Some of the best TV shows are those that turn gambling into a relatable practice. Portraying the highs and lows of the game perfectly, these shows capture the relatable humour of betting. Below, we explore some of the funniest gambling moments on TV.
How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) is an American sitcom that aired for nine seasons. Originally aired on CBS in 2005, the show is centred around the main character, Ted Mosby, and his search for love. The series also follows his interactions with his best friends – Marshall, Lily, Barney, and Robin.
The sitcom was created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, who were also frequent writers and served as the show’s executive producers. The series was loosely based on their friendship when they both lived in New York City’s Manhattan. With a total of 208 episodes, the show had its fair share of funny gambling moments.
In season two, the group head to Atlantic City where Lily and Marshall plan to elope. Just as expected, things don’t go to plan. After losing a large amount of cash, Barney, a recovering gambling addict, attempts to win it back by playing a game called ‘Xing Hai Shi Bu Xing’.
The fictional game is confusing, to say the least. Other than Barney, the characters have no idea what’s going on. As many of us feel this way when stepping into a casino, the moment is humorous and relatable.
Despite airing the final episode on May 23, 1994, Star Trek: The Next Generation still has a cult following. Gambling was a recurring theme of the series, with at least 10 episodes showing the characters playing poker aboard the starship Enterprise.
The show explores a number of issues surrounding gambling, including ethics when playing the game. In season six, the Android Commander, Data, manages to create holographic images of some of the best minds to test his skills. As well as tackling the issue of ethics, Data chatting with holographic images of Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking is bound to make you laugh!
The American sitcom, Friends, aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004, running for 10 seasons. The cast included Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer. The show is centred around the six friends who live in Manhattan, New York City.
Although friends has been off the air for over 12 years, it’s arguably just as popular now as it was back then. Today, the series is enjoyed by people all over the world. While much of the show is family-friendly, a couple of scenes feature gambling. The funniest episode that comes to mind is season six episode six, titled ‘The One on the Last Night’.
At this point in the series, Chandler is about to move in with Monica. Leaving Joey without a roommate, Chandler wants to make sure Joey has enough money for the bills. However, Joey makes this difficult by refusing to take ‘Charity’. To get around the issue, Chandler suggests an evening of gambling so that Joey can try to win the cash fairly. To make sure Joey wins, Chandler invents his own card game called ‘Cups’. With no specific rules, Chandler makes up the rules based on Joey’s cards. After winning the money, Joey somehow manages to lose it to Ross in another round of the made-up game.
In the 20th episode of season three of the hit show ‘The Office’, gambling is featured as a side-story to the main plot. The story-line shows how office workers will bet on just about anything – from guessing the number of jelly beans to guessing whether character, Creed Bratton, will realise he is eating a potato instead of his apple. While the side-story is brief, it highlights the boredom of office life and what people will do for entertainment. If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’re sure to get a chuckle out of this moment!
It’s no secret that South Park isn’t exactly PG. Throughout the series, a broad range of issues are tackled, including the subject of gambling and addiction.
During the seventh episode of season seven, the boys and their parents are visiting an Indian casino. Before long, Kyle’s dad manages to lose their house in a game of blackjack. The whole town is then bought out by the Native Americans who want to tear it down and build a road linking the casino to Denver. To save the town, the resistants must find $300,000 which they attempt to win at the casino. After a massive win, the bulk of the cash is lost due to greed. This moment is both funny and relatable, as most gamblers have been in a similar situation at one time or another!
There’s no doubt about it, The Simpsons features more gambling references than any other cartoon. The betting references start in the first episode of the show, where Homer rescues Santa’s Little Helper from the local dog racing track.
From that moment on, we see Krusty lose his daughter’s violin in a game of poker, Lisa helping Homer to win money on the football, Homer’s hidden talent for poker, and Homer and Ned taking a trip to Las Vegas where they marry a pair of waitresses. However, in our opinion, the funniest moment is in the tenth episode of season five, when Mr Burns opens his own casino. Later in the episode, Bart opens another casino in his treehouse, Homer gets a job as a blackjack dealer, Mr Burns develops a case of Howard Hughes syndrome, and Marge becomes hooked on the slots.
If you’re looking for some of the funniest gambling moments on TV, this selection will not disappoint. Whether you’re an experienced gambler or a beginner, you’re bound to relate to the betting-themed moments above.