tradition of listening to Cincinnati Reds games together. To the two it was a way of instilling friendly competition without the actual need for financial stakes, and it allowed them to bond over sports, which has always been an interest for the family.


This expression and the conversation leading up to it were recorded during a scheduled meeting at my home in San Diego, CA.


My initial reaction to this was that it provided an easy platform over which to debate sports topics, or anything that might be negotiated with a bet for that matter. However, another interesting potential use of this could be to deceive someone who has no knowledge of this expression into making such a bet, and only letting them know what it means in the case of a loss (although this might be potentially dangerous if used in the wrong situation).

The Melbourne Cup

“The Melbourne Cup is the first Tuesday of November. It’s a public holiday. That shows how important it is to Australians. It’s a horse race. I don’t know how it became big or why it became big, but like it’s genuinely observed across Australia. It’s like a series of races that take place all week. They’re just horse races of different heats, of different… Just horse races! Horses from all over the world come to Australia to race in Melbourne Cup. The reason why it’s so big is that… So it’s a series of races, and the biggest race is the Melbourne Cup, and it’s quite long, and only the best horses compete in it. The reason why it’s so big is because people… It’s like a festival, I guess. It’s fashion and food, and it’s more about like the people, I guess? It’s like the Oscars or Grammys where, like, you’re like, ‘What’s she wearing?’ It’s kind of like that. When it comes time to the actual Melbourne Cup race itself, people put bets on which horse is gonna win. And that’s part of the tradition. Even if you aren’t normally a betting person most people in Australia will go put a dollar, two dollars, five dollars, ten dollars, probably not extreme amounts, but people will go and put money on a horse. The newspaper has a centerfold with like all the horses and their statistics and the jockey and their experiences and where the horses have won before. I pick #12 because that’s my lucky number, I just trust that number. And then you go to the tab and you put a bet on. You can do it from anywhere in the country, not just in Victoria where the cup is. The Melbourne Cup is the one day a year where the tab is full, it’s like bursting. It’s usually just a couple men, like the serial gamblers. It’s hectic on that day. I get excited. It’s the one day a year where I actually get excited about a horse race. I think you can tell that everyone else cares, too. It’s all people talk about in like the days leading up. Three o’clock on the dot is when the race starts. When I was in high school, school finished at ten minutes to three. And there was no way I was gonna get home in time or anyone was gonna get home in time for the race. So school ends classes like half an hour early on Melbourne Cup day so we can all get home in order to watch the race. My brother and I would get off the bus, and we’d race home, and we’d drop our bags and everybody would be in front of the TV. I don’t even know why it was a family affair, but it was. I can’t explain the excitement when the race started. It was kind of like everything stopped. And the tag line for the Melbourne Cup is like, ‘The race that stops the nation.’ And it genuinely is. Like, traffic stops. People park their cars and like listen to it on the radio. Everybody stops for like two or three minutes just to listen to this race. Unless you win, though, you don’t get anything out of it. You don’t get any like satisfaction or money, just nothing. It can be kind of anticlimactic. When it’s over, people kind of just go back to their lives. Some people will like watch the after ceremony where they like crown the jockey and like give him money and stuff. They interview the owner of the horse, and they put a little sash on the horse to say that he won. It’s just the one day where everyone in Australia kind of stops. It’s kind of become an Australian tradition just to watch.”


I could tell this was a very exciting experience for the source to relate. It’s certainly outside of her usual interest, but like the rest of Australia, it seems not to matter whether horse racing is in your interests or not. Because it’s not a horse racing thing. It’s an Australian thing. It’s part of their identity. It’s very much like our Super Bowl. Everybody watches the Super Bowl, everybody knows who’s in the Super Bowl. The whole nation stops on Super Bowl Sunday. That’s what the Melbourne Cup is for Australians. However, it seems they have a lot more invested in it what with all the betting and whatnot. Americans, however, experience it longer. Whereas no one researches before the Melbourne Cup, it seems, and not too many people continue watching after it’s done, the Super Bowl is savored for every minute of it, including the aftermath. And everybody is prepping from the week before.

Off-color Gambling Joke

A bank teller is greeted one day by a woman who wants to make a large deposit – approximately $3 million.  The woman’s demeanor and clothing do not suggest a person of great wealth, but for such a large amount of money, the teller thinks that the woman should be treated especially well, and that he should take extra steps to make her feel secure in making the transaction.  Thus he goes to get the manager.
When the manager returns, he greets the woman and she hands him the checks.  When he reads them, he is wide-eyed and asks, “Just out of curiosity, do you mind if I ask what business you run?  It seems you are very successful with it…”
She replies, “Oh, I made the money off of bets.”
“I made the money betting.”
“You mean betting, as in gambling, like at the casino?”
“No, I just make big bets with people.”
“Your friends?”
“Anybody.  For instance, I’ll bet you $100,000 that one of your testicles is blue.”
“What? Are you crazy?”
“No, I’m serious.”
The bank manager is wary, as obviously the woman has been successful with her betting, but on the other hand, he is absolutely certain that neither of his testicles is blue.  Just to double check, he unzips and takes a quick peek while standing behind the counter so no one sees it.  Sure enough, both sides are totally normal.  So he accepts the bet.  “Sure, I’ll take you up on your bet.”
“Alright, but we’ll need to wait until tomorrow to verify who wins the bet.  I want to bring in my lawyer to make sure there are no legal issues and that the loser pays the winner fairly.  I’ll bet you that after 2 o’clock tomorrow, one of your testicles will have turned blue.”
Confused and still somewhat shocked by the proposal, the manager thinks briefly about it and they agree to the bet.  He cannot imagine her being able to do anything to cause one of his testicles to turn blue.
When the manager awakes the next morning, he does another check.  Still normal.  At work, he nervously anticipates the arrival of the woman and her lawyer at 2 o’clock.  Every now and then, he takes another peek at himself to make sure both testicles are still normal.
At 2 o’clock, as planned, the woman and her lawyer arrive.  The manager quickly checks one more time, and taking them aside, he excitedly tells the woman that he has won the bet.
“Do you mind if I check to make sure?” asks the woman.
Nervously, the manager gives her permission, eager to receive his $100,000 reward.
As the manager unzips for her and she inspects, the lawyer suddenly begins to shout loudly in anguish and bang his head against the wall.
“Is he alright?” the manager asks.  “What’s the matter?”
“He’s fine,” she replies, “I bet him $1 million the other day that I could get the manager of this bank to drop his pants for me while he stood there watching.”


his was an Internet joke that my informant received from a friend of his.  My paraphrase is actually slightly less graphic than the original version of the joke.  It is a complex joke which could strike different hearers as having different thematic implications.  When I heard the joke, I picked up the idea of female outsmarting male and that of the lawyer being humiliated.
The joke also features multiple oxymorons, or “appropriate incongruities, ” which according to folklorist Elliot Oring, are the backbone of a joke’s humor.  The rich woman’s strange ability to make millions from betting is the first apparent incongruity.  This is followed by her assertion that one of the bank manager’s anatomical members is blue, an obvious falsehood.  Finally, the lawyer’s emotional eruption seems strange and unexplainable.  All of these incongruities are readily corrected and made appropriate, however, by the punchline, delivering a triple dose of somewhat off-color humor.