Poker in Video Games: Red Dead Redemption II
If you’ve been hankering to play poker while playing a video game, RockStar Games has a solution for you: Red Dead Redemption II.
Gunfights, saloon fights, shootouts, and poker thrown in for good measure, this video game takes you back to 1899. Your character is outlaw Arthur Morgan. You’re on the run, trying to stay out of jail while still earning money to remain on the run.
The game is very detailed; in both graphics and gameplay. RockStar Games has a history of producing games that are very deep and highly interactive, and Red Dead Redemption II follows in that same ethos. You can make friends or enemies; however everything has an impact on the game.
Whether in a desert, canyon, forest or a raggedy old western town, it feels like you’re controlling a character in a movie or TV show. The attention to details is outstanding. This includes the scenes where your character is playing Texas Hold’em. No efforts were spared as they nailed the interaction and gameplay perfectly. Sitting across from grizzled cowboys looking to get an edge over you can be intimidating. How will you play this one out?
Of course this isn’t the first video game to include poker. The first game in this series also includes both poker and blackjack. In fact, this isn’t even RockStar Games’ first title to include poker; Grand Theft Auto San Andreas kicked it off back in 2004. The casino action in this game includes blackjack, video poker, roulette and slot machines. For added fun, try borrowing from the casino without paying it back. The consequences can add a bit of spice to the game.
Far Cry 3 is also full of gambling offerings. There’s even an entire mission focused on a tense poker game. Texas Hold’em is played in secret back rooms and you can even set the difficulty level.
The video game Watch Dogs not only offers poker, but it gives you the chance to “hack the security cameras” so you can view your opponents’ cards. You can also “sense” those opponents’ stress level, which makes it easier to win in this game.
Saints Row 2 had video poker and blackjack contained within. Nothing too complex here; the gambling aspects in this game really is just for a break in its normal game play. Yes you can destroy the video blackjack and poker machines, which will give you extra coins, but nothing compared to what you could win if you just played them legitimately.
Lastly, we have The Witcher 1 & 2. While not a traditional poker game played with cards, you do play a draw poker style of dice game. You roll five dice. Once you and your opponent ante up you can roll any of the dice again. The idea is to get the strongest hand possible, of course. However as you’re playing with dice, it is possible to get 5 of a kind.
There has been and always will be gambling contained within video games. Sometimes it’s just for a break in gameplay, as we saw with Saints Row 2 and other times it’s an integral part of the story, as evidenced in Far Cry 3.