Strange as it may seem, but the link between poker and gaming goes back a long way.
And by gaming, I don’t mean bet365 Casino sitting alongside bet365 Poker. No, I mean gaming as in PC, Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo and many other devices!
Now of course, there are many games that have represented playing poker in the form of a tournament or a casino.
But that is not what we are interested in. If you want to do that now, you can head off to online sites like bet365 Poker and play for real.
No, what we are interested in are those games where poker is incorporated into the gaming world, as a mini-game, or feature of the game itself.
Poker as a Mini-Game
So, what do we mean by a mini game? Well, we mean that alongside the standard quest you are completing in your chosen game, you can play a bit of poker.
Some games had playing poker as an essential part of the quest. But nowadays, poker is included often as an in-game bonus can elect to play against characters to try and win in-game cash, stars or similar bonuses.
We found a huge number of games that had poker included in some format or other and we have collated the best 15 of those below.
Also shown are the years the game was first published, along with the different consoles and gaming systems it was or is available to be played on.
The Best Computer Games That Include Some Form of Poker
We are not going to list these games in rating order. It is unfair to compare a game from the early 1990s to one made 30 years later.
However, some of the best games to include poker are outlined below:
The Lone Ranger – 1991 (NES)
Perhaps the first game to add a poker mini-game was the Konami release The Lone Ranger.
There were eight objectives to be completed in the game, which had to be completed in order. But what made the game so interesting was that the games were very different in character. Some first-person, some top down view and others sideways scrolling.
Part of the aims of the game was to gain money and this is where the poker add on came in. It was a simple enough offering where you could win cash if you won the hand of poker.
You could play the game with the NES Zapper gun or LaserScop headphone controller too.
Super Mario 64 & New Super Mario Bros. – 1996 (N64) 2006 (NES, NDS)
One of the key Nintendo 64 releases, Super Mario 64 (and its later offspring New Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Entertainment System and Nintendo DS) brought us a rather unusual poker-based offering.
Before we get to that, we must note that Super Mario 64 is viewed as one of the best games ever. It set the standard for platformers to come and taking us beyond the scope of 2d platform games.
It’s poker offering was a simple card match game where you played hands using in-game Mario symbols. These included items such as mushrooms and characters. Admittedly, it’s hardly a Texas Hold’em grind, but it’s a fun addition to the nevertheless.
The same game, with updated graphics appears in the 2006 release New Super Mario Bros.
Leisure Suit Larry’s Casino – 1999 (PC)
The Leisure Suit Larry genre of games were some of the most risqué games developed in the late 1990s. Certainly, its bawdy tone would probably not be approved of in today’s society.
By 1999 though, Larry’s adventures continued with his casino. A chance to go back to Larry’s world with improved graphics. Here you could explore what had happened since those early games.
Part of the game was the chance to play a whole host of casino games to win money, of which poker was one.
Admittedly, it’s not the most politically correct game (most of the best games aren’t) but it was more fun than offensive.
Yakuza – 2005 (PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, WiiU, Windows, Xbox1, XSeriesX/S, PS5)
The Yakuza series of games started in 2005. It was an open-world adventure game where you completed tasks to progress. You could also play a number of casino games to try and increase your cash reserves.
A game that was lauded, especially in Japan, where its popularity ensured that it spawned a number of sequels over the next few years.
Desperate Housewives: The Game – 2006 (PC)
Not one of the most impressive games on this list, but poker plays a brief part in this game based on the famous TV series of the same name.
The Sopranos: Road to Respect – 2006 (PS2)
This mafia-based game was published just a month after the Desperate Housewives game. The Sopranos: Road to Respect saw you take on the role of a new member of Tony Soprano’s crew.
The aim of the game was trying to make your way through the ranks to become a made man.
As well as a variety of tasks, you also had the chance to win or lose money playing poker. The result of directly influences the amount of respect your character earns within the family.
Tales of Vesperia – 2008 (PC, PS3, X360, XBGS, PS4, NSW, Xbox1)
Namco’s popular Tales of Vesperia included many different thematic elements in the role-playing game and while the game is more well known for its gameplay, battle scenes and skits, it also had poker amongst some of its other attractions, which also included making meals.
Red Dead Redemption – 2010 (PS3, X360)
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption was Rockstar’s sequel to Red Dead Revolver. The game was released in 2004 to huge praise.
The sequel was a huge commercial success too. It boasted an incredible open world to explore and thousands of tasks to complete.
Poker, of course, fits in well with a western theme, and it was included in the game as a mini game.
To this day, Red Dead Redemption is still ranked as one of the best ever PlayStation games.
Rage – 2011 (PC, PS3, X360)
This first-person shooter from Bethesda Software was a moderate success on the PS3 and Xbox360. It featured driving elements as well as shooting elements.
Poker was included a side game as a way for players to try and win money. Usually to pay for additional enhancements to their vehicle of inventory within the game.
Far Cry 3 – 2012 (X360, OS3, PC, Xbox1, PS4)
The third in the Far Cry series of games, Far Cry 3 was released to great acclaim in 2012.
The first-person shooter featured a host of side-games alongside the main missions. One of these was poker, which sat along knife throwing as a test for players skill!
Grand Theft Auto V Online – 2013 (PS3, X360, PS4, Xbox1, PC, PS5, XSeriesX/S)
Grand Theft Auto is arguably the biggest name in PS4 and Xbox gaming. Then GTA 5 Online expanded on what was a groundbreaking original console game.
The online version opened up a huge avenue of new opportunities for players that owned the original game. Alongside all the different missions, players could also hit the casinos in an attempt to win more cash. Ostensibly to buy better vehicles and equipment.
The game is 3-card poker which makes for an interesting change!
Watch Dogs – 2014 (X360, PS3, PC, WiiU, Xbox1, PS4, LUNA)
In this Ubisoft open world game, players can explore a fictionalised version of Chicago.
Again Poker appears as a side-element. Here players can gamble to try and increase the amount of credits they have in the game.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – 2015 (PS4, PC, Xbox1, NSW, PS5, XSeriesX/S)
Now a major TV series starring Henry Cavill, The Witcher 3 : Wild Hunt included its own version of poker called Gwent. The add-on proved hugely popular as an element in the game.
So much so, the company behind the game released Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. Allowing fans and players to emulate Geralt and his companions in the real world.
Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise – 2018 (PS4)
Developed using the same mechanics as the Yakuza series of games that preceded it, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is a Sega action role-playing game which also features many side quests such as bartending, baseball, poker and racing.
Once nice touch is the inclusion of unlockable retro games such as Out Run, Space Harrier and Super Hang-On.
Red Dead Redemption 2 – 2018 (PC, Xbox1, PS4, STAD)
Rated as one of the best ever PS4 and PS5 games, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel to the 2010 original and it makes for an even better setting to explore this open world adventure game.
Poker returns only this time with incredible graphics as you take on some of the inhabitants that you come across in your quests.