Virtue Poker has launched a new feature: pay-to-earn. This feature uses Virtue Poker’s unusual setup to effectively integrate what would otherwise be the company’s “.net” and “.com” player pools. Players who do not want to deposit — or whose jurisdiction does not allow it — can sign up to Virtue Gaming for free and earn tokens that are redeemable for cash.
This product is a continuation of the company’s intriguing experiments into what the blockchain can do for online poker, beyond making Doug Polk even richer.
Virtue Poker’s main software is a decentralized poker platform. This means the Virtue Poker cashier is made up of smart-contracts embedded in the Etherium blockchain. The Virtue Poker shuffle is conducted in part by each player’s computer — with cards being read by combining cryptographic keys from each of the computers involved. Now Virtue Gaming is using the same software to provide a fiat-free experience, while completely integrating the pool with Virtue Poker’s paying players.
Virtue Gaming is described on the Virtue Poker site as “the World’s First Free-to-Play Play-to-Earn poker platform where players can not lose.” The presser adds, “Virtue Gaming employs a first-of-its kind poker model where players receive free bankrolls just by registering an account. Players compete against other players to earn real cash prizes, NFTs, and live experiences.”
Phil Ivey tweets: “@Virtue_Poker launched no-loss play-to-earn poker in the US today. Players compete for free to earn cash prizes, join me.”
How does play-to-earn work?
Players who sign up for Virtue Poker can deposit and play with Etherium. They can also earn or buy VPPs, Virtue Poker’s own token. However, players who open a Virtue Gaming account cannot deposit with cash or crypto.
Instead, during the promotional period, new sign-ups to Virtue Gaming will receive 500 VPPs into their account. They can then play in any VPP buy-in games on the site as part of the same player pool that includes any VPP players from the Virtue Poker platform.
Players who enter games earn Virtue Experience Points as they play. VXPs allow Virtue Gaming players to enter prize draws and earn USDT (a crypto token that is pegged to the IRL USD’s value).
At the end of the promotional period, Virtue Gaming’s players will have their VPPs burned. This is part of a wider inflation-busting policy in which a certain number of VPPs are removed from the economy. These are not the only VPPS that get burned. For example, Virtue Poker burns a certain percentage of the VPPs that are raked for example.
Any USDT’s the player has won will stay on the player’s account and can be used in further games.
The promotional period runs from December 9, 2021 to January 30, 2022. The first prize draws will begin on February 1, 2022.
For the moment Virtue Gaming is only available to U.S. players. However, the company plans to launch in Western Europe in 2022. If all goes well with the new product, expansion is unlikely to stop there.
Virtue poker tweets: “If you are a US player – download Virtue Gaming and compete in free-to-play play-to-earn poker starting now.”
Revolution or gimmick?
Right now Virtue Poker is relatively small fry in the online poker business. The entire player pool of Virtue Poker is about 25,000 players at the moment. For comparison, this week Poker Stars had nearly 10k unique players online in one 24-hour period alone.
But Virtue Poker is also brand new. The team managed to get $5 million during its strategic investment push. They then launched a new site without too much teething trouble. And they persuaded Phil Ivey on board to shill for them.
Most surprisingly they did this with a business model that requires its customers to have a crypto wallet. The ven diagram of cryptonerds and poker enthusiasts has a chunky overlap, but it is still an exclusionary customer base.
That Virtue Poker worked at all deserves some credit.
The company’s main product only went to market this year and already the IT team has rustled up a whole other outside-the-box, eminently sellable product in Virtue Gaming.
It’s too early to tell if any of this will stick in the long run, or even succeed in the short term. But you have to admire the moxie, creativity, and know-how the Virtue Poker team has shown so far.
Featured image source: Virtue Poker