20 Best Anime About Gambling You Have To Watch (Shows & Movies)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
The vast and semi-seedy world of gambling. Seemingly a boorish and monotonous subject for a show, yet we still yearn for the human drama, emotion, and psychology involved in intense poker matches.
Or even a simple family game of shogi.
But gambling doesn’t have to be an actual game. Have you ever tried the lottery? Or bet on a horse race?
Anime can take a simple idea of betting on competition, and take it to the logical extreme.
In some cases we want serious risks. But we don’t always want to see life or death risks, the overboard insane side of compulsive gambling, or the simple age-old question of “Do I win monopoly, or do I keep my family from going ballistic?”
So here we’ll dive into a bunch of gambling-related anime that really broaden the meaning of “gambling”. All ranked & reviewed, chosen by my preferences. Enjoy!
20. March Comes In like a Lion
Okay, this might not make sense at all, but the story’s premise is literally based on the background of Rei being a professional shogi player.
Gambling per se might not be the main focus of the story, as the character’s interpersonal bonds are.
But it is a secondary plot and is often referenced. !nd that’s enough to keep any gambling fans interested.
This show allows a person to project the listless elite shogi player Rei onto oneself, but not by making the character blank (*Cough* Parallel world Rhapsody *Cough*) or overtly edgy and powerful (SAO) but by making him… well, normal.
Really, I recommend the show as a series to watch. Not as a high-speed action, but as a slice of life with elements of tension building in the form of shogi.
19. Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku: The Legend of Koizumi
Yes it’s true, gambling shows and OVAs do have comedies too!
This 3-episode show builds satire by having “the world’s greatest” (No Elon, I’m disappointed) play mahjong to decide us plebeians’ fate.
It might seem absurd at first. And trust me, it is.
But upon deconstruction it seems that this is (supposedly) a form of social commentary. Like how the world leader’s whims are unpredictable as a game of mahjong.
But instead, it just creates an awesome comedic value that sounds like a fever dream!
18. Joker Game
Really, if this was a list of top ten Production I.G. works, I wouldn’t put this anywhere near the thing.
Comparatively, this isn’t much of a watch. But in the plan of gambling, this is a treat.
This show might be taking itself overly seriously. And might not reach the baseline of Production I.G. works standard.
But there is a message, and there is poker.
The whole point of the Joker Game is outsmarting each other by teaming up (sometimes without your teammate knowing). And the real point of teaming up is… well, beating everyone else.
A simple game that’s meant to symbolize deceit and how easy it is to collectively beat someone.
Not a must-watch, but certainly something to fill your time.
17. C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
Now hear me out.
This might not seem very much a “gambling” anime, but at some core level it is.
Gambling doesn’t only involve money. Sometimes freedom and lives are put on the line.
I found mixed opinions on this, but I enjoyed it for one. So I’d recommend giving it a spin – who knows, you might hit a jackpot~
16. Hikaru no Go
Hikaru no Go fits here because despite the lack of bets in this entry, Go is still very much a gambling game (and a damn good one).
And in this instance, we have a little shounen “Spice” in the form of an elder spirit of a Go player being the mentor of our protagonist.
Hikaru no Go feels like a shounen packed with character development and drama, but somehow manages to keep to the traditional rules of Go.
But you needn’t worry, for Go is explained pretty well in the show. Check out episode one and see what you thin.
15. Dorei-ku The Animation
This does try too hard to be like Baccano!
And in my opinion it fails. But when we look at it unfiltered, as a standalone, it’s pretty good.
Dorei-Ku features many different games that all have one stake: if you lose, you become a slave.
Now that’s an example of severe consequences if I’ve ever seen them!
Before you scoff just let me say two words: season zero.
Here’s another one that doesn’t seem obvious at first, and while Yu-Gi-Oh! is a kid’s show, you can’t tell me that gambling away your soul on a card game isn’t a perfect match for this list!
This one is more lighthearted though because unlike the entries we’ll see further down, here we don’t meet the reality of crippling debt and loans.
And there’s also Yu-Gi-Oh! Season 0 which is way more adult and way more about gambling. Seriously, there’s literally gambling death matches where people burn alive or fall into pits of… well, just check it out.
Season zero does not have an English dub, but if you don’t mind subtitles then I really believe anyone who loves gambling will enjoy watching these deathly shadow games and penalty games.
This got dark fast…
Finally starting to get to the undoubted classics and all-time favorites we have Usogui. This is a show where gambling is so widespread that an organization has to control referees.
In the Usogui universe, there is an organization called Kagerou. Basically a group of unbiased and independent referees who have the job of ensuring that no one cheats.
And I’ll be damned if cheating wouldn’t be a big deal here. People bet their lives (literally) on a match of poker!
Every, and I mean EVERY genre has its “Cute girls doing cute things” anime.
You probably can’t imagine a cute anime girl doing this, but enter Saki – a show about the protagonist being recruited into the school mahjong club because she’s so good that she can guarantee a draw in any circumstance.
And I know most people aren’t watching gambling anime for cuteness.
But trust me, Saki is worth your time.
11. Mahjong Hishō-den: Naki no Ryū
Welp, here we’ve got even more mahjong.
I truly didn’t know it was so popular until I started making this list!
This series isn’t very popular, but while browsing Reddit threads I found that a lot of people seem to like this series.
And so yes, it deserves some love.
Please do watch it, the OVA is pretty fun, and you’ll know pretty quickly whether this is for you or not.
10. Kengan Ashura
So hey, remember that I said betting is also a form of gambling?
Well here we have a show from the perspective of those that are getting bet on. Weird phrasing, just hear me out.
Kengan does one thing really well: violence. Violense that shows us “Yes it matters”.
The violence that tells us how disgusting people can be. Basically making humans fight to the death, and betting on who will survive.
This thing is just a fun series watch, until you realize “There are people who do this in real life”.
Then it’s just depressing, honestly.
9. Rio: Rainbow Gate!
What do you think of when you think “Gambling”?
A casino, most likely.
What is the symbol of Hollywood casinos? Hot dealers, of course!
At first glance, it seems not even worth it to put this on the list.
But after reading over a hundred reviews – goodness do people love to hate this show!
Rio: Rainbow Gate! is like the To Love Ru of gambling anime. It’s iconic!
I recommend this series for sure, but don’t take it seriously. Watch this as a comedy and you’ll get a lot more out of it.
8. One Piece Film: Gold
Now we’re getting to the titans of popularity and fame. Here we have a One Piece movie solely based on a casino island and the Casino King.
In this movie we see our beloved characters gambling away money at an extremely overpriced place (Who’d buy flowers for 6,000?!) while the dark side of the business manifests… Like child slavery, for one.
The film is an engaging watch, and I’d happily place it higher on the list… but to watch it you need to watch a lo~ot of One Piece.
And for some people, this is an understandable dealbreaker. So moving on!
Kakegurui is pretty much universally agreed to be “The” Gambling show”, a Netflix original that really seemed to blow up in the community.
Mostly for how over the top the bets and situations can be.
Now personally, I’m not one for these types of shows.
I like carefully thought out strategies and high stakes. But I really couldn’t ignore how loved the show is, I had to check it out.
And to be honest, it really is truly fun to watch the crippling amounts of money being thrown around by these students.
Even without a sense of urgency, this feels good. And I’m here for it, so hopefully you would be too!
6. No Game, No Life
Have you ever felt out of place?
Like in this weird world of ours, you’re a mismatched gear slowly deteriorating from the constant pressure?
Well then this is the show for you to project yourself into!
NGNL offers a new isekai experience.
Picture this: what if our world didn’t have bloodshed, and everything could be decided with a simple coin flip?
What if instead of high political debates, the king was chosen by a game of chess?
That world would seem perfect. And especially so for our beloved siblings Sora and Shiro, who call themselves ⸢ ⸥ (and no, I didn’t forget to type in letters!)
They’re together considered the greatest gamers of the world, never losing. Of course they do cheat, but that’s another story…
And so the new world seems tailor-made for them to rule.
NGNL offers a beautiful color palette, unlike any similar show. Really, just watch it and you won’t be disappointed.
5. Legendary Gambler Tetsuya
Yet another featuring mahjong as the game of choice?
Legendary Gambler Tetsuya is one of the oldest anime in this genre, first airing in October 2000 and still considered the cream of the crop.
This series shows another rather realistic side of gambling: cheating.
People do, and always will cheat.
But this show cleverly handles the logistics of how, which makes it really stand out. It’s truly fascinating to watch, even for anime fans who don’t gamble.
The dated style and old voice acting shouldn’t stop you from watching this masterpiece. It’s truly outstanding, a golden medal of the gambling genre.
4. Death Parade
What happens after death?
Where do we go?
Well, apparently we go to a bar owned by an attendant that will challenge you to a simple game to discern your true nature.
People are dark creatures, and it’s Decim’s job to lure out from the darkness and get them and choose: reincarnation, or complete oblivion when even the soul dissipates into nothingness.
Yep, this one’s dark. If you couldn’t already guess by the name…
Death parade offers interesting conflict and a great psychological aspect to human emotion and how we work under pressure.
If I could I’d give it the number one spot, but sadly I just think there really are some others that fit the “gambling” subject matter in a clearer light.
Guess what? More mahjong!
But in all seriousness, Akagi is an absolute beast in showing us the dark side of society.
From crippling debt, to betting everything you have just to live another day, the stakes feel real every episode.
Well, why isn’t Akagi in the number one spot?
Because the creator of Akagi has an even greater treat waiting for us…
2. One Outs!
Now this brings me joy.
An undeniable classic, loved by many, hated by none.
This is a simple sports anime… or is it?
The game is simple:
Every “out” the mc pitches will earn him five million yen. But with every “run” he gives up, he will lose fifty million yen.
A reckless gamble, isn’t it?
But the mc loves this exact type of game, so he takes the offer!
So let us follow the journey of reviving a losing baseball team with millions at stake.
In One Outs, no one wins but the viewer!
I really don’t think anyone’s surprised or unhappy with this pick.
Kaiji is a legitimately amazing show, revealing all the darkness and despair that can be felt by falling into debt.
Kaiji makes us feel that the protagonist can lose.
It gives us a true feeling of anticipation of “what’s next?”
And I think it does this better than almost anything out there.
A solid 11/10 in all aspects, I really can’t stretch how good this show is. Go watch Kaiji, all 3 parts (if I remember correctly).
If you want more opinions on this check out MAL ratings. You’ll see what I mean pretty quickly!