When you first sit down at the poker table one of the greatest fears is getting cheated out of your money.
Once you’ve played for awhile you tend to realize those concerns are usually unfounded as both casinos and online poker sites utilize a large assortment of security measures (depending on where you play of course!).
Technology is always changing, however, and the latest device to come out of China has some players worried.
The gadget in question is generally referred to as a “Poker Analyzer”.
There are a few variants but the basic idea behind the Poker Analyzer is that it can tell you what cards are going to be dealt.
In this article we’re going to take a closer look at how Poker Analyzers work and whether it's a legitimate danger at the tables.
First off you need the following to make a Poker Analyzer work:
- Special marked cards
- A special smartphone-looking device to set on the table that has a filtered lens camera
- Another smartphone-type device to keep in your pocket that reads whatever the camera is sending
- An earpiece to receive information about cards
- An optional extra keychain size device allows you to change the number of players on the fly by clicking
How Does it Work?
Poker Analyzer can tell you exactly what’s coming by reading the barcodes on a special batch of marked cards.
The analyzer will send the information to another device, which with then relay it to an earpiece which will give your verbal cue such as “DIAMOND QUEEN” to represent the Q♦.
You can also set it to just tell you who the winner in a hand will be after the entire board is dealt. The device will simply say something like “PLAYER 4” and that player will win. Analyzers are getting more advanced and at this point can memorize about half a deck of cards.
The device currently works with No-Limit Hold’em and, to a lesser extent, Pot-Limit Omaha.
Still have questions? The following video by Learning Labs Willy Allison actually explains how the device works quite well:
Where on Earth Do They Sell These Things?
In short they sell Poker Analyzers on very questionable websites based in China that specialize in equipment for cheating at gambling games.
Sites like gamblecheat.com or eyepokeranalyzer.com sell Poker Analyzers along with a variety of other casino-cheating devices.
Each site is poorly translated to English and there are actually no prices listed. You have to email the site managers and get a quote for each product.
There’s a good chance every single one of these sites will get shut down in the near future but considering the lax copyright laws in China you never know. Regardless there will probably be other sites that pop up to replace them.
Why You Probably Won’t Run into Poker Analyzer Anytime Soon
Before we get too carried away it’s important to acknowledge the various limitations of such a device as it currently stands:
The cards must be pre-marked, which basically rules out using it in casinos.
While Poker Analyzers are designed to look like cell phones the gadgets are actually fairly easy to identify.
Clues for spotting a Poker Analyzer? It's thicker than usual cell phone, looks unusually thick and the camera is on the side instead of back.
Another bad sign? If a player was frequently re-adjusting their phone to be parallel with the deck of cards so the camera can read them.
What Possible Situation Would a Poker Analyzer’s Work?
Any legitimate casino would shut this con down ASAP so it’s basically limited to shady home games or underground games.
In an underground game the player would have to be working with one of the dealers. In a home game, well, beware the host who only wants to play with his own personal deck of cards.
You might argue a sketchy casino might allow an inside job utilizing Poker Analyzers but if the facility was that crooked there would be a variety of other ways to cheat customers.
In reality there are very few locations where a Poker Analyzer would be a useful tool.
Should You Be Worried?
Taking all this into account it’s highly unlikely you run into one of these devices in the wild but it’s important to recognize the technology exists.
If they developed a Poker Analyzer that worked with regular cards it would change everything but most hustlers would probably go straight to the high-stakes blackjack tables instead of wasting their time at the poker table.
If you have any experience with Poker Analyzers in the wild feel free to tell us about your experience in the comments section below.