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RFID Gives Pokertronic Its Strong Suit

The company says its RFID-enabled poker table and cards make it easier for casinos, clubs and TV-production businesses to offer spectators a glance into players' hands.
By Rhea Wessel
Kerscher, a software designer and IT specialist, says he launched the company Pokertronic in order to offer his services of producing live poker shows. When he discovered that radio frequency identification could make his job easier, he began developing the Pokertronic table for sale. "RFID is the best technical solution for digitalizing the cards," he states.

Kerscher declines to reveal which company is providing him with RFID readers and reader antennas for the Pokertronic tables, since it took him a long time to find a firm that could offer the proper hardware necessary to provide players with confidence that opponents could not cheat via the system.

"Poker is played for million-dollar purses," Kerscher says. "People are scared that someone could read their cards electronically, or program their own software to find out their opponent's hand."

Earlier this year, news reports said that a German poker player was disqualified from a tournament in Cannes, France, for allegedly cheating. A team reviewed video footage of the match and concluded that individuals posing as journalists and bloggers had signaled the player about his opponents' cards.

According to Kerscher, poker attracts players who will do anything to win, which is why he outfitted the Pokertronic tables with RFID technology with a maximum read range of 10 centimeters (4 inches).

Pokertronic, based in Regensburg, is a joint venture with AniMazing GmbH, also located in Regensburg. AniMazing provides gaming products, such as billiard and foosball tables, as well as darts and poker products. One of the firm's online marketing arms, Gambler's Store—which calls itself Europe's largest specialty supplier of casino and poker articles—will market the Pokertronic table.

AniMazing also rents Pokertronic tables as part of a package of Pokertronic event-production services. With the combination of hardware and software he created, Kerscher says he is able to produce and show a film of a game in real time, with no post-production work necessary. Recorded games can be viewed at a later date, or burned onto DVDs and handed out as souvenirs to players or spectators.

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