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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.

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Selah Marley Talks Childhood Trauma, Clarifies Comments About Parents

After an extensive video detailing a traumatic childhood, Selah Marley shared a follow-up video message on Instagram on Tuesday (Aug. 11) clarifying earlier comments about parents, Rohan Marley and Lauryn Hill.

In a since deleted video, Selah revealed that her father was an absentee parent and detailed some of the issues in her parents’ relationship that she witnessed as a child. She spoke about their breakup, being spanked as a child, and connected the dots between things that happened when she was younger and how they have impacted her behavior today.

Selah also shared that she had an emotional conversation with her father and plans to visit him this week. “At the end of the day you know that I would never come through to bash my parents.”

The “complex” issue is one of  nuance, the 21-year-old model explained.  “Really what I was discussing was how a lack of unity in the household can create severe trauma that you’re not even aware of. And now, I had to go back and see where these different things impact my life and how they impacted my life. At the end of the day, I never said my father was a f*cking deadbeat completely. I just said that he wasn’t as present as I needed him to be,” she said before adding, “Don’t go bashing my f*cking father and my family.”

Rohan showed a united front posting a throwback family photo Instagram  captioned in part, “Love unconditional.”

Watch Selah’s full video below.

 

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A post shared by @selah on Aug 11, 2020 at 2:44pm PDT

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Nick Cannon Is Not Suing ViacomCBS For $1.5 Billion, Says Rep

Nick Cannon’s camp is denying claims that he’s prepping a $1.5 billion lawsuit against ViacomCBS over his series, Wild ’N Out. Cannon’s rep said on Wednesday (Aug. 11) that reports about the massive legal action are “inaccurate,” the New York Daily News reports.

“Nick’s focus right now is on unifying communities and combatting bigotry, racism and hate of all kinds, not seeking personal financial gain.

The billion lawsuit was first reported by The Shade Room. A source allegedly told the outlet  that Cannon’s Wild ’N Out series “has brought billions of dollars in revenue to Viacom since 2015. And Nick deserves and has earned everything it is worth.”

Viacom cut ties with Cannon over anti-Semitic statements made in a clip from his YouTube show that went viral last month. Cannon, who had been apart of the Viacom family since he was a teenager, initially slammed the company, accusing them of “mistreating and robbing” the Black community “for years,” and banning ads supporting George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

“I am deeply saddened in a moment so close to reconciliation that the powers that be missed an important moment for us to all grow closer together and learn more about each other,” Cannon wrote in a Facebook post. “Instead the moment was stolen and highjacked to make an exampled of an outspoken black man.”

Cannon went on to apologize to the Jewish community, as well as Viacom boss Shari Redstone, and vowed to take time to educate himself on the Jewish faith. Cannon later revealed that his great-grandfather was a  “Spanish Rabbi,” and published an opinion piece with Anti-Defamation League director, Jonathan Greenblatt, calling for unity between Black and Jewish communities amid the three-year anniversary of Charlottesville.

“Our powerful alliance didn’t solve all our problems, but it sought to elevate all of us,” the piece reads in part. “But in recent years, these ties have frayed. Our communal groups have not always partnered. Our collective interests often have diverged. Loud voices on the fringes have contributed to the distrust and create even more distance. Today, certain voices seem intent to push us even father apart. This needs to change. Now.”

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Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant reacts during the Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals in Boston, Massachusetts, June 17, 2008.
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Orange County Declares Aug. 24 “Kobe Bryant Day” In Honor Of Basketball Legend

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday (Aug. 11) to declare Aug. 24 as “Kobe Bryant Day.” The late NBA legend and longtime Orange County resident was a “treasured member” of the community who “inspired so many men and one to pursue their dreams and never give up,” O.C. County Board Chairwoman Michelle Steel said of Bryant.

The resolution reads, “The Orange County Board of supervisors recognizes August 24th as Kobe Bryant Day an encourages members of our community to continue Kobe Bryant’s legacy by engaging in community building helping young people in need, encouraging aspiring youth to follow their dreams, and living by Bryant’s words: ‘The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.”

The date of Aug. 24 was chosen in honor of Bryant’s basketball jersey numbers 8 and 24. Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, would have celebrated his 42nd birthday later this month.

Bryant was drafted into the NBA directly out of high school in 1996. His list of accolades includes winning five NBA championships, being an 18-time NBA All-Star, a 2008 NBA MVP, and a two-time NBA Finals MVP winner.

The Lakers star, who was the only player in the NBA to have two jersey numbers retired, became one of the biggest names in basketball and used the sport as a launching pad to help others. Bryant, and his wife Vanessa, founded the Bryant Family Foundation aimed at helping young people in need and “encouraging the development of physical and social skills” through sports. Bryant also opened the Black Mamba Sports Academy, which is where he was headed on the morning of the tragic fatal crash.

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