Can Evolution’s Dual Play Model Revolutionize Poker?

It’s fair to say that playing poker online (by that, we mean player vs player) games has maintained a similar structure since the online poker boom of the 2000s. Yes, there have been improvements – many of them – but the fundamental structure of poker rooms remains the same as it did in the 2000s.

And yet, technology can always drastically change things. And we have been wondering about the work done by Evolution Gaming, one of the most prominent providers, alongside Playtech, of live casino games, in the area called “Dual Play”. While it is still a nice idea and one not directly linked to online poker, it might have ramifications for poker and the wider casino gaming industry. As such, it might take games like Live Casino Hold’em to the next level.

So, first of all, what is Dual Play? It is effectively a bridge between online casinos and real casinos. It allows people to play at land-based casinos using their smartphones and tablets alongside those physically present at the casino resort. So, for example, a player might use their smartphone to place bets on a roulette table while they are sitting in a restaurant, while other ‘real’ players place their bets in person.

Dual Play remains a niche product

As we mentioned, it is a niche product thus far, only adopted by a handful of land-based casinos worldwide. But it is the model behind the concept that is important to consider here. Of course, there needs to be a relationship between the physical casino and the online casino provider, but these are not insurmountable problems.

What, then, does this mean for poker? Well, one of the aspects we mentioned earlier was that online poker has barely changed in twenty years, structurally speaking. Poker at online casinos has changed considerably due to the advent of (player versus dealer) live poker games. But player versus player games still largely rely on a two-dimensional experience. There are many reasons that could change.

Streaming technology has changed dramatically in recent years

Is it a stretch to say that the same technology used with Dual Play could be transferred to a poker room? Could an online player join a high-stakes game in a VIP room in the Bellagio Las Vegas? It’s certainly possible. Over the last few years, we have seen huge strides in streaming technology. The likes of Zoom and Microsoft Teams have taken the technology into a new direction as millions of people work from home and connect to the office remotely. The same technology is being used to evolve certain aspects of entertainment.

The other area that is linked to this is the concept of the metaverse. It might seem odd to link what Evolution is doing with Dual Play and the concept of the metaverse made famous by Facebook, but they are fundamentally about the same thing – blending the physical and virtual world together. And for poker, that means getting online players into the same room as those playing in person.

At the moment, much of this is speculative. While we might laud Evolution Gaming for its innovation in bringing out Dual Play, it remains something on the periphery of the industry. But as this sort of technology improves, incorporating stuff like VR, avatars, and hologram technology (all of which are being worked on by Microsoft and others), there is no limit to what it can achieve. For poker players, that might mean looking into the eyes of your opponent, seeing if they are bluffing, even though you are playing 1000s of miles from them. It might take some time for it to roll out to the mainstream, but it will come. And it might change poker forever.