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Ever watch the World Series of Poker or any other Poker Tournament on TV or even live?  Ever wonder how the system can show what the cards are in a split second on the screen?  It is because the Casinos are using RFID based cards on a dedicated RFID table that reads the cards placed into specific areas and displays them onto TV or monitors.

These RFID cards help the Casino

gain an edge in the ever popular Texas Hold'em Poker Games.  The edge is not against the player, but on displaying the card suit and rank onto the Casinos monitors.  Thus making the viewer instantaneously part of the game, without actually sitting at the table.

Ever wondered why the players must keep their cards in a certain spot in front of them?  Maybe the area is outlined and you must keep your cards in this area.  When the dealer deals the cards, notice they are always in the same area or again in an area outlined in front of the dealer ?  Look at the next few photos to see the designated areas:

The designated areas are the white lines around the cards.

 

The dealer area is directly in front of the dealer, with each player has a card rectangle in front of them.

In the Dealer card area, the cards are placed into the respective squares, again in front of the dealer.

 

Now take a moment to realize that the Table itself has embedded antennas and controllers that read the cards and display them to the monitors.

That is correct, the designated card areas on the tables WILL have antennas below those areas to read the RFID chip in each card.

So, whats to stop a "really good player" from reading this information say with a Cell Phone and basically have a huge advantage over the other players?  Cheating?  Yes, at the highest form available technically.

Recently, there are articles and information that a Casino Texas Hold'em was caught cheating using some sort of RFID reader, giving them an edge over the other players.  The articles are here: 

https://abc13.com/technology/video-stream-may-have-exposed-poker-cheater-at-casino/5598311/

https://mobile.slashdot.org/story/19/10/06/012254/did-a-poker-pro-use-rfid-tags-to-cheat

Interesting reads in my opinion.  However,  can this easily be accomplished ?  The answer is not too surprising for anyone in int he IT Security, YES ! 

There are those in the Gaming Security INdustry that say that the antennas are low powered with little to no bleed off or potential from other interference.  Really ?  Test your theory!  Bring a table with cards to DEFCON and let some real hackers prove you right or wrong.  Any signal can be intercepted and used in a potential malicious way.  RFID devices or tags can be re-programmed with many needing a direct line to do so OR within a "proximity".  I think this should be put to the test.

As many who have been going to DEFCON in Las Vegas (A Hackers Conference), RFID has been used to lift credit card numbers, membership IDs, room keys, etc or basically anything that has an RFID chip in it.  There are portable RFID readers that can steal the information and they can fit into the palm of your hand.  What's the possibility that a nefarious player starts reprogramming the RFID chips on the fly ?  Has it been done?  Who knows.  But that woudl really lend to some really interesting Poker Tournaments!

One such vendor for RFID equipment is:  https://www.atlasrfidstore.com

Amazon :  https://www.amazon.com/s?k=rfid&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

 

Oh, and it is not illegal ( at the time this article has been written) to own, purchase or sell RFID equipment.  It's all how you use this technology that "could" be deemed illegal.

 

Yes, these RFID cards, RFID Tables, Do It Yourself Instructions ara available from various places online.  Below are just a few:

Alibaba: https://www.alibaba.com/showroom/rfid-playing-cards.html

Video Poker Table -dot- net: http://videopokertable.net/

 

Cheers!

 

 

   

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