Poker Copilot and Zoom Poker

On Sunday PokerStars released Zoom Poker. It seems to be equivalent to the late Full Tilt Poker’s Rush Poker.

I’m having a go at making a working HUD for Zoom Poker. Fortunately I went a long way down this path for an experimental Rush Poker HUD back in the day. So a lot of my necessary learning is already done, as is a semi-working solution.

Every hand in Zoom Poker is with a different set of opponents, so Poker Copilot’s approach of determining who is at the table from the hand history after a hand does’t work here. After ruling out other possible approaches, it seems clear to me that I need to use screen scraping.

To make the problem easier to solve, I’m setting some strict constraints at first: 9-player tables, using any of the “Nova” table themes, on one table, with the table made as big as PokerStars allows (1320 pixels by 932 pixels). Once I get that working satisfactorily here in the lab, I’ll make it available for eager¬†testers, to weed out problems. Then once that is working, I can look at removing the constraints one at a time.

After two days’ work, I’ve got parts of the solution in place. In the following screenshot you can see some of the workings: in real-time, Poker Copilot is grabbing the player names in image form, then converting each image to a binary image via a technique called thresholding.

Screen Shot 2012 03 20 at 5 45 47 PM

A further process trims each binary image, then separates the image into free-standing images of individual characters as much as possible. I intend to build up up a repository of as many images as possible so that I can “teach” Poker Copilot which image is equivalent to which character (or characters).

Here’s a glimpse of the tool I created to “teach” Poker Copilot about the letters. You can see the whole player name, the individual letters, and the third column where I manually tell Poker Copilot which letter is represented.

Screen Shot 2012 03 20 at 5 58 14 PM

If any brilliant researchers into screen scraping and character recognition are reading this, please do send me links to any helpful documents in this area that I can use…