In Japan, there’s a lot of gambling anime out there for us to binge-watch and enjoy. Some are super funny, others are full of excitement. Some are more for grown-ups like us, while others are perfect for teens. It’s tough to pick the absolute best one, but why choose? Let’s just watch them all! These shows have characters who aren’t afraid to bet it all—money, luck, or even their lives—in some seriously intense situations.
So, without dragging it out, get your poker face on! This article is diving into some of the greatest gambling anime of all time. If you want something that’ll really get your brain working, you’re in for a treat.
Starting off the list with the awesome gambling anime Saki. It’s about a teenager named Saki Miyanaga who doesn’t like mahjong because of tough times in her past. But everything changes when her friend Kyoutarou Suga takes her to a school-wide mahjong event. There, she meets Nodoka Haramura, last year’s mahjong champ, and another clubmate, Yuuki Kataoka.
While playing, Saki tries to hide her skills, but the student council president, Hisa Takei, notices something special about her. When Saki’s true talent is revealed, it’s a blow to Nodoka’s pride. But as they work through their differences, the club becomes a place of comfort for Saki. After sorting things out with Nodoka, their relationship grows. “Saki” is one of the coolest school anime following a team’s journey to win nationals.
14. Kengan Ashura
Kengan Ashura is a cool Japanese anime that mixes gambling and fighting. The story revolves around Nogi Hideki, a big-shot businessman who likes to bet on high-stakes business deals through intense underground matches. He brings in Tokita Ohma, a strong fighter, to represent him.
In this world, businesses settle matters by hiring gladiators like Tokita. Yabako Sandrovich’s anime Kengan Ashura is awesome, showing different types of action in a violent setting. It’s a world where super powerful gladiators have been fighting since the Edo period, solving problems and serving rich businesses and merchants.
13. Rio: Rainbow Gate!
Rio Rainbow Gate is another best anime that revolves around gambling, and it seems like it’s happening in a casino called the “Howard Resort Hotel.” Sounds like a fancy place to go and win some big prizes! In the casino, there’s this awesome dealer named Rio Rollins. They call her the Goddess of Victory.
Rio wants to be one of the best female dealers, just like her mom, who’s recognized by the Maintainers of Casino Protocols. So, she sets out to collect these special cards called “gates.” If you get one, you become an MVCD—Most Valuable Casino Dealer. Rio takes on this challenge to be like her mom, who’s respected in the underground society.
12. Dorei-Ku The Animation
Durei-Ku is a game anime that follows Eiya Arakawa, who’s curious about why her best friend’s boyfriend betrayed her for another guy. Yuuga Oota agrees to spill the beans only if Eiya can figure out the relationship of a couple nearby. Eiya nails the question, and Yuuga invites her to a private meeting where they play the Gambling Game SCM. This game turns people into slaves.
In a duel, SCM devices strongly affect the players’ brains. After the duel, the SCM makes the loser feel super obligated to follow the winner. Yuuga wants to test his skills, and Eiya is torn between wanting more from life. As a mysterious organization gathers slaves, Eiya is thrust into something she’s never seen before and faces more danger than she could imagine.
“Usogui” is an anime OVA with a gambling-focused story where people bet their lives. There’s a group called Kagerou that oversees and makes sure these high-stakes games are fair. We follow Baku Madarame, also known as Usogui (The Lie Eater), as he plays against crazy opponents in games like Escaping the Abandoned Building, Old Maid, and Hangman. His goal is to outsmart and take control of the neutral organization, Kagerou itself.
10. Hikaru no Go
Now, let’s move on to another must-watch gambling anime, Hikaru No Go. It tells the story of a regular school student, Kairi Shindo, who accidentally brings to life the spirit of Go prodigy Sai Fujiwara. Sai has big dreams of mastering a divine go technique, but he needs help unlocking the game board.
Hikaru might just be the person Sai needs to play through! Even though Hikaru isn’t into board games, he agrees to play following Sai’s guidance. But things change after meeting Akira Touya. This Japanese gambling game captures Hikaru’s interest, sparking his passion for it. Hikaru’s rivalry with Sai is pretty inspiring, and his journey into the world of Go is just getting started.
9. Mardock Scramble
Mardock Scramble is an anime movie with a gripping gambling story about a young girl named Rune. When she was just three, her father abused her, and her brother stepped in, shooting and killing their abusive dad. After her family falls apart, she grows up as an underage courtesan and ends up in jail.
Now, when it comes to anime villains, Shell, the main bad guy in this tale, is quite something. He helps Rune get out of jail, but instead of kindness, he inflicts a lot of pain and punishment on her, pushing her to the brink of death. But then, she meets Dr. Easter, who saves her life by turning her into a robot.
With her new robotic abilities, she can hack electronics, fight, and stand up for herself. To expose Shell’s crimes, she teams up with Oeufcoque, a super smart electronic mouse that can transform into her wardrobe, voice collar, gun, knife, and shield. And, surprisingly, it can also be her love interest.
8. Joker Game
Joker Game is a super cool anime about spies and war. Japan has this new spy group called the D Agency because intelligence is super important with war on the horizon. In this anime, eight agents are sent to sneak into powerful countries and keep an eye on what’s happening in the war.
These agents are trained to do tough stuff, like handling tricky situations with their communication and language skills. But what makes them really powerful is their talent for manipulating people to get the important info their country needs.
7. March Comes In Like a Lion
March Comes In Like a Lion is a great anime about playing shogi, a game like chess. It tells the sad story of Ryunosuke Kiriyama, a 17-year-old shogi player who became a pro when he was in middle school. Rei Kiriyama lost his family in a tragic accident when he was young and became an orphan.
One day, he meets three sisters who live next door. This anime follows Rei’s journey outside the shogi world, and meeting these sisters becomes his first experience of having friends and family beyond the game.
6. Legendary Gambler Tetsuya
Next up, we have The Legendary Gambler Tetsuya, which is a good High Stakes gambling anime series set in 1947. This unique story takes place in Shinjuku, where people are struggling to make ends meet. With little money to get by, some turn to gambling as a way to escape poverty.
Tetsuya loves the thrill of competition, especially in Mahjong. He travels to different places and spends his time at Mahjong parlors, outsmarting various opponents. But then, Tetsuya encounters a super skilled pro and realizes he’s got more to learn. His journey to fame begins as he faces off against many other pros, climbing the ladder of success.
5. Akagi: Yami ni Oritatta Tensai
Akagi is an anime gambling story that shows how mahjong, a game usually played with family and friends, can also be a dark game in society’s hidden corners. Nangou is a guy who loves gambling and has gotten himself into a ton of debt! In a desperate move to clear his debt, he gets into some serious trouble.
Unfortunately, instead of winning, Nangou gets closer to death with each gamble. When things seem hopeless, a guy named Shigeru Akagi, who’s running from the police, shows up out of nowhere. To try and turn things around, Nangou hands the game over to Akagi, teaching him a few rules before doing so.
At first, the mafia thinks Akagi is just another loser. But they quickly realize they were wrong because he’s a natural-born gambler. Shigeru Akagi, the main guy in this series, is super fearless. This is his standout quality, and throughout the anime, he competes with mafia members for money and survival. That’s why he’s destined to become a legend.
One of the top newest anime about gambling is Kakegurui. It unfolds in a weird private school called Hyakkaou Private Academy, where they teach students how to succeed in the world. Since many students here come from super wealthy families, this top-notch school is unlike any other. During the day, it’s a regular school, teaching history, languages, and stuff like that. But when night falls, it transforms into a gambling hub, teaching students how to play with money and manipulate people.
Money equals power! Those who win the bets rise to the top of the school. Enter Yumeko Jabami, a professional gambler and a new transfer student. She’s naive, beautiful, and ready to take on Hyakkaou’s special curriculum. Unlike the others, Jabami Yumeko doesn’t play just to win; she plays for the thrill of the gamble. Her slightly crazy way of gambling might just bring a whole bunch of new cards to the table.
3. Death Parade
One of my favorite dark animes of all time is Death Parade, a series that will messes with your mind. The story revolves around Decim, a badass bartender with no facial expressions, handling the afterlife. His job is to judge people based on their real-life stories through some intense gambling games. Then, he decides if they’ll be reborn or if their souls vanish into the void forever.
At first, Decim seems pretty emotionless, but as the anime goes on, you’ll see some changes in his personality. All I can say is that Death Parade is a really good tv show about gambling and high-stakes games that reveal people’s true nature and how dark they can be. You should really check this one out; because it’s not like your typical Japanese series!
2. One Outs!
Unlike most sports anime that focus on training and teamwork, “One Outs!” is a sports anime with a twist—it’s all about wagering and bets with money.
As Kojima Hiromichi nears retirement from the Lycaons, he’s determined to lift his team from the bottom of the league. During a trip, he stumbles upon a game called ‘One Outs!’. The gambling aspect intrigues him. He faces off against the pitcher, Tokuchi Toua, a natural gambler who boasts of never losing.
Recognizing that his team needs someone like Tokuchi, Kojima makes a bet with him. If Tokuchi wins, he’ll join the Lycaons and bring his unique skills to the team.
1. Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
Kaiji is an amazing gambling anime that you shouldn’t miss—it’ll keep you hooked! Created by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, known for his unique gambling ideas and deep psychological analysis, this anime is a piece of art. The story revolves around Kaiji Itou, a guy living a tough life in the gutter. His life takes a drastic turn when he’s tricked by a former co-worker and finds himself drowning in a massive debt.
To repay it, Kaiji enters an illegal underground gambling cruise with the hope of winning big. Kaiji’s life becomes a living nightmare as he navigates through mind games and deceit. He’s not only up against skilled gamblers but also their cunning psyches. Survival becomes a game of wits against human instincts like greed, paranoia, and the will to survive. It’s an intense journey you won’t want to miss!