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September 1, 2014

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13 reasons Las Vegas is a lucky place — even on Friday the 13th

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Steve Marcus

A pair of fuzzy dice hang in a 1961 Chevrolet Stingray after a classic car parade on the Strip on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. The annual parade serves as a kickoff to the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auto auction at Mandalay Bay.

Don't worry: It may be Friday the 13th, but Las Vegas is a lucky place.

If you're still feeling a little bit of triskaidekaphobia – fear of the number 13 – we've built a little guide for you on how to find some good luck, plus a few reminders of the extra steps casinos take to keep you feeling the good fortunes.

Forget the rabbits' feet, horseshoes and wishbones; here are Las Vegas' lucky charms:

    • Blarney Stone at the D

      The spirit of Fitzgeralds lives on at the D, which still has its predecessor's Blarney Stone on display for visitors to kiss and rub for good luck. Of course, the rock isn't the actual Blarney Stone, which remains ensconced in the wall of Blarney Castle in County Cork, Ireland, but it is taken from the same castle wall. A dedication plaque at the former Fitzgeralds reads, "The only other stones ever permitted to leave this legendary Irish landmark were used in the Lucky Forest exhibits inside Fitzgeralds Casino/Hotel." Those looking for the luck o' the Irish can find the D's Blarney Stone near the Vue Bar on the casino's second floor.

    • Crazy Girls statue at the Riviera

      As the plaque above it reads, there are "no 'ifs' 'ands' or …" — well, you know — about the luck behind the famous bronze behinds of the Crazy Girls statue at the Riviera. The formerly deep-brown derrieres now glimmer in the sunlight, polished down to a smooth gold from the myriad tourists over the years who give the tushes a rub of good luck before entering the casino.

    • Erawan Shrine at Caesars Palace

      It's difficult to miss the Erawan Shrine between Serendipity 3 and Caesars Palace, its shimmering blue-and-gold mosaic contrasting against the white columns of Roman Plaza. The piece is modeled after a shrine at the Grand Hyatt Erawan hotel in Bangkok and houses a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of the Hindu god Brahma; the original shrine was reportedly constructed in 1956 to ward off bad luck after several accidents during the hotel's construction. The replica, which is cast in bronze and weighs more than 8,000 pounds, was given as a gift to Caesars in 1984 from Thai newspaper moguls and has since come to be associated with prosperity and good luck, with visitors offering flowers and figurines to favor good fortune.

    • A statue of Caesar Augustus with the American flag welcomes guests at the main entrance of Caesars Palace on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, in honor of Veterans Day.

      Statues at Caesars Palace

      As far as good-luck spots go, Caesars Palace might be the mecca. The property boasts a number of statues noted for their supposed fortune-enhancing qualities when given a rub. The Caesar Augustus statue at the hotel's entrance has had its hand polished smooth by rubs from arriving guests; touching the boxing glove of Joe Louis' statue outside chef Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill is said to bestow visitors with the champ's luck. And the bosom of the iconic Cleopatra statue at Cleopatra's Barge is purportedly endowed with good fortune, as is the big toe of the replica of Michelangelo's David.

    • Hey Reb statue at UNLV

      Las Vegas luck isn't just for Strip tourists. Students and sports fans alike, who are known to give Reb's ample mustache a rub before a test or a big game, favor the bronze statue of UNLV's Hey Reb mascot located in front of the alumni statue.

    • Three new songs have been added to the fountain attraction, something that has not happened for the past six years.

      Bellagio Fountains

      Countless tourists toss coins into the Bellagio Fountains each year in hopes that the magnificent attraction will help magnify their luck. The ritual is so popular that the fountain collects thousands of dollars in coins each month, which the Bellagio vacuums from the lake and donates to Habitat for Humanity.

    • The spa treatment hall within Encore Las Vegas.

      The "Good Luck Ritual" at Wynn Spa

      The aptly named signature treatment at Wynn Spa is based upon the five elements of feng shui: health, wealth, prosperity, happiness and harmony. The treatment includes a 50-minute Fusion Massage, Thai herbal massage pillows, a lemon verbena and peppermint foot treatment, moisturizing hand therapy and a wild lime botanical scalp treatment. But good luck can cost you — in this case, it’s a cool $280 for the 80-minute treatment or $375 for 100 minutes. A version of the treatment for couples is available for $600.

    • Friday the 13th weddings

      Friday the 13th doesn't mean bad luck to everyone. In fact, some folks are even willing to stake their luck in love on it by getting married on the date. The Viva Las Vegas Chapel offers Friday the 13th wedding packages for such daring couples, with options such as a "Gothic style" candlelight wedding ceremony and a dark, moonlit ceremony in their outdoor garden or gazebo chapels.

    • Welcome sign

      It might be the most iconic symbol of Las Vegas, but it also has some good luck charms built in. Every piece of the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign was carefully chosen for a reason, said the sign's designer, Betty Willis. The star on top is for happiness, and "the seven silver dollars are lucky for Las Vegas," she said.

    • 10 … 11 … 12 … 14 … 15

      This is more about avoiding bad luck. Most casinos, and many other buildings across the country for that matter, don't have a 13th floor. Well, technically they do, it just isn't labeled as such. Some casinos, especially in Macau, also avoid the number four (including anything in the 40s), since four is bad luck to the Chinese.

    • Entrance through the lion's mouth at the old MGM Hotel & Casino was considered unlucky by some.

      The lion's mouth

      The old MGM Grand entrance was in the mouth of a giant lion. But that created a problem: "To Asian gamblers in particular, it's unlucky to go into a lion's mouth, which means of course, that it was very difficult to get Asians into the MGM casino when it opened," historian Michael Green said. MGM changed the entrance, so there's no need to avoid the MGM Grand today.

    • Even though 22 men entered the Seventh World Series of Poker at Binion's Horsehoe, it was Doyle Brunson that walked away victorious. To enter the tournament, held in 1976, players paid $10,000. Brunson walked away with $220,000.

      Luck at the poker table

      Some poker players have their own lucky charms. In an interview with Las Vegas Weekly in 2009, Doyle Brunson, the owner of 10 WSOP winning bracelets, said he has a lucky card protector — “a little black rock that a guy gave to me 25 or 30 years ago with a picture of Casper the Friendly Ghost.

      “Casper is famous,” he said. “I used to rent him out to other players. I got $15,000 in rentals for him. Howard Lederer gave me $3,500 to put in my will that when I die, he gets Casper. My daughter Pam got Casper when she started playing poker, and I had to go and buy Casper back from Howard. I gave him $7,500 to get Casper back so Pam could have him after I’m gone.”

    • The sign at Silver Sevens Hotel & Casino is ceremonially lit in Las Vegas on Monday, July 1, 2013. Silver Sevens Hotel & Casino was formerly known as Terrible's Hotel and Casino.

      Silver Sevens

      It seems like the trend now is to give casinos short names, sometimes just a letter, like the M or the D. But when Affinity Gaming bought Terrible’s, it instead went for a name that brings luck to mind: Silver Sevens. “We went with Silver Sevens because it has that vintage feel,” said David Nolan, the property’s general manager. But seven is lucky and no one doesn’t want to collect some silver at the casino, so it sounds lucky to us.

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