Poker players who don’t want to leave home can play Season 2 of the PokerStars VR Metaverse Poker Tour this weekend. [Image: PokerStars VR via Steam forums]
A poker tour does not require travel
If you want to take part in a poker tournament this weekend, but don’t live near a casino, you can check into an online poker room, but even then, not everyone lives in a jurisdiction where online play is legal. Plus, while online poker is fun, it’s not quite the same as the real thing. Enter the PokerStars VR Metaverse poker tour, season two of which has just begun.
Yes, a virtual reality poker tour
Yes, poker in virtual reality. And yes, a virtual reality poker tour. If that sounds weird, well, it kind of is, but it’s free and it’s poker, and as someone who’s played PokerStars VR, it can be fun.
The second season started on Thursday, but the current leg, Macau (or “Macau”), runs through the weekend. There are nine events on Friday, starting at mid-afternoon ET. They all cost virtual chips. PokerStars VR starts all new players with 10,000, and of course more can be won by playing other poker games. Players also have the option to purchase more chips, as is usually the case with free online poker apps or mobile apps.
Both Saturdays and Sundays offer over a dozen events, including Saturday’s “Dollar” 5 Million Main Event and Sunday’s High Rolling Event.
Not quite like the real thing, but still fun
PokerStars VR has been around for a number of years and is available on Oculus Rift, Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest Pro, HTC Vive (I also think original Meta Quest users can play it, but don’t quote me on that). Since my son has Meta Quest 2, I spent a few hours in the PokerStars VR poker room and can honestly say it makes for some solid entertainment.
While I suspect the Metaverse Poker Tour games are a little different, don’t play PokerStars VR if you’re asking for a serious poker experience. Most people in cash games, and to a lesser extent in tournaments, are just there to shave, and most of them don’t really seem to know what they’re doing. If you like games where most players see twists, then this is for you.
You can peek at your cards, dump your cards in the mud, and manipulate your chips
No matter the quality of the game, it’s great to feel like you’re sitting at a real table, looking on and talking (if you choose to turn on voice chat) with all your tablemates. With controllers, you can peek at your cards, dump your cards in the mud, and manipulate your chips. There are also plenty of silly “throwables” and trinkets to play with at the table – I’ve had someone pass me a virtual beer on multiple occasions.
As mentioned, the current Metaverse Poker Tour stop is in Macau, which is precisely the setting for the future “Macau 2050”. PokerStars VR also contains Macau Suite, Saloon, The Void, Monte Carlo, Arena, Space, Spies and Cyber environments. As you would expect with VR Poker, you can also outfit your avatar in all kinds of “skins” and outfits.
New headset promises more
I haven’t had a chance to try it out, as the headset costs $1,500, but the new Meta Quest Pro has PokerStars VR as one of its launch titles. And it seems that one of the new features of the device will make the Metaverse Poker round even cooler.
It naturally has more power and better graphics capabilities than its more affordable predecessor, but it also adds the ability to do mixed reality in addition to virtual reality. With mixed reality, the real world can be integrated into apps, rather than keeping you tied to the virtual world inside a headset.
A lot of times, you want to stay fully immersed in VR, but for something like PokerStars VR, mixed reality can be really fun. As Flutter Entertainment, the parent company of PokerStars, said, options include: “partial immersion which brings objects or spaces from their physical world into the game through adjustable ‘transit windows’, and full mixed reality which enables players to bring core virtual game elements into their world.” The private. “
From that, it looks like you can actually sit at your kitchen table (or poker table if you have one) and see the players, cards, and chips sitting around the table with you. When you place your hands on the real life table, your virtual hands will be on the PokerStars VR table. This feature costs $1,500, but if you’re already planning to buy Meta Quest Pro, the PokerStars VR experience will probably feel more realistic.