Balatro | Roguelite Video Poker Game Review

Balatro Poker video game

If that PokerNews When the team heard about a new game being advertised as a “poker rogue-lite” experience, our curiosity was piqued. And since its first announcement Balatro has already caught the attention of many gamers as the PC demo attracted over 100,000 downloads and millions of hours of play in just a few days.

Below rave reviews, Balatro Not only did it pique our curiosity, it now had our full attention (resulting in a few lost hours of work). The initial excitement has led to an expanded release, rolling out to fan-favorite platforms including PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, Playstation and Xbox at the affordable price of $14.99.

But is the game worth the hype? Believe us, as poker purists we were skeptical too. But after a few hours, the team can say that they have a lot to offer here for both poker fans and casual players. The game appeals to a wide range of players, all of whom are challenged to figure out how best to play a range of poker hands with unique twists.

Don’t let the retro look fool you: Balatro offers a challenging, new take on the poker genre and has the potential to be a hit with poker veterans and new players alike. LocalThunk And Playstackthe brains behind Balatro, might just have a new poker sensation on his hands.

Balatro Combo3

What is Balatro?

Balatro is a poker-inspired rogue-lite deck builder that’s all about creating strong synergies and winning big. To progress in the game, you must play valid poker hands, which are reinforced by unique wild cards to create diverse synergies and builds. Earn enough chips to defeat sneaky blinds and bosses, and uncover hidden bonus hands and decks as you progress.

You’ll need every advantage you can get to reach the boss blind, beat the final ante and secure victory. Blinds present moderately challenging obstacles along the way and can be skipped if you want to go straight to the boss instead (which we don’t recommend as it’s worth it).

How to play balatro

Combining the timeless charm of poker with strategic deck-building elements, Balatro promises an immersive gaming experience that is both nostalgically familiar and refreshingly new. The strategic twist of the joker cards in the game creates unexpected excitement and makes the game attractive to a wide range of players.

Roguelike (or rogue-like) is a style of role-playing game traditionally characterized by a dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels, turn-based gameplay, grid-based movement, and the permanent death of the player character.

Rogue-Lite, as Balatro is classified, has meta-progression; When you die, you keep something or unlock it to make the next run easier.

Balatro Joker

In addition to jokers, players have a number of effective tools at their disposal, such as: B. different decks that give modifiers to the number of hands that can be played, cards that can be discarded, and so on. Tarot cards, Planetary maps, Spectral mapsAnd Vouchers Offer versatile tools to ignite a combo frenzy and accelerate your poker hands, creating electrifying, adrenaline-pumping synergies.

While you start with a traditional 52-card poker deck, here’s what you can learn along the way to take on the bosses.

  • 150 Jokers, each with their own unique abilities
  • 15 decks with different modifiers to choose from for each run
  • 5 possible variants of each Joker adding further abilities
  • 22 tarot cards, variants that can improve your regular playing cards
  • 12 planetary cards to help you improve your potential poker hands
  • 18 spectral maps
  • 4 seals
  • 32 voucher cards with which you can permanently strengthen your current run
Balatro decks

How to win in Balatro?

Unless you are equipped with it Daniel Negreanu-As with poker talents, it might be difficult to get through on the first pass. Fortunately, and true to the rogue-lite genre, during the first few runs you will unlock several required items that will allow you to get a real high score in the game.

Along the way, the player is offered the following options:

  • Deck selection – You can win trophies with each deck type when you win. However, we recommend playing each deck type in separate games to win trophies. PokerNews recommends starting with the blue or red deck (an extra hand or discard respectively), but don’t underestimate the green deck.
  • Keywords – You can skip the blinds for tags if you wish.
  • joker – Crucial for playing the game and getting high scores. Look for high multipliers and build your deck around them.
  • Celestial cards – You might be tempted to use these for higher type hands.
  • Playing cards – It’s fun to play around with your deck, but the variety of booster packs may not give you what you’re looking for.
  • Vouchers – Vouchers can be expensive and drain your money, but some like the Grabber offer great benefits.
Hand levels

To get high scores in Balatro, you’ll need to integrate all of the above in different ways to succeed in a run, but the randomness means things will likely never be perfect.

Balatro: Honest judgment

But be careful: this game will have you addicted in no time. At first glance it may seem easy to string together multiple poker hands, but the game offers surprising depth; Defeating all eight bosses along the way in a single playthrough is a daunting challenge. In fact, despite having already spent a few hours on it, the authors have yet to successfully complete a single run.

The bosses particularly challenge you by weakening various decks in your deck, leaving your well-crafted deck without its key elements. Or they result in some of your cards being face down, forcing you to make an educated guess (or gamble) about the contents of your hand. There’s even a boss that limits the number of hands you can play to just one, forcing you to find the perfect combination in your deck to defeat him.

Needle Balatro
The Needle offers players a formidable challenge.

To make a long story short: over the years many publishers have tried it (e.g. in Red Dead Redemption 2) to bring together poker with gaming elements. Could Balatro Have you found the right recipe for success? As poker fans, we think there’s a lot to like here and appreciate the way traditional poker game elements have been wrapped into a roguelike survival experience.

The game offers a surprising amount of depth and no two games or paths to success are the same. While it may be impossible to capture the excitement of a real poker game, the game is definitely worth the price of admission and offers a fun, poker-lite experience to a wide audience.

What are your thoughts? Let us know what you think in the survey below.

Balatro survey

Balatro gameplay

PokerNews Streamer Keith “AccidentalGrenade” Becker is one of many who have tried the game and has chronicled his first experience with the game below. Watch his run below to get an idea of ​​what it’s like to play a game of Balatro.

Balatro Discord

The best way to get customer support is through the Discord channel. You can join this Balatro’s official Discord server Here.

Balatro combo

Frequently asked questions about Balatro (FAQ)

What is Balatro?

Balatro is a poker-inspired rogue-lite deck builder that’s all about creating strong synergies and winning big. To progress in the game, you must play valid poker hands, which are reinforced by unique wild cards to create diverse synergies and builds

Is balatro allowed in the UK?

Yes, you can play Balatro in the UK.

Is Balatro allowed in the USA?

Yes, you can play Balatro in the USA.

How much does Balatro cost?

Balatro is available for $14.99 on PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, Playstation and Xbox.

How to play balatro?

After starting with a regular game of cards, you play poker hands to score points. Along the way you can modify your deck, use boosters like jokers and tarot cards to further strengthen your deck and score more points.

Is Balatro legal?

Yes, Balatro is completely legal and not classified as gambling.

Can you win real money at Balatro?

No, Balatro is just for fun and fictitious dollars.

Where can I play Balatro?

You can play Balatro on PC (Steam), PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and Xbox.

Can I play Balatro on multiple platforms?

Yes, you can play Balatro on PC or consoles.

What age is Balatro suitable for?

Balatro has a PEGI 3 rating and is considered suitable for all ages.


At PokerNewsWe are committed to promoting responsible gaming. We encourage all of our readers to gamble responsibly and within their means.

Although Balatro is inspired by poker and takes elements from the poker world, it is not classified as a gambling product and has a PEGI 3 rating. There are no real money components at Balatro. The game currently does not offer any in-app purchases other than the starting price.

Visit our dedicated Safer Gaming hub for more information about safe and responsible gaming.

This review represents the sole opinion of the authors.


first name surname

Yori Epskamp

Senior Content Manager

A former professional poker player with a background in sports marketing and journalism. Yori has been part of PokerNews since 2016 and leads the content team.


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