Oculus and HTC team up with PokerStars in new VR release

PokerStars, the online poker cardroom owned by The Stars Group, has recently announced the launch of its latest Virtual Reality development, PokerStars VR.

The new product will be available for download and free play at all compatible online casino sites intended for global markets.

Produced in conjunction with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the design intends to mimic real life poker rooms and game tournaments, featuring realistic chip, card and player movements, and interactive online gaming environments.

Demo Launch

What is VR?PokerStars debuted the demo release as part of the European Poker Tour (EPT) in Barcelona, and players have been informed that they will ultimately be able access the game through Facebook’s Oculus Rift, or through HTC Vive compatible platforms.

The demo launch was part of a beta test where more than 150 people could play tournament style hold ‘em poker, and feedback was requested as they played.

The company has developed the new platform with a team at Lucky VR, and former Winamax Team Pro and tournament player, Manuel Bevand.

PokerStars VR will feature six gaming environments from which to choose: Macau 2050, The Macau Suite, The Showdown Saloon, Monte-Carlo Yacht and, the rather eerily dubbed, The Void.

Poker innovation

Severin Rasset, director of operations at PokerStars stated, “When we showcased the product it was amazing to see people really enjoy and become engrossed in the game.”

“We wanted to venture into the world of virtual reality, because we believe it is an exciting avenue of technology to explore and something that our players would appreciate.”

“I highly recommend that everyone tries out the game, as it can only truly be understood and enjoyed by experiencing it.”

Debut release

virtual realityPokerStars VR is only one of a score of augmented and virtual reality devices making a resurgence in recent years.

With the popularity of social gaming and free online games on the rise, casino gaming and VR have made a natural fit.

The game will be available via the popular Steam network for online gaming, and will also feature live streaming options via Twitch and Rift.

Currently, there is no real money version of the game, and critics have indicated that it could prove difficult for the PokerStars VR to enter the real money online casino market.

Experts suggest however that the intention of the new online product is to lure casual players to the world of online poker, and expose them to an ever-expanding community of real money gambling options, from casino games to sports betting.

Gameplay and feedback

The tools that make PokerStars VR an enticing product for casual gamers is everything from chip stacking, card peeking and the possibility to “read” opponents based on body movement.

The project created more intuitive controls allowing for easier and more interactive gameplay such as chip and card handling, live talk and the ability to expose “tells” in body movement.

The game will also feature a host of interactive props and voice command.

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Thomas McCoy was born in Bethesda, Maryland and studied finance at the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington D.C. before heading to New York and a job as a forex trader on Wall Street. Successful enough to launch his own, online forex trading platform, Thomas has long had a keen interest in the places where the worlds of finance and technology meet. As a prolific blogger, Thomas considers himself an expert on cryptocurrencies, casino asset restructuring, and emerging technologies set to change the way people do business.