10 Comic Book Villains with a Gambling Background

By Anthony Haage in Entertainment and Novelty
| July 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT
The Best Comic Book Vilnians Who Gambled, The Penguin and Joker

Many great comic book stories have been told throughout history, with many unique characters. Although the superheroes are great, I want to focus on the villains here. One of the main reasons why the superheroes are so great is because they have incredible battles with the best comic book villains.

You could say the story isn’t as good without strong villains. Some of those villains have a background in gambling, as they often like to take a lot of chances. We will break down the best comic book villains of all time who have some experience with gambling.

You may know some characters already, but there could be a few on the list you haven’t heard about. Let’s get right into 10 of the best comic book villains that gamble, even though being a bad guy is a risk by itself.

Joker

Kicking things off on our list of the best comic book villains of all time that gamble is the Joker.

Not only is the Joker a gambler, but he’s also one of the best villains in general. There have been a lot of different variations of the Joker, so a certain version of him might stand out to you a bit more than others.

Personally, that’s going to be Heath Ledger’s Joker from the 2008 film, The Dark Knight, while Juaquin Phoenix was also incredible in the role in Joker (2019). The Dark Knight is one of the best superhero films of all time, and the Joker is a big reason why. He’s a terrifying character in a lot of different ways.

Heath Ledger

Some villains are scary because of their incredible powers, but the Joker is even more frightening because he doesn’t have superpowers. He’s a “criminal mastermind with a devious sense of humor,” causing lots of trouble in the world of Gotham.

Not having powers means that the Joker is an incredibly realistic character. Some villains aren’t scary because we know they can’t exist, but the Joker can.

As you can see in the YouTube video, the Joker says his gambling problems played a role in how he got his scars. He also left the Joker card at the scene of crimes as an extra gag.

When making a list of the top comic book villains who gamble, it’s impossible to leave out the Joker. He gambles at points throughout his timeline, but his biggest gambles are when he’s committing crimes or tricking Batman, risking his life in the process.

Amos Fortune

Next on our list might not be the most popular villain in comics, but he’s a gambler. You should already know that Amos Fortune is a gambler considering the group he’s the leader of, which is the Royal Flush Gang.

The Royal Flush Gang members included characters named after playing cards, such as King of Spades, Queen of Spades, Jack of Spades, Ten of Spades, Ace Android, and more. Amos Fortune could control the “luck glands” in his body to manipulate probabilities.

He was also quite the handyman, inventing gadgets such as the Stimu-Luck Machine, which would change someone’s luck. I’m sure you would be interested in an invention such as the Stimu-Luck Machine if you were in the midst of a cold streak.

Fortune was an antagonist in the Justice League whose father was a gambling addict. Amos became obsessed with his father’s old playing cards while trying to connect with his lone interest.

He battled the Justice League twice and left the group after being defeated. After that, he created more groups to fight the Justice League again. Those groups consisted of the Luck League and Tarot Gang.

His first appearance in the DC comics was in the Justice League of America #6. One of his famous quotes is, “Luck of the draw, my dear. You’ve got to play the cards you’re dealt. Now, if you’re done carping, let our little game begin!”

If Amos Fortune and the Royal Flush Gang are making you want to play some poker, be sure to check out the best online casinos.

Two-Face

Two-Face

Another one of the best comic book characters who made an appearance in The Dark Knight is Harvey Dent or Two-Face. Dent was a great ally of Batman, but Two-Face is one of his biggest enemies.

One of the most remembered lines in movie history was during Dent’s transition into Two-Face. He said, “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” foreshadowing the transition between the two characters.

The Joker was responsible for half of Dent’s face being melted off in the movies, but it was Sal Moroni or “Boss” in the comics who threw acid on his face. Dent, being an attorney, played a significant role in what made Two-Face a criminal mastermind.

He was obsessed with the number two, and he often used his two-headed silver dollar to determine the fate of his victims. His victims think they have a 50-50 chance to live, but Two-Face knows it will always land on heads.

Like Amos Fortune, he had an abusive father who was also a gambling addict. Dent enjoyed gambling in The Dark Knight movie series as well.

Two-Face used the coin for his own measures. One side was scratched, and the other wasn’t. If the coin landed on the scratched side, he would commit the crime, and vice versa.

The fact that he put things up to chance with his coin proves that Two-Face is a gambler and one of the best comic book characters.

8-Ball

Jeff Hagees worked as a defense contractor and missile propulsion engineer for the Department of Defense. He often played pool to get his mind off work but became addicted to gambling.

Hagees would end up owing tons of money to pool sharks and was fired from his job because of his addiction. After being out of money and a job, he became the villain 8-Ball (or Eight Ball), combining his professional pool skills and engineering wits.

He carried out organized crime in New York and was an antagonist of the Marvel superhero Sleepwalker. Sleepwalker would often wake up to return to his usual self (Rick Sheridan), which happened during his first encounter with 8-Ball.

8-Ball would also play pool with Oddball, Hobgoblin, and more. He and Hobgoblin were in a game for $100,000 but ended up changing the game to whoever kills Sleepwalker first wins.
She-Hulk

She-Hulk was another character who had run-ins with 8-Ball. Maybe he will make an appearance in the upcoming series.

8-Ball ended up doing more crime, but this was in an attempt to pay off his grandmother’s hospital bills. He stole an important computer chip from Ricadonna and ended up being blown up by an RPG shot by the Wrecker.

Hagees was resurrected by The Hood and eventually became friends with another character in their Disney+ TV show: Moon Knight. He’s not a primary antagonist, but he could be someone with an outside chance to appear in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law or Moon Knight’s Season Two.

If you weren’t aware, betting on which characters appear in upcoming projects is often available on the best entertainment betting sites. 8-Ball could be a candidate for either of those shows or others.

The Penguin

The Penguin

The list of Batman’s comic book villains that gamble goes on as we have reached The Penguin. Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, also known as The Penguin, is one of the best comic book villains of all time.

He’s one of Batman’s most infamous antagonists, alongside the Joker, Two-Face, the Riddler, and more. The Penguin may not have an imposing figure, but he’s a criminal mastermind and gifted inventor.

He was also the Iceberg Lounge’s owner, a casino and nightclub. It was a hot spot for his fellow criminals, and Batman would find himself there due to the activity.

A lot of Batman’s foes are insane, but not The Penguin. He’s in complete control of his actions, which mostly happen to be illegal and dangerous.

The Penguin’s father died of bronchial pneumonia, which he got from walking in the rain. His mother always wanted him to walk around with an umbrella because of that, giving him an iconic look. His short stature, heavier build, and nose that looked like a beak caused him to be bullied from a young age, but he would grow to become a fearsome villain in the DC universe.

He also loved birds, which also plays into the name of The Penguin. Cobblepot went to college to study ornithology and was more knowledgeable than his professors. He’s been featured extensively in Batman-related comics, video games, TV shows, and movies.

Most recently, he was in the 2022 film The Batman, played by Colin Farrell. In the end, owning your casino guarantees you a spot on the list of the best comic book movie villains who gambled.

Gambler

You might think there’s no other character on the list of the top comic book villains who gambled than The Penguin, considering he owned his own casino. What about a character who is literally named the Gambler?

The Gambler is one of the oldest characters in DC comic book history, making his debut all the way back in 1944. He was an antagonist in the Green Lantern #12 stories titled “The Gambler.”

Steven Sharpe III was a gambler like his father and grandfather. After he graduated high school, he asked his girlfriend to marry him, but she wouldn’t accept until he proved he wasn’t addicted to gambling.

His girlfriend ended up running away with someone else, who won a fortune through gambling. Steven decided to make a new life for himself and quit his occupation. After that, an armored car crashed and spilled some money, which Steven helped himself to.

Steven vowed from then on that he would take whatever he could get. He was convinced that luck was the main factor in everyone’s life and took on the new persona of the Gambler.

The Gambler quickly became one of the most wanted villains in the country after diving into the crime world. He specialized in knife throwing and firing pistols after traveling around with the circus and translated his skills into his criminal activity.

Growing bored of the smaller banks and trains, the Gambler moved to the city for bigger jobs. That’s when he encountered the Green Lantern, who eventually captured him at a horse race.

Like most comic book villains, he escaped prison and even death row. He went on to become one of the founders of the Injustice League, whose goal was to take down the Justice Society to control the country.

No one fits the role of top comic book villains addicted to gambling more than the Gambler. Steven Sharpe III might have you thinking of ways to be a sharp sports bettor.

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Gambit

Deck of cards

Gambit is another character who is one of the best comic book villains who gambled. While Gambit could also be considered an anti-hero, he should still be on our list. He was born in the Thieves Guild’s criminal society and became a secret agent for Mister Sinister.

His mutant powers could make inanimate objects explode, like a deck of cards that he often used. After becoming friends with Storm, he was invited to the X-Men. Gambit also falls in love with Rogue, another member of the X-Men. The X-Men eventually discovered his association with Mister Sinister and rejected his membership.

His first appearance was in the X-Men Annual #14 comics in 1990 and was also in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film in 2009, played by Taylor Kitsch.

There were rumors of a Gambit solo film with Channing Tatum in the role, but it was scrapped due to the Disney and Fox merger. Tatum was so disappointed that he’s boycotting future Marvel films.

It would be exciting for the project to be revisited because I’m sure many X-Men fans would like to see Gambit in action. It’s unclear what the plot of the movie was going to be, but there were plenty of events in his life that they could have explored.

His time in the Thieves Guild, X-Men, or even a new storyline could have been created for him.

Gambit’s real name is Remy LeBeau, and his card-throwing skills make him one of the best comic book characters related to gambling.

Chance

The name of the game when it comes to gambling is chance, which brings us to another one of the best comic book villains who gambled. Chance is a compulsive gambler who is constantly chasing the thrills of life. He made his first appearance in the Web of Spider-Man in 1986.

His real name was Nicholas Powell, and he built his own suit to help him commit crimes. Chance’s suit gave him flight, 360-degree vision, infrared vision/radar, blasters, darts, and more. He might have been participating in and committing criminal activity, but his main focus was getting that rush of excitement.

Gambling comic book cover

Chance would accept jobs with an odd way of payment. He would only receive payment if he could complete the job, or he would end up paying them if he failed. It doesn’t seem like the usual way of business, but it’s quite the motivator for him.

His deals would be $5,000 for burglary, $10,000 for murder, and $20,000 for an important theft. He was hired by The Foreigner to kill Andre but countered with an offer to kill Spider-Man within 24 hours. Spider-Man defeated him, but Chance escaped before he could be arrested.

Chance is an interesting villain in the Marvel universe, but his gambling addiction could be his downfall. Either way, he makes our list of the best comic book characters who gambled.

Blockbuster

Another casino owner in the Marvel universe is Michael Baer, also known as the Blockbuster. He was an enormous 6’10, 386lb specimen after a mutation, giving him superhuman strength, stamina, and durability.

Blockbuster was able to lift 70 tons at once, but there’s a chance he could lift more. His stamina allowed him to exert himself at full capacity for 24 hours without slowing down. In addition to having a full day’s worth of stamina, Blockbuster also had the durability to survive blaster attacks, extreme temperatures, pressures, and even falls from insane heights.

The Marauders were a superpowered mercenary group that Blockbuster was a part of as well. They were involved in the massacre of the Morlocks, which was where he encountered Thor. After a short and vicious battle, Blockbuster was able to break Thor’s arm.

Thor was still able to hurl Mjolnir into Blockbuster and kill him. Mister Sinister even cloned Blockbuster, but the clone became a demon due to Inferno’s influence.

Blockbuster’s first appearance in Marvel comics was in X-Factor #10 back in 1986, while his death was documented in Hellions #4 in 2020. That said, Mister Sinister’s cloning of him doesn’t make his death exactly clear.

He was seen playing some casino games throughout his timeline, and his ownership of the Marcus Casino makes him one of the best comic book villains with a gambling background.

Roulette

Amos Fortune and Roulette have a connection thanks to Roulette’s ownership of the casino called “The House.”

Roulette’s real name is Jennifer Stavros, and she’s a professional gambler. She was an original member of the Hellions, a group organized by the White Queen (Emma Frost). The group was formed to rival Professor X’s young mutants.

Her main power was her probability alteration disks. The disks created an energy that altered the probability of her victims. The red discs were good luck, while the black discs were bad luck.
That’s a similar power to Amos Fortune, so you’d have to think that they got along in that aspect.

The New Mutants were the main opponents to Roulette, but they were killed and resurrected by the Beyonder. Emma Frost tried to mend the two groups together since the New Mutants were in a traumatic state.

She threw a dance party but was attacked by Trevor Fitzroy and his group, The Upstarts. Roulette was killed in the battle but was resurrected by the Transmode Virus. They tried attacking Utopia but were killed again by the New Mutants.

I wouldn’t say Roulette was the most powerful villain in the comics, but her name and casino guarantee her a spot on our list. Check out our expert’s guide to roulette if you want to learn how to play.

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Comic Book Characters with a Gambling Background

In the end, some of the best comic book characters have had gambling backgrounds. The Joker, Penguin, and Two-Face played significant roles in the Batman franchise, arguably one of the best ever.

Other characters have played more minor roles in the comics, but maybe we will see them in later adaptations. The Gambit movie had some serious legs but was sadly shut down. Perhaps they will revisit it, or maybe another character will appear in a new story.

Either way, the release of Marvel’s Phase 5 could be a great way to incorporate some of the best comic book villains of all time.

If you’re in the mood to do some gambling after checking out the most popular villains in comics related to gambling, head over to the best gambling sites, and hopefully, Amos Fortune and Roulette will give you some good luck.

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