Virtual Reality poker is just getting warmed up
VR gambling is just in its infancy, but huge things are on the way. How huge? Virtual reality gambling is set to increase 800% by 2021. It’s not hard to see that VR is going to be a booming business. Why do people prefer live to online? Playing against opponents you can see makes the game so much more personal. Online sessions blend into each other, becoming one long, boring, monotonous session that never ends. It’s work. Most recreational players are going to love being able to sit down at a table and see the opponents they are up against. They can watch how long it takes them to bet. See how long they hesitate before calling a bet. Watch if they check their cards again when the third card to a flush hits on the turn.
In VR, you can look your opponent in the eye and ask them “Do you have it?”.
Advantages of VR
Virtual reality and gambling in general has a much more real feel to it than sitting down at your computer and multitabling 24 different tables of microstakes. For some people, namely regs who have a HUD with hundreds of different ways to exploit other players at their fingertips, this is disadvantage. For the recreational player who wants to battle it out? Much better.
In some VR casinos, there will be live dealers who deal out the action for those that want an even more personal touch. This will obviously depend on the demand, but with the amount of live dealers for online blackjack and roulette, it seems almost inevitable. Of course, this will come with its drawbacks. If you plan on using a real person as a dealer, you have to pay them a salary. Casinos will have to charge higher levels of rake for their VR games that feature live dealers.
It’s hard to get a full idea of exactly all of the advantages of VR right now. That’s because the game is still very much in its infancy. We expect massive things from the industry. This is truly an exciting time for online gameplay! While the game has had its trials in the past, VR could add a new dynamic to the industry.
Online pros love that they can multitable. Not so easy in a VR casino. This is going to mean that pros have to compete in higher stakes to get a good winrate. One of the biggest disadvantages for less serious players is that it’s very uncertain right now what kind of stakes are going to be offered. Sites are able to offer microstakes in part because of the regulars who multitable and start games. The problem with Virtual Reality is that it is likely that players will only be able to sit down at one table at a time. That means that each player is only playing at one table, and the poker site is only earning rake on a much smaller number of games! That should mean that VR will be, in general, at higher stakes. Not all casinos will restrict players to one table at once. Already, software is being developped to allow players to access up to 9 different virtual reality poker tables at one time. Whether this will be as appealing to players as a single table or not is to be determined.
One of the disadvantages for players which is a benefit for the house is that VR tables can be placed right next to the table games. If you are tilted from losing a stack on a badbeat, it gets tempting to get up and play some VR blackjack. With slots ringing in the background and the bright lights of the VR casino around you, its more likely that players are going to be drawn into VR gambling at other games where the house edge is more than just the rake.
Right now, the software is not the prettiest. Some of the sites which are offered have cartoonlike avatars that look robotic and unnatural. Expect that to change as headsets get cheaper and virtual reality becomes more and more mainstream.