Being one of the most exciting skill games, poker has certainly inspired a number of comic book creators to breathe life into some of the most loved superheroes and supervillains. Just like the game, these comic book characters are often complex, unpredictable, erratic and yet strategic.
Some of these characters are directly inspired from the cards, while some others have their backstories linked with the game of poker. So today we are going to take a look at some comic book heroes and villains from both Marvel and DC universe that are associated with or based on poker.
The Joker (DC Comics)
It is sort of weird to start a list of poker-themed superheroes with a villain but that is the impact of Batman’s arch nemesis The Joker (and being a hardcore Batman fan what other option did I have?). Made ever more popular by the late great actor Heath Ledger, The Joker is one of the characters that are wholly inspired from the card game. The unpredictable yet enigmatic villain lives up to its inspiration by being a volatile, unstable and calculating villain that even the Dark Knight cannot beat. He ticks like a living time bomb that evaluates and analyses every possibility to pull off a great bluff on the Batman, just like any pro player at the WSOP.
Gambit (Marvel Comics)
Gambit is the first ‘superhero’ that comes to mind of any comic book fan when you mention the word Poker. The dashing ‘X-Men’ is very skilled with cards and uses a deck of explosive cards as his primary weapon by throwing them at his enemies. Talk about being a pro poker player! In fact Gambit even behaves much like any real life poker pro, always cautious, reading people and revealing very little about himself. There is no doubt that he just might be the best poker player in the list.
The Thing (Marvel Comics)
The rock solid member of the Fantastic Four, The Thing aka Ben Grimm is one of the most passionate poker players in the history of comic books. In the comics, he organizes several home games at the Baxter Building. He can throw in all the stakes for a good hand. Being a scientist, he has an analytical mind effectively adapted for winning poker tournaments. The Thing is regarded as a master at the game by fellow Marvel Superheroes including The Avengers.
Iron Man (Marvel Comics)
Tony Stark (perfectly played by Robert Downey Jr. in the MCU) is regarded as the absolute gambler in Marvel comics. The Dan Bilzerian of comic book superheroes, he lives the ultimate billionaire poker lifestyle and doesn’t shy away from flaunting it. In the comics, Tony can be seen playing and winning at the poker table quite a few times. Being a genius, he can easily score big at the table with his superhuman intellect and strategic thinking. This attitude also helps him fight off the villains as the Iron Man.
Royal Flush Gang (DC Comics)
In the DC Comics universe, The Royal Flush Gang is a group of poker themed super villains that were made popular by the Justice League animated show and the Batman Beyond show. In the comics, the members of the gang were subjected to meta-human research in a government facility until the Joker rescued them. Each member of the gang is dresses like playing cards and helps the Joker in fighting the Justice League. Like the ace-high straight ‘royal flush’ in poker, the members of the villainous gang include King, Queen, Jack, Ten and Ace.
Cannonball (Marvel Comics)
Cannonball aka Samuel Zachary Guthrie, is also a member of the X-Men who is an ace poker player. Although the character might not be directly influenced by Poker, he has frequently participated in poker tournaments hosted by other Marvel Comics characters and won big time. He plays very strategically by bluffing and showing ignorance of the card game and by lowering his fellow superheroes guards. In fact, whenever Cannonball plays poker in the comics he always wins a significant considerable amount of money, revealing his mastery over poker.
Wolverine (Marvel Comics)
And at last but certainly not the least, the rebellious X-Men…Wolverine aka Logan. Made popular on screen by the memorable performance of Hugh Jackman, Wolverine is the dream poker player with his rugged attitude and whiskey drinking cigar smoking mannerisms. In fact pro poker player Daniel Negreanu makes a cameo in the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where our hero Logan plays a round of Texas Hold’em with Daniel & Gambit. In the comics, Logan often participates in the home games organized by The Thing and he uses his perfect poker face and his instincts to play and even win the game. Of course his instincts are boosted by his mutant powers as he can smell you sweating and worrying over a bad hand. So that’s always useful at the table.
So these are some of the most popular superheroes and villains in the comics that are directly or indirectly inspired by poker.
If you think I have left out anyone or if you simply want to add to the list then just comment below! Or feel that you have some poker-ing super powers too, then try your hands at some great play poker games online!
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