The Poker in Red Dead Redemption 2 Online is Great!

I had a nice talk with a friend recently while we were reflecting on the Tea Party days and the direction of today’s youth. By normal visual standards, the socialized instruction in public schools, and PC counterculture has everyone strapped to the body of Moby Dick at the end of that old story. And the drug use that has permeated everything that young people do, by conventional measure things look pretty hopeless. But two things happened over the weekend that I continue to be impressed with and they will certainly have an impact on how our culture is measured.

The first was a visit to Kings Island where the Festhaus was hosting a professional video game tournament. The place was packed to the brim and young people were everywhere and were quite happy competing on stage against each other with popular titles like Fortnite, and other video games that are part of a culture a lot of people over 30 don’t even understand. As I watched the activity I was thinking of a report that friend had said to me about Mason schools going even further into removing competitive events and statues from their public school—the everyone gets a trophy or none of them do type of thinking—and it was obvious that the politics might be moving in that direction. But the video game culture gets it. There are more opportunities for competition there than when I was a kid. Traditional sports are not the only ways to compete in life, or to learn to. Video games are all about capitalism and they are the preferred medium of young people’s entertainment experiences.

For instance, one of my favorite video games not just of last year, but ever is Red Dead Redemption 2. When that game first came out I was so excited about it that I took a week off work to play it, and for me it was a kind of vacation. It’s a western by Rockstar Games and for me it was like going to the West World of the popular HBO series. These video games are so immersive that they begin to simulate reality. They are different than the passive experience of movies so their impact on culture is something we just aren’t measuring yet. But in the case of Red Dead Redemption 2, it sold 24 million copies in just three days which amassed $725 million, and is still climbing. The earnings report for these video game companies are actually higher than many movie and television studios. Take-Two which is involved in Red Dead Redemption reported a Fiscal Year 2019 earnings report confirming so far $2.66 billion. Those are Disney type of numbers so this is not a market of entertainment that is obscure by any measure.

Red Dead Redemption 2 came out in October of 2018 and I played it several times a week through the turn of the year. I spent about a hundred hours playing it on story mode then I played the Beta development mode for the Online portion of the game. I had to capitalize that because their online concept for the game is a thing of itself. It’s quite an extraordinary attempt at hosting a very brutal and capitalist natured arena. In that meeting with the same friend we reflected on the near elimination of dodgeball from our society deeming it politically toxic. Dodgeball for us when we were kids was something that happened every day. Well for the kids of today, its these online arenas. A great video game must at least have online content where players can compete against each other in player versus player situations which are much more intense than dodgeball. The biggest difference is that one is virtual while the other was physical. But the mentality is the same.

I played the Beta for a while but I couldn’t give the game the kind of time it demanded to be good in that mode so I backed off and moved on to other things. Well, this past weekend Rockstar Games finally finished with their Online offering for Red Dead 2 and put it up on their latest update, which meant the official game went live, around six months or so after the original release, which of course keeps people buying copies of the game and keeping it going which is something to say about how video games tell their stories, over much longer periods of time than movies or other forms of entertainment. So I played the game again to see how things were going and was very happy and surprised to learn that the many bars of gold that I had during the Beta phase and all the money I earned carried over into the official release. And also I was very happy to learn that they had opened up the ability to play poker with other live players which is really the purpose of me writing this article. I was immensely pleased with the way the game was set up and I spent most of the weekend playing just that game mode.

I would not call myself a gambler or even a card player the way that people think of such things. I’m not a drinker, a womanizer or any of the things that are associated with the game of playing poker, which in my understanding of history has been advanced by socialists to attempt to demean the games of the Western frontier so that culturally people would be inspired to move away from those activities, so not to celebrate them. But I do love poker. I love watching it. I love playing it. And I love its history as an American game developed in the frontier days of New Orleans and spreading westward with the gunfighter culture. The game and the mind of gunfighting in the American West are synonymous and I love it for that attribute. Playing poker is a fun game that is uniquely very American, and I love it and including it so prominently in the online version of Red Dead Redemption was a technical feat that really impressed me.

Playing poker was part of the original game, the story mode as they call it these days. And I enjoyed it immensely. I am not the kind of guy who likes to gamble money so I’m not a guy who enjoys hanging out in casinos at all. But I do enjoy the function of the game and the way its played so just gambling the chips is enough for me. I like the way poker chips feel in my hands and how they are used strategically to win or lose the game. It’s a very fascinating game and I spent many, many hours playing it against NPCs in the story mode. But having an online poker game is a whole separate situation. You have random players always coming and going and everyone has to play their hand and getting all that rolled into a fluid video game experience is difficult. The way that Rockstar set up their poker games in actual saloons in their various towns and cities was visually stunning and functionally very satisfying. I played a lot of poker over the weekend and I didn’t even have to leave my home.

As I played and saw how many people were playing the Online Red Dead Redemption 2 game, from poker to all the PVP combat that is involved it was obvious to me that this is where the world is at. Many kids wouldn’t even learn how to play poker if not for a game like this, or would they learn anything about westerns since they’ve been nearly eradicated from American culture. But in the world of video games, the western is alive and well and millions of young people are participating in that world and enjoying it. And with billions of dollars at stake in this growing industry, I don’t think anything that is politically underway to dismantle the American way of life is going to stick. Capitalism is alive and well, especially in the saloons and towns of Red Dead Redemption 2.

Rich Hoffman
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So You’ve Played Red Dead Redemption 2 and Loved it: Be a gunslinger in real life, join the Cowboy Fast Draw Association

As much as I talk about other things, I am not completely lost like a lot of people my age might otherwise be on the magical world of video games and their relatively new impact on global entertainment. But let me just say to my usual readers, its big business. I finally finished the story mode of Red Dead Redemption 2 after around 100 hours of game play, taking my time when I could and I have to say that I was absolutely amazed by the result. The game is such an astonishing technical achievement and it is by far the best thing that could have ever happened to the entertainment format of the American Western. As a story and experience it really is like taking a real-life cowboy experience like the movie City Slickers and placing them into a 1960s spaghetti western with all the high drama of something like Game of Thrones. It is big, bold and beautiful in so many ways. And I knew that as I completed the game and all the epilogue missions that there was going to be a Red Dead online coming at the end of November. I planned to revisit the game at that time but wasn’t expecting much. But let me say that I have been pleasantly surprised. It looks like as massive as Red Dead Redemption 2 is as a game with sales well over a billion dollars already and something like 20 million copies sold before the Holiday season, that the purposed of the online play is to use the game as a kind of training experience for the online world that they have created. It is just vast and ultimately never-ending in what it allows players to do and interact with one another.

I couldn’t help but think as I was playing missions with other people the other day, most of them much younger than I am, that this game is really their only experience with a real American western and for many they are very touched by it. The game itself is a very moral story about good and bad and the many quandaries of the critical decisions that went into exploding life across the American frontier. But at its core it’s about gunfighting and is clearly one of the best arguments for the real-life problems of the Second Amendment. A lot of young people may not be paying attention to the real political problems going on in the outside world, but they sure care a lot about earning enough money in the game to purchase upgrades for their guns and dress in the coolest gunfighting outfits. But I couldn’t help notice that many of them probably didn’t know that they could do all the things they are doing in Read Dead Redemption in real life with Cowboy Fast Draw as seen at the following link:

http://www.COWBOYFASTDRAW.com

Belonging to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association is one of the groups I am most proud to affiliate with, they are really a good group of people who meet all over the United States to compete in real life fast draw competitions using real guns. It’s what I think of as one of the coolest sports in the world right now as other countries are trying to participate but have too strict of gun laws to actually do it. But in the good ol’ United States it is much easier to participate in. Yet I have noticed that most of the members are well over 40, largely because guns and holster rigs are expensive so it takes a little upfront investment to get involved. But once you do, it is infinitely rewarding. I enjoyed the original Red Dead Redemption enormously and getting my own fast draw rig was always something I had planned to do. But raising a family every last dollar that I made went into family needs, a car was always breaking down, a kid always needed a school fee or band instrument. Someone needed braces of a family member across the country wanted us to visit them, so there was always something for like twenty years that kept me from getting my own fast draw gun rig.

I ran across a substantial amount of money for a big job I had been working on so I treated myself to my gun rig and have been practicing at Cowboy Fast Draw for several years now, and am getting pretty good at it. After probably 30,000 to 35,000 shots at a fast draw target, I am starting to feel good about my speed and accuracy. It did take a while. It was something that had been on my mind well before I ever played the first Red Dead going way back into my twenties when I was going through a really tough time. Westerns and western music really kept the zest for life alive in me. On their most basic foundations westerns are about the meaning of life so they always had great appeal to me so when I grew up I wanted to be as much of a gunfighter as society could endure. Ironically, I had acquired my gun rig and some advanced fast draw skill before Red Dead Redemption 2 came out which had even more meaning for me because of the new hobby I had.

Traveling around the online world it has become very obvious that many young people are deeply touched by Red Dead Redemption 2 and likely would like to have a similar experience as I have. So let me put this little invite out there. If you are unsure of how to get involved in Cowboy Fast Draw because you are enjoying playing Red Dead Redemption but would like to take everything up a notch, don’t hesitate to ask me. I can help you get started on something that would be infinitely rewarding. While my regular audience here is much older than the people playing Red Dead Redemption 2 I would personally love to see more young people getting involved in Cowboy Fast Draw. It really isn’t any different from what you do in the game, but that it never ends. While the content of Red Dead Redemption does eventually run out, the challenges in real life never do.

In the Cowboy Fast Draw Association, you get to dress up as a gunslinger for real, and have a reason to do it. You have a reason to buy fancy guns for real and learn to take care of them. And the scoring format is safe and fun. Its one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in my life and I would recommend it to anybody. I had been thinking that membership in the cowboy sports may just flicker away because new generations just do not have many positive western entertainment venues that are cool enough to hold their attention, that is until Red Dead Redemption 2 came along and inspired millions of people to live in that world quite authentically. And for those who just want to climb into the world of Red Dead Redemption for real and live it in real life I’d point you to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association at the link shown here. If you have any questions, just ask. I’d love to help as many new people get involved in the sport as possible. While I personally love the world of Red Dead Redemption, it is no match for having a real fast draw rig on your hip which is an experience I have every day. And wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here: http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707 Use my name to get added benefits.