Monday June 11, 2012 : KEEPING THAT POKER FACE
 
Here's a new app that trains you to stay cool and uninformative at the felt
 
The ability to control emotions and subdue one's ‘tells' at the poker table is an important element for success, and this week the Montreal developer WowWee Inc., launched an app designed to help players do just that.
 
Branded BluffCam, the app measures the heart rate of poker players, helping them achieve that bland and uninformative poker face. The app uses Vital Signs Camera technology to detect micro-changes in the colour of a player’s skin, helping gauge whether or not they are under pressure mid-game.
 
The app also allows users to share their results and a screenshot online via Twitter or keep track of their progress in a notepad.
 
A WowWee Inc. spokesman revealed that BluffCam is the first in the series of similar iOS products, and will be closely followed by a ‘Table Edition' using the same unique technology.
 
This will apparently allow poker players to measure and track the heart rates of their opponents. After adding their table of opponents and obtaining their resting heart rates, users will be able to quickly see how their opponents are coping under pressure. Using the app’s built in notepad, users will be able to keep track of heart rates and user behaviour, watching out for any patterns.
 
Quite how users will obtain the cooperation of their opponents in obtaining this biological information is not clear.
 
“BluffCam gives players that added edge over their opponents, helping them understand how different poker hands can affect them physiologically,” said Sydney Wiseman, creative director at WowWee.
 
Also surfacing this week comes news of a software program that helps to visually identify and decipher personal ‘tells'.
 
New Scientist magazine, which recently reported on mind reading possibilities through the measurement of electrical discharges in the brain, has now reported a simpler solution to identifying poker ‘tells'.
 
Developed by researchers at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the software program, aptly named MindReader, uses more than 20 facial feature points to assess the subject's mood and reactions.
 
A commercial variation, branded Affdex is apparently already in service to test consumer reaction to adverts (remember the eye movement software designed for similar marketing assessment purposes?)