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Live Dealer and Virtual Reality - Gambling Online in the Metaverse


Live dealer games have been around since the mid-2000s. At the time, game providers were looking to offer something new to their patrons, something to bring traditional real-life gambling and online casinos closer together. Since then, live dealer games have become one of the staples of the iGaming industry. Today, there are multiple providers of live dealer services, some of them focused on specific regions, like EA Live Casino, and others offering their services globally.

(Picture: Poker VR on the Oculus Quest 2)

Online poker never took the same step. In its case, there is no dealer to stream live over the internet, so the players only interact through the digital interface of the poker room. And the best one of them can also meet in person at live events like the WSOP.

But now another revolution is on our doorstep. The spread of virtual reality and the emergence of Metaverses will likely result in the launch of the first meta-poker room online.

Interaction

Live dealer casino games take online gambling interaction to a new level. While the players don’t exactly communicate directly with the dealers, they do interact with the gaming table: they bet on hands and the spins of the roulette wheel, sit ‘behind’ other players and bet on their hands, and take similar actions.

This is not real interaction, though. For one, it’s not two-way - the actions only go from the player to the casino’s system (not the dealer), and the streaming only goes from the dealer toward the player. This is why online poker can never embrace the same technology: it relies on people interacting with each other non-stop.

Virtuality

Virtual reality will take things to the next level, both when it comes to online casinos and online poker. In a virtual environment, the players - or rather their avatars - will have a more immersive experience but they’ll possibly have more than that: to truly interact with the gaming tables and the other poker players at the table.

The virtual reality version of online poker will be similar to the traditional, browser-based version we play today when it comes to the skills needed to play it right. The avatars sitting around a virtual reality poker table will have the same tells as the profile pictures sitting around an online poker table today - changing betting patterns based on the hands they have. Perhaps VR will have an advantage compared to traditional online poker in transferring some of the gestures of players to cyberspace, providing poker pros with more signals to read.

The proliferation of virtual reality will bring changes in the world of iGaming as well - it’s just a question of time. We’ll probably encounter the first real-money virtual casinos and poker rooms before Meta’s grandiose Metaverse becomes a (virtual) reality.

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