Our Favorite Gambling Characters in Anime

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Tsunade from Naruto

Many people who aren’t really interested in anime think that it’s just about series like Pokemon and Sailor Moon. Fans obviously know, however, that anime has as many different styles and genres within it as any other type of art. Shows can range from being great for kids to those that are only suitable for adults. That’s part of the overall appeal.

I think everyone can agree that the food scenes in Studio Ghibli films like Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle make you want to eat. It can be the same with seeing characters gambling in anime too. While it’s easy to enjoy a bowl of ramen while you watch, obviously you don’t want to rush out to a casino in the middle of a Crunchyroll binge.

The rise in new online casinos means you don’t have to. You can play slots or a hand or two of poker while you watch your favorite gambling characters on screen. Some online casinos even have anime-themed slots. Moon Princess might be bordering on Sailor Moon copyright infringement, but it’s still a great slot game that can make you feel like you’re even more immersed in the world.

Here are some of our favorite gambling characters in anime.

Faye Valentine

Despite only running for one season in the 1990s, Cowboy Bebop is one of the best-known and most widely acclaimed anime series ever. Just as Cowboy Bebop appears on most lists of the best anime, Faye Valentine is on every list of the top gambling characters.

Faye Valentine is a beautiful character but she’s no angel. She is lazy and arrogant, constantly trying to figure out how to exploit situations and the people around her. She is also a habitual gambler. Despite all this, she is a likeable character and her fear of abandonment makes her sympathetic.


One Piece is one of the best-known anime shows, but unlike Cowboy Bebop, it has had a very long run, with over 1,000 episodes to date. Despite Paulie not being a main character in the show, he is one of the more popular minor figures.

A dock worker who became vice president of Galley-La Company, Paulie is a talented craftsman and a tough fighter. He is also an avid gambler though maybe not a very good one – his first appearance in the anime is when he tries to steal from Luffy in order to pay off a gambling debt.


Naruto is a popular anime that was one of the earlier shows to be embraced by western audiences. Tsunade is the world’s most powerful female ninja and she also specializes in healing techniques. Her most unusual power is her ability to summon a giant slug known as Katsuyu.

Tsunade is one of the most loved gambler characters. This can’t be due to her gambling skills, as she consistently loses and is well known in gambling circles as a player with terrible luck who will run up huge debts. Unlike some gambling characters who can’t seem to accept that they never win, Tsunade knows her luck is so bad that she takes any winning streak as a sign that something bad is about to happen.

The students of Kakegurui

Kakegurui is a newer anime series, but thanks to it being streamed on Netflix, it already has a large audience. The show is about the students at an elite school, Hyakkaou Private Academy, where the main curriculum is learning to gamble. Unlike in many anime where the games resemble real-world gambling activities like poker or mahjong, the games in Kakegurui are often dangerous and elaborate creations.

The main plot revolves around Yumeko Jabami, a transfer student who immediately begins to shake things up. Though many of the established students challenge her to seemingly impossible-to-win bets, Yumeko is able to win by discovering and exposing their various methods for cheating.

Kaiji Ito

Kaiji Ito is less well known than the other characters on this list but he is also the character for whom gambling is the most important trait. He is initially introduced as a weak man who gambles badly and has no real direction in life. Once he is trapped in a gambling event that could end with him being forced into servitude, he finds the will to outthink his competitors.

Anime is on the verge of going totally mainstream – Netflix have even been commissioning anime series based on popular manga. Maybe seeing characters with the same hobbies will draw in a new audience of gamblers and card players.