Red Dead Redemption 2: How To Play Poker

Red Dead Redemption 2 is primarily about blasting ornery cowpokes, robbing stagecoaches, and dealing with the burden of heavy guilt from a lifetime of criminal activity. But sometimes in between rooting, tooting, shooting and pondering the meaning of life, you might just want to relax and play a nice game of cards.

Much like its predecessor, Red Dead Redemption 2 offers players the chance to take the action down a notch and play some good ol’ fashioned poker. With this guide, we’ll demonstrate where and how you can find some tables to gamble to your heart’s content.

Who’s Dealin’?

The first step to playing a game of poker is finding a table. Your initial experience with the card game in RDR2 will be in the mission Who Is Not Without Sin. This will lead to one of the five poker locations, Flatneck Station. Everyone’s favorite drunk preacher Reverend Swanson will be playing and Arthur can take his place to throw down a few hands.

The other places where you can play poker are Valentine, St. Denis, Blackwater, and Tumbleweed. Unfortunately, due to the Blackwater Massacre and that whole business about being wanted by the Pinkertons, Arthur won’t get to play in Blackwater or Tumbleweed. You can also play with your fellow gang members at the various camps which might even lead to some additional dialogue.

How To Play Poker

Red Dead Redemption 2 follows the standard rules of Texas Hold ‘Em poker. Along with your hand, you’re trying to get a good enough configuration of cards to take the pot of chips on the table. The ranking of hands goes like this:

At the start of the round, two players put down the big and small blind, which is a mandatory bet that whoever is sitting to the left of the dealer has to make. From there, everyone is dealt two cards and can decide whether to fold or bet some chips based on what they get. You can also check, which allows you to pass your turn to the next player as long as no one else has made a bet. After that, the dealer begins to place 5 more cards down on the table that you use to build your hand.

Remember, poker isn’t just about playing your hand either. You need to look at how your opponents are betting to get an idea of how you should throw down your chips. For example, if everyone at the table is checking then putting down a massive bet might cause them all to fold. Alternatively, if someone is dropping a lot of money for their hand they may have something really good or could just be bluffing. It’s hard to tell exactly how deep RDR2′s poker A.I. is, but it occasionally does feel like you’re going up against realistically experienced players.

Not Exactly A Get Rich Quick Scheme

Now Red Dead Redemption 2’s poker is fun, but if you’re thinking that you can bypass most of the game’s hurdles by getting rich at cards then we’re sorry to burst your bubble. This is a side game for fun and maybe to make enough cash to afford some hair tonic. Each game has a rather small buy-in of about $1 to $5 with the table at Saint Denis being where Arthur can make the most cash for cards.

However, there is another reason to dip into these card games. There are a series of optional challenges that can be completed for cosmetic rewards. The Gambler set of challenges is where you have to excel at the various minigames found in Red Dead 2, and a few of them involve some Texas Hold’Em mastery.

The first is relatively simple. All you have to do is win 5 games of poker. The fourth challenge is a bit more difficult, as you have to bust out one person from the tables at Valentine, St. Denis and Flatneck Station. The final challenge requires you to win 3 hands of poker in a row, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Complete the challenges and you’ll get some fancy-looking bandoliers and holsters out of the deal.

Now You’re A Ramblin’ Gambler

You should now be more than ready to tackle the wild world of poker inside Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s not as riveting as Liar’s Dice, but it’s a nice gameplay palette cleanser in between the wanton murder and destruction. So pull up a chair, lay down some chips, and try not to shoot anyone if they get a better hand than you.

Or go ahead and shoot them. We’re not going to tell you how to conduct your cowboy business.

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