The World Series of Poker is the oldest and most prestigious poker tournament and in 2005, it was the biggest it has ever been. More than 32,000 participants took part in the three-week summer tournament at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, with more than $52 million in prize money at stake.
The Rio's team of three hard-working technicians and Honeywell's field support team faced several challenges in installing and integrating the World Series of Poker's temporary surveillance system. The lack of time proved to be the biggest challenge to the crew. With just 10 days to prepare one half of the room, and only four days to prepare the other half, the crew still had to be done 48 hours prior to the tournament's start so the Nevada Gaming Control Board could give its approval.
Though the system would only be in place for roughly six weeks, it still needed to meet all requirements set forth for permanent casino floors. The Nevada Gaming Control Board requires that all casinos keep surveillance footage for a determined number of days. With VCR tapes that can hold eight hours of footage, this is easy - three tapes per day. But when using a digital system, figuring how much footage can be stored is more complicated.
The World Series of Poker took place in a brand new room at the Rio, specifically built for the tournament. The massive room held 200 poker tables, about double the total number of gaming tables that a typical casino floor holds. Because the room was brand new, and the system was being installed for the first time, the surveillance operators were unfamiliar with the floor layout and where the cameras were placed. Honeywell's Enterprise Network Video Recorder (NVR) remedied this problem with its mapping capabilities.
Using an Auto CAD map of the room's layout, the Enterprise NVR provided graphical camera selection. The simple configuration tools provided by the system allowed the programming of the graphical maps and the camera layouts to be completed by one of the surveillance operators.
The installation used a combination of Honeywell cameras - 161 total. The KD6i high-speed dome, the KD5 mini-fixed dome and the HCC474 ultra-miniature high-resolution cameras provided total coverage of the 40,000 sq. ft. room. The camera mounts were prepared ahead of time to aid the crew in quick installation.
The team built a stand-alone satellite surveillance room adjacent to the main tournament room complete with a full console and plasma display wall. Video and network feeds were also run to the main surveillance room. Initially, the tournament was monitored from the temporary room, but once these links were established, the Gaming Control Board approved remote monitoring of the event from the Rio's surveillance room. Tom Flynn, Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, found that using the main surveillance room as a central hub was more efficient and cost-effective.
Andrew Jackson said, "We exceeded the requirement and our system provided retention that was longer than required by gaming regulations."
"With a digital system, the storage capacity depends on the amount of motion taking place - and the World Series of Poker had a high degree of scene motion," Andrew Jackson, Honeywell, said. "We exceeded the requirement and our system provided retention that was longer than required by gaming regulations." "We are very proud to say that the tournament was uneventful, security wise. That was our goal," Flynn said. "My mantra has always been, ‘no room for error,' and the Rio technicians, the surveillance room staff and the Honeywell team certainly lived up to our high expectations."