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Publication numberUS20060001211 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/152,776
Publication dateJan 5, 2006
Filing dateJun 15, 2005
Priority dateJun 15, 2004
Also published asEP1778374A2, WO2005123203A2, WO2005123203A3
Publication number11152776, 152776, US 2006/0001211 A1, US 2006/001211 A1, US 20060001211 A1, US 20060001211A1, US 2006001211 A1, US 2006001211A1, US-A1-20060001211, US-A1-2006001211, US2006/0001211A1, US2006/001211A1, US20060001211 A1, US20060001211A1, US2006001211 A1, US2006001211A1
InventorsFrank Lewis, Kelly Lewis, Larry Rogers
Original AssigneeReal Time Graphics, Llc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automated playing card identification system for casino-type card games
US 20060001211 A1
Abstract
Systems and methods for the automatic recognition of playing cards for casino-type card games. The systems include an automatic card-recognition system, an electronic card data processor or processors which allow automatic collection, storage and hand ranking of historic and current card and player information, and statistical entry, analysis and retrieval systems. When used in the television industry, the invention provides multiple graphics generator interfaces, allowing television broadcasters to immediately generate and display computer-generated graphics detailing current hand and potential win percentage information, as well as historical or summary graphics information, for use in a live or post-produced television broadcast.
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Claims(14)
1. An automated system for identifying playing cards comprising:
at least one deck of laminated playing cards, wherein each playing card is comprised of at least a front substrate and a rear substrate, wherein each playing card contains at least one wirelessly pollable identifier positioned between the front substrate and the rear substrate, and wherein the wirelessly pollable identifier is attached directly to either the front substrate or the rear substrate;
at least one antenna, wherein the antenna is capable of transmitting a frequency necessary to cause the at least one wirelessly pollable identifier to transmit an identifier;
at least one reader, wherein the reader is capable of receiving the identifier transmitted by the at least one wirelessly pollable identifier;
a game processor;
a win percentage processor; and,
a graphics generator.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein the game processor is comprised of at least one database that correlates an identifier associated with an individual playing card to the rank and suit of the playing card.
3. The system of claim 2, wherein the game processor validates the transmitted identifier, determines the rank and suit of the playing card associated with the transmitted identifier by polling the at least one database, and associates the playing card with the player to whom the card was dealt.
4. The system of claim 3, wherein the game processor transmits hand information for all players to the win percentage processor after a required minimum number of cards have been dealt.
5. The system of claim 4, wherein the game processor further transmits to the win percentage processor information on any dead or discarded cards.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein win percentage processor analyzes every possible hand for each player based on the cards remaining in the deck.
7. The system of claim 6, wherein the win percentage processor returns an estimate of the percentage of hands that could be won using the cards currently held by each player.
8. The system of claim 1, wherein the graphics generator converts information received from other system components into outputs appropriate for insertion into a broadcast data stream.
9. The system of claim 8, wherein information from the win processor is made available to the graphics generator.
10. The system of claim 1, further comprising at least one manual bet recorder station, wherein the manual bet recorder station allows the inputting of card information when such data is unavailable from the game processor.
11. The system of claim 1, further comprising at least one statistics monitor workstation.
12. An automated system for identifying playing cards comprising:
at least one deck of laminated playing cards, wherein each playing card is comprised of at least a front substrate and a rear substrate, wherein each playing card contains at least one wirelessly pollable identifier positioned between the front substrate and the rear substrate, and wherein the wirelessly pollable identifier is attached directly to either the front substrate or the rear substrate;
at least one antenna, wherein the antenna is capable of transmitting a frequency necessary to cause the at least one wirelessly pollable identifier to transmit an identifier;
at least one reader, wherein the reader is capable of receiving the identifier transmitted by the at least one wirelessly pollable identifier;
a game processor, wherein the game processor is comprised of at least one database that correlates an identifier associated with an individual playing card to the rank and suit of the playing card;
a win percentage processor, wherein win percentage processor analyzes every possible hand for each player based on the cards remaining in the deck and returns an estimate of the percentage of hands that could be won using the cards currently held by each player;
a graphics generator, wherein the graphics generator converts information received from other system components into outputs appropriate for insertion into a broadcast data stream; and
at least one manual bet recorder station, wherein the manual bet recorder station allows the inputting of card information when such data is unavailable from the game processor.
13. The system of claim 12, wherein the game processor validates the transmitted identifier, determines the rank and suit of the playing card associated with the transmitted identifier by polling the at least one database, and associates the playing card with the player to whom the card was dealt, wherein the game processor transmits the hand information for all players to the win percentage processor after the required minimum number of cards have been dealt, and wherein the game processor transmits to the win percentage processor information on any dead or discarded cards.
14. An automated system for identifying playing cards comprising:
at least one deck of laminated playing cards, wherein each playing card is comprised of at least a front substrate and a rear substrate, wherein each playing card contains at least one wirelessly pollable identifier positioned between the front substrate and the rear substrate, and wherein the wirelessly pollable identifier is attached directly to either the front substrate or the rear substrate;
at least one antenna, wherein the antenna is capable of transmitting a frequency necessary to cause the at least one wirelessly pollable identifier to transmit an identifier;
at least one reader, wherein the reader is capable of receiving the identifier transmitted by the at least one wirelessly pollable identifier;
a game processor; and
a graphics generator.
Description

This application is related to, and claims the benefit of, Provisional U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/579,268, filed Jun. 15, 2004, the teachings of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

This application includes material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of automatic recognition, data storage, hand ranking, and/or statistical analysis of playing card ranks and suits for playing table playing card games. More specifically, an embodiment of the invention relates to games which use playing cards and are played at a casino, card room or other gaming table with live human participants.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the gaming industry there is a significant volume of gambling which occurs at live table games which involve the use of playing cards. Exemplary live table games include blackjack, baccarat, a large number of versions of poker, and the like.

It has long been a desire for some television programs to broadcast coverage of live table games. However, a major limitation and disadvantage of games using playing cards is that, depending on the rules of the game being played, a number of playing cards are dealt face down or are discarded by either the dealer or the players throughout the hand. This makes it impossible for broadcasters to supply the audience with background information, “color commentary”, or the like during lulls in the action. By way of example, since the rank and suit of the face-down or discarded playing cards is not generally known, it is impossible to accurately calculate win percentages of each player's hand. Thus, there have been relatively few live broadcasts of games using playing cards.

Rather than broadcasting the game live, the camera crews record the game as it progresses, including manually recording each card dealt, the amount or amounts of each bet made, and each individual player's action. These recordings are sent to a production studio for post-production processing. The production studio generates graphic images representing various aspects of the game, such as the cards held by each player, the amount bet, and the win percentage for each player's hand.

Some attempts have been made to streamline the recording process to expedite the post-production process. For example, some in the prior art have recorded card game action using video cameras mounted in the cushion which surrounds the table playing surface, a well as cameras mounted above the table. This approach is disadvantaged by the fact that the rank and suit of cards dealt face-down, whether dealt to a player or discarded by either a player or the dealer, cannot be determined through the use of an overhead camera, and is available to the cushion-mounted cameras only when the player lifts the cards from the playing surface to determine his hand. Even when the player lifts his cards from the table, it is possible that the suit and rank of the top cards in the hand may not be visible to the camera, as they may be covered by the lower card or cards of the hand. Discarded cards are typically not lifted from the table, and the rank and suit of the discarded playing cards remains unknown. This information must be gathered at the end of the hand if it is to be supplied to the post-production team.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

What is need is a system and methods through which game play information can be monitored and collected in or near real time, thus allowing broadcasters to provide live coverage of playing card games. Accordingly, the present invention is directed to an automated playing card identification system for games using playing cards that substantially obviates one or more of the problems due to limitations and disadvantages of the related art. The invention addresses the limitations present in the prior art and provides a means of automatically determining the rank and suit of all cards dealt or discarded. This allows accurate calculation of potential win percentages and the generation of virtually instantaneous graphics images and statistical information for use in live television broadcasts.

An object of the present invention is to provide systems and methods for the automatic recognition of playing cards for casino-type card games. Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objectives and other advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by the structure particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.

To achieve these and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose of the present invention, as embodied and broadly described, in one aspect of the present invention there is provided an automatic card-recognition system, an electronic card data processor or processors which allow automatic collection, storage and hand ranking of historic and current card and player information, and statistical entry, analysis and retrieval systems.

In another aspect of the present invention there is provided embedded radio-frequency identification tags or other wirelessly pollable tags to provide a unique identification serial number for each card in the playing card deck or decks, or computer-generated barcode information printed on the back of each playing card; and a plurality of radio-frequency identification readers, built into the game playing surface, and being controlled to provide automatic identification of playing cards dealt or played, or at least one barcode scanner to provide the same function

In yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided a plurality of radio-frequency identification readers, built into the game playing surface, and being controlled to provide automatic identification of playing cards dealt or played, or at least one barcode scanner to provide the same function.

An embodiment of the invention includes both internal and external graphics generator interfaces which allow television broadcasters to immediately display graphics related to the game or hand in progress. Statistical data on cards and player hands, as well as bet amounts, summary totals and individual player actions are available from the system for use as computer printouts, statistical analysis screens on locally-connected personal computers, as television broadcast graphics, or for other such purposes.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 a and FIG. 1 b are top views of playing cards containing radio-frequency identification chips, the back of the playing cards having been removed for clarity.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a card identification system embodiment, including a television graphics output, utilizing a single radio-frequency identification reader.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a card identification system embodiment, including a television graphics output, utilizing a plurality of radio-frequency identification readers.

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of a playing surface embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EMBODIMENT

Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. For clarity, similar components in the various figures have been given the same reference numerals.

FIG. 1 a represents laminated playing card 200 incorporating a self-adhesive radio-frequency identification tag consisting of a microchip transceiver 203 and associated antenna 202 mounted on a thin polyvinyl chloride carrier 204. The complete assembly incorporates a front substrate that includes the playing card face, the radio-frequency identification tag, and a rear substrate that includes the playing card back, which are bonded together to form a complete playing card assembly. In this figure, the playing card back has been removed for clarity.

FIG. 1 b represents an alternative configuration of a laminated playing card assembly, utilizing a self adhesive radio-frequency identification (“RFID”) tag consisting of a microchip transceiver 203 and associated antennas 202, mounted directly on a playing card surface 200. The complete assembly incorporates a front substrate that includes the playing card face, the radio-frequency identification tag and a rear substrate that includes the playing card back, which are bonded together to form a complete playing card assembly. In this figure, the playing card back has been removed for clarity.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a single-sensor automatic playing card identification system, including an optional graphics generator output for television. In this embodiment, the playing cards used as part of the game include at least one RFID tag, with each card assigned a unique identifier. Each card dealt at card table 100 is passed over antenna 101 during the dealing process, and may also pass over antenna 101 during game play. When a card passes over antenna 101, the card transmits its unique identification number. The transmitted identification number is received and decoded by radio-frequency identification reader 102. In the illustrated embodiment, the identification number data is transmitted to game processor 103 by means of RS232 or RS485 serial communications link 114. It should be apparent to one skilled in the art that alternative communications means, such as, but not limited to, a communication means employing BlueTooth™ technology, may be substituted therefor without departing from the spirit or the scope of the invention.

Game processor 103 validates the radio-frequency identification tag data, searches an internal database to determine the rank and suit of the card, and assigns that card to the appropriate player depending on the rules of the game in play. This card and player information can be displayed on one or more system console monitors 106.

In the illustrated embodiment, when the required minimum number of cards have been dealt (depending on the rules of the game in play and the number of players), the game processor transmits the hand information for all players, plus information on any dead or discarded cards, to Win Percentage processor 104. Such transmission may occur via Ethernet link 115 or other wired or wireless communication means. Win Percentage processor 104 performs an analysis of every possible hand for each player based on the cards remaining in the deck and returns an estimate of the percentage of hands that could be won using the cards currently held by each player. This information is relayed to game processor 103 and can also be made available on system console monitor 106. The win percentage information is also available to graphics generator 105 for output to a television truck or other transmission source. In the illustrated embodiment, graphics generator 105 provides serial-digital (RS601) outputs for video fill 108 and video key 109 signals required for insertion of the image over standard television pictures, high definition television pictures, or other broadcast data streams. The signals can be synchronized to reference signal 110 generated by the television truck or other transmission source.

An embodiment of the system supports manual entry of wager amounts and player actions through system console terminal 106 or through Manual Bet Recorder station 111. This allows the inputting of card information when such data is unavailable through the automatic system and provides a manual backup for the automatic playing card recognition system. Information entered through system console terminal 106 or Manual Bet Recorder station 111 is stored in Game Processor 103 for use in statistical analysis of the game, tournament, or event, and for the generation of appropriate graphics for the television broadcast.

An embodiment of the system also provides for a plurality of Statistics Monitoring workstations 113. These workstations can be connected to game processor 103 via Ethernet link 115 or an alternative wired or wireless communication means. By way of example, without intending to limit the present invention, such connectivity allows users to monitor and analyze various aspects of the game, including the current hand, wager amounts, win percentages, player actions, and game results.

The proposed system can also incorporate a plurality of printers 107, interfaced to game processor 103 via Ethernet link 115 or other wireless or wired communication means, or directly connected to game processor 103 or any of the Statistics Monitor workstations 113. This allows the system to provide hard-copy output of each hand played and other associated statistics.

FIG. 3 is a block schematic diagram of a multi-sensor automatic playing card identification system, including an optional graphics generator output for television. In this configuration, an individual antenna 101 is located at each player position, with an additional antenna and reader located at both the discard area and “community card” area on the playing surface, depending on the type of game being played. Each antenna has an associated radio-frequency identification reader 102. All readers can be connected through an RS485 communications link 117 or other wired or wireless communication means to Data Concentrator 116, which can transmit all received radio-frequency tag data to game processor 103 via Ethernet connection 115 or other wired or wireless communication means.

Game processor 103 validates the radio-frequency identification tag data, searches a database to determine the rank and suit of the card just dealt, and assigns that card to the appropriate player, depending on the rules of the game in play. This card and player information can be displayed on system console monitor 106. When the required minimum number of cards have been dealt (depending on the rules of the game in play and the number of players), game processor 103 transmits the hand information for all players, plus information on any dead or discarded cards, to Win Percentage processor 104 via Ethernet link 115 or an alternative wired or wireless communication means. Win Percentage processor 104 performs an analysis of every possible hand for each player based on the cards available in the deck and returns an estimate of the percentage of hands that could be won using the cards currently held by each player. This information can be made immediately available to a user via system console monitor 106, and can also be made available to graphics generator 105 for output to a television truck or other broadcast source. In the illustrated embodiment, graphics generator 105 provides serial-digital (RS601) outputs for video fill 108 and video key 109 signals required for insertion of the generated images over standard television pictures, high definition television pictures, or other broadcast data streams. These signals can be synchronized to reference signal 110 generated by a television truck or other broadcast source.

Manual entry of wager amounts and player actions is supported through the system console terminal 106 or through Manual Bet Recorder station 111. Information entered through system console terminal 106 or Manual Bet Recorder station 111 is stored in game processor 103 for use in statistical analysis of the game, tournament, or event, and for the generation of appropriate graphics for the television broadcast.

In the illustrated embodiment, manual card data entry may also be accomplished through system console terminal 106, or through Manual Data Entry station 112. This allows the inputting of card information when such data is unavailable through the automatic system and provides a manual backup for the automatic playing card recognition system.

The illustrated embodiment provides a plurality of Statistics Monitor workstations 113 which are connected to game processor 103 via Ethernet link 115 or other wired or wireless communication means. These workstations allow monitoring and statistical analysis of various aspects of the game, including the current hand, wager amounts, win percentages, player actions, and game results.

The illustrated embodiment also incorporates an optional plurality of system printers 107, interfaced to game processor 103 via Ethernet link 115 or other wireless or wired communication means, or directly connected to either game processor 103 or any of the Statistics Monitor workstations 113. This allows the system to provide hard-copy output of each hand played and other associated statistics.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a typical playing surface. A groove 301 of suitable size and shape is machined into plywood playing surface 300 and a loop-wire antenna 101 is inserted into the groove. The antenna connector (not shown) is routed through a hole in the playing surface, and is mechanically and electrically connected to Radio-frequency Identification reader 102 using a suitable shielded cable. After assembly, the entire playing surface is covered with the standard felt material 303 normally used on playing card gaming surfaces.

Radio-frequency Identification Reader 102 may be mounted directly to the bottom of the playing surface (as shown), or may alternately be located within a protective housing within the playing table structure or framework.

While the invention has been described in detail and with reference to specific embodiments thereof, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. Thus, it is intended that the present invention cover the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8348763Jul 31, 2006Jan 8, 2013Cork Group Trading Ltd.Method for implementing a live dealer game
US20100113118 *Mar 28, 2008May 6, 2010Angel Playing Cards Co., Ltd.Rfid-incorporated game card and manufacturing method thereof
WO2014071496A1 *Oct 25, 2013May 15, 2014Garden City Software Corp.A method and system for providing interactive off-table betting on games
Classifications
U.S. Classification273/149.00R
International ClassificationA63F1/14, A63F1/18, A63F9/24, A63F1/12
Cooperative ClassificationA63F2009/2411, A63F2009/2489, A63F1/18
European ClassificationA63F1/18
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 19, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: REAL TIME GRAPHICS, LLC., FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LEWIS, FRANK A.;LEWIS, KELLY J.M.;ROGERS, LARRY;REEL/FRAME:016816/0135;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050825 TO 20050826
Sep 6, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: REAL TIME GRAPHICS, LLC., FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LEWIS, FRANK A.;LEWIS, KELLY J.M.;ROGERS, LARRY;REEL/FRAME:016730/0049;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050825 TO 20050826