29 Feb

TOP 21 Best Gambling Anime Series You Must Watch

08:02 July 13, 2021 10 3982
Author: Viacheslav Yatsenko
9.88 (Votes : 4)

Gambling is all about mindset, where you need to develop your own strategy, think about your next move to outsmart your opponent and get your well-deserved victory. There are various different types of gambling, like cards, table games, poker, etc. All these games have unique terms and rules, and everyone can find an entertaining option for their taste. But the anime industry went further and modified well-known gambling disciplines, making them even more attractive, dangerous and mega exciting.

We prepared a list with the most thrilling anime series that immerses you in the real world of gambling with outstanding characters, unexpected storytelling lines and breathtaking atmosphere.

21. No Game No Life

Title (Original name) Nō Gēmu Nō Raifu
Aired 9 April 2014
Episodes 12
Duration 23 min
Theme isekai, fantasy, science fiction, adventure, comedy
Available on Netflix

The story of No Game No Life focuses on extraordinary, hikikomori siblings Sora and Shiro, who got a reputation as an undefeated due behind the Blank team in the gaming world. They perceive the world as a “lousy game.” However, one life-changing invitation to a new dimension of Disboard by the God of Games changes everything in their life.

This dimension is entirely different from the real world, and all conflict and confronting situations can be solved in one way only – gambling. Sixteen different races occupy the territory of Disboard, including the Human race. The genius siblings and their unique intellectual abilities should come into a gaming battle, unite all the races and challenge the God of Games to save humanity and become the gods of this world. And it is the right time to participate in the deadly game!

This particular story covers the idea that there is one way of existence for some isolated from society people, namely gambling. So, the main heroes are ready to try something new in a new dimension to feel alive again.

20. March Comes in Like a Lion

Title (Original name) Sangatsu no Raion
Aired 8 October 2016
Episodes 22 (1 season); 22 (2 season)
Duration 25 min
Theme romance, slice of life
Available on Netflix, Crunchyroll

The plot of the TV show transfers you in Tokyo to a life of an orphan and professional shogi (Japanese chess) player by the name of Rei Kiriyama.

After the terrible traffic accident, a little boy Rei lost all his close relatives and was adopted by the family of Kōda. Reaching the age of adulthood, he moved away from them and started to live independently. Being a professional shogi player, he faced a lot of pressure, which caused a deep depression and cut an emotional connection with society. 

Once, Rei met three sisters, and his path to open up as a personality as well as pro shogi player understanding the complexity of his emotions and feelings began.

The story of March Comes in Like a Lion is interesting because of the progressive changes and developments that the main protagonist experience.

19. The Legend of Koizumi

Title (Original name) Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku
Aired 26 February 2010
Episodes 3
Duration 8 min
Theme mahjong, parody, political comedy
Available on YouTube, Niconico

One more anime concept that centers around the idea of solving problems with the help of gambling is The Legends of Koizumi.

When you want to avoid bloodshed and innocent deaths, the high-ranking politicians solve all conflicts and challenges by a simple battle in mahjong. In Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku: The Legend of Koizumi, Junichiro Koizumi is represented as one of the greatest players, who settled scores with the superpowers such as the US, China and Russia.

During these three episodes of the political-related anime, you will be the witness to how the results of mahjong decide the fate of hard-working plebians. Different best-of-five deadly matches, unpredictable outcomes and exciting gameplay between the world-leading politicians will help you immerse into the real world of mahjong.

18. Joker Game

Title (Original name) Jōkā Gēmu
Aired 5 April 2016
Episodes 12 + 2 OVA
Duration 24 min
Theme mystery, political thriller, spy
Available on Crunchyroll

The plot of the Joker Game TV show reveals around the creation of a special force, “D-Agency,” and its hidden activity.

World War II is about on the corner. The Japanese government decided to establish this spy school to observe new developments of the superpowers related to the upcoming, fearsome war. All the agents are chosen from a non-military sector who undergo immensely tough program training to survive under the most extreme conditions.

But the most crucial aspect of their training lies in studying communication, rhetoric and different foreign languages that help agents manipulate people to extract the necessary information. Lieutenant Yuuki, the leader of the D-Agency, sends the agent across the globe, giving them fake personalities. But will it help escalate down the consequences of the war?

If you are interested in the topic of manipulation of people’s minds using different neuropsychological techniques, then Joker Game will grab your attention for sure.

17. C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control

Title (Original name): C
Aired 15 April 2011
Episodes 11
Duration 22 min
Theme science fiction, adventure, action, supernatural, mystery
Available on N/A

Money is a source of power and control, and it is difficult to disagree with this statement. All the actions of C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control occur in the 21st century when the Japanese government could barely prevent the economic crisis by implementing radical measures. These measures increased the level of unemployment and created the darkest hour for most of the population.

The main character of the TV show is a typical student Kimimaro Yoga who dreams about a regular life with a stable source of income. One day, he meets a stranger who offers him a tremendous amount of money and asks the boy to bet his “future” in advance.

Yoga accepted the offer and came to the so-called Financial District, where he would need to participate in weekly tournaments to save the money and his future.

The anime depicts the life of survival, where the main protagonist needs to be extremely intelligent to outplay the competitors and save his future. The constant pressure, skilled and smart players, tricky outplays and many other intriguing things are waiting for you in this anime.

16. Hikaru's Go

Title (Original name) Hikaru no Go
Aired 10 October 2001
Episodes 75
Duration 23 min
Theme comedy, board game, shounen, supernatural
Available on Netflix (no longer available)

The Japanese anime Hikaru no Go directly refers to an abstract strategy board game Go, which is incredibly popular around the globe and included in the list of World Mind Sports Games.

Hikaru Shindo, a main character of the TV show, was exploring the shed of his grandfather, where the boy occasionally found a Go board. After one touch, the spirit of the respectful Go player Fujiwara-no-Sai came to him and asked the boy for help. Hikaru was willing to contribute and accepted the offer.

The ultimate goal of Fujiwara-no-Sai is to possess a unique technique that no one can use. And with the help of Hikaru, he would like to accomplish this task. Despite the fact that Hikaru has no interest in this strategic game, he and the spirit have become teammates, and Sai has begun to master this divine Go technique with the help of the young boy. 

The Hikaru’s Go anime is one of the best TV shows about the board game Go. The anime has a simple opening, but the plot develops at a middle-growing pace and becomes complicated in terms of challenges, obstacles, and feelings. 

15. Mahjong Legend Akagi: The Genius Who Descended into the Darkness

Title (Original name) Touhai Densetsu Akagi: Yami ni Maiorita Tensai
Aired 5 October 2005
Episodes 26
Duration 23 min
Theme mahjong, gambling, psychological
Available on Crunchyroll

Previously, we mentioned an anime where mahjong played a crucial role in conflict-solving processes on the highest level. This time, the story of Mahjong Legend Akagi: The Genius Who Descended into the Darkness reveals around a young 13-year-old boy Shigeru Akagi who become a legend after one accidental case.

One night, Akagi occasionally entered the yakuza’s parlour, where he witnessed a mahjong match between yakuza’s members and Nango. Nango is a gambler with addiction who lost a lot of money to these criminals and was trying to pay back by despairing, placing his own life. Good luck was far away from the gambler, but Akagi gave him wise advice that turned the bad luck and losing potential into a winning streak.

Then, Nango decided to switch the gambling spot with Akagi, and this brought the flawless victory against one of the best yakuza mahjong players. This news spread across the country, and Akagi became a legend. Since that time, the gambling adventures of the young legend began.

The story twists around the boy and his greatness. He is depicted not as a simple human boy but as a god. Each episode shows his unbelievable victories and reveals exciting strategies that you can apply playing mahjong.

14. The Lie Eater

Title (Original name) Usogui
Aired 19 October 2012
Episodes 1
Duration 40 min
Theme gambling, mystery, psychological, seinen
Available on N/A

There are players who are willing to risk and bet their lives as an ante to win in different games, like Old Maid or Escape the Abandoned Building. The integrity of such games is monitored by the neutral referees of the ruthless and powerful organization by the name of Kagero.

The hero of this story is Madarame Baku, well-known as the Lie Eater because of his prowess and sequential victories against opponents, playing by their “dirty” rules. He participates in gambling battles versus maniacal players in the deathmatches. And all of these doings are aimed at one reasonable but straightforward goal – to take control over the Kagero organization.

The one-episode The Lie Eater can attract you because of unexpected game results: the opponents are pretty sure about their upcoming winnings, but Baku flawlessly destroys their expectations with outsmarting moves.

13. Saki

Title (Original name) Saki
Aired 6 April 2009
Episodes 25
Duration 24 min
Theme gambling, board games, mahjong, seinen, comedy
Available on Crunchyroll

To be a winner in mahjong is a hard task, but to get a tie with your opponent is an even more complicated achievement. Saki Miyanaga, the main character of the Saki anime and a fresh student in a high school, does not like this game, but her family forces her to play with them. And there are only two consequences. In the case of losing, the family members punish her, and winnings bring only negative emotions to her, like hatred from the family’s side. So, the golden pearl is to keep the score at zero. 

One day, Saki’s friend invited her to join a mahjong club. Saki accepted the offer because she had sympathy for one gambling girl that was also involved in this activity. After the first round, Saki did not show a brilliant result and played in a tie, and only the director of the club paid attention to her incredible gambling skills and her perspective potential. The team of five members was created, and it was the right time to participate in a race of climbing the top of the national high school competition in mahjong.

In general, this Saki anime is not outstanding in terms of plot. But you will have a lot of fun because it gives you a great level of entertainment, which makes you feel the desire to continue watching until the very end.

12. Mahjong Hishouden: Crying Dragon

Title (Original name) Mahjong Hishō-den: Naki no Ryū
Aired 25 May 1988
Episodes 3
Duration 40 min
Theme gambling, mahjong, drama, action, seinen
Available on N/A

Sometimes gambling is a dangerous activity, especially when you are dealing with gangsters, criminals and all sorts of cruel people. The main protagonist of Mahjong Hishouden: Crying Dragon is a mysterious man named Ryu who is gambling in mahjong with dangerous people using the nickname of Crying Dragon.

Almost always, he meets success because of the secret winning formula – “ron.” It is a special move according to which one player needs to wait some time when the rival has a tile and makes the perfect strike. This strategy helped Ryu to outsmart and outplay many infamous persons.

This anime will transfer you to the mahjong world full of different techniques of manipulations and struggling competitions.

11. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

Title (Original name) JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken Sutādasuto Kuruseidāsu
Aired 5 April 2014
Episodes 48
Duration 24 min
Theme gambling, poker, action, supernatural, horror
Available on Crunchyroll

If you are bored of mahjong, you need to take a close look at the arc of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Its part of Stardust Crusaders partly centers on gambling (poker). The main antagonist of the TV show is D’Arby, the personification of the undefeatable poker player. He plays exceptionally high and accepts super valuable bets only – souls. On the opposite side, Jotaro calls for the fight against him to win back all the souls D’Arby has caught.

The JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders show creates a tense environment where all the main characters come to dirty tricks, using various psychological methods to manipulate each other. This combination will entirely grab your mind for sure and keep you engaged until the very last moment.

10. Kengan Ashura

Title (Original name) Kengan Ashura
Aired 31 July 2019
Episodes 24
Duration 24 min
Theme martial arts, gambling, betting, action anime
Available on Netflix

Underground fights are a rather infamed illegal business in Japan. The plot of this anime focuses on contests in which big money is a stake.

The storytelling narrates to us about Tokita Oma, a man with a nickname of “Asura.” He is simply passionate about bouts on a closed stage, gathering hundreds of admirers for his battles. Asura obtains a unique characteristic – he destroys his enemies with no chance to survive.

The main protagonist is becoming more and more recognizable among certain people so that he will be interested in the Yakuza circle soon. How will all the actions develop next? The protagonist’s life will not be the same.

The Kengan Ashura anime fits perfectly for those who want to combine wild vibes of gambling and the brutal atmosphere of underground fights. Moreover, Kengan Ashura is all about money, excitement and an unstoppable desire to be a winner! But the storytelling got many critiques because the adaptation from the manga was failed, and the things were explained worse than the brilliant manga.

9. Slave District: 23 Slaves and Me

Title (Original Name) Dorei-ku: Boku to 23-nin no Dorei
Aired 13 April 2018
Episodes 12
Duration 24 min
Theme mind game, gambling, psychological thriller
Available on Netflix

A psychological test, conceived as a controversial social experiment, threatens to become a race to survival. In pursuit of ulterior motives, the organizers of the strange game involve 24 young people, each of whom is given a special device. The special device is designed to turn the other participants into slaves, ready to execute all the instructions of their master. The motivation for participation varies, but most of those invited want to amuse their ego by getting a slave at their personal disposal.

There is only one thing to do – subdue your target. Obey or be obeyed. Kneel or dominate. Who will win in this battle for the seat of the lord, and will all survive in the pursuit of the grand prize?

The unique attractiveness of this TV show lies in the fact that we can oversee changes in personalities: when the winner becomes the loser and vice versa. During the game, the participants will use tricky methods to manipulate others and convert them into slaves.

8. Rio: Rainbow Gate!

Title (Original Name) Rio: Reinbō Gēto
Aired 4 January 2011
Episodes 13 + 1 (bonus episode)
Duration 23 min
Theme comedy, gambling, casino, pachinko game
Available on Ani.me, Toku

This particular anime show is based not on a manga or novel but a pachinko game. The anime plot reveals around a popular casino dealer Rio Rollins (The Goddess of Victory), and Mint Clark, a young boy, in a casino in the Howard Resort.

Rio has a dream to become the most valuable casino dealer as her missing mother were. To reach this difficult aim, she needs to collect 13 special cards by the name of “Gates.” While her storyline is progressing, Rio gathering the so-called Gates going through embarrassing challenges and trials.

The very first episode can make you feel boring, but overstepping the boredom, the plot of the story becomes clear and exciting. The final of Rio: Rainbow Gate! is easy to predict, but the storyline is attractive.

7. One Piece Film: Gold (Movie)

Title (Original Name) Wan Pīsu Firumu Gōrudo
Aired 25 July 2016
Episodes 1
Duration 120 min
Theme action, adventure, fantasy, gambling
Available on Netflix

Events unfold on the world’s most excellent entertainment place, the Gran Tesoro, headed by a government official Gild Tesoro who is widely known as the Golden Emperor because of his obsession with gold.

Gran Tesoro is not just a place to relax; it is an independent island with the status of the greatest entertainment place in the world admitted by the World Government. Here you can find everyone who wants to get rich quickly, especially pirates. Ambition, easy money and excitement – that are what drive people here. The Luffy’s team also keeps its eye on the “island,” but something unimaginable happens to Luffy and him pirates.

The story is fascinating and allows you to dive into the world, where the ideology of gold domination and wealth obsession is on a high prior among people of different social classes. The final scene is somewhat predictable, but all the life-or-death gambling events on Grand Tesoro will attract you, especially when you are a fan of the One Piece franchise.

6. Liar Game (TV Series)

Title (Original Name) Raiā Gēmu
Aired 14 April 2007
Episodes 11
Duration 26 min
Theme gambling, psychological thriller, mind games, drama
Available on N/A

Kanzaki Nao is a young girl who receives a black box. When she opens it, she finds a massive sum of money with an invitation to the Liar Game. But this invitation is a mere formality, and she has already been involved in the game when she opened the package. The rules are elementary: you take the money and win it if you return the entire amount after 30 days. In the case you lose even one coin, you have to compensate for its value. You do not join this game by choice; you can become a participant only because of your inattention or curiosity. Everything seems clear and straightforward, but this game can bring deadly consequences.

Despite the curiosity, excitement and intelligent plot that Liar Game can bring to you, the anime gives you a shot to explore the deepest parts of human ambition: different persons think absolutely differently under the same situations. And precisely this moment will entirely keep your attention till the very end of the TV show.

5. The Legend of the Gambler: Tetsuya

Title (Original Name) Shoubushi Densetsu Tetsuya
Aired 7 October 2000
Episodes 20
Duration 23 min
Theme gambling, mahjong
Available on TV Asahi

The year 1946. The war is over. A time of peace has come, which allows people to think about something other than survival. Asada Tetsuya plays mahjong, and he enjoys this hobby. The guy is making progress and is considered one of the most skilled players of that time. However, quite by chance, he encounters an old man Boushu, who easily beats him.

Tetsuya is shocked. He asks the winner to teach him the game's tricks, but the player is in no hurry to give Asada a chance. The old man is reluctant to take on a mahjong partner at first, but when he realizes that Tetsuya has a clear talent, he takes it upon himself to teach him, so the best mahjong duo in Shinjuku is born.

The Legend of the Gambler: Tetsuya is an old anime show, but despite this matter, this narrative captivates many people, even our days (2021). Exciting mahjong matches, tricky techniques and challenging competitors will grab your interest.

4. Death Parade

Title (Original Name) Desu Parēdo
Aired 9 January 2015
Episodes 12
Duration 23 min
Theme psychological thriller, gambling, billiard, darts
Available on Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll

What if death is not the end, but only the beginning. Is there Heaven and Hell? This question has plagued the human mind for thousands of years. And the mystery of the afterlife always has interested mortals. But what if everything is much simpler? For example, if after death you have to go through a trial that determines where you have to go – to Hell or Heaven?

There is a bar in a mysterious place that employs a strange blond guy named Decim (the Judge). He challenges all new arrivals to play a life-threatening game with an incredibly high stake – the arrivals’ life. The essential purpose of the game is to reveal the fundamental nature of the player. The mysterious arbiter controls people’s lives, deciding who wins and who loses.

The Death Parade show puts you in the arbiter’s position, where you can explore and judge different people according to their stories and perspective. Some people are easy to judge, and some souls need a detailed consideration of their life path.

3. One Outs!

Title (Original Name) One Outs: Miwaku no All-Star-hen
Aired 7 October 2008
Episodes 25
Duration 23 min
Theme gambling, psychological thriller, sports, baseball, betting
Available on N/A

Many people think baseball is a simple game with primitive rules. You have to be able to swing a bat, throw a ball, and run fast, and you do not even have to do it all equally well. Soon, these people will have two surprising discoveries. First, it is possible to become an in-demand baseball player who can neither throw a ball, run, nor wield a bat, and second, the game of baseball can be just as useful for the brain as it is for chess or checkers.

The story begins when Hiromichi Kojima, lead batter of the defunct Japan Pacific League Lycaons, heads to Okinawa, a southern Japanese island, to train hard and get out of a losing streak. There he meets Toa Tokuchi, a pitcher who can throw a 134-kilometre-per-hour ball and the undisputed king of baseball’s cash games, called “One Out.” After being persuaded by Kojima, Tokuchi signs an unusual contract with the Lycaons: he gets five million yen for every time he strikes out but loses fifty million yen for every point he loses.

It is an exciting story about a super-talented and intelligent boy that shows a new perspective of being a professional baseball player. Of course, gaming skills matter, but intelligence and manipulative capabilities play an even more crucial role.

2. Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji

Title Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji
Aired 2 October 2007
Episodes 26
Duration 23 min
Theme gambling, underground tournaments, actions, suspense, card games
Available on Crunchyroll

The protagonist Kaiji Ito is essentially a loser who is embittered at everyone and everything for his existence. He constantly loses at games while drinking cheap alcoholic beverages. But one day, such “relaxation and a way out of stress” came to an end.

The hero knows that he has a loan of 4 million yen. It means that he needs to work half of his life or look for a quick way to make money. Of course, Kaiji chose the second option. The hero boards a ship where he will play a kind of gambling game with extra funds lent to them.

Here everything is ruled by money, and only Kaiji wants to break this vicious circle, desiring honesty and trust in each other. He is not afraid to go against the system. Will he be able to change the mercantile society, or will it break him?

The anime Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji makes you feel empathy for the main protagonist and intuitively supports him through every up and down he will face.

1. Kakegurui

Title Kakegurui
Aired 1 July 2017
Episodes 12 + Special (1 Season); 12 + Special (2 Season)
Duration 24 min
Theme gambling, psychological thriller, board games
Available on Netflix

Hyakkaou Private Academy is a place where the so-called elite study. A prestigious school for the privileged people with an untypical curriculum. If you are a child from a super-wealthy family, athletic prowess or education, all of this does not matter. Only the ability to predict your opponent’s next move or the art of making deals can help you survive here.

And where better to develop and sharpen your skills rather than in gambling? Your life depends on your gambling skills. For many years the academy’s relationships were based on power-subordination, but with Yumeko’s transfer, the ideal system began to fail. Where will the thirst for insane excitement lead to?

This gambling high school anime depicts unusual personalities who consider gambling as their essential lifestyle. For them, gambling is everything, and they will go as far as possible to satisfy their thirst for gambling. Unbelievably high stakes, life-or-death matches, super-intelligent competitors, and much more will be waiting for you in the Kakegurui gambling show.

So, you see right now that anime series and movies dedicated to gambling can be mega diversified: from ordinary gambling disciplines to life-or-death competitions, from simple rules to highly complex terms, from the implementation of basic strategies to the usage of exceedingly dirty tricks. These TV shows have already revealed that gambling is all about mindset and the way you think to outplay your opponent and take the trophy. Maybe, you will get even smarter after watching these shows and take some valuable tactics or tricks to become a winner!


9.88 (Votes: 4)


  • Alan Brickman
    I did not expect to see such a detailed list, love it.

  • Robert Patrik
    Pretty decent list. Gonna recommend some of these stories to my friends.

  • Charles Alsopp
    Anime has always shocked me with incredible stories. Thanks for the selection.

  • Clare Dunce
    I’ve recently watched Kakegurui, and was impressed with it. Never thought that there were so many people who were passionate about gambling and ready to wager their own life in order to be satisfied.

  • Nazar Nazar
    Ahah, it’s a funny idea that politicians solve crucial world problems by playing mahjong... Considering the fact that some governors don’t know how to solve a simple puzzle, the consequences of such a problem-solving process are terrible for hard-working people.

  • Steve Crowl
    After reading your article, I’ve decided to watch Kakegurui, and I wasn’t disappointed. All two seasons I watched with excitement. At this moment, this anime about Yumeko Jabami and her gambling addiction take first place in my list of the best gambling anime series.

  • Karen
    What a helpful and comprehensive review! I adore anime and didn’t even know that there are so many cool gambling series 😊.

  • Jeffry Richardson
    No Game No Life blew my mind. It is just an anime, but it allows you to look at our society from a different angle. Approved.

  • Emily
    Resolving geopolitical conflicts through mahjong!? This is an absurd idea, and I love it.

  • Igor
    Joker Game is the best! I really didn't expect such plot twists. Would surely suggest it to anyone who is into psychology.

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