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Winning Poker in Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 came out in 2018, eight years after its predecessor. The original game was so well-received that the buzz surrounding the follow-up was deafening. But did the game live up to all the hype? In short, yes. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a monster of a game, a huge open-world epic set in the early days of America’s western expansion. The wild, untamed scenery is peppered with small settlements of hardened pioneers, desperately trying to eke out a living from the land and avoid the perilous wildlife, natives, and outlaws.

Part of the open design that everyone loves is the opportunity to engage in side missions and just generally interact with the characters. Red Dead Redemption 2 has kept many fan-favorite features from the original game, including the ability to challenge characters at a variety of games, including poker. Honing your gambling skills will not only upgrade some of your character’s abilities but also unlock special missions and achievements. There are two-story missions where you have to play – first in Chapter 2 and again in Chapter 4. Don’t worry if you’re a poker novice, the game has instructions for you, and in these specific challenges, the odds are stacked in your favor.

Getting to grips with poker in the game

However, if you’re a poker fan and want to spend more of your time roaming the west, whipping out a deck of cards at every opportunity, then you’re in luck. RDR2 has a pretty sophisticated poker engine, with the different characters you can play against all having their own styles of gameplay, just like you’d find around a real-life poker table. From the cautious betters who only go in if they have something solid to the aggressive hotshots who will raise anything, each new opponent you find is a new challenge.

Just like in real life, you don’t need the best cards to win at poker in RDR2; with careful management of your strategy and an understanding of your opponents, you can make everyone around the table believe that you’ve got the winning hand, even if you’re coming up short. Of course, having good cards helps too, as does know some basic poker rules. Players in RDR2 play Texas Hold ‘Em with the blinds usually set at 1c/2c – low enough that a losing streak while learning isn’t going to cause you big problems.

How it’s played

The aim of the game is to make the best 5-card poker hand out of a total of seven cards, some shared and some private. Each player is dealt a pair of cards and then decides whether to bet, fold, or raise the bet, before receiving new cards. Three public cards are laid down, then a fourth, and then a fifth, with more betting rounds between each set. The player with the best hand at the end – rot the last man standing – wins the pot.

Red Dead Redemption 2 poker guide

If playing poker in RDR2 gives you an appetite for the game, there are plenty of online poker sites that will let you play against real people – the next challenge! No matter how sophisticated an AI player is programmed to be, they can’t beat the experience of playing against human opponents. One criticism of RDR2’s poker players is that they rarely bluff, whereas bluffing is extremely commonplace on poker sites and adds a whole new dimension to the game.

Other games featuring gambling

RDR2 isn’t the only video game to feature gambling mini-games; they’re becoming increasingly common features of open-world adventures, and franchises like Fallout, Assassin’s Creed, and Witcher have all become well known for including them. They add amusing diversions from the main storyline and help to enhance the world of the game. In RDR2 the poker games happen in four different locations, and each is exactly how you would have found them in the 18th-century pioneer towns.

Poker was very popular amongst settlers, and it would have been remiss of the game designers to exclude something so integral to the history of the era. Instead, they fully embraced poker and the atmosphere surrounding games, turning them into player experiences that make the game a whole lot richer.


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