If you’re a pro or even an amateur at poker, there’s a slight chance you’re into heavy PS or PC gaming as well. And because of that, you’d know that some video games involve an aspect of poker to improve its credibility or earn a higher certificate and make gamers think that the ‘18’ rating adult content is going to be sassier than just bad guys swearing at each other as they pull out their weapons.
So is the case with one of the best games of the 21st century, Red Dead Redemption (2010). John Marston, the main protagonist who you live out the game as, was a foul-mouthed, sharp-shooting gang member who was prepared to kill or be killed in pursuit of saving his wife and young son. Of course, adding poker to the game wouldn’t have made him even more hardcore, BUT it sure did. Because the poker in Red Dead Redemption is great! Not only you can play the game pretty close to how you might if you really were out in the Old West toting around a revolver and riding to the poker table on horseback, but the games were good!
There are several challenges in the game that require Marston to prove his poker skills at the table, and while any experienced poker player won’t take long cracking them – you’ll have to bluff, make profit and get the better of an opponent heads-up – there’s a whole lot of fun to have in doing so.
However, poker in Red Dead Redemption can go majorly wrong as well. If you, at any point, lose a hand and go on tilt, then just like shooting someone in the streets of Blackwater, the cops are coming after you, or more precisely, the sheriff and his men.
There is also, quite brilliantly, the chance to get into a very personal dispute with whoever you’re playing. Let’ say that you lose and get your gun out. Sooner or later, unless you manage to kill everyone, you’re going to get caught. More than that, you can get involved in a duel with the player you have beef with.
Before you know it, you’re out in the street and kicking your spiked heels in the dusk, ready to draw your weapon. Shoot the other guy first and you’re aces, get outdrawn and you’re in the muck, never mind your cards. John Marston has a natural belligerence that perfectly suits poker in the Wild West. Its like he arrives at the table in the same kind of mood Daniel Negreanu might be in if he was offered a pork chop upon arrival.
Playing poker in Red Dead Redemption is a whole lot of fun and while its crucial to the completion of the game only in regard to a few missions, making it part of Marston’s personality should be your goal. He’s hilarious if he loses and in no way magnanimous if he wins. No one could survive without a shootout if they wee John Marston in real life, but when a video game is as much fun as this, who needs to live in their reality?