PokerStars has released their virtual reality product PokerStars VR across all play money sites globally, in conjunction with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
I wake up in the morning, write all day, go to bed, and wake up and do it all again. I don’t have time to listen to The Who, watch Dr Spock debate with Mr Kirk, or spend a few hours arguing with my mate over his love for bacon.
So, virtual reality (VR) would be perfect for me.
The ability to experience another reality, just for 30-minutes seems very appealing right now, and I’m in luck because PokerStars has finished with their PokerStars VR beta test, and the game is available, globally.
PokerStars invited me to the European Poker Tour (EPT) in Barcelona to tinker with their new baby, and I loved it. It didn’t take too long to forget that your body is in one world, and your mind is somewhere else, which I am sure has some ramifications down the line should you not set some concrete boundaries.
You can choose from six environments: Macau 2050, The Macau Suite, The Showdown Saloon, Monte-Carlo Yacht and The Void. I tried Macau 2050, and The Showdown Saloon, preferring the Westworld feel of the latter.
More than 150 people played with the beta-test, giving PokerStars valuable feedback. The one area that I felt needed tweaking, and PokerStars said they were on it, was personal boundaries. If you’re a recovering alcoholic, for example, you don’t want someone handing you a virtual beer – not when the virtual experience starts to feel eerily weird.
PokerStars developed the game with the team at Lucky VR, and it was comforting to know that the former Winamax Team Pro, Manuel Bevand, was a part of the PokerStars team helping create the first VR product available from one of the three online poker giants.
You can access the game through Facebook’s Oculus Rift, or through HTC Vive, and you can download the game via both of those portals and Valve Corporation’s Steam network. You can also stream your gameplay live on Twitch or Oculus Rift.
The game is only available for free money, and after my flutter in Barcelona, it’s difficult to imagine the game ever taking off in the real money market. What’s more likely to happen, is the PokerStars VR product will be used to lure more recreational players onto the platform, to then be exposed to their ever-expanding menu of real money gambling products including poker, casino and sports betting.
Here is a sneak peek at the game itself.