What Does This Mean for Poker: Apple Announces Launch of Its VR Headset
Impact of Virtual Reality on Online Poker
Apple's own $3.5K virtual reality headset, the Vision Pro, will go on pre-order on January 19, 2024. It can be operated using voice, hand, and eye control without the need for additional devices. To determine how popular the VR format is in the poker business, we opted to read the announcement from Apple about the headset and the data about how popular different VR sets are. We also took a look at Steam.
Today we'll share our research, so, let's begin.
Why and What Will Apple Vision Pro Do?
The Apple Vision Pro headset can currently be purchased directly starting on February 2 and offers access to a limited-feature virtual theater and desktop. In actuality, these are more like augmented reality (AR) glasses than virtual reality (VR) glasses because you can use them to enhance your real world experience by adding virtual aspects to it.
With Apple Vision Pro, users will be able to work productively in virtual reality by reading texts, printing information on a virtual keyboard, and more — all while experiencing the fullest possible immersion in 3D cinema.
Control within the helmet is accomplished by the software tracking the wearer's hand and eye movements. If controlling the hands just requires a certain gesture, then controlling the eyes would be as easy as moving them and focusing on the appropriate spot for the task. This is a pinch — virtually all recognized gestures require the user to make a fist with the other fingers while keeping their thumb and index finger clenched as though they were in a pinch.
The use of bone conduction in Apple VR to transmit sound is an intriguing feature. With this technology, sound is transmitted straight to the middle ear through the face's bones, bypassing the ear canal and auricle.
Although there are currently relatively few games that are not in the public domain, Apple's Vision Pro does support several games that were created for its visionOS. After the glasses go on sale, further information regarding the gaming possibilities will be available.
Benefits of Apple Vision Pro in Poker
Two developments in the poker industry could result from the advancement of these technologies and their accessibility democratization:
With regard to online poker, games can be played with the room's 3D interface or in a virtual environment that has a unique aesthetic akin to PokerStars VR, but with better graphics or a more realistic feel.
In the case of live poker, this means moving tournaments or cash games to a virtual format. This will allow for reduced organizational costs (leasing space, employing personnel, etc.), increased accessibility for players from around the globe, and increased game safety (keep in mind what transpired at the WSOP during the pandemic).
Although VR products have not been very popular thus far (and poker products are even more so because to their narrow range of application), it is extremely likely that interest in them will grow quickly now that Apple has entered the market. Since Apple continues to lead the way in the development of technologies that are available to the general public, it has the potential to hasten the adoption of virtual reality.
Widely Used VR Headsets
The majority of widely used VR sets, or equipment sets, are essentially the same:
- Goggles on the helmet;
- Controllers to manage game operations;
- Trackers are bases that monitor a player's location in space and their adherence to a safe play area's boundaries.
Certain games might call for custom controllers if they don't support keyboards and mice or gamepads for the XBox and PlayStation consoles. Since trackers are required for a full-fledged game in a designated space, they are typically found in the most expensive and advanced models.
The four most popular VR setups on Steam as of October 2023 are, according to Statista are:
- Forty-one percent of users who connect VR to Steam also play Oculus Quest 2 (also known as Meta Quest 2). On the official website, a set of helmets and controllers will retail for $300 as of January 17, 2024. It can function independently on its own hardware using a memory card without being linked to a PC.
- Nineteen percent uses the Valve Index HMD. This is the company's own collection of the inventor of Steam, which costs $1.5K when ordered as a full set through the website. It offers a better experience than the Oculus Quest 2, but it requires you to connect to a PC and use its hardware in order to operate.
- Eleven percent of people utilize the Oculus Rift S. Oculus's previous generation of high-end sets is no longer available to buy.
- The HTC Vive is the closest rival to Valve's high-end Index HMD category, which accounts for 6% of the market. The entire set costs $1.7K on the official website. provide one of the best virtual reality gaming experiences because of the high lens resolution, precise controller and tracker calibration, and superb accuracy.
- Moreover, Windows Mixed Reality, a mixed reality platform that works with different headsets, is used by 5.6% of gamers in virtual reality.
VR Poker Games Available on Steam
Since there aren't many VR poker games on Steam, we selected the three that received the most favorable and varying reviews.
Most importantly! Steam games are different from in-person games. There is only a virtual chip game that cannot be purchased or withdrawn; there is no game for real money.
The Poker Stars Game Vegas Infinite
Play Spin & Go, Sit & Go, cash games, and multi-table tournaments with other players in the most popular VR poker game, which was upgraded in 2023. Without VR, the game is still accessible and free.
Despite having almost 4K highly positive evaluations overall, the last 200 reviews as of January 17, 2024, gave the PokerStars game a mediocre grade. The Stars Group Inc. has blocked access to the game from the Russian Federation, but there is also a deficiency in the age filter. The latter results in kids frequently ending up at the poker tables.
Social Club VR
A €16 multiplayer game from 2018 that simulates the interior of a casino and the games available there.
In actuality, the game is extremely unpopular despite having a ton of different varieties similar to poker and casino games. Just 49 reviews, all of which have been good, have been posted on it in its six years of existence; the negative ones, however, point out that the fee is too high and there is little activity.
A completely Texas Hold'em-focused multiplayer free-to-play game from 2017. Its VR capabilities are restricted; the player is confined to one spot at all times and occasionally transported from table to table; you cannot stroll around the casino.
There are 43 reviews for the game, with a mediocre rating. The players primary grievance is that it seems like a cheaply constructed product with fewer features.
Do you already use VR to play poker or is it unnecessary?