Red Dead Redemption was a cultural phenomenon as soon as it landed on consoles in 2010. Depicting life in the old Wild West, it became popular among gamers worldwide.
By the time the sequel landed seven years later, console capabilities had progressed at a significant rate. It meant Red Dead Redemption 2 was a masterpiece, one of the defining games of the eighth-generation consoles. It was steeped in realism, with tree branches bringing you off your horse and every single NPC available for conversation. Even four years after its release, no open-world game has come close to delivering the same experience.
One of the reasons it was so successful was its use of Wild West themes throughout, evident in the poker games available to the play. Poker is very much a Wild West card game; Dead Man’s Hand refers to Wild Bill Hicock, who was allegedly holding aces and eights when shot to death in Deadwood. In Tombstone, Arizona, another Wild West legend, the world’s longest poker game occurred between 1881 and 1889.
Winning at poker on Red Dead Redemption can give you rewards that are incredibly useful in the game, but how easy is it to beat the dealer? Can you become a Wild West legend on your home console, at least? With this handy guide, you can.
Understand the Game
The first thing to consider is how to play poker. If you’re new to the game, it might be an advantage to do a bit of outside research. The game uses the most popular poker variants, so it’s important to understand how to deal Texas Hold’em before you start. The dealing is done for you, but the game’s structure becomes clear once you grasp that. It might also help to research poker hands so that you know if you’ve got a good one before you raise.
Poker appears in two missions in RDR2, the first of which is “Who Is Not Without Sin”. This is where you’ll open the poker tables on the map, and it’s relatively easy to negotiate. You can leave at any time you wish to trigger the mission, but with little at stake, we’d advise playing until you’re told to leave. Later, you’ll get to play a high-stakes game during “A Fine Night of Debauchery”, but it is also rigged. You’ll be given prompts by a co-conspirator, but if you ignore him, you can get a ‘perfect’ mission completion. The dealer will give subtle hints about when to play, so listen out for those.
Poker in Red Dead Redemption 2 wouldn’t be quite the same without a bit of cheating, and you can get Arthur to do just that during the game. If you dress in the Elegant Suit, you can skim a card from the bottom of the deck each time you deal. The success of this move is defined by the ability to hit a balancing arrow minigame; succeed, and you can swap the card into your hand, fail, and you’ll be caught out. It’s a neat way to stack the deck in your favor, so to speak.
Bluffing Not Required
The key thing to remember is to fold if your opponents raise or go all-in and you have nothing. The one thing the NPCs do not do much of is bluff. Bluffing is a key part of real poker, but in RDR2, it’s not useful at all. If they’ve got a good hand, they play it. It makes raising the pot a challenge, but if you’re patient, you can still pick players off one by one.