One of the reasons that Red Dead Redemption 2 is considered to be one of the best games of the 21st century so far is that it includes a staggering amount of material. While there is a core narrative and structure to the gameplay, to some extent, there\u2019s also a rich and detailed world to explore, complete with more activity and entertainment than we could have dreamed of finding in a single game a short time ago. Within this single game, you\u2019re free to explore basic lifestyle activities like getting your character a haircut, or having him take a bath to recuperate. You can go out and seek adventures that range from high-octane train robberies to the meticulous excavation of dinosaur bones in the ground. And on top of the countless activities like these that are built into the game, there are also fun, fascinating mods \u2014 such as one that enables you to play as a sheriff rather than your typical outlaw-ish character. Among all of the side activities and mini-games in Red Dead Redemption 2 though, the one that\u2019s generated the most attention is probably the in-game poker \u2014 which has earned raves. So, what is it that makes this particular mini-game work so well? A few elements rise to the surface. Familiarity Because real-money poker has been illegal in most of the United States for about a decade now, many assume that Americans don\u2019t play as much poker as they used to. In reality though, this simply isn\u2019t the case. Americans may not play for real money anymore, but they do still enjoy plenty of ways to play poker online with friends and other live opponents. There are apps and websites alike offering high-quality experiences and catering to huge populations of players. This basically means that there are countless RDR2 players who have some level of familiarity with poker \u2014 making it an incredibly accessible mini-game despite being somewhat more complex than the average game within a game. In-Game Variety The average mini-game tends to be a standalone experience \u2014 something you can enjoy for a bit, return to when you like, and otherwise leave alone. Things are similar with poker in RDR2, but there\u2019s also variety built in to keep the poker experience fresh. Throughout the game, players can find five different places to play poker, each with different surroundings, different opponents, and different table stakes. The variety isn\u2019t staggering, but it\u2019s enough to elevate RDR2\u2019s poker beyond the average, one-off mini-game. Real Stakes This is not unique to RDR2, but it does help that the money you gamble with at the poker tables actually matters in the game. Players need to build and use wealth throughout this game for all kinds of different reasons, which adds a feeling of legitimate stakes to the poker games. Losing money at the tables will actually set you back, whereas winning may enable you to buy things in the game you otherwise wouldn\u2019t have been able to afford just yet. The Chance to Cheat It may be a small detail, but players do have a lot of fun with the fact that it\u2019s possible to cheat in RDR2\u2019s poker games. Many if not most mini-games feel completely separated from the larger games around them. The poker in RDR2 doesn\u2019t have that problem to begin with, but the chance to cheat is like a lingering reminder that you\u2019re in the middle of a Wild West adventure, and not just playing any old poker arcade. It\u2019s a very fun feature that keeps things a little edgier. (We should not as well that you can only cheat if you\u2019re dressed in the \u201cElegant Suit,\u201d which you earn through other poker achievements.) The Game Fits the Setting Finally, and maybe most importantly, poker just fits! As one review of poker within RDR2 put it, \u201can outlaw that doesn\u2019t gamble is like a cowboy that doesn\u2019t ride a horse.\u201d We\u2019re not sure if that\u2019s an original saying or not, but it fits regardless, and it speaks to why poker feels so natural in RDR2. In another game like Far Cry 3, which famously had its own poker experiences, the mini-game is fun, but feels like side entertainment. In RDR2 it just feels like something you do in the course of exploring the world around you. Add all of these factors together and it\u2019s no wonder RDR2\u2019s poker feels like the perfect mini-game experience. It\u2019s one more reason this game is thought of as a near-perfect offering from Rockstar.