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Jan 03, 2016

Virtual Reality - The Next Step in Online Poker's Evolution

By RTR Dennis

Online poker growth has been stagnant for a few years now, and many of the industry's biggest entrepreneurs are trying to figure out how to breathe new life into the game. There are some exciting innovations on the horizon, such a poker/eSports hybrid and Alex Dreyfus' Global Poker League. But what might ultimately make poker grow faster is virtual reality, which we'll discuss in depth below.

Virtual Reality is already hitting Online Casinos

There's already a virtual reality online casino at SlotsMillion. Set high in a skyscraper, the SlotsMillion VR casino lets players walk around a posh gaming floor complete with a bar, lounge area and plenty of slot machines.

Virtual reality gaming will only become more widespread in early 2016, when the Oculus Rift headset becomes available. This headset could allow players to gamble at any online casino that's compatible with a VR headset.

Unfortunately, slots games are the only thing available for VR online gaming because they're simple and easy to design. But this is likely to change in the near future as gaming developers work on poker and other card games.

Virtual Reality Online Poker could be Huge

Whenever online poker enters the virtual reality space, it's likely to become a hit among VR fans. That's because poker gives players the chance to socialize with each other while they're playing. Alexandre Tomic, co-founder of SlotsMillion, explained what people can expect on this front.

"Players will be able to experience TV-style VR final table environments, for example," Tomic said. "Meanwhile, their friends and fans will be able to sit in the audience and watch them play, while, in turn, the players will be able to hear them cheering them on."

This should be a Hit among Recreational Players

A large amount of focus has been put on bringing recreational players back to iPoker. Part of the amateur crowd stopped playing because the skill gap is just too wide between them and high-volume regulars. Particularly, bots, HUDs, multi-tabling and seat-scripting software have stripped the game of some of its fun qualities.

This will be the first thing to love about VR online poker since HUDs and seat-scripting software are unlikely to be part of the experience. And of course, there's the whole fact that you'll feel like you are actually at the table in VR poker. Just imagine seeing a first-person view of a luxurious poker room or the dim settings of an underground poker game while you're playing.

Perhaps what's most exciting is that virtual reality poker isn't just some pipe dream that won't happen for several years; instead, it will begin in 2016 and grow from there. Given that poker has been looking for ways to bring new players into the fold, virtual reality could be just the thing that jump-starts the game.