Virtual reality (VR) is establishing itself as the future of gaming. As described by The Breeze, VR does more than just simulate countless experiences — it allows users to push boundaries in ways that would otherwise be impossible in the real world. This versatility is what makes it so suitable for the world of gaming. With VR, you can do practically anything. You can have a sweaty workout, create gorgeous works of 3D art, immerse yourself in exploring wondrous worlds, and even play a nice game of poker with friends and strangers alike.
In the past couple of years, VR has done exceptionally well by taking advantage of online poker’s increasing popularity. Poker.org outlined how the online game filled a void felt by millions of avid poker players around the world amid COVID-19 restrictions. And those who had VR were able to get as close to the actual experience of playing poker as possible. Today, it remains a great go-to for people who can’t currently visit casinos or simply prefer the VR poker experience.
If you’re looking to play some exceptional VR poker, everything hinges on getting the right equipment. Below are a few choice headsets and accessories you can use to enhance your online poker experience amid COVID-19.
Sony PlayStation VR
If you already have a PS4 or PS5, this headset is for you. It makes use of just 1 VR camera instead of 2, which should be enough for your movements at the poker table. This also makes it one of the most affordable and accessible headsets on the market. Even so, it provides a sufficiently crisp visual experience. It also gives you access to a bunch of impressive poker VR titles, ranging from the multiplayer Poker VR to the wonderfully immersive PokerStars VR.
HTC Vive Pro 2
This headset is perfect for more discerning gamers wishing for a more premium VR experience. Though a bit more on the pricey side, the HTC Vive Pro 2 offers one of the best resolutions out there at 2,448 x 2,448 pixels per eye. With it, you can source your games from both SteamVR and HTC’s very own Viveport store. These stores hold some exciting VR Poker titles like Texas Hold’em VR Poker and Gangsta Underground: The Poker.
Oculus Quest 2
However, the winning headset still comes from VR industry giant Oculus. This latest release from the company serves as an all-in-one VR gaming system with robust hardware that gives you the widest range of titles to play from by far. Similar to the HTC Vive Pro 2, you’ll be able to get your poker games from SteamVR or the Oculus Quest store — but you’ll be able to enjoy them with a headset that’s more responsive in every way.
Most VR poker games track your hand movements with motion controllers, so it’s vital that you get good ones. VR controllers, like the one Sony recently unveiled for the PS5, wrap around your hands and strategically place buttons for you to reach from a natural resting position. Of course, you can always opt to use a traditional controller much like you would with consoles like the PlayStation or the Xbox, but you won’t get the same immersive feeling motion controllers will add to your VR poker games.
VR headset silicone covers
To avoid headsets from chafing your face, a silicone cover will be indispensable. This goes over the visor to provide added comfort and protect against the sweat that’s bound to build up during long sessions at the virtual poker table. The added padding it provides near your nose bridge helps further block outside light, making your VR experience even more immersive.
Reliable USB-C cables
You may need to hook up to a gaming PC or laptop to play VR poker. Though you can do so wirelessly, a cable gives a higher-quality connection — and you’ll be sitting down when playing VR poker anyway. Hackaday.com states that the USB-C is the fastest cable that is perfect for connecting peripherals. One that’s at least 20 feet long can serve you well if you decide to play other games that get you on your feet.
HP Omen 15t
With the Oculus Quest headset series housing some of the only standalone VR systems on the market, you might be looking for a good laptop with which to begin your VR poker journey. Upon checking our ‘Best Budget Gaming Laptops’ guide for 2024, you’ll find the HP Omen 15t as one of the top names on the list. This budget-friendly, VR-ready laptop is both ergonomic and has great built-in thermal management capabilities, so you can play poker comfortably for hours without it heating up.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
On the flip side, you might want the most powerful gaming laptop to kickstart your forays into VR poker. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 fits the bill perfectly, scoring 9.8 out of a total 11 points on SteamVR’s Performance Test — higher than the test’s 9.2 average. That’s not all, though: it pairs its exceptional VR performance with a killer battery life of more than 10 hours. If your poker strategy involves playing slow and steady, this is the laptop for you.
Alienware m17 R4
You could call the Alienware m17 R4 the Oculus Quest 2 of VR-ready laptops, as it provides the best all-around experience. It offers a powerful performance with 8GB VRAM — more than the 6GB offered by the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 —- and extra-crisp graphics courtesy of its 15-inch 4k OLED display. This Alienware model even comes packaged in a stylishly modern design. It’s only weak point is its battery life, so it’s great for online poker players who love playing for short periods in their free time.
With VR establishing itself as the future of gaming — and thus the future of online poker — you might be itching to have the ultimate VR poker experience. By equipping yourself for success, there’s nothing stopping you from getting some enhanced online poker experiences as COVID-19 continues to affect our lives.