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Thanks to companies like Rockstar Games and Bethesda Game Studios, open world video games became extremely popular and highly successful in the 21st century. Titles like Grand Theft Auto III, Fallout 3, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim not only pushed those franchises forward, but they are some of the greatest video games ever created.
As it turns out, gamers enjoyed being able to explore large worlds and complete missions and side quests at the pace they wanted. Grinding away to build up your character’s attributes while avoiding the main story was now possible whereas games before this were largely linear experiences.
With the games offering a variety of experiences for the player, it only made sense that there would be some casino-style games that appeared in these gaming worlds. It even made sense, narratively, to have this in games like Fallout: New Vegas or Red Dead Redemption 2.
Offering these casino games to the players was a win in many ways. The games were easy to design graphically, they serve as a fun break for players from the regular game, and it was completely legal as no real money was being exchanged by the player to the game.
We wanted to take a look back at some of the best video games to utilize casino gaming over the years. And remember, if you are an avid gamer looking to branch out, don’t forget to check out our top-rated esports betting sites.
Fallout: New Vegas
It would have been ridiculous to set a Fallout game in Vegas and not allow the player to gamble at casinos. No game is a better fit for casino gaming than Fallout: New Vegas was.
The main types of games that players can play are blackjack, roulette, and slot machines. Your character can wager their currency to play the games, and you can win money or other rewards such as food, drinks, healing potions, or armor upgrades.
Since these are games of chance and one of the main player attributes is Luck, your level of Luck does influence how likely you are to win the game. Very cool.
Poker is referenced in the game, but you cannot play it. There are craps tables at some of the casinos, but the players cannot interact with those tables.
There is also a card game unique to Fallout called Caravan. You and another player have to build stacks of cards and the goal is to have a higher number than the opponent without being too heavy or too light.
If you happen to win too much at one casino, they will ban you from playing there. Oh, to be so lucky.
Red Dead Redemption (Franchise)
You could not make a game about the American West and not include some gambling. In both Red Dead Redemption and its sequel Red Dead Redemption 2, players can visit saloons and gamble their virtual money in the game in various ways.
Poker and blackjack are 2 of the main gambling activities in the game. There are even achievements related to gambling like winning 2,000 chips in a single hand of poker or blackjack or winning a multiplayer poker game by forcing someone with a better hand to fold.
You could also wager on events like arm wrestling, five finger fillet, horseshoes, and liar’s dice. It could be difficult to win at Liar’s Dice depending on how many players are playing, but five finger fillet was always a fun one to play. Users have to hit the correct series of buttons to strike a knife between their character’s fingers on a table. The bigger your wager, the hardest the sequence is to match correctly.
In Red Dead Redemption 2, dominoes were added to the games where the goal is to empty your hand of dominoes first.
Just to be honest here, there have been more Yakuza games over the years than I have kept up with. But even going back to the 2005 original from Sega, Yakuza has always allowed you to do some casino gambling, which makes sense given it takes place in the underground world of organized crime.
Here are some of the minigames you can play with your virtual currency in the games:
- Mahjong (classic tile-based Chinese game)
- Pachinko (popular in Japan)
- Poker (starting with Yakuza 3)
You can also bet on the outcome of hardcore street fights.
Final Fantasy (Franchise)
While not as explicit with gambling as the other franchises we looked at so far, there have been several casino-style minigames available throughout the Final Fantasy series.
This might be a blast from the past, but who remembers the Gold Saucer from Final Fantasy VII? It provided a nice break from the regular game with users allowed to play a variety of fun minigames. You could raise a Chocobo and bet on them in races, not unlike the virtual horse races or camel races found at online casinos today. You just bet the game’s currency on them instead of any real money. The Manderville Gold Saucer in Final Fantasy XIV was a throwback to the Gold Saucer in this classic game.
In Final Fantasy IX, after the game is defeated, you can access a blackjack-style game. The face cards use the faces of characters in the game like Shiva and Fat Chocobo.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, you can visit Serendipity, which is a casino city with slot machines and Chocobo racing. Through downloadable content, you can also play Texas Hold ‘em Poker using the character Sazh.
Dragon Quest XI
One of the favorite entries in the Dragon Quest franchise, you can visit a casino that features slot machines, roulette, and poker. The casino is located in Puerto Valor. Players will use their virtual currency to play the game in return for more virtual currency or in-game awards.
Far Cry 3
Another top entry in an open-world gaming franchise, Far Cry 3 allows users to engage in No Limit Hold ‘Em poker games with AI-controlled opponents. No real money is wagered, and there are 8 poker games throughout the game map.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
It wasn’t until Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that the GTA series took its shot at emulating Las Vegas with the Las Venturas territory. In visiting multiple casinos, players can gamble virtually in games such as video poker, blackjack, roulette, slot machines, and a wheel of fortune. There is even some virtual horse race betting available in the casino.
Dead Rising (Franchise)
If you get tired of killing zombies, Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record offer some of the better choices for minigame gambling in their casino locations.
Players can expect to find:
- Money Wheel
- Slot machines
- Texas Hold ‘Em
If betting virtual money at a place called Uranus Zone sounds like fun, then you cannot go wrong with the Dead Rising franchise.