### Poker Real Time Odds on Mac OS X: Part 5

The continuing story of creating a tool called SeeingStars, offering real time odds for PokerStars. Read from the beginning here.

Calculating odds can be time-consuming. A short-cut preflop is to use pre-calculated tables. I found a table of preflop odds for all starting hands here. I copied this into SeeingStars, and created some code to look up in this table your starting hand by # of players. It works well, and outputs as follows:

`cards = hand: Jc 5s, playerCount: 2, board: : 47.1% chance of winning`

But who wants to read tiny text while playing? I made a HUD-style window, found a scoreboard style typeface, and displayed the number in a large size:

Not looking too bad, I think.

However this is only working preflop. After the flop, turn and/or river are revealed, it is more complicated. A look-up approach would require more than 500 billion recalculated values. Two possible approaches are

• iterate through all opponent cards and all possible outcomes. This takes too long, so I won’t do this.
• to sample a range of possible outcomes via the Monte Carlo method.

I think with the Monte Carlo method the odds calculated by sampled values will soon approach the actual odds. The trick is determining the amount of possible outcomes to sample that balances time constraints and accuracy.

### Poker Real Time Odds on Mac OS X: Part 4

The continuing story of creating a tool called SeeingStars, offering real time odds for PokerStars. Read part 1, part 2, and part 3.

In the last part I showed how I turned a screenshot into a 2-bit picture, which in text form looks like this:

`000000000000000000000000000000000001111100000000000000000001110011110000000000000001111000001110000000000000111100000011110000000000001110000000011110000000000111100000000111110000000001111000000000111100000000011100000000001111000000001111000000000011110000000011110000000000111100000000111100000000001111100000001111000000000001111000000011110000000000111100000000111110000000001111000000000111100000000011110000000001111000000000111100000000001110000000001110000000000011110000000111100000000000011110000001110000000000000011110000111000000000000000001111111000000000000000000000111100000000000000000000001111000000000000000000000011111000000000000000000000111111000000000000000000000111111000000000000000000000111111110000000000000000000001110000000000000000000000000000000000`

I played on PokerStars for a couple of hours while my embryonic program grabbed screenshots, turned it into a string of 1’s and 0’s, then saved it. I now had a corpus of screen scrapings. Using a text editor, I manually augmented the text file with the character I could see. For example, a section of the text file looks like this:

It’s a manual way of training a computer to do optical character recognition.

Now I can compare future scraped characters to this corpus to find out what character it is.

The process of scraping doesn’t always return identical matches; sometimes the character ‘Q’ might have a couple more 1’s or a couple more 0’s. So I compare the scraped stream of 1’s and 0’s with my corpus using an “edit distance” algorithm. If the edit distance of the scraped text from an item in the corpus is no more than 4, then I count it as a match.

Let’s fire up PokerStars, play a hand, and see what SeeingStars does so far. Here’s the table:

Here’s what SeeingStars thinks is on the table:

cards = hand: Ks 4s, playerCount: 2, board: 3c 6c 2h 2d 5h

Perfect!

I think the hard part is done. Now to turn those cards and board into real time odds. That’s coming in part 5.

### Question for Spanish-Speaking Poker Copilot Users

Estoy empezando a utilizar poker copilot y tengo problemas para poder subir mi historial. Solicito el historial en PokerStars, me da el formato csv. pero cuando entro en copilot y le doy a exportar el archivo, este me aparece pero no me lo deja seleccionar. Alguien me podria indicar como debo de hacerlo?

### Poker Real Time Odds on Mac OS X: Part 3

The continuing story of creating a tool called SeeingStars, offering real time odds for PokerStars. Read part 1 and part 2.

Now the tricky stuff starts: having found the PokerStars table window, how do we determine the cards? This is not an easy programming problem. To make it easier, I’ll add some constraints. For the purpose of creating proof that real time odds is possible, here are the constraints I’m imposing:

1. Heads-up only, so that we know there are always exactly two players in the hand.
2. Maximum window size only, which is 1320 pixels by 932 pixels.
3. Using PokerStars’ Nova theme, with green felt, 4-color deck, using the modern-style deck:

These constraints can be relaxed later, once I get the basics working.

Using the window id obtained in part 2 of this series we can get the screenshot:

`- (NSBitmapImageRep *)createSingleWindowShot:(CGWindowID)windowID {    CGImageRef cgImageRef = CGWindowListCreateImage(        CGRectNull,         kCGWindowListOptionIncludingWindow,         windowID,         kCGWindowImageBoundsIgnoreFraming);    NSImage *const nsImage = [[NSImage alloc] initWithCGImage:cgImageRef size:NSZeroSize];    return [[NSBitmapImageRep alloc] initWithData:[nsImage TIFFRepresentation]];}`

From the screen image we can determine the suit of a card by sampling the colour of one pixel. I used stackoverflow.com for information on finding the nearest colour to a pixel, and then map that colour to a suit.  Some reading and experimentation shows the colour’s hue is a good method for differentiating between colours:

`- (NSString *)getSuit:(NSBitmapImageRep *)bitmapImageRep x:(NSInteger)x y:(NSInteger)y {    NSDictionary *hues = @{        @0.57f:@"d",         @1.0f:@"d",         @0.29f:@"c",         @0.0f:@"s"     };     CGFloat pixelHue = ([bitmapImageRep colorAtX:x + 2 y:y + 4]).hueComponent;     double smallestDiff = fabs(0.38 - pixelHue); // 0.38 is the hue of the table felt     NSString *match = nil;     for (NSNumber *hue in hues.allKeys) {         const double diff = fabs((hue.floatValue) - pixelHue);         if (diff < smallestDiff) {             smallestDiff = diff;             match = [hues objectForKey:hue];         }     }     return match;}`

What about a card’s rank? This is harder. From experience I know that “thresholding” is helpful. Thresholding turns an image into a one-bit image: every pixel becomes either black or white, on or off, according to a threshold algorithm.

I started up Pixelmator and opened a PokerStars screenshot. Using Pixelmator’s threshold effect, I found that a setting of 80% worked well.

Most detail is gone, but the ranks of the cards are visible.

I turned this into Objective-C code:

` - (BOOL)threshold:(NSColor *)color {     float value = 0.8f;     return color.redComponent > value &&          color.blueComponent > value &&         color.greenComponent > value;    }  - (void)logOneBitImage:(NSBitmapImageRep *)bitmapImageRep startX:(NSInteger)startX startY:(NSInteger)startY {     int width = 26;     int height = 30;     int ary[width * height];     for (int y = 0; y < height; y++) {         NSString *row = @"";         for (int x = 0; x < width; x++) {             NSColor *color = [bitmapImageRep colorAtX:x + startX y:y + startY];             ary[x * height + y] = [self threshold:color] ? 1 : 0;             row = [row stringByAppendingString:(ary[x * height + y]) == 0 ? @"0" : @"1"];         }         NSLog(@"row = %@", row);     }     NSLog(@" "); }`

This gives output in which you can clearly see the rank:

`000000000000000000000000000000000001111100000000000000000001110011110000000000000001111000001110000000000000111100000011110000000000001110000000011110000000000111100000000111110000000001111000000000111100000000011100000000001111000000001111000000000011110000000011110000000000111100000000111100000000001111100000001111000000000001111000000011110000000000111100000000111110000000001111000000000111100000000011110000000001111000000000111100000000001110000000001110000000000011110000000111100000000000011110000001110000000000000011110000111000000000000000001111111000000000000000000000111100000000000000000000001111000000000000000000000011111000000000000000000000111111000000000000000000000111111000000000000000000000111111110000000000000000000001110000000000000000000000000000000000`

In the next article in this series, I’ll show how that set of 1’s and 0’s can be turned in a ‘Q’, in a reasonably fault-tolerant way.

### Poker Copilot 3.17 Now Available

This update is important for you if you play on the Merge Network. Poker Copilot crashes with Merge Network since their update overnight. This update fixes that.

What’s changed:

• Fix for bug introduced in PartyPoker’s update
• Fix for change introduced in Merge Network’s update
• HUD now working for PokerStars “Ante” cash game tables
• Fixed aggression factor summary, which was 100 times too big (thanks to loyal customer Jon P for spotting this)
• Amended Betsafe Poker support to use new name “BetsafePokerRed”
• Added PokerIdol (Ongame Network) support
• Fixed obscure issue with Zoom Poker HUD not showing for some opponents
• Fixed rounding error in “buyins won/tournament”

Known problem:

• Lock Poker’s new Mac OS X software is not supported by Poker Copilot.
• PartyPoker hands can’t be reliably imported into Poker Copilot. There are several problems in PartyPoker’s hand history file on Mac OS X.

<!– This update needs to update your database. –>

### Poker Real Time Odds on Mac OS X: Part 2

The continuing story of creating a tool called SeeingStars, offering real time odds for PokerStars. Read part 1 here.

If you are an Objective-C programmer, I’m going to give you enough code to get the basics working in this series of articles. If you are not a programmer at all, you probably won’t enjoy much of what follows. Important to note is that I seldom code in Objective-C, so my code isn’t always idiomatic for Objective-C and may have obvious bugs. Please point this out in the comments so I can learn.

Here’s the basic strategy:

1. Find the top-most PokerStars poker table window, if any
2. If no such window exists go to step 7
3. Grab a screenshot of the window
4. Determine the player’s hole cards and the community cards using some form of screen scraping/OCR
5. Calculate the % chance of winning, assuming the villains have random hands
6. Display the % chance of winning
7. Wait a second or so
8. Go back to step 1

The hardest bit for me will be step 4, which is determining the player’s hole cards and the community cards. I already have a fair idea how to do the other steps.

First, a timer will achieve the “wait a second or so” of step 7 and 8:

`- (IBAction)startRepeatingTimer:sender {    [NSTimer scheduledTimerWithTimeInterval:1.0                                     target:self selector:@selector(targetMethod:)                                   userInfo:[self userInfo] repeats:YES];}- (void)targetMethod:(NSTimer *)theTimer {    NSDictionary *windowDictionary = [[PokerRoomController alloc] findPokerStarsTableWindows];    if (windowDictionary != nil) {        NSString *title = [windowDictionary objectForKey:@"kCGWindowName"];        NSLog(@"title = %@", title);    }}`

Is one second a reasonable time, that balances snappy updates with low CPU load? I don’t know. I’ll know later in the story. But for now, it is an adequate starting point. I tend to go for “good enough” solutions until I have evidence that the solution is not good. I’ll address performance issues as they arise.

Now for step 1 – find the top-most PokerStars window. There’s a handy function to find all the windows open on your Mac, introduced in Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). It is called CGWindowListCopyWindowInfo. It is part of Quartz Window Services. It returns a key-value dictionary of information for each window. Conveniently it returns windows ordered from top to bottom; the front-most window is first in the array of dictionaries. “Normal” windows have a layer of 0.

`- (NSDictionary *)findFrontNormalWindow {    NSArray *windowList = (__bridge NSArray *)         CGWindowListCopyWindowInfo(kCGWindowListOptionOnScreenOnly, kCGNullWindowID);    for (NSDictionary *dictionary in windowList) {        NSNumber *windowLayer = [dictionary objectForKey:@"kCGWindowLayer"];        if ([windowLayer isEqualToNumber:[NSNumber numberWithInt:0]]) {            return dictionary;        }    }    return nil;}`

Now we need to make sure the front-most window is a PokerStars table window. For Poker Copilot, I’ve created a set of heuristics to determine this as follows. If all the following are true, then this is a PokerStars table window:

• Does the window owner name start with PokerStars? This “start with” clause allows this approach to work with PokerStarsES, PokerStarsFR, PokerStarsEU, etc?
• Does the window name NOT include “Tournament Buy-in”?
• Does the window name NOT include “Chat”?
• Does the window name NOT include “Cashier”?
• Does the window name NOT include “PokerStars Lobby”?
• Does the window name include at least one hyphens?
• If the window name contains exactly two hyphens, Is the window’s aspect ratio (width/height) NOT 1.45 +/- 0.01? (That excludes the hand replayer window).
• Does the window name include “Logged In as”?

I’ve sneakily left out a couple of obscure edge cases from that list. Hey, it’s taken four years to build up this knowledge for Poker Copilot; I’m not going to give all my secrets away!

In code form, most of the above looks like this:
`- (BOOL)isTableWindow:(NSString *)title bounds:(CGRect)bounds {    BOOL buyinWindow = [title rangeOfString:@"Tournament Buy-in"].location == 0;    BOOL chatWindow = [title rangeOfString:@"Chat"].location == 0;    BOOL cashierWindow = [title rangeOfString:@"Cashier"].location == 0;    BOOL lobbyWindow = [title rangeOfString:@"PokerStars Lobby"].location == 0;    BOOL hasHyphens = [[title componentsSeparatedByString:@"-"] count] - 1 > 1;    double aspectRatio = bounds.size.width / (bounds.size.height - 22);    double epsilon = fabs(1.45 - aspectRatio);    NSUInteger count = [[title componentsSeparatedByString:@"-"] count] - 1;    BOOL isReplayerWindow = count == 2 && epsilon < 0.01;    BOOL hasLoggedIn = ([title rangeOfString:@"Logged In as"].location != NSNotFound);    return !buyinWindow &&        !chatWindow &&        !lobbyWindow &&        !cashierWindow &&        !isReplayerWindow &&        hasHyphens &&        hasLoggedIn;}`

Put it all together, and the PokerRoomController  is as follows:

`@implementation PokerRoomController {}- (NSDictionary *)findPokerStarsTableWindows {    NSDictionary *windowDictionary = [self findFrontNormalWindow];    if (windowDictionary == nil) {        return nil;    }    NSString *windowOwnerName = [windowDictionary objectForKey:@"kCGWindowOwnerName"];    if ([windowOwnerName rangeOfString:@"PokerStars"].location != 0) {        return nil;    }    NSString *title = [windowDictionary objectForKey:@"kCGWindowName"];    CGRect bounds;    CGRectMakeWithDictionaryRepresentation(        (__bridge CFDictionaryRef)         ([windowDictionary objectForKey:@"kCGWindowBounds"]), &bounds);    if (!([self isTableWindow:title bounds:bounds])) {        return nil;    }    return windowDictionary;}- (NSDictionary *)findFrontNormalWindow {    NSArray *windowList = (__bridge NSArray *)         CGWindowListCopyWindowInfo(kCGWindowListOptionOnScreenOnly, kCGNullWindowID);    for (NSDictionary *dictionary in windowList) {        NSNumber *windowLayer = [dictionary objectForKey:@"kCGWindowLayer"];        if ([windowLayer isEqualToNumber:[NSNumber numberWithInt:0]]) {            return dictionary;        }    }    return nil;}- (BOOL)isTableWindow:(NSString *)title bounds:(CGRect)bounds {    BOOL buyinWindow = [title rangeOfString:@"Tournament Buy-in"].location == 0;    BOOL chatWindow = [title rangeOfString:@"Chat"].location == 0;    BOOL cashierWindow = [title rangeOfString:@"Cashier"].location == 0;    BOOL lobbyWindow = [title rangeOfString:@"PokerStars Lobby"].location == 0;    BOOL hasHyphens = [[title componentsSeparatedByString:@"-"] count] - 1 > 1;    double aspectRatio = bounds.size.width / (bounds.size.height - 22);    double epsilon = fabs(1.45 - aspectRatio);    NSUInteger count = [[title componentsSeparatedByString:@"-"] count] - 1;    BOOL isReplayerWindow = count == 2 && epsilon < 0.01;    BOOL hasLoggedIn = ([title rangeOfString:@"Logged In as"].location != NSNotFound);    return !buyinWindow &&        !chatWindow &&        !lobbyWindow &&        !cashierWindow &&        !isReplayerWindow &&        hasHyphens &&        hasLoggedIn;}@end`

So now I’ve got code running once a second that finds the top-most PokerStars table window, if any. This is a key step in creating Poker Copilot’s HUD. However from hereon, the approach I’ll be showing differs from Poker Copilot’s HUD.

In the next part of this blog series, I’ll grab the screenshot and do some processing on it.

### Poker Real Time Odds on Mac OS X: Part I

I’ve been playing heads-up sit and go tournaments (HU SNG) over the last couple of weeks. It’s nice to note that Poker Copilot works very well with HU SNG’s, because there is so much screen space to use. I can see a dozen stats, with labels:

HU SNG’s are a game where you raise a lot pre-flop. Depending on the opponent, when I have position I might  raise 50% of the time, 75% of the time, or even more. In fact when I played a HU SNG today, I noticed my opponent folded to 80% of my pre flop raises, so I raised pre-flop 89% of the time from position.

The information I need to help decide when to raise pre-flop is to know whether I have, for example, a top 50% hand, or with a nitty opponent, a top 75% hand. Looking this up manually in PokerZebra does the job but it is slow and clumsy to do this mid-hand.

That’s why I want a tool that shows in real-time my percentage chance of winning. I’m surprised that no-one has yet created and made available such a tool for Mac OS X, as it is not overly difficult to do for a programmer of some talent. So I’m going to try to create such a tool over the next week or so.

There is a problem though. Full Tilt Poker always banned software that showed real-time odds. As far as I can tell, PokerStars allows it, but it is not clear to me whether this really is the case, and whether it will continue to be the case. Other poker rooms lack any clear policy. If Poker Copilot gets banned by online poker rooms, I’m out of business. So I’m going to create this as a separate tool.

Over the next few days, I’ll describe the steps I take to in an attempt to build this tool, which I’m called SeeingStars.

### Congratulations to FastSpring for Inc 500 Award

For Poker Copilot’s e-commerce, I use a service called FastSpring. They handle the credit card verification, fraud detection, payment processing, and “thanks for buying” email generation. I’ve been using FastSpring with Poker Copilot since the beginning, when FastSpring was a relative newcomer in a field where many of the competitors had a bad reputation. Many of the incumbents – well, mainly just one incumbent that went by many names – had a reputation for not particularly caring for either their customers nor for their customers’ customers. They tended to make decisions that favoured themselves in the short-term. Other companies weren’t keeping up with the times.

I admire FastSpring for keeping to a policy of excellent customer service, even as they have experienced year after year of rapid growth. In four years of selling Poker Copilot, I’ve never once seriously entertained the idea of moving to another e-commerce partner. Their offering keeps improving. Every customer support issue I’ve had with them has been handled immediately. I’m certainly not one of FastSpring’s large customers, but they always treat me as if I am.

That’s why I’m happy to see that FastSpring has received its 3rd consecutive annual Inc. 500 award for fastest-growing private US companies.

If you sell software or other digital merchandise online I recommend considering FastSpring as your e-commerce partner.

### PokerStars new "Theme Chooser"

PokerStars released an update today. The only change I’ve noticed so far is a new theme chooser. This I like. It’s good to see the leading online poker room continue to innovate:

### Poker Copilot 3.16 Now Available

This update fixed many small bugs and issues.

What’s changed:

• Hand replayer now anonymises player names
• Change to PokerStars satellite tournament ticket win descriptions now handled properly
• PokerStars audit importing was failing on tournament wins greater than \$1000/€1000
• Fixed problem where tournament descriptions longer than 100 characters crashed Poker Copilot (Yes, a ROOKIE MISTAKE – that somehow took FOUR years to surface)
• Fixed PokerStarsES problem where HUD default layout was incorrect
• Hand replayer now always shows hero in same position (top centre)
• Added page up/page down/home/end keyboard shortcuts to the hand replayer
• Added “Rake” as an optional column in the summaries

Known problem:

• Lock Poker’s new Mac OS X software is not supported by Poker Copilot.
• PartyPoker’s latest update is not yet supported by Poker Copilot.
• Merge Network All-in EV is sometimes calculated incorrectly.