The Pokemon Company International, Inc. (Bellevue, WA)

A system having a radio-frequency-identification (RFID) tag reader and a camera to map playing cards to RFID tag values. Each card is placed into a sleeve with an RFID tag. During or after insertion of the card into the sleeve the camera takes an image of the card. In addition, the RFID reader records the RFID tag’s value to the sleeve. The card’s identity is then determined from the captured image and then mapped to the RFID tag value. The mapping information is created for each pair of card sleeves in a deck of cards, and is used to track the movement of the cards as they play. Before and after each player draws a card, the RFID tag value for every pair of sleeves in the card deck is recorded. To determine the cards pulled by the player the unrecorded RFID tags are checked to the mapping data.

Description of Related Art

In the past few years, the telecasting of tournaments for trading cards or poker tournaments has grown in popularity. These telecasts feature players draw or are dealt with one or more playing cards with their faces down. The event’s commentators can discuss and provide information about the various strategies and options available to players according to their hand as well as the hands of the players who are competing. But to provide accurate or up-to-date information, commentators need to know what cards are in each player’s hand.

When a player is looking at or takes out his or her cards they usually direct the playing faces towards a camera. To provide pertinent information to the televised audience and commentators, they can see the images taken from the cards. Cameras let viewers view the cards played by players. These cameras can be positioned under the playing surface or on an arm rest near each player so as to capture images of the cards when the playerlifts the cards in order to determine which cards received. Cameras come with their drawbacks. For instance, a person can use his or her hand to block the camera from taking pictures of the cards. Another example is when the camera only captures small portions of the cards. This could be an issue in more complicated games in which the information might not be sufficient for commentators to identify which cards are being held. It is with respect to these and other considerations that theembodiments described herein are being developed.

Embodiments are directed towards a system that includes a radio-frequency-identification (RFID) tag reader and a camera to map playing cards to RFID tag values. Every playing card is connected to an RFID tag. The camera takes an image of the card, and then the RFID reader records the RFID tag value. Based on the image, identity of the cards is identified. The RFID tag value is then transferred to the image, and stored in an electronic storage device. This information is generated for each card in a deck. Since the deck is being utilized in games and the RFID tag value of every playing card in the card deck is recorded prior to and following the player draws a card from the deck.The missing RFID tag values are then compared with the information on the map to determine which cards were played by the player. The RFID tag values of all playing cards can be captured before and after they are drawn. This allows for the identification of any cards that are discarded or played, and then saved in the memory. It is possible to identify the identity of each card in the hand of a player without using a camera or capture images of the hand. This improves the accuracy of determining the distribution of playing cards in game play as well as the generation of real-time strategy information related to the game.

In certain instances in some embodiments, the RFID tag is attached to a sleeve into which the playing card is placed. A card-sleeve combo could be referred to as a card-sleeve pair. When the playing card is inserted into the sleeve or when the card is inserted into the sleeve, the camera records images of the playing card and the RFID reader reads RFID tag values that are derived from the RFID tag affixed to the sleeves. The images are processed to determine the identity of the playing card. A mapping between the RFID tag’s value on the sleeve as well as the identity of the card is stored for each card-sleeve pair, which creates a digital connection between the card and the RFID tag. The RFID-tagged sleeves allow playingcards to be used in any order. This adds randomness and lowers the chances that cardholders are able to distinguish RFID tags on playing cards.

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