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Are You A Poker Fan?

By Johnn Four

I am not a poker player, but have friends who are. Many people at my past job at BioWare were rabid poker and texas holdem fans. Poker is now televised here in Canada on different stations at several different times throughout the day. It's a very popular game right now, in part fuelled by the media promoting huge pots and the glitter of Vegas and intrernational poker tournaments. TV dramas and movies, such as the 2007 James Bond movie, feature gambling scenes and plots, further making this pasttime more popular.

Amidst this craze, I ask, why not in RPGs too? If you or your players love hopping online to texas holdem sites or play each week in the garage with buddies, then it might be fun to add the games to your RPG campaign.

I think it's because I don't enjoy risking my hard-earned money that I don't enjoy gambling. I know I can log onto free poker rooms and play with folks around the world without losing a cent, but then I think this kinda builds up to playing in real life.

However, in RPGs, it's all different.

First, the gold pieces being wagered aren't real money.

Second, it's the PCs' treasure being waged, not mine. :)

With online gambling games becoming so popular these days, I think this is excellent fodder for my games, and perhaps yours. Some or all of your players know the rules, and everyone in your group should be familiar with gambling in general, which speeds up gameplay and provides a familiar experience in a new and exciting setting.

Next time you're planning an adventure or building a world region, think about how these types of games could fit in to make sessions fun for your group.

Check out these tips and ideas:

  • Poker Chips as Props
    Five ways to use chips in your games.
  • Customizable Poker Chips
    A tip from Dave Emswiler about a complete do it yourself kit to create custom casino style personalized chips.
  • Mini Poker Chips
    I purchased two boxes of these and they work awesome for status markers, tracking damage, and general battlemap conditions tracking.
  • Poker Game Encounter Idea
    What do you do when a sorcerer cheats at gambling? Find out with this encounter idea from James Seals.
  • Pocket Points for Player Rewards
    I've been using pocket points in my campaigns for years thanks to Dave Schaefer who suggested we start using them. Check out how pocket points using poker chips can help your game.
  • Idea for Starting a Campaign with a Poker Game
    Mark Chance tips us on starting campaigns with action, and then tells us about an initial scenario he used for a Stormbringer campaign several years ago involving a poker game.
  • The Art Of The Poker Face
    Twelve tips on how to bluff your players and play cunning NPCs without giving up their secrets.
  • Adventurer Bookies
    David B. talks about an idea he had for a fun way to share information with the characters using a betting league.