The excitement of placing a bet and waiting for the result has been well-documented. There’s just nothing quite like watching a sports game or a live event with bated breath, waiting to see if the outcome you’re after will happen or not. Sometimes, though, you don’t want the financial risk of placing a real bet. Sometimes you want to lose yourself in a virtual world but still experience that adrenaline rush.
For this, we have video games. There are plenty of video games out there on the market that feature surprisingly robust and well-made casino-style minigames. This isn’t a list of ways to bet using real money such as you’ll find with the likes of SlotsCalendar; if you want a comprehensive website to help you figure out where to do that, then click here. We’re counting down the best games featuring casino minigames to play in 2019.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
Rockstar’s rootin-tootin’ Western epic features a whole host of minigames and other content, but its gambling minigames are some of the most robust and feature-rich we’ve ever encountered. Whether it’s poker, blackjack, or five-finger fillet you’re after, Red Dead Redemption 2 offers a rich, lived-in world in which to play those games. You’re not betting for real money, but that’s probably for the best given the barely-concealed rage of many of this game’s cowboy characters.
Grand Theft Auto V (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
Seems like Rockstar has a monopoly on well-developed open-world games with gambling minigames, doesn’t it? You’ll have to look to Grand Theft Auto Online for the best casino experience in this game; the Diamond Casino is a fully-fledged online gambling environment complete with prizes, in-game currency, and all the casino games you can imagine. Originally, the Diamond Casino was supposed to be single-player DLC, and while we wish that had materialised, we’re happy with this.
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC)
While there aren’t a whole host of gambling minigames available in the great overlooked PlayStation Final Fantasy game, there is one major inclusion to this effect: Triple Triad. This card game has a unique set of rules and sees Squall playing with a succession of characters, each of whom has a new set of cards to win. Lose, and you forfeit one of your own cards. In this way, Triple Triad is something of a fully-fledged gambling minigame, albeit not one that resembles a real-world equivalent.
Fallout: New Vegas (PC)
If you look hard enough, you’ll likely still find an old dog-eared copy of Fallout: New Vegas for last-gen consoles, but the PC experience is where you’ll get your money’s worth. When you reach New Vegas, it turns out that many of the casino games in the city-state are still fully operational; you can play slots, roulette, blackjack, and more. While you’re discovering these excellent casino minigames, you should stay for what is arguably the only brilliantly-written Bethesda Fallout game.
The Sims 3 (PC)
Arguably, you can do anything you want in The Sims 3, and gambling is just one of those things. However, if you grab The Lucky Simoleon Pack from The Sims 3’s store, then you can engage in some good old-fashioned in-game gambling. Your sims can play blackjack, slots, and many other games. This one might technically be cheating, since you’re not actually playing the games yourself, but if you like The Sims and you want your betting fix, here’s how you get it.
Yakuza 0 (PlayStation 4)
The Yakuza series is completely insane. Where else would you find a pseudo-Streets of Rage brawler rubbing shoulders with a cabaret club management minigame and a set of surprisingly fully-featured gambling games? We strongly urge you, if you’ve never played Yakuza before, to start with this one. The tale of Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima is full of twists and turns, but you can also play shogi, mahjong, and other Japanese-style gambling games.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch)
Much like Final Fantasy VIII, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt focuses mainly on one gambling game. There’s dice poker to be had in some of the game’s bars, but the major draw for fans of card games is Gwent. This Magic: The Gathering-style card minigame is incredibly rich and detailed considering it’s a minigame; so much so that it actually got its own spinoff, which is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, as well as some mobile platforms. Gwent is almost as much of a time sink as the main game.
Watch Dogs (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of gambling to be had in the vastly superior sequel to this game. Still, if you’re after your gambling jollies and you really want to play a video game that features this aspect, you could do worse than Watch Dogs. The first game in the open-world series is a bit of a rough diamond; its dull story and repetitive side activities don’t lend themselves well to an open-world game. The gambling games – slots and poker – are pretty great though.
These are the best games with casino minigames in 2019. Did we miss any? What are your favourite casino minigames? Let us know!