Follow TV Tropes


Paranormal Gambling Advantage

Go To

"I recall that Master Giiett once remarked that an individual skilled in the force could make a comfortable living as a gambler..."
Jedi Master Kai Hudorra, Star Wars: Republic

By definition, gambling is an uncertain enterprise. There are odds you can calculate and factors you can consider in the outcome, to be sure. But assuming you don't have insider intel on a rigged event, there's no guarantee that you'll be a winner in betting or gambling. Meaning that it's an unreliable way to make money.

If you have Psychic Powers or some other way of telling the future, however, the equation changes. In theory, then, you can increase your winnings to your heart's desire. Alternately, you might have a magical gift, superpower, or arcane bit of technology that can bring the same result. Winds of Destiny, Change! may come into play as a talent of the character. The ability to sense deception or emotional states may come into play in games where bluffing is a key component.

In practice, things are more complicated, especially if the author wants to deliver An Aesop about how cheaters never prosper. A character who uses their abilities to make just enough money to get by might do better in the long run.

A sub-trope of Mundane Utility, in that gambling in itself is a common activity in Real Life. Compare to Muggle Sports, Super Athletes, where people use superpowers in games of physical skill rather than luck and probability. Related to Compound-Interest Time Travel Gambit, which uses similar inside knowledge for savings and investments. Compare Born Lucky, in which a character always wins at gambling because they were, well, born lucky


    open/close all folders 

Foresight/vision examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: Ace and Fyodor are locked in a room and play a game of 'higher or lower'. Fyodor wins after guessing every single card correctly, and the executive remembers hearing Fyodor say he can trap people in his mind, causing Ace to realize that is how the other man won so decisively. Subverted, since it was part of a ruse to make Ace think they were in a mental world, and Fyodor simply memorized the backs of the cards.
  • In Dropkick on My Devil, Jashin-chan is able to roll whatever number she wants on a die. Upon seeing it her summoner/roommate Yurine thinks to herself that such a power could make a lot of money, but Jashin-chan herself is too dumb to realize it, despite frequently gambling all her money away on pachinko machines.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin: As a child, Lalah was used by a group of crooks for her Psychic Powers to help them cheat at casinos. At a roulette table, Lalah traces the correct numbers on the gambler's back to let him win his bets. Eventually, she gets fed up and starts tracing the wrong numbers to make the gambler lose all his money. The next time Lalah is seen, she has a large bruise on the side of her face.
  • In an early episode of Sailor Moon, Rei used her psychic power to cheat at a lottery and win the grand prize, a pair of cruise tickets.
  • Spy X Family: A raffle is rigged by the raffle holder so that his girlfriend gets the grand prize for a two-person cruise, with only both of them knowing that the winning ticket is stuck to the top of the box on the inside. Anya, who is in line before said girlfriend, uses her telepathy to read the raffle holder's mind and promptly fishes out the winning ticket from the box, earning the cruise trip for her and adoptive father Loid.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Pegasus cheats at Duel Monsters by reading his opponent's mind. Yugi and Yami, two souls in one body, beat him by switching out every turn, preventing him from guessing their strategy.
    • Ishizu cheats at Duel Monsters by seeing the future. Kaiba beats her by defying her predicted victory.

    Comic Books 
  • One issue of Daredevil establishes that many casinos employ low-level psychics to scan customers and make sure they don't have powers. One casino rigs their major poker tournaments by hiring a psychic who can read other player's minds to see their cards. Fortunately Daredevil is immune because he can't see his cards, and plays by using his Super-Senses to read when other people are bluffing, in another example of this trope. Unfortunately, to maintain his cover, he can't let the psychic know that he's blind, and he ends up fighting the psychic in a Battle in the Center of the Mind.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spectacular Spider-Man Volume 2, #21 shows Peter using his Spider-Sense to win in an annual superhero poker game for charity.
    • In one storyline, a dying Peter considers using his spider sense to make a fortune in Las Vegas.
    • The Chameleon Conspiracy: Jamie Tolentino has been using the Clairvoyant computer to win games at The Palace. He made sure to lose just enough games so as not to draw attention to himself and reveal his advantage. Unfortunately, the computer has been running low on power and Jamie's very real losses have resulted in him being in debt to Chance, who knows about the Clairvoyant.
  • In Wolverine and the X-Men (Marvel Comics) the Jean Grey School needs a some quick funds to keep the school running, so Logan forces the telepathic Quentin Quire accompany him to what's basically an intergalactic Las Vegas. Such a place safeguards against cheating by using a telepath detecting, which soiled itself before dying when it detected Quentin, who is Omega level.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side: One strip has Lois Lane tell Superman they're playing cards with the neighbors that week, and if Clark doesn't use his X-Ray Vision they won't bring the kryptonite.

    Fan Works 
  • In the MLP fanfic Gambling Foals, Pinkie Pie uses her 'Pinkie Sense' to win money on a gambling wheel. (She doesn't last long before being escorted to the owners.)
  • A Discworld fic by A.A. Pessimal sees a luckless addicted gambler have an epiphany. He has heard that the goddess, She Who Cannot Be Named, known as the Lady, is capricious. If called by name, she brings misfortune and doom - the opposite quality to the one she is invoked for. He takes the logic a step further. For every God there is an Oh God, an Anti-God. The Discworld runs on opposites. Therefore there must also be a goddess of Ill-Fortune and Bad luck out there. If... The Lady... brings bad luck when her true name is invoked. Then The Other Lady must logically be constrained to give good fortune and good luck when invoked. the Gambler discovers She is called Anutrof. It works. Placing trust in the goddess Anutrof brings unfailing good luck. Right up to the day when she manifests in person.
  • How Kaiba realizes that Joey's ghost is not a hallucination in Being Dead Ain't Easy. Kaiba is the only living person who can see Joey's ghost, and since he recently witnessed Joey's sudden and violent death protecting Kaiba, he chalks up Joey's hauntings as hallucinations. It's only when Kaiba plays a game of Duel Monsters and Joey accurately tells Kaiba his opponent's hand does he acknowledge that something supernatural is going on.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Back to the Future Part II, Biff Tannen steals Doc Brown's DeLorean and delivers a sports almanac from the future to his younger self, creating a new timeline where Biff becomes an all-powerful billionaire. Also counts as Time Travel for Fun and Profit.
  • Dreamscape. Alex Gardner uses his psychic abilities to make money by betting on horse races.
  • Next (2007): Chris Johnson uses his ability to see the future to work as a psychic and to win big in the casinos he frequents and works in, as well as to avoid the security team when he has a vision of being detained for cheating.
  • In Blackbeard's Ghost, Blackbeard helps Steve gamble at a roulette table by moving the ball to the number he picks.
  • In X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, the protagonist uses his abilities to clean up at the blackjack table. Turns out it's easy to win if you always know what card is next. However, he's far too obvious (to the point of calling out the next card before it's flipped) and he gets kicked out by security.

  • Bad Monkeys: Annie, a trainer for the Organization, is a crazy-acting homeless woman who makes enough money to live by buying scratch tickets, as she has an unerring ability to pick batches of them with big winners. Narrator Jane Charlotte tries to repeat this strategy after Annie dies, to no success.
  • Ciaphas Cain: Caractacus Mott is a savant, a mostly-cybernetic Cool Old Guy with implants that make him a living repository of obscure and sometimes trivial knowledge, used by Inquisitor Amberley Vail as part of her duties for the Imperium, and used less officially by Cain to decimate gambling establishments all over the galaxy thanks to his incredible skill at counting cards.
  • Maximum Ride: Angel uses her mind-reading powers to cheat at poker.
  • Robert A. Heinlein examples:
    • Lost Legacy: the first chapter, "Ye Have Eyes to See With" has a character who "made his stake for law school" as a professional gambler courtesy of being able to see both sides of his opponent's cards if he could see either side.
    • Short story "Project Nightmare". Two of the people with psychic abilities use them to win at gambling: a soldier nicknamed "Two-Gun" and a professional gambler called "Even-Money Karsch".
  • In Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes, the seven dwarves are ex-jockeys with a gambling addiction. Snow White steals the queen's mirror, allowing them to know the winning horse every time.
    ''The Mirror made the bookies pay.
    Each Dwarf and Snow-White got a share,
    And each was soon a millionaire,
    Which shows that gambling's not a sin
    Provided that you always win.
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, also by Dahl, is about a man who gains X-Ray Vision, and uses it to win at cards at a casino. However, he realizes that there is no thrill in winning so easily, so he starts tossing his winnings from his apartment to passerbys. He is chastised by a cop, who suggests that Henry donates it to a charitable organization. It is then that Henry decides to continue gambling at casinos with his power and to use his winnings to open well-financed orphanages all over the world.
  • Paul, a child in D. H. Lawrence's short story "The Rocking-Horse Winner", receives a hobbyhorse that tells him the names of real winning horses. He and the family gardener make good winnings this way, and the boy tries to use his gift to win his mother's love. The exertion winds up killing him.
  • In True Talents, Cheater cheats at poker by using his telepathy to read the other players' minds and learn their hands.
  • Keita Mori, the titular The Watchmaker Of Filigree Street, has a form of claivoyance. This makes him unbeatable in games of skill, but not in games of chance, since there the outcomes are random and he can't see those. He apparently once won a house in a card game.
  • In Witches Abroad, Granny Weatherwax doesn't use magic to win at Cripple Mister Onion, or — to Nanny's surprise — even ordinary cheating (although she does use magic to counteract her opponents' cheating). However, the reason she's so good at the game is because she used to play against Old Mother Dismass and "You sit up every night dealing Cripple Mister Onion with someone who's got a detached retina in her second sight and you soon learn how to play."

    Live-Action TV 
  • 7 Days (1998). Frank has a gambling addiction so tries to cash in on his backstepping through time. The problem is whenever he backsteps he creates a new timeline so whatever game he's betting on might not turn out the way he remembered.
  • Babylon 5: Under Psi Corps rules, human telepaths are expressly forbidden from any form of gambling, for precisely this reason. A fifth-season episode notes that, as a result, those who break the rule turn out not to be very good at it: being able to read your opponent's mind only helps so much when you lack the necessary knowledge and experience. Unless you're powerful enough to rip the knowledge out of an experienced gambler's brain.
  • Bewitched: Samantha transforms an escaped racehorse into a woman named Dolly. This proves to be a troublesome spell when the humanized Dolly begins giving "inside" race tips to Darrin's friend, Gus Walters, who desperately needs money to finance a new invention.
  • In one episode of Charmed (1998), Phoebe accidentally transfers her powers to one of her neighbors, who promptly decides to use the power of premonition to cheat at casinos.
  • Chuckle Vision: Defied. In "Tomorrows News" the brothers' exploits to gather newspapers for recycling somehow results in them gaining a copy of tomorrow's newspaper. Upon realising that it's genuine, Paul immediately tries to look up the football results to place a series of bets and win a lot of money. Barry, however, argues he can't do that. Paul agrees, as he's thinking too small scale, and instead looks for the lottery results. Barry, however, manages to prevent him, insisting they should use the information to warn people in advance.
  • Day Break (2006): When Hopper takes Rita to Las Vegas, he uses the "Groundhog Day" Loop to predict the results of that day's football match and wins enough to afford the presidential suite.
  • Deep Space Nine. In "Visionary", Chief O'Brien finds himself traveling five hours into the future at random intervals, so Quark tries to convince him to take a peek at the Dabo wheel while he's in the future. O'Brien is exasperated at his Skewed Priorities, but at the end of the episode he can't help trolling Quark by telling him the wheel's going to hit Dabo a second before it does.
  • Doctor Who: Carmen, a side character who features in "Planet of the Dead", possess very low-level psychic abilities, allowing her to occasionally see glimpses of the future. Her powers are not advanced enough to be used proactively and mostly exist outside her control. However, she is able to use them to win ten pounds on the lottery, specifically every single lottery she enters. She and her husband play twice a week.
  • Early Edition: Hero Gary Hobson receives tomorrow's edition of The Chicago Sun-Times a day early. He mostly uses it for altruistic purposes, but sometimes if he's short of cash he'll place a bet at the track. His friend Chuck Fishman urges him to exploit it more, but Gary sees it as an abuse.
  • Farscape. This backfires badly on Chiana when she uses her newly-developed ability to slow down time for this trope.
    Chiana: There's a—there's a cheat-proof game at the casinos. A mercury droplet; it bounces off an ion stream. And there's a thousand different outcomes.
    John: You won.
    Chiana: Seven times, in a row. They arrested me. They took my winnings. They had a little fun and then a little torture... Nothin' new.
  • The Flash (1990): One episode centers around a gynoid who escapes from a lab. She's found by a hobo who takes her to an illegal gambling house where she cleans up on several rounds of poker because she can see through the cards. Of course, this backfires when she's asked how she's doing so well and she simply admits to what she can do, causing the managers to attack her and the guy she was with.
  • The Device family in Good Omens (2019) is incredibly wealthy thanks to their ancestor Agnes Nutter, a witch who could see the future. Agnes left them a book of accurate but strange predictions, including "an apple no man can eat" as a sign to invest money. Translated, it means, "buy stocks in Apple".
  • In Happy!, Nick uses Lucky to help him win a card game by reading him other peoples' hands.
  • Heroes: While visiting a Las Vegas casino with Ando, Hiro uses his time manipulation abilities to count cards at the poker table. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome when management confronts them. They don't know exactly what Hiro did, but they have a clear idea that he was cheating, and that entitles them to take back his winnings.
  • I Dream of Jeannie: In "Tomorrow Is Not Another Day", upon trying to fetch the morning paper Jeannie accidentally summons a paper from the next day. The subplot involves Roger attempting to capitalise on this by using it to bet on races he knows the outcome to. Tony, however, considers this too much of an unfair advantage and manages to sabotage him by having Jeannie change the result of the race, then waiting till Roger has torn up his betting slip to change it back so that no one who gambled legitimately will lose out.
  • Lois & Clark: Subverted. In one early episode, Clark gets unwittingly roped in Perry White's after work poker game with his co-workers. Having never played before and doing badly, he gets tempted to use his X-Ray Vision to spy on the others' cards. Quite by coincidence as the conversation had been about Superman, Jimmy mentions how great it would be if he could come play with them, only for another co-worker to point out he could do just what Clark is about to attempt, only for Perry to dismiss it stating Superman is too honest to resort to cheating, causing a Clark to sheepishly stop before he gets to see anything.
  • Manimal: In "Breath of the Dragon" whilst investigating a gangster operating out of China Town who runs a series of rigged card games, Dr. Jonathan Chase joins in one game and manages to use his heightened senses to count the cards, allowing him to beat the racket. The visor allows him to look at people's cards while playing poker, but he always looks away to avoid cheating.
  • Married... with Children: In "You Gotta Know When to Fold 'Em", Kelly demonstrates an ability to predict what number will show up on a roulette table multiple times. When Al pressures her before making his one bet, she blows it.
  • Odyssey 5. Kurt Mendel tries to cash in on their Mental Time Travel by betting big on a football game, only it turns out differently from how he remembered. He speculates afterwards that one of the football players heard of the big bet and this put enough stress on him to negatively affect his performance.
  • Stargate Atlantis: In the Alternate Reality Episode "Vegas", a Wraith is hiding on Earth using prosthetics to appear human and gathering funds by playing poker. Since Wraith are a highly telepathic species, he always wins. McKay points out that it's also less risky than to rob a bank since the Wraith is specifically trying to avoid detection.
  • Defied by Geordi in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He's blind, so he uses a high-tech VISOR that makes him able to "see" and also gives him the ability to see in different light spectrums. But he doesn't use it during the weekly senior officer's poker game, though he admits he will peek after the hand is over from time to time.
    Geordi: Maybe next time you should bring a deck that's not transparent to infrared light.
    • Also defied by Data. The episode "Cause and Effect" shows that he's fully capable of stacking a poker deck without anyone noticing he's done it, though he never (intentionally) does it in games played with his fellow crewmates.
  • Supernatural:
    • In "Time After Time" whilst hunting Chronos the Greek god of Time, who has made a life for himself in 1944, it turns out the god is paying for his lifestyle by using his precognition powers to bet on races he knows the outcomes to. Dean even refers to it as "using the Biff strategy."
    • Defied by the warlock Patrick in "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester". He plays with people for years and not money and usually wins. Sam speculates he's simply reading people's minds, but Patrick denies it, stating there wouldn't be any fun in that. He's just become that good at it due to his centuries of experience.
  • That's So Raven: At the beginning of "A Goat's Tale", Raven uses her psychic powers to win concert tickets over the radio.
    Chelsea: Aw, man! Come on! Do you have to be, like, a psychic to win these contests?!
  • Tru Calling: When Jack finds himself in a "Groundhog Day" Loop he uses his knowledge of the future to win money gambling. He uses this ability to compensate for his lack of employment and to ingratiate himself with Tru's brother.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "A Most Unusual Camera", a camera lets the protagonists win betting on horse races, but all three of them are dead by the end of the episode.
  • Attempted in Season 2 of The Umbrella Academy (2019). Klaus, who can see ghosts, tries to cheat at poker by having Ben, a ghost, tell him what the other players are holding. Unfortunately for him, Ben decides it would be funnier to make Klaus lose.
  • Zigzagged in the Worzel Gummidge episode "Worzel's Wager". The Crow Man tells Worzel not to gamble, but Worzel calls him a Hypocrite because the Crow Man himself bet money that there'd be snow on the town hall roof on Christmas. The Crow Man says that he knows that there will be snow there on Christmas, so it doesn't count as gambling. It's unclear if that's true though, and if it is, it's unclear how he knows, since he's very mysterious and has very vaguely-defined powers.

  • The Hold Steady's song "Chips Ahoy!" is written from the POV of the concerned boyfriend of a girl who uses her psychic powers to pick winning horses. The song was partly inspired by "The Rocking-Horse Winner" and the title is the name of one of the horses.

    Print Media 
  • A spoof of the Spider-Man movies in MAD magazine had his Spider-Sense getting him kicked out of every casino in Atlantic City.

  • One sketch on John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme is a Fractured Fairy Tale, in which the Evil Queen from Snow White is told by her chancellor that she's wasting the magic mirror, and they can use it to build up the kingdom's finances. His first go is a horse race, but he quickly moves on to the stock market.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Lost: The Goblin Contract "Trading Luck for Fate" tells the user the outcome of a random event, up to 1-in-100 odds or enough to win $50, in exchange for equal bad luck later; the usual Glamour cost is waived if it's used to win at gambling. "Good and Bad Luck" can predict 1-in-10 000 odds or win $5 000, in exchange for a major Critical Failure.
  • GURPS Magical Items 3 includes Arkwright's Inversion Glasses, which show you the opposite side of whatever you look at through them. Their main purpose is to see other people's cards. Arkwright himself was killed after forgetting he was wearing them and dealing an entire poker hand face up.

    Video Games 
  • Card City Nights 2: One thing Psychic Phenom can say is how she has to try not to cheat:
    I like the card game, but I have to try really hard not to accidentally cheat. I can see my opponent's entire deck and hand after all. Not to brag or anything.
  • At one point in Illusion of Gaia, Will needs to play a Russian Roulette-style Drinking Game involving five wine glasses, one of which is poisoned. Due to his Psychic Powers, Will always knows which glasses are safe to drink from. His opponent is a terminally ill Death Seeker who is only playing the game in order to leave his winnings to his family; when there's only one glass remaining, he drinks it anyway.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: A one-time event has Rex offer to wager Kudos, the setting's currency, in a card game. It's possible for the Groundhog Peggy Sue mechanic to kick in during that event and remind the player which move will win the game during a key choice.
  • In Katana ZERO, there's a bouncer in a casino that won't move out of the way unless you bribe him with a large sum of money. You can either force your way through him or use your powerful precognition to win a couple of games of roulette to get the cash you need.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The Treasure Chest Shop houses a minigame where you must progress through a series of five rooms, each of which contain two treasure chests. If you successfully pick the correct chest five times in a row, you will be awarded a Piece of Heart. Essentially, it is a Luck-Based Mission; however, you can come back once you've obtained the Lens of Truth, which allows you to see through an illusion or a treasure chest. In-game rumor has it that it is against the rules to use glasses at the shop.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Link replays the same three days over and over. The lottery in Clock Town will always have the same winning numbers, so Link can keep winning.
  • Subverted in Sam & Max Save the World. In the third episode, "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball," Sam must beat Leonard Steakcharmer in Indian Poker to win the money needed to buy a "listening device". Players can only see their opponent's card and must bet on if their own card is higher, and Leonard will always bet only if his card actually is higher, claiming he has a sixth sense. In actuality, he can see his card reflected in the nose of one of the clowns decorating the casino. Upon realizing it, Sam can use it to his advantage.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/hollow ataraxia, Child Gil uses his Noble Phantasm, Sha Nagba Imuru, which lets him see perfectly into the future and know all of the steps to reach the best outcome, to cheat at cards.

    Web Comics 
  • Widdershins: Jack O'Malley has the unique power to see spirits, including people's emotional auras, which he exploits in card games. This starts a Bar Brawl in Widdershins, where people are familiar enough with magic to guess that something is amiss.
    Officer Barber: So you cheat at cards for a living.
    Jack: S'not cheating, it's using a natural advantage, isn't it?
  • Archipelago: Raven is a spirit tethered to Blitz, and only Blitz can see or hear him at first. Raven takes advantage of this to cheat at cards, standing behind the Luck brothers and telling Blitz which cards to play.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In "The Runaway", a gambler convinces Fire Nation citizens to play a game in which they must guess which of three shells contains a pebble. However, Toph's ability to sense vibrations through the ground via earthbending lets her deduce that the con artist actually hides the pebble inside his sleeve whenever he shuffles the shells. When she agrees to participate, she uses her earthbending powers to knock the stone back inside her chosen shell, thus ensuring her victory.
  • Futurama: In "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back", Bender cheats at poker by wearing a pair of x-ray specs. However, he gives himself away when he mentions that one of the players has a tapeworm.

Outcome manipulation examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • Happens twice in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
    • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders: In a battle of wits between Daniel J. D'Arby, whose Stand Osiris steals people's souls after they admit defeat in their heart which he uses to great effect in various gambling games, and hero Jotaro Kujo, whose Stand Star Platinum moves faster than the eye can see, D'Arby believes he has Jotaro on the ropes after having a blackmailed bystander intentionally deal Jotaro a bad hand in a game of poker while knowing he has a winning hand himself. However, Jotaro never looks at his cards and constantly uses Star Platinum's abilities for mundane tasks while he constantly ups the ante, leading D'Arby to believe Jotaro has used Star Platinum to out cheat him by switching all his cards around to a winning hand despite knowing that his opponent cheating would mean they automatically forfeit their soul through Osiris. D'Arby ultimately goes catatonic and all his victims are freed, without learning that Jotaro was bluffing the entire time and never bothered to look at his hand as he knew D'Arby had cheated from the start and one look at the bad hand would have meant instant defeat, making all of this an aversion.
      • A later encounter with D'Arby's younger brother Telence T. D'Arby follows a similar path, with Telence's Stand Atum having similar abilities to Osiris, but Atum also has mind-reading abilities so long as it follows a yes or no question. Telence's preferred games are video games, where the outcome can't readily be modified by cheating or Stand abilities, so he instead cheats by reading the other player's mind to outfox them at the game. He meets his end when playing a game against Jotaro whose mind doesn't match what is happening in the game. Jotaro has figured out Telence's mind-reading abilities and has coordinated with his grandfather Joseph Joestar to cheat by having Joseph play the game for him through his Stand Hermit Purple's vines.
    • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable: Hero Josuke Higashikata, having befriended the mysterious Mikitaka Hazekura who claim to be an alien with Voluntary Shapeshifter abilities, asks Mikitaka to assume the shape of three dice. The two new friends then play dice with Rohan Kishibe in order to cheat some free cash out of him.
  • Yami Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh! has this as an explicit power. Even before the franchise became absorbed by the card game, Yami Yugi had the ability to pull out miracle moves to swing the game in his favor even when all hope seemed lost. He's only lost three times in the series, and only one of those were counted as legitimate. In general, The Magic Poker Equation is something of an implicit law.
    • When Bakura and Yami are playing Monster World, Bakura spins the dice to increase his chances of getting critical hits. When Yami catches on, they agree to ban dice spinning, but Bakura decides to use dice with souls of his defeated enemies instead, trying to get the same result without Yami noticing. Unfortunately for him, Ryou interferes and causes him to get the worst possible roll.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
    • Judai, like Yugi before him, is noted to be preternaturally lucky with his draws, to the point that a one-off opponent specifically designed his deck with the intent of screwing with his ability to defy the odds.
    • One-off baddie Ikkaku is noted to have gained the ability to stack his deck through a Deal with the Devil, which he uses primarily to make the effect of the normally Awesome, but Impractical Slash Draw a surefire thing.
    • Saiou plays an Arcana Force deck, where all the cards have a coin toss effect; typically, heads gets a pretty good effect, tails gets a useless or outright detrimental effect. However, in most of his duels, he gets the good effect, and even when he gets the bad effect, it's usually one that he can exploit somehow. Though he does have some foresight powers, it's implied to be a Winds of Destiny, Change! deal, since whenever he doesn't have his powers active, his luck tends to immediately turn to absolute crap.
  • Yuma from Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL is able to outright create cards on the fly with his Shining Draw ability, letting him have the perfect counter to whatever situation he finds himself in.

    Comic Books 
  • In one Star Wars Legends comic series, a Jedi who survives Order 66 comments on how his master once commented that someone who could use the Force could become very rich in gambling, and he intends to do just that and then go deep into hiding.
    • Fallen Jedi Lycan demonstrates this advantage in the Nomad series of Star Wars Tales. Except he's not subtle at all with his cheating, winning thirteen times in a row and then causing both dice to land on edge in the middle of the table when betting his winnings against a starship. The bouncers take notice, promising to give Lycan an "electric barbecue" before handing what's left of him over to the annoyed gamblers. Unfortunately, Lycan doesn't give them the chance and calmly demonstrates how easily he could kill with The Force. Everyone in the casino, barring one croupier, ends up dead.
      Lycan: Cash in my chips, take them to my ship on docking bay 24B. Now. Do this and I will let you live.
  • In the Beetlejuice comics, Lydia and Beetlejuice overhear her father saying something which makes it sound like her family will have to move away from her house (and consequently, the ghost who haunts it). So she enters the Neitherworld lottery in order to win enough money to buy the house from the bank, and Beetlejuice uses his shady Neitherworld connections to ensure that she has the winning ticket.

    Fan Works 
  • Shadow Balance posits that Jounouchi's good luck is because a latent Shadow Magic user. The heroes only notice when he plays pachinko and wins every round (which gets him kicked out), but in hindsight, Bakura points out that the only times he played a gambling card and lost was when he was facing another Shadow Magic user.
  • In this Golden Sun 4-Koma, Garet and Isaac attempt to cheat at dice using the Move Psyenergy. The ref notices and declares the win invalid.

    Films — Animation 
  • Justice League Dark: Abnegazar uses magic during his poker match against Constantine to turn his own hand into a straight flush. After both players bet their most valuable possessions, Constantine smirks and uses his own powers to turn Abnegazar's hand into junk, winning the match.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Highlander III: The Sorcerer: The Magic Knight Kane turns the tables on a duo of card hustlers by turning their entire deck into winning cards.
  • The Phantom Menace: In a bet with Watto, Qui-Gon Jinn uses the Force to make a die roll the result he wants. To be fair, the game was already rigged in Watto's favor.
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Chris Bradley hosts a carnival game in which participants have three chances to make a lightbulb go off. A woman tries turning off the switch, disconnecting the wires, and removing the lightbulb from its socket, but fails and storms away furiously after losing her money. As it's revealed later, Chris is a technopath and can mentally generate electricity to ensure the lightbulb never goes out.

  • The plot of Deathworld starts because the Pyrrans don't have enough money for a weapons shipment, so they make a deal with the protagonist, Jason, who uses his weak telekinetic abilities to cheat in casinos.
  • Fritz Leiber's short story "Gonna Roll the Bones" in Dangerous Visions, is about a character who has some kind of extraordinary ability to throw things in a perfect way, notably to get whatever dice roll he wants.
  • In Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Bell's "Luck" Development Ability that he selected upon becoming Level 2 greatly improves his already impressive luck. The first time he visits Orario's casinos, he repeatedly wins at roulette even while betting on a single number, quickly multiplying his initial earnings by more than 10,000 times.
  • Lord of Mysteries: Councilor Ricciardo, a demigod of the wheel of fortune pathway and high ranking member of a secret organization, doesn't have any money to pay the protagonist. Instead, he transfers luck to win the corresponding amount in a casino. On another occasion, the light novel features three demigods of different pathways competing in a card game while exploiting their special abilities of bribing, intimidation, and puppeteering.
  • Sterren from The Unwilling Warlord was apprenticed to a warlock for a few days before being kicked out due to complete lack of talent. All he had left was a bit of unconscious telekinetic ability which gives him an edge when playing dice.
  • The Wheel of Time: Mat has magically enhanced luck that generally makes games of chance very profitable. By the middle of the series, he has to start looking for strangers who don't know his reputation, as his luck becomes strong enough to override an opponent's loaded dice.
  • In the Forgotten Realms short story "Games of Chance" by Elaine Cunningham, Elaith Craulnober's casino is visited by an inventor who has a device that alters probability. It does not end well for him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Almighty Johnsons: Mike Johnson being the incarnation of Ullr, the Norse God of Skill, Hunt and Duel, has his powers manifest like this. If he can get the other party to agree even tangibly to any form of competition (even a fight if he words it correctly), he's utterly invincible (it only applies to competitions he personally participates in, thus doesn't apply other activities like horse racing). Even if he wants to lose it will end in his favour. Mike likewise struggles with addiction to gambling, specifically as he knows he can't lose, he has a habit of getting extremely antagonistic and cocky during the games (often angering his opponents). It's implied this coupled with him betting often against unsavoury and likely-to-be-violent individuals is a subconscious manifestation of his guilt at cheating.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): In a game of poker, Killgrave uses his Compelling Voice powers to make everyone at the table go all in and then everyone but him fold, letting him win over a million dollars with an absolutely abysmal hand. He could have just forced them to give him the money straight up, but he prefers doing little extra Kick the Dog actions like that because he's just that petty.
  • Discussed frequently on M*A*S*H in regards to Father Mulcahy. He attributes (with others jokingly bemoaning) his more-often-than-not success at gambling ventures to the power of the Christian God. Whether or not he seriously believes that God is helping him is debatable.
  • Generally defied by Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
    • The episode "Cause and Effect" shows that in most cases he deliberately avoids stacking the poker deck, even to his own disadvantage, but the final segment of the episode shows that he's entirely capable of doing so.
    • "The Royale" shows that he's also good at craps, by way of using his Super-Strength to subtly alter the dice to fall in his favor.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "The Prime Mover". A man with telekinesis is used by a professional gambler to win big at dice games and roulette in Las Vegas.
  • The Twilight Zone (2002): In the episode "Rewind", a compulsive gambler gets his hands on a magical tape recorder capable of rewinding time and decides to use it to gain a fortune in a casino through Save Scumming his way through the games. The Karmic Twist Ending, however, ends with the house still winning it all because they have a magical rewinder of their own, which they use to undo the player's winnings and then destroy both the player's recorder and his hands before kicking him out.

  • Red Panda Adventures: Rookie superhero Doctor Improbable is a physicist by trade and gambler by nature. When he gained his power to make events more likely to happen the more improbable they are, he discovered that the longer the odds of the bets he made, the more they were a sure thing. This worked until he realized that the odds were dependent on his own perception of them. Once he had enough confidence in his powers that he knew the bets were guaranteed wins, his "Improbability Factor" worked against him and turned gambling back into a gamble. From there, he took up a profession in which he was certain to fail and die, superheroics, and has done pretty well since. His spotlight episode, "The Doctor Is In", reveals that Doctor Improbable's powers are not, in fact, Winds of Destiny, Change!, but standard Reality Warping that affects his surroundings based on his own fear or confidence levels.

    Video Games 
  • Escape Lala 2 has a slot machine in the pirate ship. You need to win it to progress, but you can't seem to get lucky enough to win on your own. Fortunately, you can obtain a Luck Spell that makes the slot machine land on three of the same picture so that you win.
  • Mass Effect mentions in the Codex that biotics sometimes abuse their powers, such as cheating at roulette.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, part of Celeste's talent as the Ultimate Gambler is being Born Lucky, but in a manner specific to games of chance. Her talent never becomes plot-important because of its narrow scope; unlike the Ultimate Lucky Students, her luck is average outside of the narrow scope of gambling games. Manipulating the events of the Killing Game is beyond her talent.
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: As the Ultimate Lucky Student, Nagito naturally has an edge when it comes to anything relying on chance. He uses this to purposely pick the losing lot so he could clean the space for his class's party to set up his murder plot and successfully play Russian roulette with five out of six chambers loaded. Finally, he relies on his luck to have The Mole unknowingly kill him and make it impossible to determine which student was actually responsible for the murder with one hundred percent certainty.

    Web Animation 
  • Downplayed example in RWBY. Qrow plays cards with Clover and consistently loses as his Semblance grants him bad luck while Clover's grants him good luck, giving Clover a much greater advantage. Fortunately, the two didn't appear to be betting anything and it was just a friendly game.
  • While he's not exactly paranormal, Kitten the genetically enhanced superhuman from If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device rigs a coin toss by shooting the coin in midair.

    Web Comics 
  • In Darths & Droids, the Jedi have a "Force Manipulation Re-roll" ability, which they can use to re-roll one die per day (that is, the real-life dice they are playing the game with). When the Watto scene comes up (see the Film folder), Jim misunderstands the rule as referring to in-universe dice, and when the GM corrects him, decides he'll re-roll the die the GM rolled to determine the result of the in-universe one. The GM can't refuse, as it would be admitting that he rigged the outcome by not actually rolling a die at all.
  • In Arthur, King of Time and Space, Lancelot cannot lose any contest due to having God's favor. In the Western arc, Arthur sees him playing poker and is surprised that a religious man like him is gambling, and Guenevere replies that, for Lancelot, it's not a gamble.

    Western Animation 
  • The Transformers: Mechanical Lifeform Smokescreen has a built-in wire that overrides non-sentient machinery. He manipulates a slot machine to his benefit and lets it all ride on one last bet. But one of the casino workers notices his wire and pulls it loose.

Mixed and unsorted examples

    Fan Works 
  • A Game of Cat and Cat: Jun Kurosu of Persona 2 is a Persona User, someone with the power to summon a Guardian Entity that is Invisible to Normals. His boss chides him for using it to cheat at cards with a coworker (mistakenly calling it a Stand).
  • Thorax uses his ability to sense emotions in games of poker to detect the other players' moods, make a guess at their hand, and decide the best course of action in The Amulet Job. He still needs to throw a round every now and then so the other players don't think he's cheating.

  • In one of the earlier Star Wars Expanded Universe novels, the search for potential Jedi for Luke to train included searching for strangely lucky gamblers, reasoning that this could be the result of either unconscious Force influence or premonition. The most promising such example that they actually investigate turns out to be a dud: the "unusually lucky" gambler with a record of winning very large bets simply turns out to have a way to cheat.
  • Too Many Magicians features both prescience and outcome manipulation: Lord Ashley has an intermittent ability to see a few seconds into the future, which can be very useful when playing roulette. Then he starts gambling in a casino with a magician on staff using telekinesis to ensure the ball always lands on a number other than the one he wagered on, resulting in Lord Ashley ending up Trapped by Gambling Debts. Other stories in the same series mention that most magicians don't gamble at all except with very close friends, because if they win, it's almost certain that somebody will accuse them of using this trope whether they are or not.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A weird example from an episode of Choujin Sentai Jetman — the Monster of the Week turned the Jetman minus Gai into little figurines, and Gai would only get them back if he won against Grey in a game of roulette. To win the Absurdly High-Stakes Game against Grey's built-in computer, Gai ends up using Tetra Boy to tilt the casino!
  • Twin Peaks: In "The Return", after Agent Cooper returns from the Black Lodge into the material world, he wanders into a casino and sees supernatural omens indicating which slot machine is primed for a super-jackpot. It's a bit unclear if it's simply foresight or if the machines are being deliberately reprogrammed by his friends from the other side, since he ends up winning about 50 times in a row. More realistically, the casino's owners immediately fire the manager because he didn't kick him out before he walked off with millions of dollars and later attempt to murder Cooper. Even if they can't prove he's cheating, the odds of his winning streak are so unbelievable that they damn well know he did.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Mage: The Ascension: There are three effects for gambling, and all rely on the Entropy Sphere. The first rank is automatic probability calculation (such as the odds of winning a poker hand). The second rank, combined with rank 2 Time, allows the user to foresee the most likely event. The third rank of Entropy allows a Mage to just make the machine give them a winning result.

    Video Games 
  • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney: Part of Phoenix's secret to being an undefeated poker player (aside from being incredible at bluffing) is that his adopted daughter Trucy is a Gramarye, and has the Gramarye family trait of being hyper-aware of peoples' tells (not exactly paranormal, but still a superpower of sorts since only Gramaryes can do it); if Phoenix ever faced someone he was unsure he could beat, he'd invite Trucy to watch his games, and she'd communicate to him how his opponent was feeling, allowing him to unerringly tell what kind of hand they had.
  • Any player who takes advantage of Save Scumming while gambling is technically altering the space-time continuum to maximize profit.
  • An interesting and meta/borderline 4th wall breaking Defiance of this trope occurs in Fallout: New Vegas where loading disables gambling for 60 seconds as the casino takes anti-cheating measures (if it's a roulette table, the croupier checks the wheel for bias. If it's blackjack the dealer breaks out a new deck of cards and shuffles it, if it's a slot machine it "resets" itself).
  • Vermintide II: Referenced in lore articles. Friends of the Grey Wizard Olesya Pimenova suspect her of using her magic, which focuses on illusion, confusion, and misdirection, to cheat at cards with them.

    Web Comics 
  • Genocide Man: During a Poker match aboard a ship they're using for travel, Giri uses her Empathic powers to be as misleading as possible to the other players, leading them to make or withdraw bets nearly at her will. She even beats Jacob, who has plenty of experience and one of the best Poker faces in existence.
  • Sev Space:
    • One cartoon has Wolverine asking Professor X how he can afford all the X-Men's equipment. Professor X replies, "Let's just say they don't let me into Vegas anymore."
    • Another cartoon has the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew asking Picard why he doesn't join their poker games. Picard's reply: "Why don't I play poker with a telepath? Oh, there's a puzzler!"

    Western Animation 
  • In the Futurama movie Into the Wild Green Yonder Fry uses his newfound telepathy to cheat at a poker tournament, while Bender loads up on lucky charms (most notably, the Donbot's lucky robot's foot). In the last hand, Bender wins by not looking at his hand, which turns out to be all four kings plus a coaster labeled "King of Beers" that got shuffled into the deck by accident, beating Fry's four aces.