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Online poker is great, but it often lacks the drama and intensity of a real life game. It also lacks the chance that a game could end in a deadly shoot-out like the poker games in Red Dead Redemption.

Since its release for Xbox 360 last week by Rockstar Games, Red Dead Redemption has drawn incredible ratings and praises from critics and players alike, who love its moody atmosphere, awesome realistic graphics and Grand Theft Auto style gameplay. But along with the game itself, fans are raving about the Texas Hold’em mini game, which may be the greatest virtual poker game ever.

There are no cartoon avatars here. When you walk into the back of a dusty saloon to play against computer opponents, you face a wide array of characters including stone-faced cowboys, reckless old gamblers and dirty young ranch hands. Characters move around realistically and chat with each other as they play. They speak their actions, crack jokes and react to wins or losses with a huge supply of emotional responses. For example, one player caught bluffing says “You won’t believe anything I say because I’m white!” to his Mexican opponent.

Since the game is made by Rockstar, you can even cheat if you are dealing. But be careful, because if another player suspects you of cheating you will be faced with a duel.

With such interesting opponents, a great Western theme including old looking cards and the fun of playing poker in general, Red Dead Redemption’s Hold’em game has become a fan favorite. It may be the most fun you’ll have playing poker without using real money.

Poker Game in Red Dead Redemption

Poker Game in Red Dead Redemption