Having some fun in a casino is a part of our day-to-day fabric that we even see in fictional shows, characters, and movies too. From classic shows like The Simpsons to time-honored movies like Star Wars, we’ve seen plenty of fictional characters dive into some gambling.
With that in mind, we decided to go back through history and revisit some of our favorites of all-time. Here’s a list of 10 fictional characters who had an affinity for gambling.
With Springfield’s town needing an economic revitalization, the city decides to legalize gambling. Mr. Burns opens up a casino and Homer gets hired to be a blackjack dealer. Marge happens to visit the casino to meet Homer after a shift and she serendipitously finds a quarter, which she uses to play a slot. She immediately wins and also immediately becomes a gambling addict. She starts to neglect the family as she stays glued to the machine and it isn’t until Homer gets fired that she’s realized what she’s done.
That’s not the only Simpson’s episode to reference gambling, though. In another episode, with Springfield’s church out of money, convenience store owner Apu, gives Marge and the rest of the church council to save the church the idea to make the money playing blackjack. He trains them to count cards and eventually they win the money. But shenanigans ensue as Homer breaks in and derails their plan.
Fast Eddie Felson
“Fast Eddie” Felson was a character from the movie The Hustler built around an American pool player “Fast Eddie” Parker. Parker was no ordinary player, though, as he was schooled by six-time world champion Bennie Allen and ended up making a living playing pool. He would travel the country and hustle people at the table, taking as much as $30,000 in a game. He never wanted to associate with the movie too closely, though, as it would have blown his cover.
Biff Tannen was a classic villain in Back to The Future. In Part 2, he ends up using a sports almanac from the future to go back to the past and bet on games he knows the results to. Since he can’t lose, he ends up building himself a massive fortune. While he could have stopped there, he takes it one step (or many steps) further first lobbying to legal gambling, and then opening a massive casino.
Raymond “Rain Man” Babbitt
Rain Man is a classic 80’s movie that features Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman as the two main leads. Charlie Babbitt (Cruise) accidentally discovers he has a brother, Raymond (Hoffman) when his father passes away and leaves the million-dollar fortune to him. Raymond is autistic, though, and the two struggles to find commonalities. This is until Charlie realizes that he can put Raymond’s autism to work in the casino to count cards. The casino uses a six-deck shoe, but Raymond can still easily count cards and the duo escapes with $86,000 in winnings.
Naruto is a Japanese manga animation series that’s grown to extreme global popularity. It’s the fourth-best selling manga series of all-time, selling over 250 million copies around the world in more than 46 different countries.
Tsunade is one of the key characters in the show as she’s a former student of Hiruzen Sarutobi and is the granddaughter of Hashirama Senju and Mito Uzumaki. She also happens to be a serious gambler and while she plays all sorts of games, what’s best known about her gambling is that she has horrendous luck.
Star Wars may have never been such a magical story had Han Solo never acquired the Millennium Falcon. That’s right: he never actually owned it from the beginning. It was his good buddy Lando Calrissian who had its possession, but gambled it away to Han in a game of Sabacc.
That’s just one of a few times gambling has played a role in Star Wars. Tatooiine is known as a gambling hub and the city of Canto Bight on Cantonica hosted all sorts of gaming.
Fans of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 will recall that Quark’s was a popular recreational spot and watering hole. What’s lesser known, is that the full name is Quark’s Bar, Grill, Gaming House and Holosuite Arcade. Customers gambled with gold-pressed latinum, tokens and credit vouchers, and patrons would play games like Dabo. There was even an episode where an alien gambler was busted for manipulating the Dabo wheel to tilt it in his favor. Some of the other games included tongo, chula and they even eventually installed a dartboard.
As Quark puts it himself: “All gambling on DS9 happens at Quark’s or it doesn’t happen.”
One of the most iconic male fictional characters is also a well-known gambler. It’s not a huge surprise given he puts his life on the line with the stunts he pulls. However, he also gambles the traditional way too.
We’ve seen him many times at the tables, whether it’s Baccarat in Dr. No, Thunderball or On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. We’ve also seen him delve into some high stake’s poker against Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. And get into some craps with Plenty O’Toole in Diamonds Are Forever. The experienced British Spy is quite skilled in many respects and has clearly been schooled on all things in the casino as well.
One of the most legendary drug-binging movies is mostly fictional, but it’s also partially (some say accurately) based on the life of iconic writer Hunter S. Thompson. In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Raoul Duke – the character that’s based on Thompson – goes on a Las Vegas bender with his attorney, Dr. Gonzo.
In one of the more famous scenes from the movie, our dynamic duo hits the Circus Circus Casino on ether, which is similar to alcohol in some ways, but causes hallucination when huffed. The tag team cut through tables and the circus itself, but they’re eventually overwhelmed and have to leave.
The book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was actually written under the alias Raoul Duke before being changed to Hunter S. Thompson. He loved to gamble, and has given us some great gambling quotes, like the following:
“There are many harsh lessons to be learned from gambling, but the harshest one of all, is the difference between having fun and being smart”
If you’re a fan of first-person shooters, then you’ve probably encountered Duke Nukem at some point in your gaming career. He’s the protagonist of the Duke Nukem series, which was first released in 1991. While Duke is a modern-day McGuyver-like tough guy, he’s also got a taste for gambling too. As you might recall, in Duke Nukem Forever, he owns a casino on the Las Vegas Strip called The Ladykiller. That casino just so happens to be the set where “Damn!… It’s Late Show” is filmed, which is hosted by Johnny O’Lenoman.
Who are your favorite fictional characters who love to gamble?