May 16 · 3 min read

Red Dead Redemption 2 Poker

The Evening Redness in the West

Red Dead Redemption Poker is a lot like real poker. You can cheat and bluff, post and fold, tilt or triumph, except everyone at the table is cosplaying as their favourite Deadwood characters and coughing violently from smoking unfiltered cigarettes.

In modern times, new players read articles and ask for newbie advice on forums, but frontier times offered queries like “When is the right time to shoot my opponent in the face?” and “What’s the ideal number of cards that can fit up a size medium sleeve?”

Picture the scene as the evening redness spreads like blood through a clear pool somewhere along the frontier. A barren expanse stretches far as the eye of man can see, and further to the realm of poison-jetting lizards and saurian birds. Here, even the dust does not stir at man’s tread, refusing to recognise his right to existence. Clouds drift plugging sunbores. Sol finds her entry and the sky in futile chase protects little. Rays falls like whipcracks on the passing caravan bound for a nearby hovel. Arriving exhausted, ashen pilgrims form their circle while a mustachioed man fetches whiskey.

You Win Again

Venturing through gator-infested boneyards, past the bleached remnants of terrible cyclopes that once roamed fearsome on the plain — Echidna’s offspring — our protagonist arrives to Flatneck station. Pius with a penchant for poker and potables, the local priest must be ousted from the game.

This first foray into old timey poker, confirming the suspicions of conspiratorially-minded players worldwide, is rigged. No matter what stage of the game, the first hand is always Q-To, then you’ll suck out on the Q-J of an opponent hitting a second pair on the river.

The Winner’s Cup

If you’re not interested in fun, more of a play to win type, there’s 10 gambling challenges to unlock trophies, three of which relate to poker:

Challenge the first: Win 5 Hands

Challenge the second: Bust a player in 3 different locations (this is starting to sound a lot like our Honeymoon missions)

Challenge the third: Win 3 poker hands in a row

Unlike real poker, the final player will never leave the table before you, so don’t be afraid to bluff and bet to your heart’s content. Once you’ve got the hang of the game, it’s actively difficult to leave a table with less money than you started with.

Whispers from the Wider World

As an amusing aside, here’s the top-rated comment in a message board thread about tips for beating in-game poker:

“wait until you have a good hand and then go all in”

Couldn’t agree more, mate!

Generally speaking, it’s very impressive for a side game, considering the polish on the main attractions. Gone are the days of meeting ten NPCs in one town with the same voice actor, or finding a man in the northern reaches with the squashed facial sprites of a man you met earlier in the game. Each NPC looks different and has their own unique play style, to which our proto-dustbowl Lenny must adjust to win. That said, the AI isn’t particularly sophisticated, sometimes making calls that only Nemo — of Finding, not 20K Leagues fame — would otherwise.

This isn’t fronting, this is the frontier. Take this knowledge to the pasteboards, we’ll see you on the other side.

Mike at GGPoker


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