Role of games within games


Sometimes my players want to engage in gambling or other games of chance within the role-playing game itself (I know, vaguely meta). The question is two-fold:

  1. How can I approach this without squashing their aspirations to be the next Poker King, indulge them, and not have it become an obsession or throw off game balance due to poverty and/or extreme wealth given their current place in the world?

  2. Does anybody have any good, easy/quick games that could be played in a casino/gambling-hall type locale? I’m thinking something similar to Dragon Dice, an older, briefly manufactured dice game. It should have a fantastical element but be simple enough to learn within 15-30 minutes. I’m not looking to play craps at the gaming table, but having a few alternatives should wet the party’s thirst for casino-style action.

Importantly, I want to avoid a Chocobo-racing scenario (I’m referring to Final Fantasy 7 wherein players would become immersed in breeding and racing wingless birds, rather than actually spending time winning the game).