What’s Keeping Poker Out Of Virtual Reality?


When you look back at the history of , poker has often been at the forefront. For the first major poker site came out in 1998, just as online gaming was becoming popular. Similarly, poker games were among the first to make it to mobile phones, both before and after the app revolution. In keeping with these trends, one might have expected poker to move into VR right off the bat. A few years in, however, it hasn’t quite happened. We have a few ideas why.

Mediocre Early Reviews

There was one early poker VR game, called Casino VR (though it’s gone through a few name changes). It accomplished the basics of supplying a functional poker game in VR, though it wasn’t particularly beautiful or compelling. Reviews were decent for the most part, but there were no raves about it, which is to say the overall impression was that the game was just fine. That won’t exactly get people excited for more.

The Real Money Issue

So far, the top headset manufacturers in VR have been fairly adamant about not allowing real money gaming. That doesn’t mean there can’t be a spectacular poker game with play money, but it is at least a temporary deterrent for established casino platforms that might otherwise be diving into VR.

The Status Of Gaming In The U.S.

To some extent, online gaming is universal. Even in the U.S., people can find dozens of the most popular card games online, and in some cases even play for real money. However, this activity is highly regulated in the U.S., with only a handful of states allowing for full-fledged, legitimate online poker. And despite the fact that some of the biggest companies delving into VR aren’t based in the U.S., the American market is still a major driving force in the industry. It could be that as long as real money gaming remains widely restricted in the U.S., poker in VR isn’t worth the investment.

Biding Their Time

It may also be as simple as casino companies biding their time. VR is a huge deal but it’s not quite a runaway hit in gaming yet. There’s a chance developers are waiting for an upswing in activity to release more sophisticated poker games. In the end, it might be a sound strategy.

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