Ah, the humble casino. Never has a simple set of tables brought so much joy and so much tension to so many people. Naturally, the casino has found its way into videogames as well; many modern games feature casinos either as the primary element of their gameplay loop or as optional minigames in a larger adventure. Whatever the case may be, there are lots of casino minigames for you to enjoy in your video game experiences.
There are plenty of advantages to casino minigames in video gaming. If you live somewhere that has slightly tricky gambling laws, you can circumvent them by not playing for real money; there’s no need to worry about the legal status of online gambling in South Africa in 2020 if you’re not actually playing for real money. Pull up a chair and let’s take a look at the best casino minigames video gaming has to offer.
- Gwent (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt)
Alright, we’ll cop to it: Gwent isn’t a real game and you won’t find it in any casinos in the real world. Still, the villagers in The Witcher 3 don’t have any trouble betting on it, and you’ll find it just as deep and complex as any real-life poker game, so we’re including it. The fact that a game as oceanically deep and complex as Gwent exists within a game itself as oceanically deep as The Witcher 3 is remarkable, so if you get a moment while you’re playing, be sure to take time to get addicted to Gwent.
- Poker (Red Dead Redemption 2)
As part of Rockstar Games’ unfailing commitment to realism, Red Dead Redemption 2 features a whole host of casino-style games. While they’re more often played in old-school saloons and bars than in high-flying casinos in the game, Red Dead Redemption 2’s poker minigame is fully-featured and ready to compete with its rivals. Reading your opponent’s tells and figuring out how to beat them is the name of the game in this excellent minigame.
- Roulette (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas)
We’ll be talking about Grand Theft Auto V’s Diamond Casino & Resort a little later, but we wanted to pay tribute to one of the OGs of open-world gaming first. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’ casino minigames are well-realised, but the most interesting feature is CJ’s ability to borrow cash from the casino if he finds himself short. Very few other games feature casino minigames that accurately depict this part of casino life, so we’re giving it points for that if not for its dated graphics.
- Diamond Casino & Resort (Grand Theft Auto V)
This is arguably the creme de la creme of casino minigames in modern gaming. The Diamond Casino & Resort in Grand Theft Auto V is an entire mini-economy unto itself, featuring plenty of excellent casino minigames to get addicted to. There’s three-card poker, blackjack, roulette, and plenty of other games that you’ll recognise if you’ve ever frequented real-life casinos. GTA V’s beautifully crisp visuals make spending time in the Diamond Casino & Resort an absolute treat.
- The Lucky Simoleon Casino (The Sims 3)
Okay, so you’re technically not playing the casino minigames in The Sims 3 yourself, but that doesn’t make them any less compelling in our eyes. The Sims 3 was arguably the last time the franchise was truly excellent, so what better way to while away the hours (or rather, to let your virtual self while away the hours) than with these fantastic representations of real-life casino games? Blackjack, roulette, and all your other favourites are present and correct here.
- The Vikki and Vance Casino (Fallout: New Vegas)
For a game set in Las Vegas, you’d expect there to be plenty of choice when it comes to casino gaming. That’s technically true, although the Vikki and Vance Casino isn’t quite as glamorous as some of the other entries on this list. The more chips you win here, the more you’ll attract the attention of the hosts, but you’ll still have a great time with the blackjack, roulette, and slots on offer. There are also plenty of quests revolving around this hub of post-apocalyptic life.
- Triple Triad (Final Fantasy VIII)
Final Fantasy VIII’s in-game card game has taken its world by storm. Even presidents and sorceresses play Triple Triad, such is its popularity, and when you get a game in yourself you’ll see why. You’re not always playing for money in Final Fantasy VIII, but there’s always a reward on the cards (no pun intended) in the form of someone else’s deck, which you can permanently divest of a single card if you win. This would make an excellent game in a real-life casino.
Bonus: Prominence PokerWe’re including Prominence Poker even though the gambling element of the game isn’t so much a minigame as the entire purpose of the game. Still, it’s such a great experience that we wanted to highlight it. Prominence Poker’s atmosphere and reproduction of real-life poker mechanics make it an excellent choice if you’re looking for verisimilitude. Unlike the other games on this list, there really isn’t anything to do in Prominence Poker that isn’t poker-related, but it’s still a great time nonetheless.