Vive_Pokerstars_VR_Macau_2050-1537479640

PokerStars Stacks Big Chips For Going All In With Social VR

Back in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg made a $3 billion dollar bet through the acquisition of Oculus Rift that virtual reality (VR) would soon become one of the most social platforms that ever existed.

Fast forward to 2018 and very few VR companies have been successful (including Facebook) at building social communities that can bring users together into virtual worlds with real meaning and purpose. AltspaceVR and Rec Room are two notable social VR experiences that have received some acclaim but are still lacking a core ingredient to drive up behavior and keep people engaged. That ingredient is passion. I mean, how often can you play frisbee toss next to a virtual tree with some creepy avatar invading your space without asking yourself, what the heck am I doing in here?  Insert the lifestyle and global community of poker and you now have a winning formula.

PokerStars, the world’s most popular online poker site has now launched a free-to-play VR experience that truly ups the ante and will change both online-game-play and social VR simultaneously for the international poker community.

At launch, there is no real currency changing hands in this VR world but that doesn’t take away from the loads of fast-moving excitement that PokerStars VR brings to its users from inception. This immersive experience mixes all the fun of real-world poker with cutting-edge visuals, physics and design to transport you to the front line of interactive, multiplayer Texas Hold’em action. You now have instant access to take on your friends, challenge PokerStars Ambassadors or battle Twitch streamers in one of the most exciting new VR games on the planet. Whether you’re a beginner (like myself) or a seasoned card shark, PokerStars VR is an experience you will definitely want to hang out in!

Monte-Carlo Yacht: Take to the high seas & play for high stakes in PokerStars VR

VR is designed to take us into immersive worlds and environments that can go well beyond our wildest imaginations and this experience certainly doesn’t disappoint. So strap on your headset and prepare to take an escape from the real world and enjoy an authentic high-roller experience with visually stunning locations and jaw-dropping graphics. PokerStars VR gives you the freedom to live like a boss and connect with friends and a global community of poker enthusiasts at some of the worlds most lush gaming environments from the comforts of your crib.

Macau 2050: A futuristic re-imagining of Macau by night in PokerStars VR

Exotic locations include:

  • Macau 2050: A futuristic re-imagining of Macau by night
  • The Macau Suite: An opulent yet intimate environment, complete with 360-degree tropical fish tank
  • The Showdown Saloon: Play out your cowboy fantasies in a classic Wild West saloon
  • The Monte-Carlo Yacht: Take to the high seas as you play for high stakes
  • The Void: Play with no distractions in the endless blackness – it’s all about the game!

The Void: Play with no distractions in endless blackness – PokerStars VR

From an entertainment aspect, PokerStars really pulled out all the stops to encourage social behavior and entice high levels of fun & laughter, giving users an incredibly authentic experience. One of the key features I enjoyed most was the ability to socialize and chat in real time with your friends while also keeping the table fun and entertaining with interactive props and toys that elicit loads of laughter from the players around you. For example, props like cigars, bottles of champagne, flare guns and so much more added layers of hysterics that will keep the entire group bursting into tears. (I must have virtually dropped 3 burning cigars in my lap and doused the entire table in top-shelf champagne)And finally, the state of the art physics and game mechanics allow you to handle your chips and cards just as you would during real play, adding realistic sounds and movements that simply complete the entire experience. (It’s the many small details you will continue to notice)An additional feature I think is cool but somewhat limited right now is the streaming media integration. This will allow access to your desktop or any streaming video while you play but at the moment is only available for the Oculus Rift.

Current Platforms: Currently PokerStars VR is available for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive & Stream.

PokerStars may just be scratching the surface with this experience because the ability to continue to open up additional experiences like casino locations, music, entertainment, nightclubs, lounges, avatar customization and so much more is simply limitless. From a hardware perspective, I’m eager to watch the expansion across lower barrier VR devices like Samsung’s Gear VR, which is powered by Oculus and can offer some incredibly similar mobile VR capabilities to the Oculus Rift including a hand controller and exceptional graphics. Playstation VR would also be a great addition to the list. For now, I will be logging in from my Oculus Rift and meeting up with my pal and PokerStars champ Big Chips! Hope to see you at the casino!

 

KEITH CURTIN @KFCurtin Founder of See Digital Keith Curtin is an Entrepreneur, Brand Marketing Executive & Founder of See Digital, a consultancy firm specializing in Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality & Mixed Reality. He was recently named #1 on Onayltica’s Augmented Reality Top 100 Brands & Influencers” list.Keith has consulted with hundreds of Fortune 1000 global brands to help them develop and execute first of a kind Augmented Reality activations including Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Nestle, Kraft Foods, Kellogg’s, Mondelez, Mars Foods, Disney, Nickelodeon, Walmart Target, 7-Eleven, Anheuser Busch, Heineken, LVMH, Diageo and many others.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Allen Berezovsky

Lauren London Debuts The Marathon Clothing x Puma Collection

The Marathon Clothing and PUMA are teaming up once again. The brands will be collaborating in honor of the late Nipsey Hussle. His wife, Lauren London, debuted the Marathon Clothing x Puma’s “Hussle and Motivate” collection on social media on Thursday (Jan. 23).

London is featured in the line's campaign shoot with Hussle's close friends, YG, J. Stone, and Pacman Da Gunman. Per a press release: "After first releasing in September 2019, PUMA will re-issue key pieces from the collection for fans and supporters including co-branded tracksuits and t-shirts featuring checkered patterns and TMC motifs, as well as PUMA’s signature California sneakers in black and white iterations."

 

View this post on Instagram

 

#HussleAndMotivate

A post shared by Lauren London (@laurenlondon) on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:56pm PST

Another image from the clothing collaboration shows London wearing a white sweatshirt with a message that reads, “We (The Marathon Clothing) honor the unwavering faith of those that never quit. Our products represent their testimony. Life is a marathon.”

A portion of the net proceeds from PUMA’s sales of the PUMA x TMC Collection will go directly to the Neighborhood “Nip” Foundation. Beginning February 1st, the collection will be available again in select retailers and on PUMA's official website.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

#HussleAndMotivate

A post shared by Lauren London (@laurenlondon) on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:58pm PST

London previously linked with Puma for a viral video campaign paying tribute to her longtime love. Hustle, whose Victory Lap recently went platinum, will be celebrated at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards with a tribute featuring YG, Roddy Ricch, Kirk Franklin, DJ Khaled, and John Legend.

The 2020 Grammy Awards will air on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Continue Reading
Lil Wayne performs at the 2019 Outside Lands music festival at Golden Gate Park on August 09, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Lil Wayne Reveals Release Date For ‘Funeral’ Album

Four years after initially announcing the project, Lil Wayne took to Twitter on Thursday (Jan. 23) to reveal that his  Funeral album will drop next week.

“Welcome to the funeral, closed casket as usual,” Tunechi says in the album teaser. The Grammy winner also tweeted a link for fans to pre-order physical and digital copies of the album as a CD, vinyl or “digital cassette.” The online shop features album merchandise, including long-sleeved shirts, hoodies and beanies.

In a recent interview with VIBE, Lil Wayne said that even though his recording process has drastically changed since his prolific mixtape days, he still finds enjoyment in going to the studio to create.

“I love the difficulty of trying to fit in with what’s going on today, making sure I sound likable to the ears today and having to remind myself that it’s not about what it was back then. Going to the studio now, for me, is awesome. I used to go to that muf***a and do 12 songs a night. Cut a beat on, I’m going to go and you let me know when to stop,” Wayne said.

“...I can’t wait to get in the studio now every night, just to see what I can come up with. [Before] it was just me going to the studio and saying, let me kill ten more songs and then I’m going to go home or do whatever I was doing. Now, it’s let me see what I come up with. Self-discovery, rebirth – call it whatever you want to call it but it feels awesome, I swear to God.”

The New Orleans native’s last studio LP, Tha Carter V, dropped in 2018 after years of delays. In 2019, the 37-year-old rapper embarked on a joint summer tour with Blink-182, but the jaunt was marred by difficulty as Wayne walked off stage during one show and threatened to quit. He changed his mind hours later.

Even with all the tour trouble, Blink-182 had nothing but good things to say about Weezy. “The one day where he walked off stage, he had said, ‘I just felt like they didn’t like me,’ so he walked off stage,” drummer Travis Barker explained in an interview last year.

Funeral drops on Jan. 31. Check out the album teaser below.

1/31 https://t.co/7VtPC39vT6 pic.twitter.com/FQrLNA8ptn

— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) January 23, 2020

Continue Reading
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Black People Make Up More Than 50% Of U.S. Homeless Population, Study Finds

Black people in the U.S. are disproportionately impacted by homelessness, per an Annual Homeless Assessment Report released by the Housing and Urban Department. According to the report, blacks account for more than 50% of the country’s homeless population, despite making up only 13% of the U.S. population.

“African Americans have remained considerably overrepresented among the homeless population compared to the U.S. population,” the report states. “African Americans accounted for 40% of all people experiencing homelessness in 2019 and 52% of people experiencing homelessness as members of families with children.

“In contrast, 48% of all people experiencing homelessness were white, compared with 77% of the U.S. population.” People identifying as Hispanic or Latino are bout “22% of the homeless population but only 18% of the populations overall.”

As of 2019, the U.S. homeless population swelled to 568,000, an increase of about 10,000 from the previous year. In 2019, Roughly 35,000 of those experiencing unaccompanied homelessness were under the age of 25, a 4% decrease from 2018. The number of those experiencing chronic homelessness increased by 9% between 2018 and 2019.

A staggering 52% of black families experience homelessness, compared to 35% for white families.

The goal of the report is to “demonstrate continued progress toward ending homelessness, but also a need to re-calibrate policy to make future efforts more effective and aligned with the unique needs of different communities.”

HUD, which is has been releasing the annual housing stats since 2007, shows a 3% bump in the number of those experiencing homelessness on any given night, a 16% increase in California, and a “decrease” in other states. California accounts for 53% (108,432 people) off all unsheltered homeless people in the country. Despite being only twice as large as Florida, California’s homeless population is nine times that of the Sunshine State, which came in at a distant second place with 6% (12,476 people). New York, Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington have the highest rates of homelessness per 10,000 people.

Numerous variables come into play when determining the origin of the black homeless epidemic due to a longstanding system of oppression in housing, and beyond. Black families are twice as  likely to experience poverty in the U.S., compared to white families; and in spite of laws against open discrimination, black renters face overt and covert financial and racial prejudice, in addition to gentrification and the racial pay gap.

On Jan. 7, HUD unveiled a housing proposal that attempts to undue Obama-era housing mandates put in place to prevent racial discrimination. The newly-released proposal may end up further promoting racial discrimination.

Continue Reading

Top Stories