US 20020074725 A1
Concepts, methods and apparatus for playing poker, in which an individual participant has an equal opportunity for winning, notwithstanding that other participants have previously-acquired poker sills. Rectangular-periphery, symmetrical-arrangement patterns establish straight-line locations for display of playing cards to be distributed. Locations for play and wagering are selected by a participant before distribution of cards. Symmetrical patterns, as taught, enable play of multiple hands by multiple players while relying on a single deck of playing cards.
1 Method for playing poker, comprising
(A) providing individual participants with an equal opportunity for winning in a round of poker, regardless of previously-acquired poker-playing skills of participating individuals;
(B) providing a rectangular-periphery symmetrical pattern for distribution of playing cards for display; such pattern presenting:
(i) an equal number of straight-line rows
(ii) an equal number of straight-line columns, and
(iii) a pair of straight-line diagonals, with
(iv) each of such straight-line rows, columns and diagonals defining a location for a poker hand of the same number of cards in each such straight-line location;
(C) selecting at least one such straight-line location by a participant; then
(D) distributing playing cards, from a single deck, face-up into each such straight-line location for receiving playing cards; and
(E) evaluating cards in each such selected straight-line location, in accordance with an agreed-upon poker hand combination of cards to determine if a winning hand exists at any such selected straight-line location.
2. The method of
a participant selects from one to eight straight-line locations, from such a symmetrical pattern, which provides:
three rows for receiving three cards each,
three columns for receiving three cards each, and
two diagonals for receiving three cards each.
3. The method of
a player selects from one to ten straight-line locations from such a symmetrical pattern, which provides:
four rows for four cards each
four columns for four cards each, and
two diagonals for four cards each.
4. The method of
a player selects from one to twelve straight-line locations from such a symmetrical pattern, which provides:
five rows for receiving five cards each,
five columns for receiving five cards each, and
two diagonals for receiving five cards each.
5. Apparatus for playing poker according to
symmetrical pattern means for presenting such straight-line locations for distribution and display of playing cards, selected from the group consisting of:
(i) software-operated video screen device,
(ii) table-top holding tray means,
(iii) table-cover playing surface means, and
(iv) software-operated hand-held game device.
6. A poker game providing an equal opportunity chance of winning to participants, regardless of previous poker skills, comprising
(A) pattern means presenting card location arrangements, in which
card arrangement locations are selected from the group consisting of:
(i) a rectangular-periphery symmetrical arrangement pattern for nine playing cards, located in three straight-line rows for three straight-line cards each, three straight-line columns for three cards each, which
provide for two straight-line diagonals of three cards each, so as to provide eight straight-line individual playing hand locations,
(ii) a rectangular-periphery symmetrical arrangement pattern for sixteen playing cards located in four straight-line rows and four straight-line columns of four cards each, which
provide for two straight-line diagonals so as to provide ten straight-line individual locations for playing hands, and
(iii) a rectangular-periphery symmetrical arrangement pattern for twenty-five playing cards located in five rows and five columns of five cards each, and two straight-line diagonals, each such location having five cards, so as to provide for twelve individual locations for playing hands; with
(B) a player designating at least one such location, in a selected pattern for play of a poker hand, with such designation taking place before such playing cards are displayed; and in which
(C) values for poker hand combinations, in each such selected location, are determined based on agreed-upon winning card combinations, after distribution of such playing cards.
7. Apparatus for symmetrical-arrangement displays for card locations, for playing poker as set forth in claim 6, selected from the group consisting of:
(a) computer-operated video machines,
(b) holding trays, and
(c) table cover playing surfaces.
8. A poker game of random chance, comprising
card arrangement pattern means, as set forth in
a plurality of playing cards are arranged face-up for start of play.
 This application claims the priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/170,361; and, is a continuation-in-part of copending and co-owned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/693,583.
 This invention relates to methods and apparatus for playing a new game. More particulary, this invention is concerned with enabling a novice player to learn about poker and providing an equal opportunity of succeeding at the game, notwithstanding that players with more poker experience may be participating.
 An important object is to enable a beginning card player to avoid the financial risk associated with engaging in playing poker with seasoned poker players.
 Another important object is providing a random chance for a winning poker hand while establishing the atmosphere of a casino in any setting.
 A further object is to facilitate play of the game by increasing the number of hands which can be played, and the number of players who can participate, while limiting the game to use of a single deck of cards.
 The above and other objects, features and contributions of the present invention are described in more detail with references to the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a symmetrical pattern of the invention with locations for nine playing cards;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a symmetrical pattern of the invention with locations of sixteen playing cards;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of a symmetrical pattern of the invention with locations for twenty-five playing cards; and
FIG. 4 is a flow chart for describing procedures, method and apparatus for playing the new game of the invention.
 Previously, a single poker hand was dealt to a participant; some poker games permitted a player to discard one, or more, cards which were replaced, followed by various exchanges and repetitive betting opportunities. Success at poker depended on acquired skills, such as: learning the value of card combinations, judgment on the likelihood of completing certain card combinations, and a demeanor, during play of a round, which disclosed nothing about individual player's hand.
 Also, a player could play solely one hand during a round; otherwise, that player would have had to play against himself, or herself, and would have had to face the impossibility of mentally separating the cards of one hand from those of another hand being played.
 Present concepts make it possible for an individual player to select to play one or multiple hands during play of a round; there are no discards and no replacements of cards. A participant selects a “location” in a symmetrical pattern display for receiving cards; such a selection is made after wagering and before distributing playing cards. There is no delay after distributing the cards for other betting opportunities.
 A plurality of straight-line locations (for hands) are provided in a symmetrical pattern of the invention, which enables multiple selections per participant, and play by multiple participants. However, the invention enables a round to be played with a single deck of standard playing cards.
 Agreement on card pattern is reached among all participants before start of a round; and, selections of locations for a hand, or hands, are made before the cards are displayed.
 Symmetrical-arrangement patterns of the invention are shown in FIGS. 1-3. Each pattern defines a rectangular periphery of columns and rows which establish unidirectional straight-line locations for display of poker hands.
FIG. 1 illustrates a symmetrical pattern embodiment of the invention with locations for display of nine cards; that pattern provides for selection of locations for eight poker hands of three cards each. Three vertical-column locations are represented by straight-line arrows 10, 12, 14; three horizontal-row locations are represented by (straight-line) arrows 16, 18, 20; and two diagonally-oriented hands are represented by arrows 22, 24.
 Symmetrical-arrangement patterns of the invention multiply uses of individual cards during a round, enabling use of a single deck. Playing card 27, of FIG. 1, is included in three hand locations; those three straight-line locations are represented by arrows 10, 16, 24. Playing card 29 is included in three hand locations represented by arrows 14, 16, 22; playing card 31 is included in three hand locations represented by arrows 10, 20, 22; and, playing card 33 is included in three hand locations represented by arrows 14, 20, 24. Playing card 36 is included in four hands represented by arrows 12, 18, 22, 24. Participants select one or more such straight-line locations for a poker hand before playing cards are played for the round.
FIG. 2 illustrates a symmetrical pattern embodiment of the invention played with sixteen cards. Ten straight-line locations for poker hands of four cards each are provided in FIG. 2. Four vertical-column poker hand locations are represented by arrows, 40, 42, 44, 46; four horizontal-row poker hand locations are represented by arrows 48, 50, 52, 54; and two diagonally-oriented poker hand locations are represented by arrows 56 and 58.
 Playing cards 60, 61, 62 and 63, at corner locations of the pattern of FIG. 2, are each included in three separate locations for a four-card poker hand, and centrally-located playing cards 65, 66, 67 and 68 are each included in three separate straight-line locations for a four-card poker hand; that is, distribution of sixteen cards from a single deck, into the display of FIG. 2, will provide multiple four-card hands for multiple players.
FIG. 3 presents a symmetrical pattern display embodiment of the invention with locations for twenty-five cards. Twelve unidirectional straight-line locations for poker hands of five cards each are displayed; five vertical-column straight-line locations are represented by arrows, 70, 72, 74, 76, 78; five horizontal-row hand straight-line locations are represented by arrows 80, 82, 84, 86, 88; and two diagonally-oriented straight-line locations are represented by arrows 90, 92.
 Corner locations of the FIG. 3 pattern provide for cards 94, 96, 98 and 100 to be included in three separate five-card poker hand locations. The next inboard positions display card locations 102, 104, 106 and 108; card location 110 is centrally-located of the pattern. Twelve separate straight-line locations for a poker hand are provided; that is, five vertical columns, five horizontal rows, and two diagonals.
 Multiple hands for multiple participants would have, before present teachings, required hundreds of playing cards; but the patterns of FIGS. 1-3 enable use of a single deck and that contributes to the simplicity of conducting the game of the present invention. Also, the hands are more readily evaluated due to the straightforward and orderly display.
FIG. 4 schematically presents a flow chart for describing concepts and methods of the invention, and considering the type of apparatus for play. At stage 112, potential participants decide on a wager amount for each selection of a poker hand location (that is, for each “straight-line” lane) to be played. A video, or physical table top-type of display can be employed. At stage 114, participants agree on whether to use a nine, sixteen, or twenty-five card pattern for play of the game. The decisions for stages 112 and 114 can be made substantially simultaneously, or in any order.
 It should be noted that the selection of stage 114 of FIG. 4 also selects the number of playing cards which will constitute a hand; for example, a three, four or five card hand is selected by selecting from the symmetrical arrangements of FIG. 1, 2 or 3 of the invention. Each lane has one direction which does not change; and the number of places for cards in a unidirectional straight-line lane of a selected pattern determines the number of cards in a hand.
 Stages 116 and 118 of FIG. 4 can be combined by being carried out together. Each player must present his or her wager, which is preferably uniform for each poker hand location selected to be played by any of the players.
 Wagers can include an administrative fee when management is by a casino or similar commercially-operated establishment. Individual wagers per location selected are preferably fixed for simplifying administration; in particular, for play by a group of individuals in a private home or club.
 At stage 120, playing cards are distributed; for example, in a video display, or by dealing cards face-up onto a table top-type selected pattern formed by symmetrical rows and columns, with the same number of cards in each row and in each column.
 Whether a holding tray, or a playing surface table cover is used to outline the card location, the nine cards of the embodiment of FIG. 1 are dealt face-up, in three rows and three columns of three cards each; in the four-card embodiment of FIG. 2, sixteen cards are dealt face-up in four rows and four columns of four cards each; and in the five-card hand embodiment of FIG. 3, twenty-five cards are dealt face-up in five rows and five columns of five cards each. Each linear (that is, unidirectional straight-line) lane in a symmetrical pattern, taught by the invention, presents a poker hand when the cards are distributed.
 After cards are displayed at stage 120 of FIG. 4, the poker lane hands are evaluated at stage 122, based on the combination of cards in each such row, column and/or diagonal orientation of cards, as selected; winning hands for each of FIGS. 1-3 are tabulated later in this description.
 At stage 124, winning participants are paid. Wagers of non-winning participants are preferably distributed to winners of that round. However, a reserve fund for payment of winning selections could be established with a portion of the losing wagers; for example, when play of the game is private among known participants. When wagers from non-winning players are not distributed in each round, such a reserve could be distributed to winners of a single final round, when a group of players in a private home or club are terminating play; or the reserve could be distributed uniformly, after the final hand, to the players who had participated throughout.
 Present teachings enable play independent of previous poker playing experience or previously-acquired poker playing skills. The invention presents an equal opportunity for choice as to a location of a hand which could be a winning hand. The cards are shuffled for each round, and are not seen when a player is selecting a lane location for a hand.
 As described above, a single card can be included in more than one hand, and up to four poker hands. The multiple of uses of cards during play of a round, made available by present teachings, enables a plurality of hand locations to be selected by a plurality of players, while using solely a single deck. Use of single deck improves the opportunity for teaching and learning of winning poker combinations. The patterns taught provide an opportunity for multiple hand locations for multiple players, which multiple hands are available for evaluation substantially simultaneously; that is, without further delays.
 There can be advantages in playing the game by video, or on hand-held game machines using computer software; for example: shuffling and distribution of cards can be carried out rapidly.
 But, there are also significant advantages and entertainment value, in private play of the game by couples or families, in which all participants engage with equal opportunity.
 Winning poker hand combinations for the pattern of FIG. 1, for a three-card hand, are shown in TABLE I.
 Winning poker hand combinations for the pattern of FIG. 2 for a four-card hand are presented in TABLE II.
 Winning poker hand combinations for the pattern of FIG. 3, for a five-card hand, are presented in TABLE III.
 While specific values, method steps, and apparatus have been described for purposes of disclosing the invention, it should be recognized that, in the light of the present teachings, variations in those specifics are made available which do not depart from the principles taught; therefore, it is submitted that the scope of patent protection afforded to the present invention is to be determined by reference to the appended claims in combination with the teachings of the above disclosure.