Red Dead Redemption 2: How To Play (& Win) Poker

As a game about cowboys and outlaws, it only seems natural that Red Dead Redemption 2 lets players pass the time by playing a classic card game. Poker is a returning element from the original RDR, and while the minigame itself is still largely the same, a few differences are present. Poker’s rules can seem a little obtuse at first, but playing a few hands should help players get a handle on how the game works.

Playing Poker well can certainly give Arthur some extra pocket money. It may not be the most lucrative activity in the game, but it can be a fun and profitable diversion from the main story when the player wants to give Arthur some leisure time. In addition, a few of the game’s Gambler challenges actually require Arthur to play poker. By remembering a few tricks, Arthur can be one of the most skilled card sharks in the West.


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Red Dead Redemption 2: Learning The Game And The Hands

Learning the poker hands of RDR 2 is the first step towards victory.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a very realistically detailed game, and that also shows in its poker mechanic, which is quite faithful to real-world Texas Hold ‘Em. In poker, every player is dealt two cards, and three cards will be added to the center of the table. These center cards are known as community cards, and every player can use them in conjunction with their own two cards to create their hand at the end of the round.

After the first round of betting, another community card will be added, and following another round of bets, a fifth will be added. Once the fifth and final community card is on the table, there is one more round of bets before the players reveal their hands. Whoever has the best hand wins all of the money that has been bet on that hand.



Royal Flush

A 10, Jack, Queen, King, & Ace; all in the same suit.

Straight Flush

Five cards in number order of the same suit. (ex. 4 of hearts, 5 of hearts, 6 of hearts, 7 of hearts, & 9 of hearts)

Four of a Kind

Four of any matching number or face card. (ex. three 5’s)

Full House

One pair and three of a kind (ex. two 4s & three Jacks)


Five cards in any order of the same suit. (ex. 2 of hearts, 9 of hearts, Jack of hearts, King of hearts, & Ace of hearts)


Five cards in number order of any suit. (ex. 6 of clubs, 7 of hearts, 8 of clubs, 9 of spades, & 10 of diamonds)


Three of any matching number or face card. (ex. three 5’s)

Two Pair

Two separate pairs of matching cards (ex. two 10s & two Kings)

One Pair

Any single pair of matching cards. (ex. two Queens)

High card

If players have no other matching hands the highest card wins. Ace is considered the best, then King, Queen, Jack, and so on down the line. If there is a tie for highest card the play moves to the next highest card in the players’ hands.


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The game does inform you of what your current hand contains, so that information should be used to make smart decisions. If there’s only one community card left and you still have nothing, then it’s probably best to cut your losses and wait for the next hand for a chance to win. Keeping track of the cards is key to success in poker.

Red Dead Redemption 2: How To Play, And When To Bet

Making smart bets in RDR 2 poker keeps Arthur in the game and grows his wallet.

One’s own hand should be the biggest indicator of when it would be wise to bet. If playing with a bad hand, such as no pairs or one pair, then it would be wise to keep one’s own bids low. If someone starts raising the pot significantly, then that is the best sign for a player with a poor hand to bow out. Like trying to storm RDO’s gang hideouts, it’s better to know when to run rather than suffer a major loss.

Likewise, if one opens with a good hand and some very promising community cards, betting aggressively could pay off. Opponents may even fold early, giving the player an automatic win if they all do so. In case of a spectacularly good hand, such as a four of a kind of better, the player should feel confident making large bets, since they’re likely to pay off excellently.

There is one mechanic from Red Dead Redemption‘s poker minigame that didn’t make it into the sequel, and that is cheating. In the first Red Dead Redemption, the player could cheat while wearing the Elegant Suit, but that option is no longer available. The most illegal thing Arthur can do is get up from the table and shoot his opponents, and that will get him nothing but a bounty on his head.

Where And When To Play Poker in Red Dead Redemption 2

The only way to play poker in RDR 2 is to find a table, which thankfully isn't too hard.

There are several areas in the game where the player can play poker, usually located in towns. There are games to join in Valentine, Tumbleweed, Saint-Denis, Blackwater, and Flatneck Station. However, due to Arthur having a permanent dead or alive bounty in Blackwater, the player will likely have to wait until the epilogue to play there as John.


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There will occasionally be games at the Van Der Lindes’ campsite that Arthur can join as well. The Valentine, Tumbleweed, and Flatneck Station games cost $2.50 to join, while the games in Saint-Denis and Blackwater cost $5.00.

There are also some restrictions on when the player can play poker. If the location of the game is closed, then it will be unavailable. A good rule of thumb is that during late night and early morning, poker games will not be available, like the game’s businesses.

Although it is not as lucrative or widely available as hunting in Red Dead Redemption 2, poker is a great source of fun and money. If a player’s looking to become the ultimate cowboy in Red Dead Redemption 2, then sooner or later they’ll have to take a seat at a poker table.