Could virtual reality (VR) be the future of poker? The concept of VR poker has been spoken about a significant amount recently as casino game developers have begun to invest in the technology.
Poker is the most popular casino game, and you can expect to play texas holdem poker on almost every online casino site, given that it is the most popular variant. With so many online casinos and poker games, operators are in competition to attract and retain new customers and therefore must create new gaming experiences in order to gain a competitive edge.
Many in the industry see VR as a promising new gaming experience, while others question whether it is able to live up to the excitement of live and in-person poker games and tournaments. It is the latest in a long line of technical innovations that have enabled the development and success of the online gambling and casino industry.
So, what are the pros and cons of virtual reality poker as a new gaming experience?
One of the ideas behind virtual reality poker was to create a more immersive online gaming experience. Players have the ability to play as if they were in a real-life poker room, they do not have the same distractions as playing as they usually would on a smartphone or laptop screen. The player can look around the table and see the dealer and other players and can see the virtual cards as if they were in front of them.
It is a much more sociable way of gaming in comparison to playing on the usual online poker sites, rather than interactions being limited to text in a chatbox, they can see, hear and speak to the dealer and the players around them. This not only helps to create a more casino-like atmosphere, it can also help to inform your gameplay as you can listen out for tells in another player’s voice and speech.
Virtual reality is particularly compelling for those who would like to feel the buzz and excitement of a real bricks and mortar poker venue but aren’t able to get out and visit one. The VR game is more accessible providing that the player has the correct equipment to get involved.
While logging on to an online casino or poker room is a way to relax and have fun after a long day, for those who spend their days staring at a computer for work, it can be difficult to stay focussed on a screen for longer. However, the simulated environment in a VR game is more visual and more likely to hold their attention.
While the amount of VR casino games on the market is not huge at the moment, more games, including poker, are being added all the time. As game developers see how much these experiences are enjoyed and see their potential to bring in large amounts of revenue, they become more committed to releasing new VR game titles.
But what about the drawbacks of virtual reality poker?
It is true that while VR poker is a very promising new type of online casino experience, it does have some limitations. One being that players are usually expected to wager more than they would usually in an online poker game.
Part of the appeal of playing poker online has always been the opportunity to stake lower sums of money. This is particularly important to newer poker players who are yet to develop the skills or confidence to play in high stakes games and poker tournaments.
While it does make sense that VR poker requires more investment and therefore the casino needs to encourage players to wager higher amounts, this does impact how many novice poker players will feel confident enough to take part.
The safety aspect of virtual reality also needs to be considered. VR poker is very immersive and requires a headset to be worn, therefore players are far less aware of what is happening in the physical space around them.
Hazards such as walking into things or tripping over are increased and as a poker game can be tense, the player may talk and react loudly as disturb the people around them. VR poker sites can help to minimise this issue by adding in reminder notifications to ensure participants are playing in a safe and quiet space.
Cost considerations also need to be made with VR poker. VR headsets are still a relatively new piece of technology and therefore are priced fairly high, players also need a device with enough processing power and the right specs to handle the game.
VR is also not suitable for playing for many hours per session and therefore might not offer the amount of poker that an online poker player usually enjoys. This type of game is often played in conjunction with regular online and live games.
VR poker is a new and exciting gaming experience that is particularly appealing to experienced players looking for new ways to enjoy the game from the comfort of their own home, however it is unlikely to ever fully replace more land based or online casino poker.