US 20020082069 A1
The preferred games are based on poker, with the cards presented electronically on a screen and the stakes being electronically processed. Several hands are dealt, in one from one hand face up and the others face down. The player may choose to play the face up hand, by holding certain cards and drawing to replace the others. The held cards are replicated in the other hands, and the draw results in random changes to all the hands. But the player has the option to transfer to a second hand, which is then turned face up while the first goes face down, and hold and draw on that hand. And so on through the hands, incurring penalties as transfers are made. In another form, the hands are all face up. This can be played in a similar way, going from one hand to the next, or the player can select which hand to play at the start, held cards being replicated in other hands, and the draw producing different results in each hand. Variations include a facility for combing cards from different hands to make up a winning hand by eliminating the draw, but keeping the replication. In another version a changeable primary hand is replicated in a set of secondary hands and the player re-deals the primary hand, up to a limit, and holds and draws on that.
1. A method of playing a game in which:
i) a plurality of sets of randomly selected symbols are made available for play,
ii) bets are placed on these sets,
iii) the player is presented with a first set with symbols visible,
iv) the player chooses whether (a) to play the game using the first set or (b) to reject that set and play with a second set, which may in turn be rejected and so on through a sequence of sets,
v) the player determines which of the symbols of the selected set is or are to be retained,
vi) each retained symbol is replicated in other sets of said plurality,
vii) the symbols of the selected set not retained are changed on a random basis, as are the symbols not replicated in said other sets, and
viii) the resultant combinations of symbols determine whether or not a win related to the bet is achieved by each set.
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19. A method of playing a game in which:
i) a plurality of sets of randomly selected symbols are made available,
ii) bets are placed on those sets,
iii) the sets are made visible to the player,
iv) the player makes a selection of symbols from the sets, no two symbols being selected in corresponding positions in different sets,
v) each selected symbol is replicated in the corresponding positions in the other sets, supplanting whatever symbols were at those positions, all other symbols remaining unchanged,
vi) the resultant combinations of symbols determine whether or not a win related to the bet is achieved by each set.
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 This invention relates to playing games of chance. It is intended particularly to be embodied as electronic video poker games, and it will be described in those terms. However, it should be understood that it could be adapted to other forms, for example one in which, instead of a hand of five cards, there is a set of other differentiable symbols, not necessarily five in number.
 Ernest W. Moody has proposed, for example in U.S. Pat. No. 5,823,873, an electronic video poker game in which three poker hands are presented, one face up the other two face down. The player holds certain cards in the face up hand, and this turns up the same cards in equivalent positions in the other handle. There is then a draw on each hand, with the replicated cards held, and wins and losses on the various hands are determined. This has proved very popular. However, the player has to use a predetermined hand as the basis for the game. It is the aim of this invention to give the player more choice, so that if faced with a poor hand at first he has a chance of finding an improved once before anything is held and drawn.
 According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided method playing a game in which:
 i) a plurality of sets of randomly selected symbols are made available for play,
 ii) bets are placed on these sets,
 iii) the player is presented with a first set with symbols visible,
 iv) the player chooses whether (a) to play the game using the first set or (b) to reject that set and play with a second set, which may in turn be rejected and so on through a sequence of sets,
 v) the player determines which of the symbols of the selected set is or are to be retained,
 vi) each retained symbol is replicated in other sets of said plurality,
 vii) the symbols of the selected set not retained are changed on a random basis, as are the symbols not replicated in said other sets, and
 viii) the resultant combinations of symbols determine whether or not a win related to the bet is achieved by each set.
 In some forms, the sets of said plurality other than the first set have their symbols initially concealed, the replication of step vi) over-riding whatever symbol may have been concealed at the corresponding position. However, in other forms all the symbols of said plurality of sets are initially visible, the replication of step vi) supplanting whatever symbol may have appeared at the corresponding position. In this case the first set may be chosen by the player, so that the alternative of step iv) (b) is redundant.
 The sequence of sets can be the same as the plurality of sets. When this is so, a rejected set in step iv) (b) may be retained but be subject to random re-selection of its symbols. In other words, the player effectively starts again with the same number of hands, but with a different one as the first set. Indeed the player could be enabled to return to the original first set or any other rejected set in step iv) by scrolling through the sets before settling on which set to select, the random re-selection occurring only when that selection has been made.
 Alternatively, a rejected set in step iv) (b) may be taken out of the game.
 The rejection of a set in step iv) (b) will generally involve actual or potential financial penalty for the player. This may be by the forfeiture of at least part of the stakes bet, and if there is complete forfeiture it would require a further bet to be placed. Another possible penalty is a reduction of the prizes available for winning combinations.
 In a further version said plurality of sets comprises a primary set and secondary sets and each of the sequence of sets, which are not the same as the secondary sets, becomes said primary set when the player has rejected the immediately preceding set of said sequence, as in step iv) (b).
 Preferably said secondary sets have their symbols initially concealed, the replication of step vi) over-riding whatever symbol may have been concealed at the corresponding position.
 According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method playing a game in which:
 i) a plurality of sets of randomly selected symbols are made available,
 ii) bets are placed on those sets,
 iii) the sets are made visible to the player,
 iv) the player makes a selection of symbols from the sets, no two symbols being selected in corresponding positions in different sets,
 v) each selected symbol is replicated in the corresponding positions in the other sets, supplanting whatever symbols were at those positions, all other symbols remaining unchanged,
 vi) the resultant combinations of symbols determine whether or not a win related to the bet is achieved by each set.
 Thus the player can on occasions make up a winning hand by judicious selection of symbols from different sets, and he does not have to rely on a second random selection of symbols. The selection of symbols from more than one set will usually involve actual or potential financial penalty from the player, this penalty being greater the larger the number of sets from which selections are made. The penalties may be similar to those mentioned above.
 For a better understanding of the invention, some embodiments will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which each of the five figures show a sequence of displays of poker machines.
 Reference will be made to holding some cards, drawing others, random and player selections and so on. The technology relating to the presentation and manipulation of cards on a screen, the reception and assignation of bets, and the calculation and disbursements of prizes when a winning hand is achieved, is well known and will not be described.
 Of course, the games to be described could be played non-electronically, using real cards, although that would be cumbersome and slow.
 In the game of FIGS. 1A to 1J, three five card poker hands are dealt, two face down and the other face up after the player has placed equal bets on each hand. The hands are each laid out horizontally but in vertical registry, that is with the nth card of the top row directly above the nth cards of the other rows. As shown, it is the bottom hand that is face up in FIG. 1A, but it could be either of the others.
 The player considers the visible hand and decides which cards should be held and which discarded in the hope of achieving a better hand from a draw to replace the rejected cards. In this example, he decides to keep the first and third cards, an ace and a queen. The result of this holding action is to turn up corresponding aces and queens in the first and third positions of the top and middle hands as shown in FIG. 1B. While all the cards in those hands could be assumed at this stage to be the same as those of the bottom hand, there is no real need to assign any particular values to them until they are turned face up.
 There is then a separate re-deal or draw for each hand, replacing the second, fourth and fifth cards, which now show all cards face up. This may be done sequentially row by row, or simultaneously. The same deck of cards could be used for each row, ensuring that all the cards bar the matching aces and queens will be different, or a draw for each hand could be from a different complete deck less only the ace of diamonds and the queen of clubs.
 The result here, as shown in FIG. 1C, is a pair of aces in the top hand and a pair of queens in the bottom hand, but nothing of winning significance in the middle hand. The player may collect two modest prizes, but lose his stake on the middle hand.
 The player may have made a different decision at the FIG. 1 stage. He may have thought that the bottom hand did not promise much, and so he could have rejected it. In that case it is turned face down and the next hand, the middle one, is revealed as shown in FIG. 1D. It is not the same as the bottom hand: it shows a different combination of cards, amongst them a pair of eights in this example.
 The player now proceeds as before, and he would take the obvious route of holding the eights to replicate them in the top and bottom hands as shown in FIG. 1E, and then drawing new first, fourth and fifth cards. A typical result is shown in FIG. 1F, where a win with three eights is achieved by the top hand, while the others do not improve on the original pair of eights but nevertheless may still produce minor wins.
 The player may of course turn up an indifferent middle hand if he chooses this option, and so there is a further option of rejecting the first two hands and turning up the third, top hand different from the discarded ones when so revealed as shown in FIG. 1G. The player can then proceed similarly to the steps described and as shown in FIGS. 1H and 1J, capitalising on a pair of kings in the top hand.
 This shifting from one hand to the next will often increase the player's chances of achieving a better poker hand. A penalty may therefore be imposed, not necessarily at each shift but at least at some point. This may be by changing the pay schedule; that is there would be less won from a hand in the top row, say, than from the same hand in the bottom row. Alternatively, or in addition some of the original stake money might be forfeit, or it might be taken completely and the player required to place a fresh bet on one or more hands.
 In the examples of FIGS. 1D to 1F and 1G to 1J, the rejected hands do not disappear; they remain in play; but when some of their cards are turned face up again as the result of a draw, they will nearly always be different from those originally shown. In a variation, however, each rejected hand would remain face down, the associated bet being forfeit, and the player would only have the selected hand, or that and the one above it, from which a win could be obtained. In other words, there would be a penalty for rejecting a hand, in that it reduces the number of hands from which a win may be obtained.
 In another variation, the player having rejected two hands, may decide that the third is not much good either, and that one of the others might be a bit better. He may therefore be allowed to revert to the first or second hands, for example by scrolling through the hands until he has decided on which one to base his play. But going back to the first, bottom hand will not necessarily erase the financial penalty of having tried other hands and indeed the more the player scrolls the more he may pay for it.
 A different approach to this offering of choice to the player is not to have only one hand revealed at the outset. Instead of inviting the player to hope that the other hands may be better, it would be possible to reveal them all to him at the outset as shown in FIG. 2A.
 Opposite each row there is a select panel on the touch screen (or button) and so the player would choose the hand that he fancied would most likely be improvable to a good prize winning one. If that is the bottom hand, as in FIG. 2B, that remains face up, while the others turn face down. Holding the queen, jack and ace would result in the display of FIG. 2C and then a separate draw would take place to replace the second and fourth cards of each hand.
 Alternatively, the player might have selected the middle hand of FIG. 2A, resulting in the displays of FIG. 2D and 2E if, as would be natural, the two jacks were held.
FIGS. 2F and 2G show the corresponding sequence if the top hand is selected and the fours are held.
 But even with all hands face up the player might still have to start by considering a designated first hand, and if he did not like that he would move on to the next one, and so on. In other words, the select buttons might be omitted or rendered inoperative. And the financial penalties would still apply, so a player seeing indifferent first and second hands but a promising third hand in the top row would have to weigh in his mind the chances of a modest winning hand at good odds from the first hand against a better hand at worse odds from the third hand. With select buttons there is not that progression from one hand to another, and so to compensate the pay schedule would be less generous.
 With these versions having all cards initially visible, the hands would all be different at the initial deal, but once the player holds certain cards in his selected hand, the corresponding cards in the other hands change to replicate those held cards.
 Of course, this introduces a new factor. Suppose the second hand has two fours and an ace in the first three positions and the first hand has a four and an ace in the last two positions as shown in FIG. 3A. The player would see that it he could transfer those two cards in the first hand into the second hand he would have a full house. Of course he can get the two cards into the second hand by holding them in the first hand as in FIG. 3B, but then the two fours and an ace already there disappear as the cards are turned over. With the versions described, there has to be a draw after the hold, unless the hand is so good initially that the player decides to hold all five cards—which would mean three identical good hands. And on that draw it is highly unlikely that the fours and an ace will reappear. It would be highly frustrating to a player to see that full house snatched away by the compulsory draw: he would like to prevent it and have the non-replicated cards after the hold stay as they were to determine the game. There may therefore be an option available to the player to cancel the draw after the hold, and for the hold to have no effect on the cards which the player does not want replicated. They would be held as well, in each hand.
 This means that a player with intelligent scrutiny of all the open hands is even more likely to engineer a win, and so the pay schedule will be even less generous.
 Of course a good hand may be spread out over more than two rows. There may therefore be provision, in the case of a three row display, with all hands revealed, for the player to hold in any two out of the three rows, of course in different columns, to replicate the selected symbols throughout those columns, and for the other symbols to remain unchanged. An example is shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B, where the player holds a six in the top hand and a king and a six in the middle and bottom hands, to make one of the hands a full house, in this case the bottom one. This in fact is an error by the player, who would have done better to have held in the middle and bottom hands.
 In the next example, shown in FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C, the player is presented with a 7×7 matrix of five card displays, each being a small version of a main display in which a primary poker hand can be shown. Below that is a window which indicates how many new hands are available.
 Initially, the player bets on all fifty potential hands, an equal stake on each. This is not done hand by hand, but by one stake which is an integral multiple of fifty. A primary hand is then dealt into the main display and this is replicated as secondary hands in all the other small displays although there the cards are face down. The player decides whether to use the hand presented or whether to change it if there is more than zero in the new hands available window.
 The hand shown in FIG. 5A is not very good and so the player opts for a re-deal, which is shown in FIG. 5B. Although the new primary hand has a pair of eights, the player may decide, with one more new hand available, to re-deal again, and a result of this is shown in FIG. 5C, with a pair of kings this time. Each re-deal can be from the same deck of cards, depleted by previous deals, so that each new hand is bound to be different, or it could be from a complete deck so that one or more cards could re-appear in the primary hand.
 Whatever hand the player settles on, he then holds selected cards and these are replicated in each secondary hand. The other cards in the main display are discarded and new ones drawn, and likewise each hand in the matrix has its individual draw, so that it is unlikely that any will be the same. This could be modified by the secondary hands, or at least some of them, being held at the player's final selection of primary hand before that is held and drawn, so that those cannot be improved while others can.
 This reduction in changeable secondary hands could be related to the number of times the primary hand is changed. For example, when that primary hand is re-dealt one line of the matrix might stay frozen as the primary hand was, or even remain face down to take it out of play altogether. So while a player seeks to improve his hand, he reduces the chances of multiplying his win.
 The scrolling through of the primary hands may be offered in this game, so that the player can select the one he considers to be the most promising. The secondary hands in the matrix may all follow, or be progressively frozen or diminished in number as scrolling proceeds.
 It will be understood that the number of secondary hands need not be forty-nine. Within the bounds of practicality and viability almost any number can be provided.