The introduction of an innovative poker product called Virtue Poker has the potential to shake up the online poker industry. Based on a new technology called Ethereum Blockchain, Virtue Poker is a peer-to-peer decentralized poker platform that offers a high level of transparency.
Virtue Poker has been developed by the ConsenSys project which was set up by Joe Lubin, a co-founder of Ethereum. The technology itself is being explored for use in a host of applications one of which is online poker.
Blockchain claims to provide players with a decentralized poker platform and a completely new way of playing poker, offering a tamper proof gaming experience with better control, better security for player funds and instant payouts.
The platform makes use of a smart contract feature to act as the escrow for the tournament buy-ins. Described as a cryptographic box, it is created when players send in digital currency to start play and can be opened only after specified criteria are met. So only after a winner is declared, does the contract get automatically executed, paying the winner directly into their digital wallet and removing the need for paying and withdrawing money.
In a statement, Ryan Gittleson who is a part of Virtue Poker’s team said
There isn’t a deposit or withdrawal process with Virtue Poker. The way it interacts is you have the digital wallet, and essentially we are bringing the live experience online. When you go to the casino you give them cash, get your chips, and when you win you exchange your chips for cash, and that’s it. There is no delayed withdrawal process. With us, it only takes 17 seconds to cash out.
Calling it a technological revolution, Gittleson said that Virtue Poker is likely to disrupt the online poker industry and finally give people an option other than PokerStars, the dominant online poker site. With PokerStars making unpopular changes like eliminating the Supernova program, Gittleson said the situation was ripe for a new entrant.
According to Gittleson the biggest barrier to the adoption of Virtue Poker was the general lack of trust. He pointed out that previous scandals such as the Ultimate Bet scandal had led to players doubting the credibility of every new platform.
The first release of Virtue Poker will target crypto currency enthusiasts, with ether and Bitcoin as the acceptable currencies. The company plans to bring on board popular poker pros and online celeb players to showcase the game through channels like Twitch. According to Gittleson, future developments depend on when the company gets its gaming license, as well as on educating regulators and players about the technology.