Batman villains have no equal. They are the most layered and fascinating characters the comic world has to offer — on par with full-blown literature, no doubt. Well, Calendar Man probably can’t rub shoulders with the best, say, Tolstoy has to offer, but he’s not half bad either.
NOT A PLACE YOU’D WANT TO LIVE IN
And the city which they all inhabit serves as the perfect backdrop; sordid, sleazy, colored in all shades of gray, and dangerous beyond measure. So what would these nefarious individuals be up to during their leisure time?
The answer is rather simple: gambling!
The “Dark Knight” has no shortage of foes who’d excel at poker, blackjack, slots, or any other form of gambling. They’re all manipulative, incredibly intelligent, and shady to the highest of levels — not at all the kind of folks you’d want to associate with or play against.
That, however, is why they’re all so interesting. They’re layered. They have depth. They all have an origin story that is — at the very least — engaging, if not flat-out mind-blowing. And so, naturally, they all warrant a bit of our attention!
The “Clown Prince of Crime” simply has to come in at number one. No Top 10 list of this kind would ever be complete without the most famous comic villain of all time.
A man as crafty and dextrous as he is would no doubt dominate in all forms of gambling; if things happen to go awry, we’re pretty certain he’d have a most lethal “plan B” up his sleeve — in case “Lady Luck” ends up being against him.
The days of Harvey Dent representing the justice system happened so long ago they might as well be fiction. Well, all of this is, but you get the point. Playing a game of Texas Hold’em against a guy whose very name implies trouble is pretty much a recipe for disaster.
It would, however, result in a memorable experience. You have to take the good with the bad, as they say.
In any case, a very short fuse and an ill-tempered nature make Two Face a hard nut to crack — one that would surely return to the poker table as many times as it takes in order to win.
Other than being a criminal mastermind, Oswald Cobblepot is also a deft businessman and the founder of the posh nightclub The Iceberg Lounge. Gambling, therefore, is nothing but a natural by-product — one that ties into and permeates throughout all of his shady operations.
The Penguin doesn’t gamble with style, but whatever he might lack in pizzazz and glamor he more than makes up for with his sprawling connections and financial might.
We can easily imagine him sitting at the head of a poker table, cracking jokes or, conversely, giving out menacing looks if the game’s not going his way.
Edward Nygma is one of Batman’s most peculiar villains for one very simple reason: he’s the only one who can engage (and often win) in a battle of wits with Gotham’s protector! He’s a truly fascinating character — a Sherlockian baddie with a brain to match!
And so, naturally, he’d excel at any and all forms of gambling. He’d count cards, pick up cues and ticks, read the body language of his opponents and dominate like so few who came before him. He might not be much of a threat physically, but compared to a brain like his, brawn seems rather redundant.
The Ventriloquist & Scarface
The psychology behind this peculiar villain was never really explored much — to our utter dismay; there were a few stellar comic books sprinkled throughout the last three or so decades, but they never really went as deep as we had hoped.
The power dynamic between Arnold Wesker and the evil puppet by the name of Scarface has always fascinated us.
Is Scarface a sentient being with a conscience of its own or, perhaps, a conduit for the wickedness and atrocity that exist in all of us?
This duality of sorts, the yin and yang that the Ventriloquist and Scarface bring to the table would no doubt serve as quite a big boon to their gambling endeavors.
Roman Sionis — alias Black Mask — is actually a fair bit more popular than one would expect. His origin story, as is so often the case, is laden with trauma and tragedy. His criminal endeavors, however, are even more brutal.
NOT A GUY YOU’D WANT TO CROSS
He’s not as stylish or influential as the Penguin, but his brutish methods more than make up for it. Much of the same would surely apply to his gambling methods; vicious methods with very little (if any) finesse.
The Mad Hatter
Most villains have some kind of obsession and the same holds true for Jervis Tetch; his just happens to be a very strange one — Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (hence his pseudonym). And so, as far as origin stories go, The Mad Hatter doesn’t really get any points for breaking new ground or uniqueness.
Be that as it may, he’s still a very interesting character, one with immense intellectual prowess and a backstory so sad it can make even the most stoic heart melt.
His whole schtick revolves around mind control which, naturally, is just the kind of thing one could benefit from in a game of poker — or any other form of gambling for that matter!
Ra’s al Ghul
Ra’s excels at many things — a by-product of him being born more than seven centuries ago. One would simply have to pick up a few things along the way, not to mention gamble throughout various different epochs and periods.
BOTH MENTOR AND ENEMY
He is one of Batman’s most interesting adversaries as his agenda is one driven by an urge to create a more positive world. The means he’s using to do so, however, clash with what most deem acceptable (not to mention moral).
Regardless, he’s a master tactician and a martial artist unlike any other. Winning a game of poker, therefore, wouldn’t be much of a challenge.
Doctor Hugo Strange
A list of this kind simply wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Hugo Strange. He’s actually one of the oldest Batman villains out there; his first appearance dates all the way back to the 1940’s.
Let that sink in.
Hugo is amongst the most intelligent and versatile scientists in all of Gotham, with psychology being his primary area of expertise. And so there’s not a doubt in our mind: a man like Strange would be one heck of a gambler!
Last but certainly not least, we have Victor Zsasz, a “small scale” villain who should by no means be underestimated. He is, potentially, the most vile foe Batman went up against — and that’s really saying something.
He’s an unhinged serial murderer; nothing more, nothing else. And those scars and tally marks? They indicate the number of his victims — a number as grotesque as it is seemingly endless. A psychopath like Zsasz would, by all means, intimidate his gambling opponents through his sheer presence alone.
A DESPICABLE HUMAN BEING
As far as Batman villains go, Victor Zsasz is one of the most deranged ones; his unpredictable nature would no doubt give him an edge, be it in a game of poker or any other form of gambling. We’re just not sure how well he’d “swallow” any potential losses — his proclivity for whipping out knives and wreaking carnage could (and most certainly would) take over.
Gambling online would no doubt be the best possible option in the case of Victor Zsasz.