Is Virtual Reality the Future of Poker?
Online casino and poker rooms are constantly on the lookout for that competitive edge that will give them dominion over the iGaming industry, and technology is where they went to look for possible solutions. The edge we were talking about came in the form of Virtual Reality technology, or VR in short.
So What exactly is VR? Virtual Reality represents a computer technology that, with the help of VR headsets and multi-projected environments, generates realistic sensory stimulus that simulates the physical presence of the user in an imaginary setting.
Let us break it to you a bit in case it sounds is a bit complicated.
Once you put on the VR headset and controllers, you will find yourself within a virtual environment with the possibility to interact with that environment through your physical movement and controllers. With VR, you will be completely transported into a different dimension and many who have experienced it describe it as if you are stepping into a different world. Probably no industry stands to win more with VR than the iGaming one.
VR and Poker Games
It is a well-known fact that probably the greatest excitement in casinos is generated from the poker table. As a game of nerves, skill, and mental combat with other players, poker is fan-favorite, so it comes as no surprise that one of the first VR games were poker games.
A place where casino poker meets the virtual world is a place where Poker VR reigns supreme. Poker VR is a social game created by Mega Particle Inc. that released it in 2017. In Poker VR, you will have the chance to build your own avatar that can reproduce body and lip movements when you talk, which few other social virtual reality games can provide.
You can personalize your avatar in numerous ways. This game is one of the best games for honing your poker skills and spending some quality time with your friends.
Another equally as incredible VR poker game or even more so is the PokerStars VR game. PokerStars VR creates a top-of-the-line virtual reality experience where all the fun from the real-world poker is mixed with a visually intoxicating world of VR entertainment. The unprecedented realism comes with the ability to read the body language of your avatar and play your moves accordingly. Also, the use of props and interactive toys is seen in the ability to virtually light a cigar or drink a shot of whiskey.
Hand movements and gestures are transferred to the game with the help of controllers, and all commands stem from them. You can challenge your friends in private poker rooms or play against players from around the world. Also, there are various competitions and tournaments where you can match your strength against challengers from across the globe. Interactive leaderboards keep track of your performance and success, so you’ll know if you have earned the bragging rights.
What Equipment is Needed for VR Poker?
The computer equipment needed to play VR casino games is diverse and depends on the type of experience you are after. The fundamental gadget set requires at least VR goggles. The three top VR goggles on the markets are Oculus Rift, Samsung VR Gear and HTC Vive. Many of these VR products come in so-called VR bundles so, for example, Oculus Rift comes with built-in headphones, a microphone, motion sensors, remote controllers, and a headset. With the addition of two more sensors, you can enjoy a full 360-degree tracking.
The price tags on the equipment also vary greatly, depending on the manufacturer and the product set you are after, but the essential equipment is still in the affordable range of a couple hundred dollars, which makes it available to most casino players out there.
Apart from the VR equipment, you also need to have specific computer specs that can support the VR technology. At least 8+GB of RAM is needed, along with strong graphics cards and CPU.
What Does the Future Hold for VR and Poker?
Now that we have established that VR is not only the future of poker and casinos in general but already their present, we can safely say that further progress is expected. Some of the more common predictions in this regard are that the VR will turn poker into an even more social game with the ability of players to not only see their opponents at the table but also interact with them.
Also, with the addition of VR to poker rooms, casinos will get an extra layer to traditional casino games like poker. Younger generations are there not only for the sake of the game, but they also enjoy that “gamification” layer of casino games. The “gamification” refers to the format of casino games that includes certain aspects pertaining to video games in general.
When it comes to serious gamblers, they shouldn’t worry about the before-mentioned “gamification”, as VR poker games will certainly keep the essence of the game intact, and will only seek to enrich it with additional experience, and not hurt its core. You will still be able to employ your strategies and try to bluff your way through some weak hands, so don’t worry. Moreover, it is not difficult to imagine the best players of the world competing and reading each other’s facial expressions one day at the WSOP Main Event from wherever they are in the physical world by just using VR gear.
Furthermore, it is to be expected that VR and poker games will be backed by strong Artificial Intelligence programs that will study the behavioral patterns of players and what kind of playing style and environment they prefer, which would only lead to the ultimate playing experience.
More and more online poker rooms and casinos will undoubtedly focus their attention on VR, and with more competitors vying for players, it could be expected that VR-related bonuses and promotions will flood these online casinos, giving the players an extra chance to cash in and maximize their opportunities.