Poker News Roundup: Virtual Reality, Scott Sanders, Emmanuele Onnis

Online poker World Series of Poker WSOP

This week’s poker headlines focus on a couple of big winners in Malta and Lake Tahoe, but we’ll start our recap of the news with a focus on new technology in the game. PokerStars is moving closer to unveiling what it believes could be a game-changer in online poker:

PokerStars Brings Virtual Reality To Online Poker

The poker industry is looking for ways to expand its reach, enhance its brand and diversify its offerings to consumers and prospective gamers. The latest sign of these efforts is an attempt to bring virtual reality to online poker.

It was announced this week that PokerStars is in the midst of creating PokerStars VR. This virtual reality program will create exotic and specific environments in which players can visualize themselves playing poker. The VR technology will, according to the company, enable players to look at their hole cards, talk to tablemates, and pick up on tells, all features generally not found in the current menu of services available to online poker players.

We’ve seen some online casinos try to recreate some of this with live dealers but a fully immersive VR experience would take the online game to another level.

In 2017, online poker represented 67 percent of The Stars Group’s revenues, but this year’s current projections are spotting the percentage of revenue near 36, hence the urgency surrounding the need to introduce new offerings to boost online poker.

In-N-Out Burger Employee Has Twin WSOP Circuit Wins

The rags-to-riches story is part of the romance of poker playing and other forms of gaming. Life can dramatically change with one or two magical moments. That’s exactly what happened to 30-year-old Scott Sanders, whose two World Series of Poker Circuit wins surpassed about three to four years of his job earnings.

The In-N-Out Burger employee changed his life by winning nearly $173,000 by playing poker in Lake Tahoe. Sanders won the Monster Stack tournament at the WSOPC for just over $25,200. Then he won the Main Event for just over $147,300. He has no plans to change his career path, though.

At the Monster Stack final table, Sanders was followed by runner-up Marty Gorenc, who won just over $15,500. Mike Ruter was third with just over $11,300. Sean Barker was fourth with $8,430. Lowell Kim was fifth with $6,350.

Taking a look at the top five finishers at the Main Event, Sanders was followed by runner-up Nick Pupillo, who won just over $91,000. Brett Murray won $66,500 in third place, Stephen Song earned $49,392 in fourth place and Ryan Stoker placed fifth to collect $37,245. The Main Event had a $1,700 buy-in with 442 entrants.

Onnis Wins Malta Poker Festival Grand Event

Emmanuele Onnis has emerged as the winner at the Malta Poker Festival Grand Event. The signature event of the tournament had a 550-euro buy-in along with a 150,000-euro first prize.

The field proved to be a sizable one as a total of 1,366 players participated. The guaranteed prize pool was 500,000 euros but with so many entries, the prizing ballooned to 662,510 euros.

Fabian Gumz was the runner-up and won 85,000 euros while Nicolaj D’Antoni placed third and took home 50,000 euros.