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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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Gang Member May Testify Against Defendants In 'Junior' Guzman-Feliz' Murder Trial

A member of the Trinitarios gang who witnessed the fatal stabbing of Bronx teenager Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz may take the stand against five defendants this week.

The first of two murder trials for the killing of Junior Guzman-Feliz began earlier this month, NBC4 New York reports. Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago (24), Jonaiki Martinez Estrella (24), Jose Muniz (21) and Manuel Rivera (18) and Elvin Garcia (23) were given second-degree murder, manslaughter, conspiracy, gang assault and criminal possession of weapon charges for the June 2018 stabbing of the 15-year-old.

It was previously reported that the leader of the Trinitarios gang assisted the police with information about the defendant but it isn't known if he is the same witness who will testify this week.

A total of eleven women and one man make up the jury. During the first few days of the trial, the courtroom watched three clips from the harrowing incident that showed Guzman-Feliz before and after the attack. The teen was reportedly stabbed by the defendants in a case of mistaken identity.

One of the clips was never seen by the public and showed the attackers dragging Junior out of the grocery story with the teen fighting back as the gang yielded machete and knives. Later in the trial, jurors were shown 13 different angles and the six locations of the group looking for the teen.

As family members sobbed in the court, prosecutors claimed that Junior's murder was premeditated given the weapons used. But defense attorneys deemed most of Junior's wounds as "superficial" and noted how the cut to his throat was the cause of his death. They also claimed four of the defendants did not intend to kill Junior. The defense rilled up the court, including Junior's family.

"Why would they need those weapons if they're not trying to kill someone?" sister-in-law Ione Guierrez told ABC7. "I need somebody to explain that to me." Junior's father was later escorted out of the courtroom for using profanity as the defendants reportedly laughed during the trial. "These guys are sitting there, just looking at us, just literally laughing," supporter Ilene Mariez told reporters. "The family got really really upset, and the father, towards the end, he was so upset he was using profanity," Mariez added. "So they pulled him from the courtroom."

Defense attorneys cross-examined witnesses like a woman who saw what happened from her apartment window. The witness said Junior motioned for her to call the police. After heading outside to help the teen, she said in disturbing detail his last word was "water."

A total of 14 people are facing jail time for Junior's death. The other nine suspects who are accused of taking part in other aspects of the assault will have a pretrial hearing dated for June 17.

Junior's passing sent waves around the country as clips were seen on social media. A number of celebrities took part in the #JusticeforJunior movement like Carmelo Anthony, Cardi B, Lala Anthony, Rihanna and Wesley Snipes. The street where Junior died was changed from Bathgate Avenue to Lesandro Junior Guzman Way. He was also honored by the NYPD with a scholarship created in his name. The teen was a member of the NYPD's Explores Program and had an interest in becoming a police officer.

"He was one of the good kids in the Bronx," his mother said at the time of his death. "He has never been in any fight, never, in 15 years. He was innocent. He never grew up on the streets. He was with me all the time."

If found guilty, the five defendants will face life in prison.

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Muhlaysia Booker: Transgender Woman Who Was Viciously Assaulted In April Found Shot To Death In Dallas

Around 6:40 a.m. on Saturday (May 18), Dallas police officials were called to the scene of a crime to discover that Muhlaysia Booker, a transgender woman who was physically attacked by a group of men last month, was fatally shot. According to Buzzfeed News, the 23-year-old Dallas resident was discovered face-down in the street. The police department ruled her death as "homicidal violence." An investigation is still underway.

In April, Booker was brutally assaulted by a group of men after a minor car accident. A 29-year-old suspect, Edward Thomas, was charged with aggravated assault, but later released on bond. Law enforcement states there's no evidence to believe Booker's death is connected to last month's incident.

"I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of Muhlaysia Booker," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings tweeted on Sunday (May 19). "I call on anyone with information on this homicide to please contact the Dallas Police Department." In 2018, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) revealed that 26 transgender people were murdered. Black transgender women made up a majority of that figure.

I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of Muhlaysia Booker. I call on anyone with information on this homicide to please contact the Dallas Police Department.

— Mike Rawlings (@Mike_Rawlings) May 20, 2019

Sarah McBride, HRC's national press secretary, previously said to CNN that the country's politicians need to take action.

"While there certainly are examples of individuals killed by people they know, including partners, many of the transgender people who have been killed are murdered by almost complete strangers," McBride said. "More people need to understand this epidemic of violence targeting marginalized people in this country, including transgender people, is hate-based and a byproduct of existing prejudice inflamed by politicians all too eager to appeal to the darker undercurrent of society."

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Rihanna Debuts First Look Of Fenty Label With LVMH

Rihanna let the world feel her power when it was announced that she would be the first black woman in history to create an original brand with LVMH. Now, in an interview with T Magazine, the pop diva is giving the world the first glimpse of pieces from her collaboration. RiRi sat down with T Magazine's Jeremy O. Harris, dug deep into her new world of luxury fashion, and even shared a few gems about R9.

"I've been slowly evolving throughout the fashion world. First wearing it, buying it, being recognized for my style and then collaborating with brands," she said. "I never just wanted to put my name on something and sell my license. I'm very hands-on, so I wanted to take it slowly and gain respect as a designer. I already had a relationship with them after Versailles campaign and the makeup line, so they extended the offer to me and it was a no-brainer because LVMH is a machine. Bernard Arnault was so enthusiastic; he trusted me and my vision."

 

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For Rihanna, she wants Fenty to embody all aspects of the human person. She has no qualms about what's feminine or what's masculine, and she looks to herself to better execute that vision she has for her Maison.

"I use myself as a muse," the Bajan beauty says. "[Fenty's] sweatpants with pearls, or a masculine denim jacket with a corset. I feel like we live in a world where people are embracing every bit of who they are. Look at Jaden Smith, Childish Gambino. They dare you to tell them not to." The Bad Gal made it clear that there's a difference between Rihanna the singer and her brands Fenty Beauty and now her line with LVMH. She says the line between her music and all other creative avenues she pursues has to be distinct because she refuses to lose her credibility.

 

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"Every collaboration I did outside of music, I used Fenty so that you didn’t have to hear the word 'Rihanna' every time you saw something that I did," she revealed. "So Rihanna stayed the music, the person. But these other brands are called Fenty." Although RiRi is currently venturing more into the "Fenty" side of things, she's still focused on Rihanna the artist with her reggae album in the works. There's no set due date, but she may very well have a name ready and it's a little tongue in the cheek.

"No, so far it's just been R9, thanks to the Navy" she answered when asked about a name. "I’m about to call it that probably, ’cause they have haunted me with this 'R9, R9, when is R9 coming out?' How will I accept another name after that’s been burned into my skull?"

Make sure to check out the upcoming Fenty pieces in RiRi's spread with T Magazine.

 

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https://t.co/tXI8jBAmBs #FENTY pic.twitter.com/r46mJoj5NJ

— FEИTY (@FentyOfficial) May 20, 2019

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