Most Iconic Gambling Characters On The Screen

Iconic Characters in Film and Television who love to gamble

Characters in TV and film who gamble epitomize and encapsulate the essence of the gambler. The propensity with which gamblers are constantly on the precipice of peril or fortune is intensely entrancing to an audience. Not to mention that gamblers thrive on the risks in playing the odds which in fact come with devastating lows and incredible highs. Uniquely iconic gamblers in film and television embody the hero’s betting journey for better or for worse. Equally important, audiences enjoy watching stories of gamblers because the story is a visual payout.

Gambling is across the pages of history as far back 1500-1100 BCE. In a Hindu hymn called the Gambler’s Lament, the hardships of a punter addicted to dice is depicted. Generally speaking stories tell common truths that are of interest to the public. As a result, it was only a matter of time before technology and media entertained the masses with relatable stories. For this reason, risky gamblers are perfect characters in film and television. Thereupon giving way to the cinematic splendor of the inglorious risk-taker who enjoys playing the odds.

Notable Film and Television Characters Enjoy to Gamble

Why do we love watching gamblers on TV and film? Perhaps it’s the ability to enjoy the risk and the gamble in the risk-free comfort of your home. Watching Johnny Depp playing George Jung in the movie Blow feels dangerous yet safe because you’re on the other side of the screen.  

All things considered watching the rise of the largest cocaine dealer in the USA in the 1970s is compelling. You witness the height of his career as a drug smuggler as well as the dramatic moment when he’s caught. When his character goes to jail, the viewer walk away unscathed. Iconic gamblers in movies and television who enjoy a good gamble are a cheap ticket to a fast and hard ride in the lucrative betting industry.

TV and film, in other words, has the cinematic prowess to weave itself into the culture it’s a part of, and its characters who gamble are punters in these cultural worlds in the same way that the viewer is as we watch them. Characters who gamble on TV and film can act like microscopes. For example, they let us look past the facade of the show and see the skeletal thematics of the gambler’s character and its underbelly. Characters who gamble in film and TV have become pop-cultural milestones over time creating cult followings for gambling enthusiasts. 

Herein we review the most notable characters in television and film who gambled. In final analysis, movie and TV characters brilliantly, passionately and truthfully demonstrate the story of the gambler. Be entertained by the following famous characters from both the silver screen as well as the television screen, all of whom are winners.



Barney Stinson – How I Met Your Mother

From the the hit CBS show ‘How I Met Your Mother’ comes Barney Stinson, the modern day relatable gambler that television loves. Often gamblers are negatively depicted. On the other hand, Barney Stinson enjoys the ‘finer things in life.’ In short,  a nicely tailored suit, good Scotch and high-risk gambling comprises Barney’s glamour and allure.

Under these circumstances Barney was passionately about sports gambling. He’s also an avid fan of  and a crazy Chinese casino game called Xing Hai Shi Bu Xing. This ancient game involves poker chips, a deck of cards, dice, Mah-Jong tiles, a roulette wheel, and last but certainly not least, three girls with a hidden jelly bean.

Barney, a gambler through and through created a gaming clause in his wedding vows. One of his wedding vows read: “I promise to always celebrate the anniversary of this special day with you, unless it conflicts with a major sporting event, gambling trip, or marathon online gaming session.”

Seeley Booth – Bones

This smart and witty federal agent known for his charming personality is also superb at solving crimes. On the positive side, Booth’s impeccable sense of moral duty and athletic ability consequently make him an ace. On the negative side, his flair for playing the odds makes him susceptible to a gambling addiction.

At the end of the 1st season, Booth attempts to recover from his problem gambling addiction thereupon attending gamblers anonymous meetings. Booth knew he had to address his gambling addiction when he misses the first birthday of his son Parker because he was ‘on a good run.’ 

Marge Simpson – The Simpsons

Marge Simpson is the model cartoon mother of The Simpsons. Although it seems that she would prefer to play it safe, she actually has a sordid past with gambling. In the episode $pringfield, Mr. Burns creates a casino in Springfield and Homer get a job as a dealer. While Marge visits her husband, she becomes instantly addicted to the excitement of slots.

The perfect mom starts heavily neglecting her family. She begins spending all her days at the casino. At one point even, she does not return home. At the episode’s end, Homer confronts Marge and she realizes she has developed a serious gambling addiction. She immediately leaves the casino and promises not to return.


The Cincinnati Kid: Eric ‘Kid’ Stoner 

The Cincinnati Kid portrays a poker match between a pro poker punter and a young challenger. Its screenplay is based on the novel The Poker King by Richard Jessup. In the Cincinnati Kid, Eric “Kid” Stoner is a poker prodigy whose strategic genius allows him to overcome his opponents. The Kid is the kind of gambler to whom all punters aspire: pragmatic, cold and so, so smooth.

In a poker match between Kid and Howard, Kid’s Full House is surpassed by Howard’s Straight Flush. The probability of which is approximately 1 in 45 million.The Cincinnati Kid is most known for its “last hand scene,”where a bunch of punters encircle a poker table, munching on cigars and the Kid remains the centrepiece.

RAIN MAN – Raymond

In the movie Rain Man, Raymond’s autism may have him unable to interact in social relationships, but that gave him the focus to become a human calculator. Raymond’s gift for incredible calculations had his brother, Charlie played by Tom Cruise, have the idea to take him to casino. Together the brother who had never known each other before overcome a stacked house.

Raymond’s computational skills excel in playing blackjack in Las Vegas and thereafter winning a lot of money using card counting . In fact, the brothers win so much in gambling that Charlie can pay his debts. Learn more about the top winners in the gambling industry and what those million dollar winners did to increase their odds of winning big.


Joe Pesci’s performance as Nicholas “Nicky” Santoro is a classic gambler in a classic cult gambling movie. Under those circumstances, Nicky is a gambler that’s in the fast track of Las Vegas. His snarky Italian sass is indicative of the archetype of a classic mafia goon playing the odds. He’s not specifically gambling yet he’s making his living as an enforcer for a mafia outfit who specialises in skimming profits from Chicago’s casinos.

As an enforcer, Nicky is in some high stakes situations that become life or death scenarios. This movie has extreme highs and lows and a lot of buried secrets. 

Nicky Santoro: [voice-over] A lot of holes in the desert, and a lot of problems are buried in those holes. But you gotta do it right. I mean, you gotta have the hole already dug before you show up with a package in the trunk. Otherwise, you’re talking about a half-hour to forty-five minutes worth of digging. And who knows who’s gonna come along in that time? Pretty soon, you gotta dig a few more holes. You could be there all fuckin’ night. 

The Hangover: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis

A group of friends go to Vegas in a Mercedes convertible of their future father-in-law and they go to Las Vegas to rent an expensive suite at the Caesars Palace. What could possibly go wrong? The Hangover embodies the gambler’s tenacious spirit which has the fortitude of a castle that’s under attack. Warriors know the importance of keeping calm and maintaining your composure because it’s not gambling if you know you’re going to win.

The stakes keep getting raised and eventually Phil, Stu and Alan need to win a jackpot to resolve a debt. Alan turns out to be a brilliant analyst. He succeeds in successfully winning $80,000 through card counting in Blackjack at the Riviera Casino. Learn more about more gambling movies that can improve your strategy and game.


Gambling addiction is a perfect fit for television and film for more than one reason. Gambling characters showcase and magnify gambling tendencies that are already within human nature. Without having the stress of actually gambling, watching a gambler on the screen is rewarding and it doesn’t incur a risk.

So you don’t have to worry about compromising your bankroll. While watching a gambler on the screen, you can watch them go through the high and the lows of gambling while you’re comfortable in your home. If you’re taking a night off from playing the tables, then consider making it a gambling movie night.