Freshly Launched Blockchain-Based Virtue Poker to Hold Celebrity Tourney Featuring Phil Ivey, Paul Pierce, Mr Beast

  • The decentralized Virtue Poker app went live on Friday after five years of development
  • The Ethereum-based platform is the first blockchain poker site to receive a gaming license
  • It features peer-to-peer shuffling and uses smart contracts so funds are never held on the app 
  • Phil Ivey, Brian Rast will be joined by tech-heads, celebrities for a 12-person charity event in June
Male hands touching tablet screen on green felt poker table surrounded with poker chips
After going live this past weekend, the Virtue Poker platform will celebrate its launch with a star-studded charity poker event later this month. [Image:]

Star-studded charity event in June 

Virtue Poker went live last Friday. The multi-chain, Ethereum-based decentralized poker platform has so far been a five-year project for co-founders Ryan Gittleson and Jim Berry.

Poker legend Phil Ivey is also an investor in the site. To celebrate the launch, Ivey will be putting his ambassador cap on later this month, hosting a 12-person charity event featuring, among others, poker pro Brian Rast, NBA Hall of Famer Paul Pierce, and YouTube star Mr Beast.

Ivey will be putting his ambassador cap on later this month

The event will have two starting tables of six, with three players advancing from each to the final table. It will be streamed through the main Twitch channel alongside some of the player’s private channels. The winner of the event will select the charity of their choice to receive the tournament proceeds.

Awarded a B2C Service License by the Malta Gaming Authority back in April, Virtue poker also received $5m in strategic investment from Pantera Capital, Consensys, the DFG Group, and FunFair that same month:

Virtue Poker app is decentralized

In 2016, Gittleson and Berry came up with an idea for using Ethereum’s blockchain to create a decentralized poker app. Today, that idea is a reality. Thanks to smart contracts, funds are never held inside the app. 

Players link their Ethereum wallet to the decentralized app (DApp). If they don’t have one, they can create one via Funfair, makers of a non-custodial wallet solution. Players can then send Ethereum tokens from their wallet to a sidechain, where they’re locked using smart contracts which know when a player’s balance increases and decreases.

There is also peer-to-peer shuffling, the only one of its type to be certified as fair by Gaming Labs International.

The shuffling feature is explained in the site’s how-to guide as follows: “Virtue Poker distributes the shuffling process among all players at the table. Each player’s app shuffles the deck and applies a layer of encryption. Once the deck is thoroughly shuffled and encrypted, the hand is dealt, and players exchange encryption keys so everyone can see their hands.”

Ivey, Pierce will take on blockchain industry captains

When you log on to the site, Virtue Poker resembles other poker platforms, insofar as there are game offerings (Sit n Gos, Cash games, and Multi-Step tournaments so far), promotions, and an explanation of their unique features. There’s even Phil Ivey’s face there to welcome you.

Ivey was an early investor in the company. He now also serves as its public spokesperson alongside fellow pros Dan Coleman and Brian Rast, the latter of whom will join Ivey in the charity No-Limit Hold ‘em event.

influential people in the blockchain space and a smattering of celebrities

Three seats to this special game will be given away to community members from the Virtue Poker, SuperFarm, and Ethernity communities. The game will also feature influential people in the blockchain space and a smattering of celebrities. ConsenSys founder Joe Lubin will be there, as will Ethernity founder Nick Rose, SuperFarm founder Elliot Wainman, and Onchain capital CEO Ran Neuner. YouTube sensation Mr Beast will be in attendance together with controversial NBA Hall of Famer Paul Pierce. 

A Boston Celtics legend, Pierce was fired from his commentary position at ESPN in early April after an Instagram Live stream where he was playing poker whilst drinking alcohol, smoking a blunt, and receiving massages from scantily clad women. After his dismissal, he said: “Big things are coming soon… I can’t lose even when I lose I’m winning.”

Perhaps he was referring to his collaboration with Virtue Poker, which he announced on Twitter this past weekend: 

Is Blockchain the future of online poker?

CEO Ryan Gittleson is excited about the potential of “the world’s first blockchain-based P2P poker platform.” He said: “Through our partnership with SuperStarter and the execution of our Celebrity Poker Charity event, Virtue Poker will be able to grow our community’s foundation as well as showcase the platform to a broad audience.”

Phil Ivey also issued a statement, saying: “After working with the Virtue Poker team for over 3 years, I’m excited to see the platform launch and be part of their first live stream event on this innovative platform.”

a brave new world out on the frontiers of technology

It’s a brave new world out on the frontiers of technology. Blockchain technology is the revolution that hasn’t quite happened yet, struggling to find a purpose beyond powering cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

The idea of a ledger of information that is distributed around lots of different users, instead of being held centrally, has the potential to be world-changing. Proponents have long argued that a blockchain is superior to a traditional database.

Time will tell if this technology can be applied to create a superior online poker experience. If it does, then Virtue Poker, being the first to market, has a huge advantage over future competition.  

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