Complete Immersion – The Future of Online Poker

At last year’s ICE Totally Gaming the software developer behind the Royal Vegas Casino has presented the first ever online casino game in the virtual reality. It was a game of roulette, popular among Royal Vegas players all over the world. Using a VR headset provided by Oculus, those interested could step into a space-themed setting, stand next to a virtual roulette table, place bets using their hands instead of a mouse or a controller – basically step into a virtual world for a few minutes.

The developer’s presentation has offered us a glimpse into what’s coming in the following years. Virtual reality can be used in a series of industries, not just gaming – but the most exciting applications will still be games. And they might offer online casinos and poker rooms the only thing they can’t recreate on a flat monitor: personal interaction.

Not all casino games need to have total immersion. Playing video poker at the Royal Vegas casino can be as satisfying in front of a screen as it can be in the VR. But certain games, like craps, roulette or baccarat – generally the table games available at Royal Vegas – are just not the same without others sitting besides the player, or standing behind his back, betting on his hand. This insufficiency of online casinos can be eliminated by the widespread use of virtual reality.

But the impact the technology will have on online poker will likely be even greater. If you’ve ever played poker at a table, with real opponents by your side, you know that the game is not just about the cards that are being dealt. Actually, luck plays just a small role in being a successful poker player – what’s more important is to read the opponents’ behavior, facial expressions and gestures, as well as their betting habits, to know when to act and when to stay put. And this – except maybe for their betting habits – can not be seen in an average online poker game.

Virtual reality will not solve the poker industry’s issues from day one. First of all, a proper VR headset – not meant for media consumption, like Samsung’s Gear VR or Google’s Cardboard – is still months, if not years away. For total immersion you need more than a simple headset – you need a whole suit that will digitize your every move. Today’s computer games don’t need such a technology, but soon after VR becomes mainstream, the need for them will surely arise. This will be the moment when virtual poker will be almost indistinguishable from the real one, breathing new life into the world of online poker once again.

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