I've been watching the 2016 WSOP events on youtube. So far, in every event I've watched all players hole cards are shown on every hand. Is this the new standard for WSOP events? Complete information reveal.

I can't figure out how they are doing it.

  • The cards are revealed to the audience before the players themselves pick up the cards to look, so I don't think a hole cam is being used.

  • The dealer mucks all of the cards in a pile, so I don't think that
    they are going through some kind of card reader post-hand

  • The cards are being shown for every player (except when multiple
    players fold very quickly)

I know that there is a broadcast delay, so I think the information on the hole cards must somehow be added after the hand is over. Some kind of RFID chip in the card, or some other electronic or non-visual signal?

As a viewer I love it; it lets be play along with or as a specific player and see every hand as they do, but I wonder what effect this kind of complete information will have on the higher-levels of play.


Take a look at this video: WSOP #39. Around 23:50 Chris Fergerson (the guy with the cowboy hat who has a P.h.D in computer science) is dealt his cards, but he is talking about something related to the blind sizes. He his holding his cards on top of each other, and at 24:05 the dealer says something to him about the cards, but it is hard to make out. He spreads them out and then the TV overlay shows what the cards are. So perhaps it is a hole cam, somewhere along the edge of the table?

2 Answers 2


Depends on the table.

The traditional, much more common way currently is to have a hole card cam. This can be under a piece of glass where the players place their cards or built into the side rail. Pretty simple, just a little camera built in that they can see the cards with.

The other newer way, which Caesar's use for the WSOP too, is RFID cards. They are tracking each card so they could also tell you every single card in the deck and the order too this way.

Also with regards to the dealer, when dealing a TV table, especially the WSOP, you have an ear piece and they let the dealer know if they can't see any of the players cards. The dealer said they couldn't see his cards.

  • 3
    I thought the resolution of RFID technology used in this way was no better than a few millimeters, which would mean that you couldn't use this to tell the order of the cards in the deck. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 12:42
  • If by the "resolution of RFID technology" you are referring to the range, this can vary hugely depending on the purpose. For example, I attend running events where I strap an RFID to my ankle in order to ID me uniquely when I cross the finish line and get an accurate time.. based on the size of the finishing gates in this context the range would have to be at least a 5m radius. Whereas in the context of a deck of cards they could intentionally make the range a few mm only for security and so the cards can be detected individually in the receiving area on the table (usually a white outline) Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 1:14
  • 3
    I think resolution is more than just the range of the transmission. As thin as playing cards are, the RFID scanner would have to be insanely sensitive to be able to tell that one card was above another. Even a tiny change in the height or distance of the receiver would dramatically change the read of the level of the playing cards.
    – Brian H.
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 4:41
  • You guys are probably correct, I haven't really looked too much at it. Just handed the RFID deck and told that in the past. Anyway however capable they are that's the tech they use.
    – Grinch91
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 7:59

This is a great article on RFID
There are spots on the table that can read the cards
They do a very low power so it can only be read there
The cards are not powered - they receive power from the reader

Explaining RFID Technology and Poker

  • Great article, thank you. I was familiar with short-range RFID readers and passive chips, but I thought that you could use a higher-powered reader to read chips at an increased distance. The article cleared up that misconception nicely.
    – Brian H.
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 4:45
  • @BrianHVB And I was not aware the question was about chips. The accepted answer incorrectly states read every card in the deck and order.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 4:59
  • I meant "chips" as in passive RFID chips, as in non-powered chips. The question was about playing cards, not poker chips.
    – Brian H.
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 13:29
  • @BrianHVB And I thought that was the question I answered
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 13:40

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