Box art - Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 – How to Play Poker and Win

Playing poker is a great respite from Red Dead Redemption 2’s wide open range. If you’ve played poker in the original Red Dead Redemption or in real life, you’ll know what you’re in for. If you’re new to going all in, then we’ve laid it all out here. Learning how to play poker and win in Red Dead Redemption 2 will hopefully be like a reliable horse. Just whistle and you’ll recall what you need.

Red Dead Redemption 2 – How to Play Texas Hold ‘Em

Red Dead Redemption 2 continues on from the first game with a poker variant inspired by Texas Hold ‘Em. Your aim every round is to win by either having the best hand or convincing everyone else to fold. You get two cards to start, known as your hold cards. These are kept hidden from the rest of the table and form the basis of your hand.

Players to the left of the dealer must initiate the betting. These bets, known as the small blind and big blind, form the initial pot that players seek out. After the dealer distributes hold cards to each participant, the first betting round starts.

Red Dead Redemption 2 – Entering the Betting Round

Each betting round moves in clockwise order around the table. When it’s their turn, each player must pony up money equal to or greater than the previous players. The bet always needs to go up, but you can fold and sit out the rest of the round if you don’t feel confident. The five possible actions on each of your turns during the betting round are as follows.

  1. If no bet has been placed so far, you can check. This basically means that you bet no money and passing play along to the next player. Once all players pass, the betting round finishes up and the next community card hits the table.
  2. If you don’t want to check, you can initiate the bet yourself. Each other player around the table will have to at least match what you’re putting down as play continues.
  3. If someone before you already bet, you can raise the stakes. Not only will this force everyone else down the line to match your bet, but it will also make the player who placed the original bet match your new one.
  4. No matter what’s on the table, you always have the option to fold. You’ll want to fold when you know that a loss is inevitable and you want to save face. Note that folding takes you completely out of the round. Any bets placed before a fold are complete losses.
  5. If you have confidence that your hand can take the competition, you can go all in. This will place all your chips into the pot, making the hand an all or nothing situation. If you can’t match the current bet on your turn, you can still go all in and possibly win, but you’ll only win whatever portion of the prize you can match.

While you’re waiting for your fellow players to consider their options, you can lock in your move to save time. This is done via auto bet, which is accessed by holding left on the d-pad. This gives you access to all available options. Selecting one will automatically initiate it when it’s time for you to play. If your selection doesn’t work for the current hand, auto bet automatically switches off and play continues as normal.

As bets come in around the table making bets, the dealer throws cards to the center. These community cards count for each player and form the rest of your hand. The first three cards, known as the flop, will give you an initial idea on whether to keep betting or sit out until the next round. The fourth and fifth cards, the turn and river respectively, must come out before you reveal your hand and earn your winnings.

Red Dead Redemption 2 – Scoring Your Poker Hand

As play continues, you’ll want to determine exactly what type of hand you’re building towards. Here’s a brief overview of every poker hand you could turn in, starting with the most powerful and going from there.

  • A Royal Flush is a five-card hand encompassing an entire suit’s royal family. You’ll need a matching ace, king, queen, jack and 10.
  • A Straight Flush is a sequence of any five cards in order, all in the same suit.
  • Four of a Kind has all four copies of any number in the deck, covering hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs.
  • A Full House brings together a Three of a Kind with a matching pair of a different number. Something like three friends getting together to take care of a pair of children.
  • A Flush is any five cards of the same suit.
  • A Straight is five cards in order, but the suits don’t matter.
  • Three of a Kind is three of any number. It’s like Four of a Kind, but you’re missing one card.
  • Two pair is two cards with a matching number multiplied by two.
  • One pair is a single set of matching cards.
  • If you don’t have any of these, your hand is scored based on your highest card, and can only beat similar hands with lesser cards in them.

After the final betting round, each player shows their hold cards to reveal their full hand. Called the showdown, it’s here where the final winner of the round is determined. If your hand ties with another players’ hand in strength, your extra cards will determine who wins. For example, if you have three of a kind and an ace, that might trump another three of a kind that’s alongside a king. If you don’t want to reveal your hand for whatever reason, you’re allowed to fold at the last minute. This is known as a muck.