14 Best Gambling Anime You’ll Ever Watch (2020 List)

Best Gambling Anime

Do you love anime as much as getting a royal flush at Texas Hold’em?

Then – welcome aboard.

It’s time to watch some good gambling anime for some inspiration.

However, even if you're completely new to gambling, don't rush to close the tab just yet. Give these shows a chance.

After all, to quote the 49th episode of Gintama:

gambling anime cards

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1. Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor

Episodes: 25
Studio: Madhouse
Year: 2007-2008

“Money is worth more than life.”

Many anime fans are already familiar with Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor. It is one of the most popular series on this list, and I can see why - this gambling anime is a masterpiece in terms of pacing, character interaction, and animation.

The story is a good one, too.

Our protagonist Kaiji Ito (who is nothing more than an unemployed alcoholic) gets in some serious trouble. A loan shark forces him to pay his ex-coworker's debt of 3,850,000 yen.

Which, of course, is almost impossible to the jobless Kaiji.

That's why the man is offered a deal to go on a shady cruise to gamble his way out of trouble.

If Kaiji wins, his debts are paid off and he leaves the ship with a 20,000,000 yen profit. If he loses - he must do forced labour for two years.

With the stakes so high, you'll witness some of the most intense gambling scenes in the history of anime. As well as lots of heavy psychological tension.

2. Rio: Rainbow Gate

“Winning is a matter of time.”

Episodes: 13
Studio: Xebec
Year: 2011

Rio:Rainbow Gate is the ultimate Casino anime.

Rio Rollins is a famous Casino dealer who works at Howard Resort Hotel. She is also known as the Goddess of Victory. Wherever she goes, Rio brings luck to all the players around her and shows them how to win at Slot machines - so you can expect to see some satisfying wins.

It’s funny that in reality, such a dealer would be a disaster to any Casino.

However, even though it doesn’t make a lot of sense, Rio:Rainbow Gate is a fun, light-hearted watch.

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3. One Outs

“Nobody wins, but I.”

Episodes: 25
Studio: Madhouse
Year: 2008-2009

This is a sports gambling anime about a skilled pitcher Toua Tokuchi, who spends his time playing a simplified version of baseball called “One Outs”.

The story revolves around an unsuccessful baseball team called Lycaons.

Desperate to save the team, a batter Hiromichi Kojima recruits the skilful Toua as their last hope.

However, things are not as easy as they seem.

The team’s manager Saikawa doesn’t really care about victory and proposes a strange deal.

It goes like this. Every time Toua wins, the manager must pay him 5,000,000 yen as a reward. But every time Toua loses, he himself has to pay 50,000,000 yen to Saikawa.

This puts Toua into a weird situation, because, instead of just focusing on the opposing team, he also has to outsmart his own manager.

As a result, you'll see lots of planning, strategy, and mind games.

4. Kakegurui (Compulsive Gambler)

“Madness is the essence of gambling.”

Episodes: 12
Studio: MAPPA
Year: 2017

There’s a high-school anime for everything, and Kakegurui is the one for us Casino fans.

Hyakkaou Private Academy is not your ordinary school. It’s a place for students from the richest and most politically powerful families in Japan. Here, gambling defines everything, including your social status.

One day, a transfer student Yumeko Jabami shows up and challenges the whole hierarchy structure with her incredible gambling abilities.

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5. Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai

“You’ll only survive if you die.”

Studio: Madhouse
Episodes: 26
Year: 2005-2006

Nangou is in trouble. He owes 3 million yen to the yakuza and is one unlucky game away from death.

Luckily, a mysterious kid named Akagi appears and turns the odds around in Nangou’s favor. Even though Akagi is completely new to mahjong, he wins and saves the old man’s life.

It turns out that the boy is gifted at gambling - and we are blessed with a show full of (surprisingly) exciting mahjong battles and high stakes of life and death.

Despite its stylized art style, this gambling anime takes itself seriously. You won’t see any over-the-top expressions, bad attempts at comedy, or unnecessary romantic subplots.

By the way - don’t be discouraged if you don’t know how to play mahjong.

The show explains the rules of this game very clearly. Which means that you can enjoy Akagi even if you’re a complete beginner.

6. Legendary Gambler Tetsuya

“The only thing in this world worth believing in is your own luck.”

Studio: Toei Animation
Episodes: 20
Year: 2000-2001

Japan is in shambles after the Second World War. Salaries are laughably small, and the only way to live a decent life is to play mahjong.

A young man Tetsuya is one of those skillful players who survive off illegal gambling.

Unfortunately, one day everything goes downhill. One unsuccessful match with a cheater leaves Tetsuya penniless. The man realizes that he has to learn to cheat back if he wants to survive.

From my point of view, this gambling anime is best for mahjong enthusiasts. Legendary Gambler Tetsuya takes the game very seriously - while adding some philosophical life lessons along the way.

gambling anime mahjong

7. Usogui

“The only people who are able to seize the chances dancing upon them are the ones who prepare the most.”

Studio: Shueisha
Episodes: 1 (OVA)
Year: 2012

Based on a manga by the same name, Usogui deals with the harsh reality of illegal gambling.

The world of this anime is unforgiving and cruel. People tend to bet with their lives, so a brutal organization called Kagerou is created to control the players.

The OVA follows a brilliant gambler Baku Madarame. He is known as Usogui - the Lie Eater.

By using his incredible abilities, he wants to take over Kagerou and become the one in control.

Unfortunately, the OVA lasts only 40 minutes and doesn’t have enough time to explore the intricate world of the manga.

Conclusion - read the books by Toshio Sako if you want more adventures of Baku Madarame.

8. Saki

“Whenever I played mahjong with my family, I wouldn’t get any candy if I lost.”

Studio: Gonzo, Picture Magic
Episodes: 25
Year: 2009

Yet another anime on mahjong, Saki takes the whole gambling business a lot less seriously than the rest of its kind.

The story is about a girl named Saki Miyanaga. She hates mahjong because of the unpleasant memories from her childhood.

However, things take a sharp turn when a friend invites her to be a part of the school’s mahjong club.

With bright colors and a generous splash of kawaii, Saki will appeal to those who want some light-hearted fun.

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9. Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku: The Legend of Koizumi

“The great deeds that people cannot accomplish lie beyond the horizon known as “impossibility”.

Studio: TYO Animations
Episodes: 3
Year: 2010

So, George W. Bush, Kim Jong-il, and Vladimir Putin walk into a bar.

This is not a beginning of a joke - it’s a gambling anime called Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku: The Legend of Koizumi.

Here, the most famous world leaders play mahjong - and the loser has to do anything the winner asks him.

Be prepared for lots of political jokes, over-the-top humor, and unexpected plot twists.

Just keep in mind that the anime merely scratches the surface of the original story. Grab the manga if you want to see Hitler turn into the Legendary Super-Aryan.

10. Imawa no Kuni no Alice (Alice in Borderland)

“There was never a chance from the start.”

Studio: Silver Link., Connect
Episodes: 3
Year: 2014-2015

The anime Imawa no Kuno no Alice combines gambling and RPG video games quite well.

A high-school student Ryouhei Arisu wants something more from his life.

One day he and his friends are magically transported into a world called Borderland. Here, luck will determine their chance of survival.

The friends have to draw fortune slips with seemingly impossible math problems. One wrong answer brings a sea of burning arrows - which can kill them on the spot.

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11. Death Parade

“In this game, your lives are on the line.”

Studio: Madhouse
Episodes: 12
Year: 2015

Death Parade has the highest stakes on this list of the best gambling anime.

Now, here’s what the show is about.

Those who die find themselves in a bar with a bartender Decim. Here, they have to play a game, which is chosen by a single spin of a roulette wheel.

People are told that losing results in eternal void, and winning guarantees reincarnation.

But…is it the game that determines the outcome, or the person’s moral choices?

12. No Game No Life

“This world is just a crappy game.”

Studio: Madhouse
Episodes: 12
Year: 2014

No Game No Life is not your typical gambling anime. However, there are some Casino games involved.

Step-siblings Sora and Shiro don’t fit in, but they are the most skilled gamers in the world.

One day, after hearing about their abilities, the God of Games brings them into his world, Disboard. Here, all political conflicts are solved by playing games.

If you decide to watch No Game No Life, prepare for some high-stake wagering and gambling tournaments.

anime about gambling

13. C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control

“Is money just money, or is it…above that?”

Studio: Tatsunoko Production
Episodes: 11
Year: 2011

Money is essential for our survival.

C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control explores this idea in greater detail.

This gambling anime series depicts a world called the Financial District. Here, desperate people play games of chance to become wealthy.

The anime deals with the idea of betting your future for a better present.

Oh, one more thing. I’d like you to know that this is a show where you have to think a little in order to understand the plot.

14. Joker Game

“The only thing that awaits you now is black, empty solitude.”

Studio: Production I.G
Episodes: 12
Year: 2016

While not centered around gambling, this anime involves lots of poker.

This is a series about eight spies who have endured harsh training to become excellent manipulators.

Joker Game is set during the Second World War, which gives the show a lot of excuses to be gritty and dark.

Now that you know about gambling in anime, you might want to read ourlist of best gambling movies.

Images courtesy of FreePik

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