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The best depictions of poker in video games

By William Davis


Jul 8, 2023

Reading time: 5 min

Poker has a long history that dates back literal millennia, but the game didn’t become popular in video games until just recently. By 2000, poker was an international game with major championships appearing on TV. The early 2000s propelled poker to tremendous popularity. Everyone was playing the game.

Then in 2003, an unknown player, Chris Moneymaker, won the 2003 WSOP after qualifying through an online satellite game. Chris inspired millions of people to love poker. And once the game became a global phenomenon, Hollywood and the video game industry embraced it.

In this article, we’ll outline some of the best depictions of poker in video games. If you would like to play online poker, you can read reviews here before diving into video game versions of the classic card game.

Far Cry 3 Texas Hold’em

Based on the fictional island of Rook, Far Cry 3 is one of the best installments of the Far Cry series by Ubisoft. It launched in 2012 after two years of development. 

The first-person shooter stars Jason Brody on a quest to avenge his brother and save his friends from the captivating sociopath Vas. While the main mission is riveting and action-packed, Far Cry 3 features a couple of mini-games worth playing. Texas Hold’em is one of them. You can play the game in a variety of places on the island. Just make sure you’re far away from enemy territory to avoid any surprise disruptions.

Far Cry 3 poker

Texas Hold’em is a simple game with player-friendly rules. Players receive two cards at the start of a match. They then call the blinds to match the initial bet amounts but can also raise the stakes or fold to get out of the round.

In the next round, the table gets three cards facing up. By now, the competing players have an idea of whether they have a winning hand. Still, you receive two more cards—one in the turn and a final card in the river round. The player with the best hand once all five cards are revealed is the winner.

Watchdogs Texas Hold’em

When Watchdog came out in 2014, it was an extremely popular game that pushed the limits of an open world. Fans of that genre are now flush for choice, but if you would like to try it out in 2023, the game is still available on PS4, PC, and Xbox 360.

One of the best features of Watchdogs is its mini-games. They let you take a break from Aiden Pearce’s sociopathic goals in favor of enjoying poker a little bit. As mentioned, Texas Hold’em is an exciting game that makes an excellent addition to the title.

Learning the basic moves takes a couple of minutes. However, you’ll need to practice to become a consistent winner. This is especially true if you decide to play poker for money in real life, making video games an easy way to train your skills.

GTA V Online Three-Card Poker

Grand Theft Auto V needs no introduction. It’s one of the top five most-played games in almost every country. Its online version attracts millions of monthly players thanks to its countless activities. You can carjack ambulances, fly airplanes, or rob banks. And if you’re in the mood to party, you can visit the Diamond Resort to play all sorts of casino games.

Diamond Casino poker GTA Online

Playing poker in GTA online is a great way to pass the time. Of course, you need to master three-card poker if you want to win regularly. Three-card poker has two initial bets. There’s the ante, the first bet everyone must make. Then there’s the Pair Plus, a side bet you make if you think you will have at least a pair in the game.

The second stage of three-card poker leaves you with five cards. At this point, you need to place a second ante to stay in the game. If you don’t like your chances of winning, though, you can exit. Three-card poker pays 1:1 for winning hands. It’s not the best-paying game out there. But as we mentioned, it is a nice distraction from the rest of the mayhem.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon Omaha

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a Japanese RPG that combines good storytelling with combat to deliver a thrilling experience. The game lets you experience a bombastic, melodramatic, and hilarious life in the Japanese mafia.

While you can eat sushi and ride high-speed trains, you’ll also encounter Tokyo’s most-feared mobsters. The game gives you all the tools you need to beat street thugs. It also comes with three poker mini-games. We’ll focus on Omaha Hold’em. This game comes in two versions—Pot Limit and Hi-Lo. Both games start with a bet. The dealer then hands each player four cards facing down. 

In the usual style of poker, you can call blinds, raise the amount or fold to exit the game. In the flop round, players receive three cards each. Similar to Texas Hold’em, there’s also a round for the turn and another one for the river.

In Omaha’s pot limit, the goal is to produce the highest hands. In Hi-Lo, the pot is divided into two. You win half if you have the highest hand. You win the second hand if you have the lowest hand.

Dragon Quest 11 Video Poker

Dragon Quest 11 is a fan favorite. It’s one of the best JRPGs out today, thanks to its gameplay being tactical, action-packed, and full of surprises. Its graphics are beautiful, while boss battles can be tense.

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If you like poker, you’ll also enjoy its video poker mini-game. This isn’t your average video poker game. It has cute card faces instead of the regular ones you’re used to, but it plays just like the traditional game.

You place a bet and hit ‘Play’ for the machine to choose cards for you. If you don’t like some of the cards, you can discard them. The software will replace the cards for you.


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