Why Poker and VR Are a Natural Fit
We’ve written quite a bit about different areas of interest for gamers looking into virtual reality. We’ve covered games for different formats and franchises being adapted to the technology along with a range of other topics. But one thing that hasn’t come up very often is the idea of the casino industry dipping its toes into the VR market, particularly when it comes to poker. This is something we haven’t seen too much of yet (outside of one game which we’ll get to below), but it is something that appears to be an extraordinarily natural fit. These are just a few reasons why they work so well together and why both will only continue to grow.
The Player Base Is Massive
It’s common knowledge that millions of people like to play online poker, but you might not realize just how massive the player base truly is. According to one survey, up to 40 million people play online poker—almost 7 percent of the entire adult population of the planet. And those numbers were back in 2009! That means they hardly take into account the more sophisticated casino sites that have sprung up in the years since or the countless mobile apps built for playing online poker. This is quite literally one of the most popular games in the world, and for this reason alone, it’s difficult to imagine VR developers ignoring it.
Simplicity Is Appealing
We haven’t really emerged from the early days of VR gaming yet, which means we can’t definitively say what works best. However, it is fair to say that some of the simpler, more stripped-down experiences have been among the smoothest so far. Whether we’re talking about a mobile AR experience like Pokémon GO, or an inventive VR concept like Tiltbrush that isn’t even “gaming” in the traditional sense, it’s become clear that a VR game doesn’t need a massive, gorgeous, open landscape to succeed. Poker gaming would fit nicely into the idea that developers who focus on getting a smaller concept exactly right might wind up thriving most.
Poker Players Already Enjoy VR
You might not know it, if you don’t already regularly play poker and other casino games online, but this genre has actually experimented pretty directly with virtual reality concepts. This has been done through the Web cams of computers and mobile devices that provide real-time feeds of dealers for a much more engaging experience for games like games for poker, blackjack, and roulette players. This concept of “live dealers” was pretty new just a couple of years ago, but now most popular casino games have companion live dealer versions, which means that many of the aforementioned millions of online poker players are already used to the idea. That’s not to say that live dealer online gaming is the same as VR, but the idea of diving into a realistic environment to enjoy the games won’t be new to poker enthusiasts.
Casino VR Works Pretty Well
It’s also worth mentioning that the one poker game we’ve already seen on VR platforms has done fairly well for itself. Reviews noted that the game, which is called CasinoVR, was not without its flaws, but it was a nice foundation for the idea of VR-based poker gaming overall. Players were able to look around tables at their opponents, watch hands being dealt in real time, and more for a fully fleshed out card game. We might look back at this game in a few years as one of the titles that opened the floodgates for one of VR’s most popular genres.