PokerStars was, until just a short time ago, a brand that was associated with poker only, naturally.
Even when Full Tilt began to venture into the world of casino games, it was believed that PokerStars would stay focused on poker, helping to distinguish it from its sister brand.
But once Amaya purchased the Rational Group, that didn’t last for long, and PokerStars started adding casino games to clients in Spain and elsewhere.
But historically, PokerStars hasn’t been a company content with just dabbling in anything, so perhaps it is not surprising that they’re looking to expand their casino offerings just as much as they have looked to offer as wide a variety of poker products as possible.
This week, PokerStars announced the launch of live dealer games to their casinos, partnering with Latvian company Evolution Gaming to present the games to their players.
If you’re not familiar with live dealer gaming, it is an attempt to bring some of the look, feel, and process of live casino gambling to the online world. Rather than have the results of hands or bets determined on a computer screen by a random number generator, players can instead watch a real live dealer in a casino (or, at least, a studio set up to look like a casino) play out the results of the hands in front of them while they place their bets.
That means that every bet is resolved using real cards, dice, and wheels, and can be verified simply by watching the action play out in on a live stream.
In this case, the real dealers and tables will be located in Riga, where Evolution is based. However, they will be hosted in a room that was specifically designed for PokerStars, complete with branding and logos. The games first appeared on the PokerStars.es client in Spain last month, and are now available on the .com, .eu, and .uk versions of the site.
“PokerStars is already viewed as an authentic, honest and trusted brand in gaming,” said Sam Hobcraft, Director of Casino for the Rational Group. “We’re now bringing the same customer-first principles and practices to the Live Casino experience.
Players will enjoy the convenience of playing poker, casino, and Live Casino games in the same place, with the same protection of player funds, the same fast payment processing and the same trust that they have come to expect from PokerStars.”
Games available in the live dealer section of the PokerStars casino include blackjack, baccarat, and a table game version of Texas Hold’em. However, the most innovative game may be the live roulette game, known as Immersive Live Roulette. A large number of cameras are used to provide a more complete casino feel to the game, allowing players to view the action from numerous angles.
The introduction of casino games has been one of several controversial changes at PokerStars that have occurred since Amaya Gaming purchased the company last year.
While some players have questioned whether the introduction of casino games would draw casual players away from the poker room, others have speculated that the opposite is actually true: that the casino games might bring in more general gamblers who will then spend some time and money in the poker room as well.