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Publication numberUS20020103018 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/156,481
Publication dateAug 1, 2002
Filing dateSep 18, 1998
Priority dateSep 18, 1998
Publication number09156481, 156481, US 2002/0103018 A1, US 2002/103018 A1, US 20020103018 A1, US 20020103018A1, US 2002103018 A1, US 2002103018A1, US-A1-20020103018, US-A1-2002103018, US2002/0103018A1, US2002/103018A1, US20020103018 A1, US20020103018A1, US2002103018 A1, US2002103018A1
InventorsBill Rommerdahl, Darrell Miers, Thomas Cardin, Ron Ragge
Original AssigneeBill Rommerdahl, Darrell Miers, Thomas Cardin, Ron Ragge
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for playing multiple contests
US 20020103018 A1
Abstract
The present invention comprises a method and game system for playing multiple contests utilizing one or more cards from a single set of cards. In one or more embodiments, the gaming system includes a game engine and an evaluator. Embodiments of the invention include an intelligent, poker playing slot machine that allows a user to play poker for money against one or more intelligent or non-intelligent, simulated opponents. In one embodiment, the gaming system includes a simulation engine which generates actions for the simulated player(s). The simulation engine allows a real person, or user, to play against intelligent, simulated opponents. In one or more embodiments of the invention, the gaming system permits a user-player to play first and second poker contests. In one embodiment, one or more cards which are dealt to a player for use in the first contest are used in the play of the second contest. In one or more embodiments, one of the contests comprises a video-poker type game. When a user-player plays against the simulated opponent, the gaming system may include a static evaluator for determining whether the user-player is a winner of the video-poker type game by comparison to predetermined criteria. Other aspects of the invention include payout and jackpot arrangements for multiple contests.
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Claims(73)
What is claimed is:
1. A method of playing a plurality of contests comprising the steps of:
providing first sets of cards each comprising at least one card to each of one or more players participating in a first contest;
playing a first contest with said first sets of cards;
playing at least one additional contest with one or more players participating in said first contest, said at least one additional contest played with at least one card from said first sets of cards.
2. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein at least one of said players of said first and/or second contests is a dealer.
3. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein at least one of said players of said first and/or second contests comprises an intelligent or non-intelligent gaming system.
4. The method in accordance with claim 1 including the step of said one or more players participating in said first contest placing at least one bet.
5. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein at least one of said first or second contests comprises a poker contest.
6. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein at least one of said first or second contests comprises a video-poker type contest in which winners are determined based on comparison of one or more cards of a player to a predetermined payout schedule.
7. The method in accordance with claim 5 wherein both of said first and second contests comprise a poker contest and cards used by a player participating in said second contest comprise a hand of cards dealt to said player while participating in said first contest.
8. The method in accordance with claims 1 or 6 comprising the additional step of preventing a player who participated in but did not complete the first contest from participating in said second contest.
9. The method in accordance with claims 1 or 6 wherein said one or more players participating in said second contest comprise winning player(s) of said first contest.
10. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein a winner of said first contest is awarded a first payout and a winner of said second contest is awarded a second payout.
11. The method in accordance with claim 10 wherein a player is awarded a jackpot payout upon meeting one or more predetermined criteria.
12. The method in accordance with claims 1 or 6 wherein a player is awarded a jackpot payout when said player has a set of one or more cards or a hand of cards in a first of said first and second contests which meets a predetermined criteria but which did not result in said player being declared a winner of said contest.
13. The method in accordance with claims 1 or 6 wherein a player of said first and/or second contest is awarded a jackpot payout when a set of cards belonging to said player and a set of cards belonging to another player comprise a predetermined combination of cards.
14. The method in accordance with claim 13, wherein said another player comprises a machine against which said at least one player is playing.
15. The method in accordance with claims 1 or 6 wherein at least one player of said first and/or second contest is awarded a jackpot payout when a hand of one player is the same rank as a hand of another player.
16. The method in accordance with claim 15 wherein said jackpot payout increases as said rank increases.
17. The method in accordance with claims 1 or 6 wherein a player is awarded a jackpot payout if said player wins a predetermined number of consecutive contests.
18. The method in accordance with claims 1 or 6 wherein a player is awarded a jackpot payout if said player wins one more previous contests and has a set of cards meeting a predetermined criteria.
19. The method in accordance with claim 18 wherein said player is awarded an additional payout after being awarded said jackpot payout when said player wins one or more subsequent contests after being awarded said jackpot payout.
20. The method in accordance with claim 11 wherein said player is awarded an additional payout after being awarded said jackpot payout when said player has a set of one or more cards meeting a predetermined criteria.
21. The method in accordance with claim 6 wherein said other contest comprises draw poker.
22. The method in accordance with claim 6 wherein a player of said video-poker type contest is a winner when a set of one or more cards belonging to another player comprise winning cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
23. The method in accordance with claim 22 wherein said other player comprises an intelligent or non-intelligent machine.
24. The method in accordance with claim 6 wherein said other contest comprises Texas Hold'em, and wherein said method includes the step of dealing one or more community cards.
25. The method in accordance with claim 24 wherein a player of said video-poker type contest is a winner when a set of cards comprising one or more of said community cards and/or one or more cards belonging to said player comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
26. The method in accordance with claim 6 wherein said other contest comprises Pineapple Hold'em, and said method comprises the step of dealing one or more community cards.
27. The method in accordance with claim 26 wherein a player of said video-poker type contest is a winner when a set of cards comprising one or more of said community cards and/or one or more cards belonging to said player comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
28. The method in accordance with claim 6 wherein said other contest comprises Seven Card Stud.
29. The method in accordance with claim 28 wherein a player of said video-poker type contest is a winner when a set of one or more cards dealt to said player in said Seven Card Stud contest comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
30. The method in accordance with claim 29 wherein said method comprises the step of dealing three cards face down and four cards face-up to said one or more players of said Seven Card Stud contest and a player of said video-poker type contest is a winner when a set of cards comprising one or more of said face-up cards belonging to said player comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
31. The method in accordance with claim 6 wherein said other contest comprises Five Card Stud.
32. The method in accordance with claim 31 wherein a player is a winner of said video-poker type contest when a set of cards comprising one or more of said cards dealt to said player during said Five Card Stud contest comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
33. The method in accordance with claim 6 wherein said other contest comprises Omaha Hold'em, and wherein said method includes the step of dealing one or more hole cards to said one or more players of said Omaha Hold'em contest and one or more community cards.
34. The method in accordance with claim 33 wherein a player is a winner of said video-poker type contest when a set of cards comprising one or more of said player's hole cards and/or one or more of said community cards, and/or another player's hole cards, comprise winning cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
35. The method in accordance with claim 6 wherein said other contest comprises Lowball.
36. The method in accordance with claim 35 wherein a player is a winner of said video-poker type contest when a set of cards comprising one or more cards dealt to another player of said Lowball contest comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
37. The method in accordance with claim 36 wherein said another player comprises an intelligent or non-intelligent machine.
38. A computer gaming system comprising:
a gaming engine arranged to deal first sets of cards each comprising at least one card to each of one or more players participating in a first contest, arranged to permit the playing of a first contest with said first sets of cards, arranged to permit the playing of at least one second contest by at least one of said players participating in said first contest using at least one card from said player's first set of cards; and
an evaluator coupled to said gaming engine, said evaluator determining a winner of said first contest based on a first set of criteria and a winner of said at least one second contest based on a second set of criteria.
39. The gaming system in accordance with claim 38 wherein said gaming engine includes a simulation engine arranged to play said first and/or second contest against one or more players.
40. The gaming system in accordance with claim 38 wherein said computer gaming system includes a bet acceptor coupled to said gaming engine, said gaining system arranged so that a player must place one or more bets with said bet acceptor in to be allowed to play said first and/or second contest using said gaming engine.
41. The gaming system in accordance with claim 38 wherein at least one of said first or second contests comprises a poker contest.
42. The gaming system in accordance with claim 38 wherein at least one of said first or second contests comprises a video-poker type contest in which a winner is determined based on comparison of a set of one or more cards of a player to a predetermined payout schedule.
43. The gaming system in accordance with claim 42 wherein both of said first and second contests comprise a poker contest and at least one card used by a player participating in said second contest comprises a card from said player's first hand of cards.
44. The gaming system in accordance with claims 38 or 42 wherein said gaming engine is arranged to prevent a player who participated in but did not complete the first contest from participating in said second contest.
45. The gaming system in accordance with claims 38 or 42 wherein a player participating in said second contest comprises a wining player of said first contest.
46. The gaming system in accordance with claim 38 wherein said evaluator is arranged to pay a winner of said first contest a first payout and a winner of said at least one second contest a second payout.
47. The gaming system in accordance with claim 46 wherein said evaluator is arranged to pay a player of said first and/or second contests a jackpot payout upon meeting one or more predetermined criteria.
48. The gaming system in accordance with claims 38 or 42 wherein said evaluator is arranged to pay a player a jackpot payout when said player has a set of one or more cards in a first of said first and second contests which meet a predetermined criteria but which did not result in said player being declared a winner of said contest.
49. The gaming system in accordance with claims 38 or 42 wherein said evaluator is arranged to pay a player of said first and/or second contest a jackpot payout when a set of cards belonging to said player and a set of cards belonging to another player comprises a predetermined combination of cards.
50. The gaming system in accordance with claim 49, wherein said gaming engine includes a simulation engine and said another player comprises said simulation engine.
51. The gaming system in accordance with claims 38 or 42 wherein said evaluator is arranged to pay at least one player of said first and/or second contest a jackpot payout when a set of cards of one player is the same rank as a set of cards of another player.
52. The gaming system in accordance with claim 51 wherein said jackpot payout increases as said rank increases.
53. The gaming system in accordance with claims 38 or 42 wherein said evaluator is arranged to pay a player of said first and/or second contests a jackpot payout when said player wins a predetermined number of consecutive contests.
54. The gaming system in accordance with claims 38 or 42 wherein said evaluator is arranged to play a player of said first and/or second contests a jackpot payout when said player wins one or more previous contests and has a set of cards meeting a predetermined criteria.
55. The gaming system in accordance with claim 54 wherein said evaluator is arranged to pay a player an additional payout after being awarded said jackpot payout when said player wins one or more subsequent contests after being awarded said jackpot payout.
56. The gaming system in accordance with claim 47 wherein said evaluator is arranged to pay a player an additional payout after being awarded said jackpot payout when said player has a set of one or more cards meeting a predetermined criteria.
57. The gaming system in accordance with claim 42 wherein said other contest comprises draw poker.
58. The gaming system in accordance with claim 57 wherein said evaluator determines that a player of said video-poker type contest is a winner when a set of one or more cards belonging to another player comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermine payout schedule.
59. The gaming system in accordance with claim 58 wherein said gaming engine includes a simulation engine and said another player comprises said simulation engine.
60. The gaming system in accordance with claim 42 wherein said other contest comprises Texas Hold'em, and wherein said gaming engine is arranged to deal one or more community cards.
61. The gaming system in accordance with claim 60 wherein said evaluator determines that a player of said video-poker type contest is a winner when a set of cards comprising one or more of said community cards and/or one or more cards belonging to said player comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
62. The gaming system in accordance with claim 42 wherein said other contest comprises Pineapple Hold'em, and said gaming engine is arranged to deal one or more community cards.
63. The gaming system in accordance with claim 62 wherein said evaluator determines that a player of said video-poker type contest is a winner when a set of cards comprising one or more of said community cards and/or one or more cards belonging to said player comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
64. The gaming system in accordance with claim 42 wherein said other contest comprises Seven Card Stud.
65. The gaming system in accordance with claim 64 wherein a player of said video-poker type contest is a winner when a set of one or more cards dealt to said player in said Seven Card Stud contest comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
66. The gaming system in accordance with claim 65 wherein said gaming engine is arranged to deal three cards face down and four cards face-up to said one or more players of said Seven Card Stud contest and said evaluator determines that a player of said video-poker type contest is a winner when a set of one or more of said face-up cards belonging to said player comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
67. The gaming system in accordance with claim 42 wherein said other contest comprises Five Card Stud.
68. The gaming system in accordance with claim 67 wherein said evaluator determines that a player is a winner of said video-poker type contest when a set of one or more of said cards dealt to said player during said Five Card Stud contest comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
69. The gaming system in accordance with claim 42 wherein said other contest comprises Omaha Hold'em, and said gaming engine is arranged to deal one or more hole cards and one or more community cards.
70. The gaming system in accordance with claim 69 wherein said evaluator determines that a player is a winner of said video-poker type contest when a set of one or more of said player's hole cards and/or one or more of said community cards, and/or another player's hole cards, comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
71. The gaming system in accordance with claim 42 wherein said other contest comprises Lowball.
72. The gaming system in accordance with claim 71 wherein said evaluator determines that a player is a winner of said video-poker type contest when a set of one or more cards dealt to another player of said Lowball contest comprises a winning set of cards in accordance with a predetermined payout schedule.
73. The gaming system in accordance with claim 72 wherein said gaming engine includes a simulation engine and said another player comprises said simulation engine.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This patent application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/851,255 filed on May 5, 1997.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] This invention relates to a game system and a method for playing multiple contests, including card games.

[0004] 2. Background Art

[0005] Existing electronic casino games (slot machines) are available in which one player plays against a predetermined criteria that determines whether the player wins. One such game that is prominent in a casino or other gaming environment is referred to as video poker. In video poker, the player is dealt a hand of cards which is evaluated against a payoff table. Thus, the player is pitted against static, predetermined hand rankings. If the player's hand exceeds a threshold ranking, the player wins the amount indicated for the threshold. The player does not play poker against another player.

[0006] In Bridgeman et al, U.S. Pat. No. 5,046,736, a multi-player poker slot machine is described. One player is a person and the other player(s) is simulated by the slot machine system. The real player initiates all of the actions in the game while the simulated player merely responds by imitating each action of the player. There is no ability or intelligence of the simulated player to develop a strategy in which the simulated player decides upon an action other than the one performed by the real player. It is therefore, impossible for the simulated player to be the initiator of the game (i.e., make the first move). Further, the real player can predict with 100% accuracy the moves that the simulated player will take thereby making it easier for the real player to out-maneuver the simulated player.

[0007] The following provides a discussion of the game of poker.

Poker Basics

[0008] There are a large number of poker variations. However, certain basic concepts apply to most types of poker.

[0009] Poker hands generally consist of five cards from a 52 card deck. There are 2,598,960 different hands. The hands are linearly ordered in strength or “rank.” There are nine general categories of hands, ranked as shown in Table 1.

TABLE 1
Ranking by Categories
Rank Name Example
1 Straight flush J 10 9 8 7
2 Four of a kind K K♦ K♡ K 9
3 Full house J♦ J♡ J 3 3♡
4 Flush A 10 9 5 2
5 Straight 6♦ 5♡ 4 3 2♡
6 Three of a kind 10 10 10♦ 9♡ 7
7 Two pair A♡ A 4 4♦ 9
8 One pair 9♦ 9♡ K 8 6♡
9 No pair 3 5♦ 6♡ J Q

[0010] Within each category, hands are ranked according to the rank of individual cards, with an ace being the highest card and a 2 being the lowest card. There is no difference in rank between the four suits of cards. Table 2 shows the ranking of some example hands within the two pair category. Because the suits of the individual cards do not matter for two pair hands (the suits become relevant only for flushes and straight flushes, since all cards in these hands must be the same suit), no suits are shown in Table 2.

TABLE 2
Relative Ranking of Some Two Pair Hands
Highest AAKKQ
AAKKJ
AAKK10
AAKK9
* * *
AAQQ2
AAJJK
AAJJQ
* * *
JJ223
101099A
101099K
* * *
33226
33225
Lowest 33224

[0011] All hands can be ranked in a linear ranking from highest to lowest. Because suits are all of the same value, however, there are multiple hands that have identical rankings. For example, there are four equivalent hands for each type of straight flush, four of a kind, or flush;, there are over a hundred equivalent hands for each two pair variation, and there are over 1000 equivalent hands for each type of no-pair hand. Accordingly, although there are over 2,000,000 possible hands, there are significantly fewer possible rankings.

[0012] Poker is characterized by rounds of card dealing and betting. Numerous variations of poker exist, including “Five Card Draw,” “Five Card Stud,” “Seven Card Stud,” “Hold'em” (also called Texas Hold'em), and “Omaha” (also called Omaha Hold'em). The variations generally differ in the manner in which cards are dealt and in the manner in which bets are placed. Various criteria may also be used to determine the winning hand, including highest ranking hand wins, lowest ranking hand wins (“Lowball”), and high and low hands each win half (“High-Low”).

[0013] Typically, a game starts when each player has placed an initial bet, called the “ante,” into the “pot.” The term “pot” refers to the total accumulation of bets made during a game. Each player that has “anted” is dealt an initial set of cards. The number of cards depends on the particular variation of poker being played. In five card draw, each player is initially dealt five cards.

[0014] After the deal, the players have the opportunity to place bets. If a player places a bet, that bet must be matched (“called”) or “raised” by each player that wants to remain in the game. A player who does not match a bet drops out of the game or “folds.” A round of betting ends when either every player but one has folded, or when the highest bet or raise has been called by each remaining player such that each remaining player has paid the same amount into the pot during the round.

[0015] Each game may have several “rounds” of betting. If two or more players remain after a round of betting, either more cards are dealt, or there is a “showdown,” depending on the game variation being played. A “showdown” occurs when two or more players remain in a game after the last round of betting for a game has been completed. A player wins a game of poker (also sometimes called a “hand of poker”) either by having the highest ranking hand when a “showdown” occurs, or by being the last remaining player in the game after all other players have dropped out, or “folded.” At a showdown, each player displays the player's hand to the other players. Typically, the player showing the hand with the highest ranking wins the pot. In some variations, however, the lowest ranking hand wins (“low-ball”), or the lowest and highest ranking hands split the pot (“high-low”).

[0016]FIG. 1 illustrates the sequence of events that occur in a game of Five Card Draw poker. As shown in FIG. 1, the game begins with each player paying an ante into the pot at step 100. At step 105, each player is dealt five cards by one of the players who is referred to as the dealer. Players take turns being the dealer.

[0017] After each player has been dealt the initial set of five cards, the first round of betting occurs at step 110. In a round of betting, each player is successively given the opportunity to either “pass” (i.e. to place no bet, allowed only if no one has previously placed a bet during the round), to “call” (i.e. to pay an amount into the pot equal to the total amount paid by the immediately preceding bettor), to “raise” (i.e. to pay an amount into the pot greater than the amount paid by the immediately preceding bettor), or to “fold” (i.e. to not pay anything into the pot and thereby to drop out of the game). The betting sequence typically starts with the player to the immediate left of the dealer, and then progresses in a clockwise direction.

[0018]FIG. 2 illustrates an example of a first round of betting that may occur at step 110 of FIG. 1. In the example of FIG. 2 there are three players: player A 200, player B 205, and player C 210. Player A is the dealer. In FIG. 2, the cards dealt to each player are shown under the player's name. Thus, after the deal, player A's hand is AA762, player B's hand is KK225, and player C's hand is JJ843.

[0019] Since player B is the player to the immediate left of the dealer (player A), player B opens the betting round. Player B may pass (bet nothing), or place a bet. Player B's hand contains two pairs, which player B considers to be a good first round hand. Accordingly, as shown in FIG. 2, player B bets one “bet” at step 215. In this example, betting “one bet” means that the bettor bets the maximum betting limit allowed by the rules of the particular variation of poker game being played. Two types of betting are “limit” betting and “pot limit” betting. In limit betting, the maximum betting limit is a predetermined amount. For example, a betting limit may be $2. In pot limit betting, the maximum amount that a player may bet is the total amount in the pot at the time the bet is made, including the amount, if any, that the bettor would need to put into the pot if the bettor were calling. Other types of betting are no limit betting, and spread limit betting, in which bets are allowed within a certain range (e.g. $2-$8).

[0020] After player B has bet, it is player C's turn to act. Since player B has bet one bet, player C's choices are to match player B's bet (“call”), to raise, or to fold. Player C has a pair of jacks, which player C considers to be good enough to call but not good enough to raise. Accordingly, as shown in FIG. 2, player C calls at step 220 by placing an amount equal to player B's bet into the pot.

[0021] After player C has bet, it's player A's turn. Player A has a pair of aces, which player A considers to be good enough for not just calling, but raising. Player A therefore decides to raise player B's bet by one bet at step 225. Player A thus places a total of two bets into the pot—one to meet B's bet, and one to raise by one bet.

[0022] After player A raises one bet, the betting proceeds back to player B. Player B considers his two pair hand to be good enough to call player A's bet, but not good enough to reraise. Accordingly, player B calls at step 230 by putting one bet (the amount of player A's raise) into the pot so that the total amount bet by player B equals the total amount bet by player A.

[0023] After player B bets, the betting returns to player C. To stay in the game, player C must place one bet into the pot to match player A's raise. However, player C doesn't believe that player C's hand of two jacks is good enough to call player A's raise. Accordingly, player C decides to drop out of the game by folding at step 235.

[0024] After player C folds, there are no remaining uncalled raises or bets. Accordingly, the first round of betting ends at step 240. Thus, after the first round of betting, there are two remaining players, player A and player B.

[0025] The size of the pot in the example of FIG. 2 after the first round of betting depends on the size of the initial ante and the betting limit of the game. Table 3 illustrates the growth in the size of the pot during the round of betting illustrated in FIG. 2 for a betting limit of $1 and for a pot limit. In both cases, it is assumed that the total ante of all three players is $1.

TABLE 3
Size of Pot for Limit and Pot Limit Poker
For Example of FIG. 2
Resulting Pot Resulting Pot
Betting Step Action ($1 Limit) (Pot Limit)
0 Ante $1 $1
1 B bets 1 bet $2 $2
2 C calls B's bet $3 $3
3 A raises by 1 bet $5 $8
4 B calls A's raise $6 $12
5 C folds $6 $12

[0026] Thus, at the end of the first round of betting illustrated in FIG. 2, the resulting pot is $6 for 41 limit poker and $12 for pot limit poker.

[0027] Referring again to FIG. 1, at the end of the first round of betting at step 110, a determination is made as to whether more than one player is left in the game at step 115. If only one player is left, that player wins the pot at step 120. If more than one player is left, play continues to step 125.

[0028] At step 125, the players remaining in the game have the opportunity to discard cards from the player's hands and replace them with newly dealt cards. A player may discard and replace (or “draw”) from 0 to 5 cards.

[0029] After the “draw” at step 125, the second round of betting takes place at step 130.

[0030] The second round of betting proceeds in the same manner as the first round of betting. FIG. 3 illustrates an example of a second round of betting that occurs after the first round of betting of FIG. 2. As shown in FIG. 3, player A and player B each drew 1 card during the draw. Player A could have drawn more cards, but player A chose to draw only one card to make it appear that player A had a better hand than player A's pair of aces. Player A discarded the lowest card of player A's hand (a 2), and was dealt a 9. Player A's resulting hand as shown in FIG. 3 is AA976.

[0031] Player B, starting off with four good cards (two pairs), also drew one card, discarding a 5 and being dealt a 7. Player B's resulting hand as shown in FIG. 3 is KK227.

[0032] The betting in round 2, as in round 1, commences with player B. As shown in FIG. 3, even though player B has a fairly good two pair hand, player B chooses to “check” (i.e., “pass) at step 300. A check is equivalent to a pass, or to betting zero. The betting then proceeds to player A. Although player A's hand is not particularly strong, player A decides to bet 1 bet at step 305, hoping that player B will believe that player A has a strong hand and therefore fold. Making a bet with a weak hand that probably will not win in a showdown is referred to as “bluffing.”

[0033] Player B does not fold, but instead raises player A by one bet at step 310. Player B thus pays two bets into the pot: one to meet player A's bet, and one to raise player A one bet. Player A, believing that player B's raise is a bluff, decides to reraise player B at step 315. Player A thus pays two more bets into the pot, one to match player B's raise and one for the reraise. Player B, not having bluffed, calls player A's reraise at step 320 by paying a bet into the pot to match player A's one bet reraise.

[0034] Player B's call of player As reraise ends the second round of betting, leading to a showdown at step 325. The amount of money in the pot at the end of the second round of betting depends on whether the game is a limit game or a pot limit game. Table 4 shows the growth in the pot in the second round of betting for limit and pot limit games given the first round pot shown in table 3.

TABLE 4
Size of Pot for Limit and Pot Limit Poker
For Example of FIG. 3
Resulting Pot Resulting Pot
Betting Step Action ($1 Limit) (Pot Limit)
0 Beginning pot $6 $12
1 B checks $6 $12
2 A bets 1 bet $7 $24
3 B raises 1 bet $9 $72
4 A reraises 1 bet $11 $216
5 B calls $12 $324

[0035] As shown in Table 4, in a pot limit game, the size of the pot increases dramatically with each pot limit bet, while the increase of the pot in a limit game is more moderate.

[0036] Referring again to FIG. 1, after the second round of betting at step 130, a determination is made as to whether more than one player is left in the game at step 135. If only one layer is left, the remaining player wins the pot at step 140. If more than one player remains in the game, there is a showdown at step 145. The remaining players shown their hands, and the highest ranking hand wins the pot at step 150. In the example of FIG. 3, player B's hand of two pairs has a higher ranking than player A's hand of a pair of aces. Accordingly, player A's bluffing strategy proves unsuccessful, and player B wins the pot.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0037] The present invention comprises a game system and method for playing multiple contests, including card games.

[0038] In one or more embodiments, the invention comprises an intelligent gaming system that includes a game engine, simulation engine, and, in certain embodiments, a static evaluator. One embodiment of the invention comprises an intelligent, poker playing slot machine that allows a user to play poker for money against one or more intelligent, simulated opponents. Another embodiment comprises a computer game system that allows a player to play a game simultaneously against an intelligent, simulated opponent and against a set of predetermined criteria. The invention can be used, for example, with any of a variety of card games, including, without limitation, poker games including Five Card Draw, Five Card Stud, Seven Card Stud, Hold'em, Omaha, and others, each in high-ball, low-ball, and high-low configurations, and with specified betting limits, pot limits, no-limits, spread limits, etc. The simulation engine generates actions for the simulated player(s). The simulation engine allows a real person, or user, to play against intelligent, simulated opponents. In addition, in certain embodiments a static evaluator offers another level of play in which the user can play against a predetermined criteria for winning. In one embodiment of the invention, the user plays against simulated opponent(s). In another embodiment of the invention, the user plays against simulated opponent(s) and against the predetermined criteria.

[0039] The game engine controls the play according to the rules established for the game. Input is received from either the player or a simulated player and is processed by the game engine. A game can be thought of as comprising a set of action points at which either the user or a simulated player are requested to act. The game engine restricts the players to valid actions at the action points.

[0040] The gaming system allows either the user or a simulated player to be the first to act. The user can respond to a request for an action when it is the user's turn to act. The simulation engine determines the action taken by a simulated player. The simulation engine uses its knowledge of the current state of the game to determine the action or sequence of actions to be taken by the simulated player. The current state of the game can include, for example, the simulation engine's understanding of the probability of winning. The current state of the game can further include the point of the game at which an action is to be taken.

[0041] In one embodiment of the invention, the gaming system is an intelligent poker playing slot machine system. The poker playing system is comprised of two poker players one of which is the simulated player and the other is the user. The poker playing system includes input means for accepting bets from the user and output means for paying winnings to the user. The poker playing system allows a first round of betting, a draw, and a second round of betting. The first round action(s) includes the number of cards that the simulated player draws at the conclusion of the first round.

[0042] A set of action sequence triggering variables having associated values are used by the simulation engine to identify the simulated player's action(s). Each action sequence triggering variable identifies one or more actions to be taken by the simulated player. An action sequence triggering variable is identified and its value is used to determine the action(s) that are adopted for use by the simulated player.

[0043] Each action sequence triggering variable used to determine a strategic sequence of actions for the simulated player is associated with a hand rank (e.g., three of a kind or a pair of queens). The hand rank of the hand dealt to the simulated player is compared to appropriate action sequence triggering variables to determine the action sequence strategy to be used. In one embodiment, a value is associated with each variable that identifies a portion of time that an action(s) associated with the variable is to be taken.

[0044] In the first round, one or more applicable action sequence triggering variable(s) are identified using the simulated player's hand rank. A determination is made whether the action(s) associated with the chosen action sequence triggering variables are to be adopted using the values associated with the variables. For example, in one embodiment, a random number between zero and one is compared to a value associated with a variable that represents a percentage of time an action(s) associated with the variable is to be taken. If the random number is less than the percentage, a first action is taken. If the random number is greater than the percentage, a different action is taken. For example, if the action sequence triggering variable(s) specifies that the simulated player is to bet at an action point where the simulated player can only bet or fold, the fold action can be adopted if it is determined using the variable values that the bet action should not be taken.

[0045] In the second round, values for a set of action sequence triggering variables are determined. In one embodiment, the values are retrieved from a lookup table. In another embodiment, the values are dynamically generated by the intelligent poker playing system. The values can be stored in an initialization table. Each row contains a set of values that are used to initialize the action sequence triggering variables. The selection or generation of the values for the set of action sequence triggering variables is based on a set of game criteria. For example, the game criteria can be the number of cards that P1 (the first player to act) and P2 (the second player to act) drew and the size of the pot.

[0046] If the values for the action sequence triggering variables are pre-calculated, the game criteria is used to identify a row in the initialization table. Each column in the row contains a value for one of the action sequence triggering variables. The values for each action sequence triggering variable specifies a hand rank and a percentage. Further, a set of actions is associated with each action sequence triggering variable. In one embodiment, the percentage represents the portion of time an action associated with the variable is to be adopted by the simulated player in the case where the player has the exact hand rank specified by the variable.

[0047] A variable's hand rank is used to position the variable relative to the other variables in the set of action sequence triggering variables along a hand strength axis. A hand strength is determined for the simulated player's hand and compared to the values of the action sequence triggering variables. The value of the simulated player's hand strength relative to the value of the action sequence triggering variables determines the simulated player's action(s).

[0048] One or more embodiments of the invention comprise a method and game system permitting multiple contest play by one or more players (one or more of which may be an intelligent or non-intelligent gaming machine) utilizing one or more cards from single set or hand of cards or multiple related sets or hands of cards. In one or more embodiments of the -invention, at least one of the contests comprises a game of cards, such as, for example, poker, blackjack, or any other card game. In one or more embodiments, a second card game may be played with one or more cards dealt to players of a first card game. The card games may comprise poker games including Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hold'em, Pineapple Hold'em, Lowball, Five Card Draw, Five Card Stud, Seven Card Stud, a video-poker type game in which payouts are based on a predetermined schedule, or any other card games.

[0049] A variety of game play options are disclosed. In one embodiment of the invention, a player is permitted to play a second contest only if the player completes, wins, or meets some other threshold criteria in a first contest. In one or more embodiments, a player is permitted to play a second contest regardless of whether the player completes the first contest. In a specific arrangement, a player of a first poker game is permitted to participate in an additional contest only if the player completes the first game (i.e. does not fold during the first game). In another specific arrangement, a player of a first poker game is permitted to participate in an additional contest regardless of whether or not the player folds in the first contest.

[0050] One or more embodiments of the invention comprise betting, payout and jackpot arrangements for a variety of card games and combinations of card games.

[0051] In one embodiment, the game system of the invention allows the simultaneous play by one or more users against one or more intelligent or non-intelligent simulated opponents and against a pre-determined payoff schedule. In one example, a poker playing slot machine is provided that allows a player to play simultaneously against an intelligent or non-intelligent simulated opponent and against a video-poker style payoff table. For a particular hand, a player may be awarded winnings based on the payoff table even if the player loses against the simulated opponent, or folds prior to completion of play.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0052]FIG. 1 is a flow chart illustrating a sequence of events in five card draw poker.

[0053]FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating a first round of betting.

[0054]FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram illustrating a second round of betting.

[0055]FIG. 4 provides an example of a general purpose computer that can be used with the present invention.

[0056]FIG. 5 provides an example of the system components according to one or more embodiments of the invention.

[0057] FIGS. 6A-6F provide a process flow for an intelligent “five card draw” poker game between two players according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0058]FIG. 7A illustrates possible first round actions according to one embodiment of the invention.

[0059]FIG. 7B illustrates possible first round actions where raises are limited according to one embodiment of the invention.

[0060] FIGS. 8A-8C provide a process flow for identifying a first round strategy for player P1 according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0061] FIGS. 9A-9C provide a process flow for identifying a first round strategy for player P2 according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0062]FIG. 10 illustrates possible second round actions according to one embodiment of the invention.

[0063]FIG. 11 illustrates possible second round actions in a game where raises are limited according to one embodiment of the invention.

[0064]FIG. 12 provides an example of a second round strategy lookup table used in one embodiment of the invention.

[0065]FIG. 13 illustrates actual columns for table 1200 of FIG. 12 according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0066]FIG. 14 illustrates the action sequence intervals given sample values for the action sequence triggering variables according to one embodiment of the invention.

[0067]FIG. 15 provides a second round process flow that uses the table of FIGS. 12-14 - according to one embodiment of the invention.

[0068] FIGS. 16A-16B provide values for action sequence triggering variables for example pot sizes of 3 and 5.

[0069]FIG. 17 is a payoff table for five card hands formed from five cards in an embodiment of the invention.

[0070]FIG. 18 is a payoff table for five card hands formed from seven cards in an embodiment of the invention.

[0071]FIG. 19 is a payoff table for four card hands formed from four cards in an embodiment of the invention.

[0072]FIG. 20 is a payoff table for five card hands formed from seven cards in an Omaha Hold'em poker game in an embodiment of the invention.

[0073]FIG. 21 is a payoff table for five card hands formed from five cards in a Lowball game in an embodiment of the invention.

[0074]FIG. 22 is a payoff table for two card hands formed from two cards in an embodiment of the invention.

[0075]FIG. 23 is a payoff table for three card hands formed from three cards in an embodiment of the invention.

[0076]FIG. 24 is a flowchart illustrating one embodiment of the invention in which a game of Omaha Hold'em and one or more additional contests may be played.

[0077]FIG. 25 is a flowchart illustrating one embodiment of the invention in which a game of Texas Hold'em and one or more additional contests may be played.

[0078]FIG. 26 is a flowchart illustrating one embodiment of an additional contest to be played in addition to a game of Texas Hold'em using two hole cards dealt in the Texas Hold'em game.

[0079]FIG. 27 is a flowchart illustrating one embodiment of the invention in which a game of Seven Card Stud and one or more additional contests may be played.

[0080]FIG. 28 is a flowchart illustrating one embodiment of the invention in which a game of Five Card Stud and one or more additional contests may be played.

[0081]FIGS. 29 and 30 illustrate slot machine embodiments of the intelligent card playing system of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0082] A method of playing one or more contests and a game system is described. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough description of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention. Further, although certain example embodiments of contests that may be used with the invention have been described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that variations of those contests or other contests may be used. For example, several embodiments have been described using “high-ball” versions of poker games such as Five Card Draw, Five Card Stud, Seven Card Stud, Omaha, Texas Hold'em, etc. These embodiments are intended to include high-ball, low-ball, high-low, and other versions of such poker games, and other poker games, as well.

[0083] While the invention may be implemented in a variety of ways, one or more embodiments of the present invention can be implemented on a general purpose computer such as illustrated in FIG. 4. A keyboard 410 and mouse 411 are coupled to a bi-directional system bus 418. The keyboard and mouse are for introducing user input to the computer system and communicating that user input to CPU 413. The computer system of FIG. 4 also includes a video memory 414, main memory 415 and mass storage 412, all coupled to bi-directional system bus 418 along with keyboard 410, mouse 411 and CPU 413. The mass storage 412 may include both fixed and removable media, such as magnetic, optical or magnetic optical storage systems or any other available mass storage technology. Bus 418 may contain, for example, 32 address lines for addressing video memory 414 or main memory 415. The system bus 418 also includes, for example, a 32-bit DATA bus for transferring DATA between and among the components, such as CPU 413, main memory 415, video memory 414 and mass storage 412. Alternatively, multiplex DATA/address lines may be used instead of separate DATA and address lines.

[0084] CPU 413 may be any suitable microprocessor such as, for example, the Pentiuma processor manufactured by Intel. Main memory 415 is comprised of dynamic random access memory (DRAM). Video memory 414 is a dual-ported video random access memory. One port of the video memory 414 is coupled to video amplifier 416. The video amplifier 416 is used to drive the cathode ray tube (CRT) raster monitor 417. Video amplifier 416 is well known in the art and may be implemented by any suitable means. This circuitry converts pixel DATA stored in video memory 414 to a raster signal suitable for use by monitor 417. Monitor 417 is a type of monitor suitable for displaying graphic images.

[0085] The computer system described above is for purposes of example only. The present invention may be implemented in any type of computer system or programming or processing environment. The invention may be implemented by means of software programming on this or another computer system. The invention encompasses an article of manufacture comprising computer readable program code configured to cause a computer to implement the method of the invention. Such article of manufacture may comprise a computer data storage medium such as a floppy disk, a hard disk, a CD-ROM, a DVD disk, and any other kind of data storage medium. The invention also encompasses a carrier wave comprising computer readable program code configured to cause a computer to implement the method of the invention that may be transmitted over a communications means such as the Internet.

Overview

[0086] One or more embodiments of the invention comprise an intelligent gaming system in which a user-player is pitted against one or more intelligent, simulated opponents. In another embodiment, the gaming system further allows the user to play against an intelligent, simulated opponent and against a predetermined set of results or aspects of the game. In one embodiment, the gaming system is a poker playing system in which one or more user-players play poker against one or more intelligent or non-intelligent, simulated poker players and a predetermined payoff table or other additional contest(s).

[0087]FIG. 5 provides an example of the system components according to an embodiment of the invention. System 500 comprises game engine 510, simulation engine 506 and static evaluator 508. Game engine 510, simulation engine 506 and static evaluator 508 can be implemented as software that runs in the system of FIG. 4, for example. System 500 interacts with player 502 to obtain input from player 502. Simulation engine 506 generates actions for the simulated player that becomes input to game engine 510. Input from player 502 and simulation engine 506 is received and processed by game engine 510. System 500 generates output 504 that is displayed to player 502. Output 504 includes messages prompting player 502 for input, messages describing the action(s) taken by the simulated player, and status messages that describe an interim or final status of the game (i.e., whether the simulated player or player 502 is winning the game).

[0088] Simulation engine 506 identifies the action(s) that the simulated player takes during the course of a game. Simulation engine 506 evaluates the current state of the game including the actions that have already been taken by the players and chooses an action or actions for the simulated player from among the set of currently valid actions. The action(s) identified by simulation engine 506 and player 502 are processed by game engine 510.

[0089] Player 502 can compete against some static measurements in some embodiments of the invention. Static evaluator 508 compares some aspect or level of play by player 502 against a predetermined set of criteria. If player 502 achieves an acceptable level of play based on the predetermined set of criteria, player 502 wins the static competition.

[0090] One or more embodiments of the invention comprise a method and a game system which permits at least one user-player to play at least two contests simultaneously or in sequence using a single set or hand of cards or multiple related sets or hands of cards. In one or more embodiments, at least one of the contests is a card game, such as poker, blackjack, or any other card game. In one or more embodiments, the two contests are both card games. In one or more embodiments, the contest is a poker game and the second contest is a video-poker type game.

[0091] Other embodiments of the invention comprise betting, payout and jackpot arrangements for one or more contests, including card games.

Intelligent Poker Playing System

[0092] One or more embodiments of the invention comprise an intelligent gaming system in which a user-player is pitted against one or more intelligent, simulated opponents. The invention is described herein with reference to an intelligent poker playing system and in particular to “five card draw.” However, it should be apparent that the invention can be applied to other card games including other poker games (e.g., “Five Card Stud,” “Seven Card Stud,” “Texas Hold'em,” and “Omaha Hold'em”). The invention can be applied to any game in which strategies are used to identify an action during the game. The following provides a process flow for system 500 that implements a poker gaming system.

[0093] Further, the intelligent poker playing system is described using a single user-player pitted against one intelligent, simulated player. However, it should be apparent that the invention can be practiced with varying numbers of user-players and intelligent, simulated players. Thus, for example, one user-player can be pitted against more than one intelligent, simulated player, or vice versa. Further, multiple user-players can be pitted against multiple intelligent, simulated players.

[0094] In Five Card Draw, each player is dealt five cards after placing an initial bet. A player evaluates his hand and adopts a strategy for playing the hand. A player's strategy determines the action(s) taken by the player. For example, in a two player Five Card Draw poker game, player 1, P1, can adopt one strategy, if he believes that his hand is likely to be a “winning” hand. In that case, P1 opens the betting and then reraises if player 2, P2, raises P1's bet. If P1 believes that his hand has less potential to beat P2's hand, P1 can adopt a strategy to open with a bet, but fold, if P2 raises P1's opening bet. Even if P1 believes his hand is not that strong, P1 may adopt a strategy to try to bluff P2 into believing that his hand is a “winning” hand. In that case, P1 can open with a bet and reraise P2's bet. P1's strategy may be simply to fold when P1 believes that his hand has no value.

[0095] P1 can modify or adopt a new strategy during the game. The size of the pot may cause P1 to change strategies, for example. Further, P1 may adopt different strategies between rounds (e.g., before and after the draw). Similarly, P2 can adopt one or more strategies during a game. Simulation engine 506 can simulate the play of either P1 or P2.

[0096] FIGS. 6A-6F provide a process flow for a video Five Card Draw poker game between two players according to an embodiment of the invention. Either P1 or P2 is player 502 with the other being simulated using simulation engine 506. The simulated player can be P1 in one game and P2 in another game. After player 502 enters money (or credits or tokens), the cards are dealt to each player and a first round of betting commences.

[0097] At step 602, a determination is made whether player 502 has entered some amount of credit (or token). After player 502 enters credits, the game begins with each player contributing an initial amount to the pot (i.e., “an ante”). Alternatively, player 502 can cashout to retrieve the credits. Thus, at step 604, a determination is made whether player 502 “anted” or made a “cashout” request. If it is determined that player 502 entered a “cashout” request, processing continues at step 606 to return the player's credits. From step 606, processing continues at step 602 to await the start of another game.

[0098] If player 502 anted, processing continues at step 610 to deal the cards to P1 and P2. At step 612 (“P1 action?”), a determination is made whether P1's action is to bet or to fold. If P1 folds at step 612, processing continues at step 614 to payout the pot to P2 (see FIG. 6F for an example of a payout and static evaluation process flow according to an embodiment of the invention). Processing continues at step 602 to await the start of another game or termination of play.

[0099] If P1's action was to bet at step 612, processing continues at step 616 to wait for P2's action. P2 has the option to fold, raise, or call. If P2 folds at step 616, processing continues at step 618 to process the payout to P1 and processing continues at step 602.

[0100] If P2 raises P1's bet, processing continues at step 624 to wait for P1's action. P1 can call, raise P2's raise, or fold. If P1 folds, the pot is paid out to P2 at step 626. If P1 raises P2's raise, processing continues at step 628 to wait for P2's response. If P2 raises P1's raise at step 628, processing continues at step 624 to await P1's action. The sequence of one player raising another player can continue until a raise limit is reached, or one player calls the other's raise. To implement a raise limitation, a step can be added to the steps of FIG. 6B to examine the number of raises against a raise threshold. If the number of raises has reached the threshold, a player's valid actions can be limited to either folding or calling. Further, if either P1 or P2 call the other player's bet (at steps 624 or 628, respectively), processing continues at step 632.

[0101] If either player calls the other player's bet, the first round of betting ends and processing continues at step 632 at which each player may draw cards. At step 632, P1 selects the cards to be discarded. A set of replacement cards is drawn by P1 at step 634. Similarly, at steps 636 and 638, P2 discards and draws zero or more cards.

[0102] Processing continues at step 644 (FIG. 6D) where the second round opens with P1's action. P1 can either pass (i.e., check) or bet. If P1 passes, processing continues at step 656 (FIG. 6E) to await P2's response. If P2 checks in response to P1's check, a showdown occurs with a payout being given at step 668 to the player with a highest ranking hand.

[0103] If P1 opens the second round of betting at step 644 with a bet, processing continues at step 646 to await P2's action. P2 can raise, call or fold in response to P1's bet. If P2 raises P1's bet, processing continues at step 660 to await P1's action. If P2 folds at step 646 after P1 opens with a bet, processing continues at step 648 to award the pot to P1. If P2 calls P1's bet, processing continues at step 650 to pay the pot to the player with the higher ranking hand.

[0104] If P2 raises P1's opening bet or bets after P1 passes, processing continues at step 660 to await P1's responsive action. P1 can call, fold or raise. In an embodiment in which check-raising is not allowed, however, P1 would only have the option to call or fold at step 660.

[0105] If P1 folds, the pot is paid to P2 at step 662. If P1 calls, the pot is paid to the player with the higher ranking hand. If P1 raises P2's bet, processing continues at step 664 to await P2's response. Steps 660 and 664 can repeated with each player responding to the other's raise until one of the player's calls, or runs out of money.

Payout and Static Evaluator

[0106] FIGS. 6A-6E refer to a payout step that awards the pot to the winner of the game. Where one of the players folds, the winner is the player that did not fold. Where neither folded and play ended in a showdown, the winner is the one having a higher ranking hand. The pot is paid to the winner. In an embodiment of the invention, the system further includes a payout to player 502 when player 502 has a hand ranking that meets or beats a threshold hand ranking. Static evaluator 508 compares player 502's hand and the threshold to determine whether player 502 is a winner.

[0107]FIG. 6F provides an example of a payout and static evaluation process flow according to an embodiment of the invention. At step 672, a determination is made whether the game ended in a showdown or because one of the players folded. If one of the players folded, processing continues by awarding the pot to the other player. Thus, if it is determined at step 672 that P1 folded, the pot is awarded to P2 at step 676. If P2 folded, the pot is awarded to P1 at step 678.

[0108] At step 680, if it is determined that the static evaluation feature of the system is active, processing continues at step 682 to allow player 502 to play against a predetermined payoff table (i.e., bonus play). The process flow of FIG. 6F allows player 502 to play the bonus round whether or not player 502 folded. Alternatively, and as described in greater detail above, the static evaluator 508 can limit bonus play such that player 502 is prohibited from bonus play when player 502 folded.

[0109] At step 682, a determination is made whether the fold action occurred prior to the draw. If the game against the simulated player ended in the first round, static evaluator 508 allows player 502 to draw zero to five cards at step 684. After player 502 is allowed a draw (either in simulated or bonus play), static evaluator 508 determines whether a bonus is payable to player 502 and pays any such bonus at step 686. The determination is based on a predetermined set of criteria such as the ranking assigned to a player's hand. Referring to Table 1, for example, a threshold can be set at three of a kind. Thus, a bonus is paid for a hand rank in category six of Table 1 (i.e., three of a kind). The threshold for payment of a bonus can be raised or lowered. For example, the threshold can be raised to pay a bonus for hands in category 4.

[0110] A bonus can be paid based on a graduated payout structure for a hand that meets or exceeds the threshold. The amount paid as a bonus can be a set amount for each card ranking. Alternatively, a graduated bonus can be paid depending on the rank of the hand. Table 5 provides an example of a graduated bonus structure.

TABLE 5
Graduated Payout
Rank Bonus
Pair of Jacks or Better 1
Two Pair 2
Three of a Kind 3
Straight 4
Flush 5
Full House 8
Four of a Kind 80
Straight Flush 100
Royal Flush 488

[0111] In the graduated payout example provided in Table 5, a bonus is paid to player 502 for a hand ranking of a pair of jacks or better. If, for example, player 502 has three of a kind, player 502 is paid 3 units (e.g., three dollars). If player 502 has a royal flush, player 502 is paid 488 units. If player 502 has a pair of tens, he does not receive a payback.

[0112] The above-described arrangement of providing a payout by comparing the user-player's poker hand to a predetermined payout schedule is generally referred to herein as “video poker” or “video-type poker.”

[0113] Static evaluator 508 can be used to award a “bonus” type payout that reflects accumulated contributions from multiple players including player 502. When a player meets or exceeds the threshold ranking, the accumulated payout is paid out to that player. Player 502 can therefore compete against other system users to win the payout that includes the accumulated contributions made by other players into a pot from with the payout is paid. Each player plays against the predetermined bonus threshold. Each user can interact with the same or different instances of system 500 to contribute an amount to the bonus payout pot.

First Round

[0114] As illustrated in FIGS. 6A-6F, the first round of the intelligent poker playing system includes points at which a player (e.g., player 502 or the simulated player) must take an action. A player selects an action from the set of available actions that is a subset of the set of actions (e.g., pass or check, fold, call, bet and raise). P1 and P2 continue the first round until one of the players either calls or folds. FIG. 7A illustrates possible first round actions according to one embodiment of the invention.

[0115] Columns 720-728 identify the five action points in the first round. For example, column 720 corresponds to step 612 of FIG. 6A. Columns 722, 724, 726 and 728 correspond to steps 616, 624, 628, and 624, respectively, of FIGS. 6A-6B. Rows 700A-700B, 702A-702C, 704A-704C, 706A-706C, and 708A-708C indicate the specific actions available to the players. For example, column 720 (P1A1) represents the first action by P1. In this embodiment, according to rows 700A-700B, the possible actions for P1 for the P1A1 action are either bet or fold (in other embodiments, other actions for P1A1 may be allowed, such as, for example, bet or pass). If P1 folds, P2 is awarded the pot and play ends. Therefore, no actions are identified for columns 722-728.

[0116] Rows 702A-702C illustrate the possible first actions for P2 (P2A1), if P1A1 is a bet. Referring to column 722, P2A1 can be a fold, call or raise. If P2 folds in response to P1's bet (row 702A), the pot is paid to P1 and play ends. If P2 calls (row 702B) there is a showdown, and the pot is paid to the player with the highest hand. Rows 704A-704C illustrate the possible second actions for P1 (P1A2), if P2A1 is a raise (i.e., fold, call or raise). If P1A2 is a fold (row 704A), the pot is paid to P2 and play ends. If P1A2 is a call (row 704B), there is a showdown and the pot is paid to the player with the highest hand. If P1A2 is a raise, play turns to P2 for an action. P2's response (P2A2) is represented in rows 706A-706B. If P2A2 is a fold or call, play ends. If P2A2 is a raise, P1 can respond (P1A3) by folding, calling or raising (rows 708A-708C).

[0117] If P1 and P2 continue to raise as illustrated, play can continue (i.e., P1An and P2An). In fact, play can continue indefinitely until a player calls the other's bet, folds, or runs out of money. Referring to FIG. 6B, the process flow can continue at steps 624 and 628 until either P1 or P2 folds or calls. Alternatively, system 500 can limit the number of possible raises. That is P1 and P2 are limited in the number of times each can raise the other's bet.

[0118]FIG. 7B illustrates possible first round actions in a game where the number of raises is limited according to one embodiment of the invention. Referring to rows 700A-700B, P1A1 can be a fold or bet. As illustrated in rows 702A-702C, in response to a betting action for P1A1, P2A1 can be a fold, call or raise. However, referring to rows 714A-714B (P1A2), P1 is limited to either calling P2's raise or folding. Therefore, the first round is guaranteed to end no later than P1A2.

[0119] The available actions for P1 and P2 are illustrated in FIGS. 7A-7B. A player must choose an action at each action point (e.g., P1A1, P2A1, P1A2, etc.). A player typically develops a strategy for playing and selects an action based on the strategy. A player's strategy determines the action(s) taken by the player. A player's strategy in the first round is typically based on the player's hand. A hand that a player believes to be a “winning” hand may prompt a different strategy than one that the player believes is a “losing” hand. For example, a player may consider that three of a kind or better is a “winning” hand. Another player may consider that two pair or better to be a “winning” hand. Conversely, one pair or lower may be considered a “losing” hand. Thus, for example, a player may fold with a one pair or lower hand. However, a player may adopt the strategy typically used with a “winning” hand even though he perceives his hand to be a “losing” hand in an effort to bluff the other player into folding.

Example Embodiment of First Round Strategy

[0120] In the first round, it is assumed that P1 and P2 have an equal chance of winning. That is, each player has an equal chance of being dealt a “winning” hand. In one embodiment, the initial strategy used by either player is based on the rank of the player's hand. In another embodiment of the invention, the initial strategy based on a hand's rank is ignored in favor of another strategy. The strategy identifies the action a player takes at an action point, and the actions taken to reach an action point. In a preferred embodiment, the first round strategy further identifies the number of cards the player is to draw at the conclusion of round one.

[0121] Since player 502 can be either P1 or P2, a technique is provided to identify a first round strategy for either P1 or P2. While a particular strategy identifies the action to take given the other player's action, the selection of the simulated player's strategy is independent of the strategy adopted by player 502. Thus, the simulated player's strategy is not simply an imitation of the action(s) taken by player 502.

[0122] In one embodiment of the invention, a set of first round action sequence triggering variables are identified that identify a player's strategy. Each variable has an associated numeric value that represents the percentage of times that a player adopts the strategy associated with the variable. The strategy identifies the action to be taken by a player at the player's action points.

[0123] In addition, the strategy identifies the drawing action. For certain hands, the number of cards to draw is straightforward based on the player's hand. For example, both P1 and P2 draw no cards with any straight, flush or full house; draw 1 card with two pair; draw three cards with a pair; draw three cards with an ace-high hand. P1 will occasionally draw 1 card to four-card flushes or four-card straights, or may bluff and stand pat (draw no cards) with an otherwise non-betting hand. A strategy specifies a particular number of cards for the draw, or specifies that the draw is based on the hand.

[0124] One set of action sequence triggering variables is associated with P1 while another set is associated with P2. Each player's variables are used to determine the action sequences associated with a particular strategy used in round one. The values assigned to each variable are used to determine whether or not to adopt the action(s) associated with the variable. Table 6 provides examples of variables used to determine P1's first round strategy as well as sample values and descriptions. It should be apparent that other values can be used for these variables and that other variables can be used as a supplement or replacement for these variables.

TABLE 6
Player 1 Variables
Variable Action 1 Action 2
Name (P1A1) (P1A2) Value Description
p1PatBluffP bet 0.003664 Probability that P1
bluffs and stands pat
with a no pair hand
P14fc bet call 0.8435 Probability that P1
bets and calls, if raised
by P2, with a four
flush hand and draws
1 card.
p14fb bet fold 1.0 Probability that P1
bets with a four
flush hand and then
folds (if raised) or
draws 1 card (if P2
called).
p14sb bet fold 0.24 Probability that P1
bets with a four
straight hand and then
folds (if raised) or
draws 1 card (if P2
called).
p1qlop bet fold 0.0 Probability that P1
opens (bets) with a
queen high or lower
hand.
p1qlca bet call 0.0 Probability that P1
opens and calls (if
raised) with a queen
high or lower hand.
p1khop bet fold 0.28 Probability that P1
opens with a king high
hand.
p1khca call 0.0 Probability that P1
calls with a king high
hand.
p1ahop bet 1.0 Probability that P1
opens with an ace
high hand or better.
p1ahca bet call 1.0 Probability that P1
calls with an ace high
hand or better.

[0125] The strategies associated with the variables of Table 6 assume a game in which raises are limited as described with reference to FIG. 7B. Referring to FIG. 7B, P1 has two action points, P1A1 and P1A2, in round one. The possible actions for P1A1 are fold or bet. If the strategy specifies that P1A1 is a bet action, a P1A2 action is specified. The possible P1A2 actions are fold or call. Thus, if P2 raises in response to a P1A1 bet action, P1A2 specifies whether P1 is to call or fold in response to P2's P2A1 action. The strategy adopted by P1 identifies the actions for the P1A1 action point and, if necessary, the P1A2 action point.

[0126] The strategy that is adopted by P1 is determined using the variables identified in Table 6. A value is assigned to a variable that represents the percentage of time that a variable's strategy is adopted. This value is examined before a variable's strategy is adopted. For example, a value of 50 percent (i.e., 0.50) associated with a variable suggests that the variable's strategy should be adopted fifty percent of the time. A random number is used in one embodiment that ranges from 0 to 1. A variable's percentage is compared against the random number to determine whether the variable's action(s) is used.

[0127] Each variable is associated with a hand rank. That is, one or more variables are selected to determine a players strategy based on the ranking of the player's hand. Table 7 categorizes the variables of Table 6 into their respective rankings.

TABLE 7
Player 1 Variables
Variables
Hand Player 1
Straight Flush *
Four of a Kind *
Full House *
Flush *
Straight *
Three of a Kind *
Two Pair *
One Pair *
No Pair p1PatBluffp
Ace High p1ahop, p1ahca
King High p1khop, p1khca
Queen High p1qlop, p1qlca
Four Flush p14fc, p14fb
Four Straight p14sb

[0128] To illustrate, assume that P1 has a four flush hand. Referring to Table 7, the p14fc and p14fb variables are associated with a four flush. Referring to Table 6, if the strategy suggested by the p14fc variable is adopted, P1 bets at action point P1A1 and calls at action point P1A2. If the p14fb variable is used, P1 bets at action point P1A1 and folds at action point P1A2. The values associated with the p14fc and p14fb variables are used to determine which strategy (i.e., the bet-call strategy of p14fc or the bet-fold strategy of p14fb) is adopted. The values assigned to the p14fc and p14fb variables are 0.8435 and 1.0, respectively. That is, the bet-call strategy is adopted eighty-five percent of the time when P1 receives a four flush. The remaining portion of the time, the bet-fold strategy is adopted for P1.

[0129] FIGS. 8A-8C provide a process flow for identifying a first round strategy for player P1 when P1 receives a hand with a rank less than one pair according to an embodiment of the invention. If P1 receives a hand with a rank of greater than or equal to one pair, P1 will adopt the bet-call strategy. Once the ranking of the hand is determined, the variables associated with the ranking are used to select a strategy and identify the action(s) to be taken by P1. Where a draw action is not determined based on the hand, a specific draw is specified for P1. In some cases, a random number is compared against the value of a variable in Table 7 to determine whether to adopt the strategy associated with the variable.

[0130] At step 802, a determination is made whether P1 has a four flush. If so, processing continues at step 804 to determine whether the random number is less than or equal to p14fb. If not, processing continues at step 812. If it is determined, at step 804, that the random number is less than or equal to p14fb, processing continues at step 806. A determination is made at step 806 whether the random number is less than or equal to p14fc. If not, processing continues at step 808 to specify a bet action for P1A1, a fold action for P1A2, and a one card draw. If the random number is less than or equal to p14fc, processing continues at step 810 to specify a bet action for P1A1, a call action for P1A2, and a one card draw.

[0131] If it is determined (at step 802) that P1 does not have a four flush or that the random number is greater than p14fb (at step 804), processing continues at step 812. A determination is made at step 812 whether P1 has a four straight. If so, processing continues at step 814 to determine whether the random number is less than or equal to p14sb. If not, processing continues at step 818. If the random number is determined to be less than p14sb at step 814, processing continues at step 816 to specify a bet action for P1A1, a fold action for P1A2, and a one card draw.

[0132] In the preceding steps, a determination is made whether P1 should bluff with a four flush or four straight hand. In steps 818 and 820, a determination is made whether to bluff even though a bluff is not indicated in the preceding steps. Thus, at step 818, a determination is made whether the random number is less than or equal to p1PatBluffp. If so, processing continues at step 820 to determine whether the random number is less than or equal to two-thirds. If not, processing continues at step 824 to specify a bet action for P1A1, a fold for P1A2 and no draw. If so, processing continues at step 822 to specify a bet action for P1A1, a call action at P1A2 and no draw.

[0133] Whether or not a bluff is indicated in steps 818 and 820, processing continues at step 830 to determine whether P1 has an ace high or better (step 830), king high (step 834), or queen high or lower hand (step 838). If so, processing continues at 860 of FIG. 8C to compare the variables associated with P1's particular hand with the random number. Steps 830, 834, and 838 reference the flow of FIG. 8C and specify the variables that are used in the steps of FIG. 8C. For example, if it is determined at step 834 that P1's hand is a king high hand, variables p1khop and p1khca are used with the steps of FIG. 8C. That is, p1NPop is equivalent to p1khop and p1NPca is equivalent to p1khca.

[0134] Referring to FIG. 8C, a determination is made whether the random number is less than or equal to p1NPop (e.g., p1NPop is equivalent to p1qlop where P1 has a queen high or lower hand). If not, processing continues at step 862 to specify a fold action for P1A1. If so, processing continues at step 864 to determine whether the random number is less than or equal to p1NPca (e.g., p1NPca is equivalent to p1qlca where P1 is a queen high or lower hand). If not, processing continue at step 868 to specify a bet action for P1A1, a call action for P1A2, and a three card draw. If the random number is greater than p2NPca, processing continues at step 870 to specify a bet action for P1A1, a fold action for P1A2, and a three card draw.

[0135] A set of variables are also defined for P2 that are used to determine P2's first round strategy. Table 8 provides examples of variables used to determine P2's first round strategy as well as sample values and descriptions. It should be apparent that other values can be used for these variables and that other variables can be used as a supplement or replacement for these variables.

TABLE 8
Player 2 Variables
Variable Action 1
Name (P2A1) Value Description
p2PatBluffP raise 0.002597 Probability that P2
bluffs by standing pat.
p24FBluffp raise 0.8435 Probability that P2
bluffs as having two
pair and draws one
with a four flush.
p2NoPairBluffP raise 0.12 Probability that P2
raises and draws three
cards with a no pair
hand
p2qlca call 0.0 Probability that P2
calls with a queen
high or lower hand.
p2qlra raise 0.12 Probability that P2
raises with a queen
high or lower hand.
p2khca call 0.0 Probability that P2
calls with a king
high hand.
p2khra raise 0.12 Probability that P2
raises with a king
high hand.
p2ahca call 0.3 Probability that P2
calls with an ace
high hand.
p2ahra raise 0.12 Probability that P2
raises with an ace
high hand.
p2raise raise 0.0-1.0 Probability that P2
raises with a
particular pair.
p2call call 0.0-1.0 Probability that P2
calls with a
particular pair.
p2fold fold 1.0- Probability that P2
p2raise- folds with a particular
p2call one pair hand.

[0136] The strategies associated with the variables of Table 8 assume a game in which raises are limited as described with reference to FIG. 7B. That is, P2 has one action point, P2A1. At P2A1, P2 can fold, call or raise the opening bet by P1. The strategy adopted by P2 identifies the action for the P2A1 action point. The strategy that is adopted by P2 is determined using the variables identified in Table 8 and the rank of P2's hand.

[0137] As with P1's variables, a value is assigned a variable that represents the percentage of times that a variable's strategy is adopted. Further, each variable is associated with a hand rank. Table 9 categorizes the variables of Table 8 based on their associated hand.

TABLE 2
Hands and Associated P2 Variables
Variables
Hand Player 2
Straight Flush *
Four of a Kind *
Full House *
Flush *
Straight *
Three of a Kind *
Two Pair *
One Pair p2raise, p2call
No Pair p2NoPairBluffp,
p2PatBluffp
Ace High p2ahca, p2ahra
King High p2khca, p2khra
Queen High p2qlca, p2qlra
Four Flush p24FBluffp
Four Straight p2PatBluffp

[0138] FIGS. 9A-9C provide a process flow for identifying a first round strategy for player P2 according to an embodiment of the invention. A ranking for P2's hand is identified. Once the ranking is determined, the variables associated with the ranking are used to select a strategy and identify the action(s) to be taken by P2. Where a draw action is not determined based on the hand, a specific draw is specified for P2.

[0139] At step 902 a determination is made whether P2's hand is a two pair or better hand. If P2 as a two pair or better hand (e.g., a straight), processing continues at step 912 to specify a raise action for P2A1 and a draw based on P2's hand.

[0140] If it is determined at step 902 that P2 has less than a two pair hand, processing continues at step 916 to determine whether P2 has a one pair hand. If so, processing continues at step 918 to obtain values for the variables p2raise and p2call given the actual one pair in P2's hand. Table 10 provides an example of values assigned to the p2raise and p2call variables for each pair type in one embodiment.

TABLE 10
Hands and Associated P2 Variables
Pair p2raise p2call
Twos 0.0 0.0
Threes 0.0 1.0
Fours 0.0 1.0
Fives 0.0 1.0
Sixes  0.75  0.25
Sevens 1.0 0.0
Eights 0.9 0.1
Nines 0.5 0.5
Tens 0.2 0.8
Jacks 1.0 0.0
Queens 1.0 0.0
Kings 1.0 0.0
Aces 1.0 0.0

[0141] The values of p2raise in Table 10 indicate the percentage of time that P2 raises with the given pair. The values of p2call indicate the percentage of time that P2 calls, but does not raise. Thus, for example, with a pair of sixes, P2 raises 75% of the time, and calls the remaining 25% of the time. P2 folds the remaining portion of the time, if any. Thus, p2fold=1-p2raise−p2call.

[0142] Other values for p2raise or p2call can be associated with each pair. Once values are obtained for p2raise and p2call at step 918, processing continues at step 920 to determine whether the random number is greater than the sum of p2raise and p2call. If so, processing continues at step 922 to specify a fold action for P2A1. If not, a determination is made at step 924 as to whether the random number is greater than p2raise. If yes, a call action is specified for P2A1 at step 926. If no, processing continues at step 928 to specify a raise action for P2A1.

[0143] If it is determined at step 916 that P2's hand is lower than one pair, processing continues at step 950 to determine whether P2 has a four flush hand. If so, processing continues at step 952 to determine whether to bluff with a four flush hand. A determination is made whether p24FBluffp is greater than or equal to the random number. If not, processing continues at step 956 to specify a fold action for P2A1. If so, processing continues at step 954 to specify a raise action for P2A1 and a one card draw.

[0144] If it is determined at step 950 that P2 does not have a four flush hand, processing continues at step 958 to determine whether p2NoPairBluffP is greater than or equal to the random number. If so, processing continues at step 960 to specify a raise for P1A1 and a three card draw. If it is determined at step 958 that p2NoPairBluffP is less than the random number, processing continues at step 962. A determination is made at step 962 whether p2PatBluffp is greater than or equal to the random number. If so, processing continues at step 964 to specify a raise for P2A1, and a zero draw.

[0145] If a bluff strategy is not adopted for P2, processing continues at steps 968, 972 and 976 to determine whether P2 has an ace high, king high, or queen high or lower hand. In each case, processing continues at step 982 to examine the variables associated with the ace high, king high or queen high or lower hands to determine whether P2 should raise, call or fold in response to an opening bet by P1. Depending on the outcome of steps 968, 972, and 976, the steps of FIG. 9C are performed using the variables associated with an ace high, king high or queen high or lower hand. For example, if it is determined at step 972 that P2 has a king high hand, processing executes the steps of FIG. 9C are processed using the p2khca and p2khra variables. The variables are referred to generically as p2NPca and p2NPra, respectively. Similarly, if it is determined at step 976 that P2 hand is a queen high or lower hand, the steps of FIG. 9C are performed using the p2qlca and p2qlra variables.

[0146] Referring to FIG. 9C, a determination is made at step 982 as to whether the random number is greater than the sum of p2NPra and p2NPca. If so, processing continues at step 984 to specify a fold operation for P2A1. If not, processing continues at step 990.

[0147] At step 990, a determination is made whether the p2NPra is greater than the random number. If yes, processing continues at step 992 to specify a raise operation for P2A1. If not, processing continues at step 996 to specify a call operation for P2A1.

Second Round

[0148] Like the first round of the intelligent poker playing system, the second round includes points at which a player (e.g., player 502 or the simulated player) must take an action. A player selects an action from the set of available actions that is a subset of the set of actions (e.g., pass or check, fold, call, bet and raise). If raising is unlimited, the second round continues until one of the players either calls or folds. FIG. 10 illustrates possible second round actions according to one embodiment of the invention.

[0149] Columns 1020-1028 identify five action points in the second round. For example, column 1020 corresponds to step 644 of FIG. 6D. Column 1022 corresponds to step 646 if P1's for action is a bet, or to step 656 when P1 checks. Columns 1024, 1026 and 1028 correspond to steps 660, 664, and 660, respectively. Rows 1000A-1000B, 1002A-1002C, 1004A-1004C, 1006A-1006C, 1008A-1008C and 1010A-1010C indicate the specific actions available to the players at given action points. For example, column 1020 (P1A1) represents the first action by P1. Rows 1000A-1000B identify the possible actions for P1 at the P1A1 action point (e.g., check or bet). At the P1A1 action point, no other actions have yet taken place. Therefore, no actions are identified for columns 1022-1028.

[0150] Rows 1002A-1002C illustrate the first actions for P2 (P2A1), if P1A1 is a check. Referring rows 1002A-1002B in column 1022, P2A1 can be a check or bet. If P2 checks in response to P1's check (row 1002A), there is a showdown. The pot gets paid to the player with the highest hand, and the game ends. Rows 1004A-1004C indicate that the first action for P2 can be a fold, call or raise if P1A1 is a bet. Rows 1006A-1006C through 1010A-1010C illustrate the possible actions for P1A2, P2A2 and P1A3, respectively as either fold, call or raise actions.

[0151] If P1 and P2 continue to raise, play can continue (i.e., P1An and P2An). In fact, second round play can continue indefinitely until a player calls the other's bet or folds. Alternatively, system 500 can limit the number of possible raises. That is P1 and P2 are limited in the number of times each can raise the other's bet.

[0152]FIG. 11 illustrates possible second round action in a game where there is a raise limit according to one embodiment of the invention. Rows 1100A, 1102A-1102B, and 1104A-1104B illustrate the action where P1A1 is a check. Rows 1100B, 1106A-1106C, 1108A-1108C and 1110A-1110C illustrate the action where P1A1 is a bet. In FIG. 10, P1 could raise after checking (see rows 1004A-1004C). However, in FIG. 11, P1 is limited to either a fold or call action (see rows 1104A-1104B). That is, check raising is not allowed. Further, P2 is not allowed to raise in P2A2. Referring to rows 1110A-1110B, P2 has the option of either folding or calling at action point P2A2. Therefore, the first round is guaranteed to end no later than at P2A2.

[0153] The available actions for P1 and P2 for the second round are illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11. Like the first round, a player must choose an action at each action point (e.g., P1A1, P2A1, P1A2, etc.). The actions are specified based on the strategy chosen by the player.

Second Round Strategy Look-up Table Operation

[0154] As in the first round, there are a set of action sequence triggering variables that are used to determine a player's strategy for the round. Each variable has an associated value that can be examined to develop a player's second round strategy. In one embodiment, the values of the variables are pre-calculated and stored in a table. In an alternate embodiment, instead of using variable values previously generated, the values can be generated dynamically during the game thereby eliminating the need to store the values. A set of criteria is used to either generate the values at runtime or to identify the row in the table that contains the values for the variables.

[0155] An example of a second round strategy lookup table used in one embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 12. Table 1200 includes columns 1201-1213. Column 1201 is an extra column that contains a default value of 1 that is not used. Columns 1202-1213 of table 1200 correspond to the action sequence triggering variables used in the second round. Rows 1224-1228 represent sets of values that are assignable to the second round variables.

[0156] Each value in rows 1224-1228 uses format 1230. Format 1230 comprises hand category 1230, card rank 1232, and percentage 1234. Hand category 1230 and card rank 1232 are translated into hand ranks as follows. The integer before the decimal (i.e., hand category 1230) is a number from 0 to 8 representing one of nine hand categories as indicated in Table 11:

TABLE 11
Hand Category Codes
Number Category
0 no pairs
1 one pair
2 two pairs
3 three of a kind
4 straight
5 flush
6 full house
7 four of a kind
8 straight flush

[0157] The first two digits to the right of the decimal point (i.e., card rank 1232) are numbers from 02 to 14 corresponding to card ranks from deuces (twos) to aces as shown in Table 12:

TABLE 12
Card Rank Codes
Number Category
02 deuce
03 three
04 four
05 five
06 six
07 seven
08 eight
09 nine
10 ten
11 jack
12 queen
13 king
14 ace

[0158] The remaining digits (i.e., percentage 1234) represent the percentage of time the particular hand specified by hand category 1230 and card rank 1232 is played according to the associated action sequence.

[0159] For example, given a value of “1.1231”, the “1,” according to Table 11, means a pair. The next two digits, “12”, according to Table 12, corresponds to “queen.” The next two digits, “31,” represent 0.31 or 31% of the time. According to Table 11, if the variable having the value 1,1231 represents the lowest hand with which P1 will bet, then P1 will bet with a pair of queens 31% of the time. The remaining time, P1 will pass with a pair of queens. The percentage is relevant only if the current hand is of the exact rank specified by the variable. P1 will pass with the next lower hand (pair of jacks), and bet with the next higher hand (pair of kings).

[0160]FIG. 13 illustrates actual columns for table 1200 of FIG. 12 according to an embodiment of the invention. Table 12 describes the action sequence triggering variables identified in FIG. 13.

TABLE 13
Explanations of Columns of FIG. 13
Variable
Column Name Definition
1382 B1 Lowest hand with which P1 will bet legitimately.
1383 b1 Highest hand with which P1 will bluff-bet and fold
if raised.
1384 C2 Lowest hand with which P2 calls if P1 bets.
1385 C1R Lowest hand with which P1 will call if P2 raises.
1386 R2 Lowest hand with which P2 raises if P1 bets.
1387 r2 Highest hand with which P2 bluff-raises if P1 bets.
1388 C2RR Lowest hand with which P2 calls if P1 reraises.
1389 RR1 Lowest hand with which P1 reraises if P2 raises.
1390 rr1 Highest hand with which P1 bluff reraises.
1391 C1 Lowest hand with which P1 calls if P2 bets after P1
passes.
1392 B2 Lowest hand with which P2 bets if P1 passes.
1393 b2 Highest hand with which P2 bluff-bets if P1 passes.

[0161] Some of the variables are used to determine P1's strategy while others are used for P2. Table 14 identifies the variables used for P1 and the actions affected by each variable.

TABLE 14
Second Round Variables for P1
Variable Action 1 Action 2
Column Name (P1A1) (P1A2) Description
1382 B1 bet fold Lowest hand with which P1
will bet legitimately.
1383 b1 bet fold Highest hand with which
P1 will bluff-bet and fold
if raised.
1385 C1R bet call Lowest hand with which P1
will call if P2 raises.
1389 RR1 bet reraise Lowest hand with which P1
reraises if P2 raises.
1390 rr1 bluff-bet reraise Highest hand with which
P1 bluff-bets and reraises,
if raised.
1391 C1 pass call Lowest hand with which P1
calls if P2 bets after P1
passes.

[0162] Table 15 identifies the variables for P2 and their associated action points.

TABLE 15
Second Round Variables for P2
Variable Action 1 Action 2
Column Name (P2A1) (P2A2) Description
1384 C2 call Lowest hand with which P2
calls if P1 bets.
1386 R2 raise fold Lowest hand with which P2
raises if P1 bets.
1387 r2 bluff- fold Highest hand with which
raise P2 bluff-raises if P1 bets.
1388 C2RR raise call Lowest hand with which P2
calls if P1 reraises.
1392 B2 bet fold Lowest hand with which P2
bets if P1 passes.
1393 b2 bluff-bet fold Highest hand with which
P2 bluff-bets if P1 passes.

[0163] Referring to FIG. 13, each row of table 1200 corresponds to a particular game situation at the end of the first round/beginning of the second round in terms of the number of cards drawn by each player and the size of the pot. For each player, there are six possible number of cards drawn: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Accordingly, there are 36 different draw variations for each pot size. In FIG. 13, table 1200 contains 72 rows, which correspond to 36 draw variations for each of two pot sizes. The first 36 rows of FIG. 13 (i.e., rows 1301-1336) correspond to a pot size of 3 (each player having anted and bet 1). Rows 1337-1372 correspond to a pot size of 5 (each player having anted and bet 2). For each set of 36 rows, the first row corresponds to P1 drawing 0 cards, P2 drawing 0 cards. The second row corresponds to P1 drawing 0 cards, P2 drawing 1 card. The third row corresponds to P1 drawing 0 cards, P2 drawing 2 cards, and so on. The general formula that determines, for each set of 36 rows, the row number that corresponds to a draw variation is:

[0164] 1.Pot Size 3:

[0165] Row Number=[(no. of cards P1 draws)(6)+(no. of cards P2 draws)+1]; and

[0166] 2. Pot Size 5:

[0167] Row Number=[(no. of cards P1 draws)(6)+(no. of cards P2 draws)+37].

[0168] For example, if P1 draws 3 cards and P2 draws 5 cards, the corresponding row number within a set of 36 rows is:

[(3)(6)+(5)+1]=Row 24

[0169] Accordingly, if the pot is three after the first round, for a game in which P1 draws 3 cards and P2 draws 5 cards, the row that applies is row 24 of the table 1200. If the pot is five, the row that applies is row 60 (24+36).

[0170] To use table 1200, a determination is made as to which game situation (number of cards drawn by each player and size of pot) applies. The appropriate row number is identified, and the variable values corresponding to P1 or P2 as appropriate are extracted from columns 1382-1393 of that row. The values of the variables can be used to identify action sequence intervals. The current hand is compared to the hands indicated by the variable values, and a determination is made as to the location of the current hand with respect to action sequence intervals defined by the variables. The indicated action sequence is then followed.

[0171]FIG. 14 illustrates the action sequence intervals given sample values for the action sequence triggering variables according to one embodiment of the invention. Row 1358 of table 1200 (see FIG. 16B) is illustrated having values in columns 1382-1393 for the action sequence triggering variables. Row 1358 corresponds to the row of table 1200 that is used when both P1 and P2 drew three cards in the first round, and the pot is equal to 5. In this example, P2 is the simulated player and P2's hand after the draw is two pair with a pair of kings being the highest pair. P2's hand thus has a value, using the format 1230 of Tables 11, 12 and 13, of “2.13” (2=two pairs, 13=kings). The applicable row of the table of 1200 is [(3)(6)+3+1+36]=58 (i.e., row 1358).

[0172] In FIG. 14, the values in columns 1382-1393 and their associated variables are aligned along hand strength axes 1406 (P1 variables) and 1408 (P2 variables). The corresponding action choices are indicated by bars 1402, 1404, 1410, 1412, and 1414.

[0173] A player's hand is translated into a value that specifies hand category 1230 and card rank 1232 using Tables 11, 12, and 13. The value is placed along the player's hand strength axis (e.g., axes 1406 or 1408). For P1, the position of the value along a hand strength axis is used as a reference to the action choices 1402 for P1A2 and action choices 1404 for P1A1. Similarly, the position of P2's hand value along axis 1408 is used as a reference to the action choices 1410 and 1414 for P2A1 and action choices 1412 for P2A2.

[0174] For example, the values for variables C2, R2, r2, C2RR, B2 and b2 are used to position the variables along hand strength axis 1408. P2's hand is used to calculate a hand value of 2.13 as discussed above. Looking at hand strength axis 1408, it is found that P2's hand of 2.13 falls between B2 (1.1039) and R2 (2.1422). The action sequence indicated for P2A1 given P2's current hand, as shown in action choices 1410 and 1414, is to call if P1 bets (action choices 1410), and to bet if P1 passes (action choices 1414).

[0175]FIG. 15 provides a second round process flow that uses table 1200 of FIGS. 12-14 according to one embodiment of the invention.

[0176] At step 1502, the row of table 1200 is calculated using the pot size and draw information. At step 1504, the values for the action sequence triggering variables are retrieved for table 1200. A value is calculated for the simulated player's hand at step 1506. At step 1508, the positioning of the hand's value is determined relative to the variables positioned along the hand strength axis. At step 1510, an action is identified from the action choices.

[0177] Percentage 1234 associated with a variable is used where the player's hand is the exact rank specified for the variable. Thus, at step 1512, a determination is made at step 1512 whether the current hand is equal to the rank specified in the variable. If not, the action specified by the variable identified in step 1508 is adopted at step 1514. If so, a determination is made at step 1512 to determine whether the variable's percentage 1234 is greater than or equal to the random number. If it is, processing continues at step 1514 to use the action associated with the variable identified in step 1508. If not, processing continues at step 1516 to select the action different from the action associated with the variable specified for the next higher or lower hand than the hand specified in the variable, as appropriate. For example, in the previous example, if P2 has a pair of aces (2.14), P2 will raise if the random number is less than or equal to 0.22 (since r2=2.1422). Otherwise, P2 will call (the action indicated for the next lower hand) with its pair of aces.

[0178] FIGS. 16A-16B provide values for action sequence triggering variables for example pot sizes of 3 and 5 discussed above. FIG. 16A includes rows 1301-1336 used for a post size of 3. FIG. 16B has rows 1337-1372 for a pot size of 5.

Method of Playing Multiple Contests and Game System for Multiple Contest Play

[0179] One or more embodiments of the invention comprise a method of playing or participating in multiple contests or games (the terms “contest” and “game” are used interchangeably herein and each term is intended to include the other) using one or more related cards or hands of cards and a game system permitting a user-player to play multiple contests simultaneously or sequentially using one or more related cards or hands of cards. In accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention, one or more cards are dealt to one or more real or simulated players for playing a first contest and one or more of these cards are also used to play at least one second contest. In one or more embodiments, a user is allowed to play the second contest(s) regardless of whether or not the user completes the first contest. That is, the user may play the second contest even if the user loses or folds in the first contest. In one or more embodiments, the user is allowed to play the second contest(s) only if the user completes all or part of the first contest. Other criteria to determine whether a user is permitted to play additional contests other than the first contest may be used as well.

[0180] In one embodiment, at least one of the first and/or second contests comprises a card game, such as poker or blackjack. In another embodiment, at least one of the contests comprises a video-poker type game in which a payout is based on a predetermined payout table.

[0181] Several example embodiments of the invention are described below. Although the embodiments are generally described for high-ball versions of example poker games, it will be understood that low-ball, high-low, and other versions and variations of such games are included as well.

Five Card Draw And At Least One Additional Contest

[0182] In one embodiment of the invention, a user-player is permitted to play both a “Five Card Draw” poker game and at least one second contest, for example a video-poker type game in which a set comprising one or more cards is compared against a predetermined payoff table or static evaluator. An embodiment of such an arrangement is disclosed above in conjunction with the intelligent gaming system aspect of the invention. However, the invention does not require the use of an intelligent gaming system. For example, non-intelligent gaming systems may be used. Additional aspects of the invention as it applies to one or more embodiments of the invention, including variations in payouts, contests, optional play arrangements and jackpots, are described in more detail below.

Texas Hold'em And At Least One Additional Contest

[0183] In one embodiment of the invention, a user-player is permitted to play both a “Texas Hold'em” poker game and a video-poker type game.

[0184] The poker game “Texas Hold'em” is well known to those of skill in the art, and will only be described briefly herein. In general, the game, when played as a table game, begins with one or more “blind” bets to the left of the dealer. “Blind” bets are bets which are required if a player wishes to remain in the game and see his or her cards. In some cases, the first player to the left of the dealer is called the “small blind” and is required to place half of a small bet. The player to the left of the “small blind” is often called the “big blind” and may be required to place an entire small bet.

[0185] If there are only two players, a variation may be used. In a two player contest, the first player to act may be required to place the big blind and the second player to act may be required to place the small blind. In another arrangement, antes instead of blinds are used in a two player game.

[0186] After the blind bets have been placed, all players receive two cards face down from a dealer or dealer/player. These cards are called the player's “hole” cards, and are also sometimes referred to as “the pocket.” The dealing of the hole cards is followed by a round of betting. In many instances, the first round of betting starts with the player to the left of the “big blind,” who is said to be “under the gun,” because that player is required to match or raise the bet of the “big blind” to stay in the game.

[0187] In general, during the first round of betting, a player must call the bet(s) or, if permitted, raise the bet(s) to remain in the game and see his or her “hole” cards. If the a player does not call or raise, then the player folds and is no longer permitted to participate in the game (unless the player is also the dealer, in which case the dealer continues to deal the game).

[0188] After the first round of betting is complete, three cards are dealt into a community area (such as the middle of the table when the game is being played at a poker table). These cards, often called the “flop,” are community cards and may be used by each player along with his or her hole cards to create a poker hand. After viewing his or her hole cards and considering the flop cards, a second round of betting ensues for each player remaining in the game. Betting begins with the first player remaining in the game (hereinafter generally referred to as an “active player”) to the dealer's left. Each active player may call, raise or fold.

[0189] After the second round of betting, a fourth card is dealt face up into the community area. This card is often called the “turn” card. A third round of betting then ensues, starting again with the first active player to the dealer's left. Again, each active player may call, raise or fold.

[0190] After the third round of betting, a fifth card is dealt face up into the community area. This card is often called the “river” card. At this time, each active player has two “hole” cards of his or her own, along with five community cards from which the player can select five cards to make up the player's five card poker hand. A player may wish to use one, two, or none of his or her “hole” cards to make his or her hand.

[0191] A final round of betting ensues, again starting with the first active player to the dealer's left. At the end of the final betting round, a player is the winner if all other players (including the dealer/player) have folded. If more than one player remains in the game after the final betting round, the winner is determined by a showdown. The winner of the pot containing all of the bets is the player having the highest ranking poker hand, in accordance with the rankings described with respect to Tables 1 and 2 above. If two or more players have identically ranked hands, then the pot is split evenly between them.

[0192] In one or more embodiments of the invention, each player who participates in the Texas Hold'em game, even those that do not remain active until the showdown, may be permitted to participate in at least one second contest or game. In one embodiment, the additional contest is a video-poker type game in which a card hand applicable to a player is compared against a predetermined payout table to determine if the player is a winner. An embodiment of this type of contest is disclosed in great detail above in the section entitled “Payout and Static Evaluator.”

[0193] In one embodiment, each player who enters the Texas Hold'em game, whether or not they fold before the end of the game, is given the opportunity to make their best poker hand from their two “hole” cards and the five “community” cards. This hand is then compared against a payout table or other winning determinant to determine whether the player is entitled to a payout for the second contest. In other embodiments, described below, one or more other combinations of cards utilized during play of the Texas Hold'em game may be used in additional contest(s).

[0194] In another embodiment, described in greater detail below, only those players of the Texas Hold'em game who participate in the showdown are permitted to participate in the second contest. In yet another arrangement, disclosed in greater detail below, only the winner (or winners, if there are multiple winners of the game) of the Texas Hold'em game may be permitted to participate in the additional contest(s). Any other criteria may be used to determine whether a player may participate in an additional contest.

[0195] As disclosed below, the additional contest or contests may be other than a video-poker type game in which a card hand is compared against a payoff or payout table. Additional aspects of the invention as it applies to this embodiment, including variations in payouts, contests, optional play arrangements and jackpots, are described in more detail below.

Omaha Hold'em And At Least One Additional Contest

[0196] In one embodiment of the invention, one or more players are permitted to play both Omaha Hold'em and at least one additional contest using one or more related cards used in the Omaha Hold'em game.

[0197] Omaha Hold'em is a poker game which is similar to Texas Hold'em. In the game of Omaha Hold'em, however, each player is dealt four “hole” cards after entering the game. Further, each player must use exactly three of the “community” cards in making their best poker hand.

[0198] In one embodiment of the invention, one or more players are permitted to play Omaha Hold'em and at least the game of video-poker. In one arrangement, one or more of the player's cards (which may include the community cards, as disclosed below) from the Omaha Hold'em game are compared against a predetermined payout or payoff table.

[0199] In one embodiment, each player who participates in the Omaha Hold'em game, whether or not they remain active until the showdown, is permitted to participate in the additional contest(s). In one embodiment, each player makes their best poker hand by selecting five cards from their four “hole” cards and the three of five “community” cards. This hand is then compared against a payout table or other winning determinant to determine if the player is entitled to a payout for the additional contest. In other embodiments, described below, one or more other combinations of cards from the Omaha Hold'em game may be used in the additional contest(s). Any other criteria may be used to determine whether a player may participate in an additional contest.

[0200] In another embodiment, described in greater detail below, only those players of the Omaha Hold'em game who participate in the showdown are permitted to participate in the additional contest. In yet another embodiment disclosed in greater detail below, only the winner(s) of the Omaha Hold'em game is allowed to participate in the additional contest(s). Any other criteria may be used to determine whether a player may participate in an additional contest.

[0201] As disclosed below, the additional contest or contests may be other than a video-poker type game in which a card hand is compared against a payoff or payout table. Additional aspects of the invention as it applies to this embodiment, including variations in payouts, games, optional play arrangements and jackpots, are described in more detail below.

Pineapple Hold'em And At Least One Additional Contest

[0202] In one embodiment of the invention, one or more players are permitted to play both Pineapple Hold'em and at least one additional contest using one or more related cards used in the Pineapple Hold'em game.

[0203] Pineapple Hold'em is a variation of other Hold'em poker games (such as Texas Hold'em) in which each player is dealt three face down “hole” cards and is forced to discard at least one of these cards at some point during the game. In the case of a Pineapple version of the game Texas Hold'em (disclosed in detail above), each player remaining in the game eventually makes their best hand from two “hole” cards (the third having been discarded) and the five “community” cards.

[0204] In one embodiment of the invention, one or more players are permitted to play Pineapple Hold'em and at least the game of video-poker. In one embodiment, one or more of the cards (which may include the community cards, as disclosed below) from the Pineapple Hold'em game are used in the play of the video-poker type game and compared against a predetermined payout or payoff table.

[0205] In one embodiment, each player who participates in the Pineapple Hold'em game is permitted to participate in the additional contest. In one embodiment, the player's best five card hand from the “community” and “hole” cards is used in the additional contest. In other embodiments, described below, one or more other combinations of cards from the Pineapple Hold'em game may be used in the additional contest(s), such as solely the “community” cards.

[0206] In another embodiment, described in greater detail below, only those players of the Pineapple Hold'em game who participate in the showdown are permitted to participate in the additional contest. In yet another embodiment disclosed in greater detail below, only the winner(s) of the Pineapple Hold'em game are allowed to participate in the additional contest(s). Any other criteria may be used to determine whether a player may participate in an additional contest.

[0207] As disclosed below, the additional contest or contests may be other than a video-poker type game in which a card hand is compared against a payoff or payout table. Additional aspects of the invention as it applies to this embodiment, including variations in payouts, games, optional play arrangements and jackpots, are described in more detail below.

Seven Card Stud And At Least One Additional Contest

[0208] In one embodiment of the invention, one or more players are permitted to play both Seven Card Stud and at least one additional contest using one or more related cards used in the Seven Card Stud game.

[0209] The poker game “Seven Card Stud” is well known to those of skill in the art, and will only be described briefly herein. In general, the game begins with each player placing an ante to participate in the game. After the antes have been placed, each player receives two cards face down and a single card face up from the dealer/player.

[0210] The dealing of the first three cards to each player is followed by a round of betting. In many instances, betting starts with the player having the lowest ranked face-up card (if two players have the same ranked cards, such as a 2, then the suits of the cards in alphabetical order determine the order of betting). Each subsequent player is required to call or raise the bet to stay in the game, otherwise the player folds.

[0211] After the first round of betting, another card (the fourth card) is dealt face up to each active player. A second round of betting then ensues. The second and subsequent rounds of betting generally start with the player having the highest hand comprised of the “up” cards.

[0212] Each active player then receives another card face-up (the fifth card). A third round of betting then ensues.

[0213] Each active player then receives another card face-up (a sixth card). A fourth round of betting then ensues.

[0214] Each active player then receives a final, seventh card, face-down. A final round of betting ensues. The winner of the game is the sole active player (i.e. the only player who has not folded), or when multiple active players remain, the player who wins the showdown by having the highest ranking poker hand comprised of five of his or her seven cards.

[0215] In one embodiment of the invention, one or more players are permitted to play Seven Card Stud and at least the game of video-poker. In one embodiment, one or more of the player's cards from the Seven Card Stud game are compared against a predetermined payout or payoff table. In other embodiments, described below, one or more other combinations of cards utilized during play of the Seven Card Stud game may be used in the additional contest(s).

[0216] In one embodiment, each player who participates in the Seven Card Stud game is permitted to participate in the additional contest. In another embodiment, described in greater detail below, only those players of the Seven Card Stud game who participate in the showdown are permitted to participate in the additional contest. In yet another embodiment disclosed in greater detail below, only the winner of the Seven Card Stud game is allowed to participate in the additional contest(s). Any other criteria may be used to determine whether a player may participate in an additional contest.

[0217] As disclosed below, the additional contest or contests may be other than a video-poker type game in which a card hand is compared against a payoff or payout table. Additional aspects of the invention as it applies to this embodiment, including variations in payouts, games, optional play arrangements and jackpots, are described in more detail below.

Five Card Stud And At Least One Additional Contest

[0218] In one embodiment of the invention, one or more players are permitted to play both Five Card Stud and at least one additional contest using one or more related cards used in the Five Card Stud game.

[0219] The poker game Five Card Stud is similar to that of Seven Card Stud, except that each player is dealt only five cards and their poker hand comprises these five cards.

[0220] Again, this game is well known and so the game and its variety of variations are not set forth in detail herein. In general, the game starts with each player placing an ante and receiving a first down card and a first up card from the dealer.

[0221] As in the game of Seven Card Stud, a first round of betting ensues, starting with the player having the lowest ranking up-card. Each active player (at a given round) receives third, fourth and fifth cards in third, fourth and fifth rounds, each round of cards followed by a round of betting. The third, fourth and fifth cards may be all dealt face-up or one or more of the cards may be dealt face-up and others face-down.

[0222] Each player makes the highest ranking poker hand from his or her five cards. If a single player remains after any round of betting, that player is the winner. In the event more than one player remains in the game, a showdown occurs with the winner being that player with the highest ranking poker hand (see Table 1 above).

[0223] In one embodiment of the invention, one or more players are permitted to play Five Card Stud and at least the game of video-poker.

[0224] In one embodiment, each player who participates in the Five Card Stud game is permitted to participate in the additional contest, for example by comparing their best five card poker hand against a payout table or other winning determinant to determine if the player is entitled to a payout for the additional contest. In other embodiments, described below, one or more other combinations of cards utilized during play of the Five Card Stud game may be used in the additional contest(s).

[0225] In another embodiment, described in greater detail below, only those players of the Five Card Stud game who participate in the showdown of the Five Card Stud game are permitted to participate in the additional contest. In yet another embodiment disclosed in greater detail below, only the winner of the Five Card Stud game is allowed to participate in the additional contest(s). Any other criteria may be used to determine whether a player may participate in an additional contest.

[0226] As disclosed below, the additional contest or contests may be other than a video-poker type game in which a card hand is compared against a payoff or payout table. Additional aspects of the invention as it applies to this embodiment, including variations in payouts, games, optional play arrangements and jackpots, are described in more detail below.

Lowball And At Least One Additional Contest

[0227] In one embodiment of the invention, one or more players are permitted to play both Lowball and at least one additional contest using one or more related cards used in the Lowball game.

[0228] Lowball is, essentially, a variant of the poker game of Five Card Draw (described in detail above). In this game, however, the winner of the game is the player with the lowest ranking five card hand. In general, the rankings of the hands is the same as that listed in Table 1 above.

[0229] In one variation of this game, straights and flushes are ignored, and aces are the lowest ranked card. In this variation, called “California,” the lowest ranking possible hand is A2345. In another variation of the game called “Kansas City,” straights and flushes are not ignored, aces are the highest ranked card, and the lowest ranking hand possible is 23457.

[0230] In one embodiment of the invention, one or more players are permitted to play Lowball and at least the game of video-poker. In one embodiment, the video-poker game is arranged to reward “low” ranking hands. In another embodiment, the video-poker game may be arranged to reward high ranking hands in a manner similar to the payout embodiment in Table 5. As disclosed below, a variety of combinations of cards used in the Lowball game may be used in the play of the additional contest.

[0231] In one embodiment, each player who participates in the Lowball game is permitted to participate in the additional contest(s). In another embodiment, described in greater detail below, only those players of the Lowball game who participate in the showdown are permitted to participate in the additional contest. In yet another arrangement disclosed in greater detail below, only the winner of the Lowball game is permitted to participate in the additional contest(s). Any other criteria may also be used to determine whether a player may participate in an additional contest.

[0232] As disclosed below, the additional contest or contests may be other than a video-poker type game in which a card hand is compared against a payoff or payout table. Additional aspects of the invention as it applies to this embodiment, including variations in payouts, games, optional play arrangements and jackpots, are described in more detail below.

Game Combinations

[0233] The invention is not limited to the play of poker type games. For example, the method and game system may be arranged to permit a user-player to play the game “21” or “Blackjack” along with a poker type game (e.g. “five card stud,” “five card draw,” “Texas Hold'em,” video-poker type gaming or other poker games such as those disclosed above). The method and game system may also be arranged to permit a user-player to play a wide variety and combination of other games.

[0234] The method and game system may permit the play of more than two contests with the same set of one or more related cards. By way of example, although the invention is not so limited, the game system may permit one or more players to play Texas Hold'em, video-poker and “Blackjack” with the same set of one or more related cards.

[0235] The particular order of participation in and evaluation of the contests may vary from those disclosed above. For example, the first contest may comprise video-type poker. In on example of such an embodiment the first contest may be video-type poker and the additional contest Seven Card Stud. In that instance, the user-player may receive five cards for the play of the video-type poker game and then two additional cards for the play of the Seven Card Stud game.

[0236] In the embodiments of the invention disclosed above, the first and additional contests are described as generally being played sequentially. The first and additional contests may also be played simultaneously, or a combination of simultaneously and sequentially. By way of example, a video-poker game and Five Card Stud may be played simultaneously. In one embodiment, five cards dealt to a user-player are used to both determine the outcome of the Five Card Stud game and a payout based on a predetermined video-poker type payout table.

[0237] In one or more embodiments of the invention, a user-player may play more than one of the same contests either simultaneously or sequentially utilizing one or more common cards or hands. For example, a user-player may play two games of Seven Card Stud simultaneously, each game having its own pot or potential payout, using one or more common cards for both games. In another example, a user-player may play two Hold'em games simultaneously, using the same hole cards, but having different community cards available in each game. A large number or other variations are possible, as will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

Payout Variations

[0238] In one or more embodiments of the invention, a winner or winner(s) of the first and/or additional contests are awarded a payout or payoff The particular payout may be based on amounts bet, such as the pot, or a predetermined payout schedule. The payout may comprise money, goods, or one or more other items of value.

[0239] In one or more embodiments of the invention, there may be more than one “winner” of a particular game. As disclosed above, in Texas Hold'em two or more players may be “co-winners” and split the pot. In the case of a video-poker type game, each participating player who has a hand which meets a predetermined criteria is a winner. This is true even though one player may have a higher ranking hand of cards than another player.

[0240] Several specific payout arrangements have been disclosed in conjunction with the embodiments of the invention set forth above. A wide variety of other payout arrangements are included within the scope of this invention.

[0241] In one embodiment, payouts are based on one or more of the user-player's cards. For example, with regard to the example of a multi-contest embodiment comprising the games of Seven Card Stud and video-poker, payouts for the video-poker game may be based on the player's best five card poker hand from his or her seven card hand.

[0242] In one embodiment, payouts are based on one or more of the player's cards including common or “community” cards. For example, with regard to the example of a multi-game embodiment comprising Texas Hold'em and video-poker, payouts for the video-poker game may be based on the player's best five card hand including one or more of the “community” cards.

[0243] In one embodiment, payouts are based solely on the “community” cards. For example, with regard to the example of a multi-game embodiment comprising Texas Hold'em and video-poker, payouts for the video-poker game may be based on the hand of five “community” cards.

[0244] In one or more embodiments, payouts are based on the cards of the gaming system, dealer, house, another player or other entity that the player is playing against or with. For example, with regard to the example of a multi-game system comprising five card stud and video-poker and one of the “players” is an intelligent or non-intelligent gaming machine, payouts for the video-poker game may be based on the best hand belonging to the gaming system.

[0245] In one embodiment, payouts are based on more than one of the above criteria or other combinations of cards or criteria. For example, with regard to the example of a multi-game embodiment comprising Texas Hold'em and video-poker, payouts for the video-poker game may be based on the better of the player's best five card hand from his or her hole cards and the community cards or the five card hand comprised solely of the community cards.

[0246] In one or more other embodiments, payouts in the additional contest may be based on a card or combination of cards from the first contest that are not five card combinations. For example, in the case of the combination of Omaha Hold'em and video-poker, the payouts of the video-poker game may be based on the best four card combination of the player's four “hole” cards from the Omaha Hold'em game. As another example, the payouts may be based on more than five cards. For example, in the case of a video-poker/Omaha Hold'em combination, payouts may be based on a player's four hole cards and all five community cards. In one embodiment, payouts may be based on the best combination of cards permitted with nine cards. In another embodiment, the payouts may be based on the best two hand combinations of five cards and four cards (i.e. a player may be rewarded where these nine cards can be divided into a four card four-of-a-kind hand and a five card royal flush).

[0247] In other embodiments of the invention, one or more payouts may be awarded based on a one, two, three or other number combination of cards.

[0248] In one or more embodiments of the invention, the amount of a wining payout depends on the amount bet by a player. For example, if a player places a bet, such as one coin, the payout for a particular winning hand may be 10 times the bet, or ten coins. On the other hand, if the player places a bigger bet, such as two coins, the payout for a particular winning hand my be 20 times the bet, or twenty coins. Of course, what the player is permitted to bet may vary, such as, in the case of coins, pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars or the like, or the player may be able to debit selected amounts from a credit amount established by the player.

[0249] In one or more embodiments of the invention, a player may be required to place more than one bet if the player wishes to participate in the possible payout of more than one card combination. For example, in the case of the combinations of the games Seven Card Stud and video-type poker, a player may be required to place only one bet to be entitled to a payoff for a winning hand from the player's seven cards in the video-poker game. The player may be required, however, to place a second bet, either additional to or separate from a first bet, if the player is to be entitled to a payoff based on a winning hand from the player's four up-card hand. In addition, a player may be required to place an additional or different bet if the player wishes to obtain a payout based on a winning card or cards belonging to another player, the dealer or a gaming machine. For example, a player may be required to place an additional bet to be entitled to a payout for a winning hand belonging to the gaming machine in a video-poker game portion of a Seven Card Stud/video-poker gaming system combination.

[0250] Examples of payout arrangements for example embodiments of combinations of games set forth above are as follows:

[0251] (a) Five Card Draw and video-poker: a pot or payout may be awarded to the winner(s) of the Five Card Draw game, and a payout or payoff may be awarded to each player participating in the video-poker game based on their hand from the Five Card Draw game and/or from another player's hand and/or the hand of the house, dealer or gaming machine (in the case where one or more players are playing against a gaming machine).

[0252]FIG. 17 illustrates a payoff table that may be used in an embodiment that comprises a combination of Five Card Draw and video poker. As shown in FIG. 17, each player who places a bet of at least one coin is awarded a payout if that player holds a pair in the player's five card hand from the Five Card Draw and/or video-poker games. The higher rank a player's hand, the higher the payoff. In addition, the payoff to a player increases when the player has placed bets higher than one coin.

[0253] (b) Pineapple Hold'em or Texas Hold'em and video-poker: a pot or payout may be awarded to the winner(s) of the Texas or Pineapple Hold'em game, and a payout or payoff may be awarded to each player participating in the video-poker game based on a hand made up from one or more of the community cards and/or the player's or another player's, the dealer's and/or a gaming machine's hand.

[0254] The payoffs for a winner of a video-poker game portion of embodiments of the invention may be determined from payoff tables such as those illustrated in FIGS. 17 and 18. In one or more embodiments, if a player places a bet on the five community cards, a payoff may be awarded in accordance with the table in FIG. 17. If a player places a bet on the best five card hand from the player's seven available cards (comprising the player's hole cards and the community cards), payoffs may be awarded in accordance with FIG. 18. In addition, if a player places a bet on the best five card hand from the seven cards belonging or available to another player, the dealer or a gaming machine, payouts may also be awarded in accordance with the table illustrated in FIG. 18.

[0255] (c) Seven Card Stud and video-poker: a pot or payout may be awarded to the winner(s) of the Seven Card Stud game, and a payout may be awarded to the player(s) of the video-poker game based on a player's seven card hand and/or the player's four face-up cards, and/or the player's two original or final three hole cards.

[0256] The payoffs for a winner of the video-poker game in one or more embodiments may be determined from payoff tables such as those illustrated in FIGS. 18 and 19. If a player places a bet on the player's best five card hand from the player's seven available cards, a payoff may be awarded in accordance with the table in FIG. 18. If a player places a bet on the player's best four card hand from the player's four up-cards, payoffs may be awarded in accordance with FIG. 19.

[0257] (d) Five Card Stud and video-poker: a pot or payout may be awarded to the winner(s) of the Five Card Stud game, and a payout may be awarded to the player(s) of the video-poker game based on the player's five card hand and/or the five card hand of the dealer, house, and or gaming machine.

[0258]FIG. 17 illustrates a payoff table that may be applied to various combinations of such games. As shown in FIG. 17, each player who places a bet of at least one coin is awarded a payout if that player holds a minimum of a pair in the player's five card hand from the Five Card Stud and/or video-poker games. The higher rank a player's hand, the higher the payoff. In addition, the payoff to a player increases when the player has placed bets higher than one coin.

[0259] (e) Omaha Hold'em and video-poker: a pot or payout may be awarded to the winner(s) of the Omaha Hold'em game, and a payout may be awarded to the player(s) of the video-poker game based on the player's nine available cards (the player's four hole cards and five community cards) and/or the player's four hole cards only and/or the four hole cards of the dealer, house, and/or gaming machine.

[0260] The payoffs for a winner of the video-poker game in one or more embodiments may be determined from payoff tables such as those illustrated in FIGS. 18 and 19. If a player places a bet on the player's or another player's or dealer's or gaming machine's hole cards, a payoff may be awarded in accordance with the table of FIG. 19. If a player places a bet on the five community cards, payoffs may be awarded in accordance with the table of FIG. 17. If a player places a bet on the player's or another player's, dealer's, and/or gaming machine's five card hand made from the hole and community cards using “Omaha” rules, a payoff may be awarded in accordance with the table of FIG. 20.

[0261] (f) Lowball and video-poker: a pot or payout may be awarded to the winner(s) of the Lowball game, and a payout may be awarded to the player(s) of the video-poker game based on the player's five cards and/or the hand or cards belonging to the dealer, house, and/or gaming machine.

[0262]FIG. 21 illustrates a payoff table which may be applied to one or more embodiments of the video-poker game. If a player places a bet on the player's or another player's, dealer's, and or gaming machine's hand of cards, a payoff may be awarded in accordance with the table of FIG. 21.

[0263] (g) Payouts for other card combinations. In a variety of game combinations a payout may be awarded for hands comprising one, two or other number of cards. By way of example, during the play of a Five Card Stud game, a player may be entitled to play an additional contest after the first two cards have been dealt. In the instance when an additional contest comprises a video-poker type game in which two cards are compared against predetermined criteria, a payout table such as that illustrated in FIG. 22 may be used. In an embodiment in which an additional contest comprises a video-poker type game in which three cards are compared against predetermined criteria, a payout table such as that illustrated in FIG. 23 may be used.

Game Play Options

[0264] In accordance with the invention, and as may be appreciated by those of skill in the art, the contest(s) described above need not be played exactly as described above. Any variety of other play variations are contemplated.

[0265] In one embodiment of the invention, a player is permitted to play an additional contest or contests regardless of whether the player completes the first game. For example, if the first game is Texas Hold'em, the player may be permitted to play the additional contest(s) even if the player folds before the completion of the Texas Hold'em game.

[0266] In another embodiment, if a player does not complete the first game, the player is not permitted to play the additional contest(s). For example, if the first game is Texas Hold'em, the player is not permitted to participate in the additional contest(s) if the player folds at any time before a winner(s) is declared.

[0267] In another embodiment, even if a player does not complete the first game, the player is permitted to participate in the additional contest upon placing an additional bet or sum.

[0268] The particular betting structure for each game may vary. For example, limit or pot betting may be employed at one or more stages in each game. Variations of betting are well known to those of skill in the art or within the knowledge of those of skill in the art. As an example, in the game of Texas Hold'em, when limit betting is employed, the bets in the third and fourth rounds (i.e. after the “turn” and “river” cards are dealt) are often two times the size of the required bets of the previous rounds.

[0269] In one or more embodiments, a player may be required to place specific bets at particular times in order to continue to play a game or to be entitled to play another game. For example, a player may be required to place a bet at the beginning of play, or at or before some other predetermined time(s) during play, of the first game to be permitted to play one or more additional contests.

[0270] In some instances, one or more additional cards may be dealt to a player participating in an additional contest for use with one or more cards from the first contest. For example, in a game of Seven Card Stud, if a player has an opportunity to play an additional video-poker type game after the first three cards of the player's Seven Card Stud hand are dealt, the player may be dealt an additional two cards. This arrangement permits the player to play a five card hand in the second or additional contest(s). In one or more embodiments, the player may have the opportunity to select the additional contest(s) played. For example, the player in the above-described embodiment may be permitted to decide to “stand pat” and play the player's three card hand (in a contest that utilizes comparison to a predetermined three card payout table) or be permitted to receive additional cards to play a five card hand in the additional contest. In addition, in one or more embodiments, a player may be permitted to discard and draw cards. For example, such a situation occurs in an embodiment in which the player is permitted to play Five Card Draw as the additional contest.

[0271] Those of skill in the art will appreciate the numerous ways the invention may be adapted to different card game variations. For example, in one variation of the poker game Omaha Hold'em known as “hi/lo,” in the event of a showdown, the players having the highest and lowest ranking hands are co-winners, splitting the pot or other payout. In this embodiment, for the “lo” hand winner to win, his or her hand may need to be of a certain low rank, such as containing no card having a rank greater than an 8. In addition, the players may select different cards from their pool of available cards to create high and lo ranking hands, and players may tie with high and/or low ranking hands.

[0272] Of course, the method and multiple contest system described may utilize the intelligent poker playing system of the invention. A specific arrangement of this embodiment of the invention is disclosed above, where a player is permitted to play Five Card Draw against an intelligent gaming machine and uses one or more cards from the Five Card Draw game in an additional contest using a predetermined payoff table.

[0273] The multiple contest method and system of the invention may be played by one or more “live” players and a gaining machine (intelligent or non-intelligent), or by one or more “live” players against one another. In addition, games or gaming machines may be linked to permit linking of pots, jackpots and player's hands across multiple machines. In one or more embodiments, for example, a player playing a first game on one gaming machine may select an additional contest from a contest being played on one or more other gaming machines linked to the first gaming machine.

Jackpots

[0274] As one aspect of the invention, one or more jackpots may be awarded to a user-player in one or more situations. The term “jackpot” as used herein is intended to mean a sum, payout or award which is different than a payout which is normally awarded to a winner of a first and/or additional contest. In some instances, a jackpot may be awarded to a player who was not a winner of a particular contest(s).

[0275] The jackpot may comprise, for example, the payment of sums in addition to the normal amounts paid in a payout. The jackpot may have a number of sources or basis. For example, the jackpot may be formed from an accumulation of “side-bets” which each player must place at the beginning of each game if the player wishes to participate in the jackpot aspect of the game. The jackpot may be paid by the house. The jackpot may be determined in accordance with a predetermined jackpot payout table, be based on the amount of the pot in a game, the amount bet by a player or a wide variety of other criteria.

[0276] A variety of criteria may be utilized to determine whether a jackpot is payable to a player or players. In one or more embodiments of the invention, a jackpot may be payable to a player or players of the first and/or additional contest(s) of the multi-game system.

[0277] In one embodiment, a jackpot is awarded to a player or players who are not winners of one or both of the first and/or additional contests but whose cards or hand meets a predetermined criteria. This arrangement may be referred to as a “bad beat” jackpot, indicating that the player's cards or hand is sufficiently good to be awarded a jackpot amount, but did not win any of the contests. Generally, the predetermined criteria is relatively high.

[0278] As an example, when the game system is utilized to play both Texas Hold'em and video poker, the winning player of the Texas Hold'em game may have a hand of AAAAJ. A losing player may have the hand KKKKQ. In such an instance, the losing player may be rewarded for having a high losing hand (a “bad beat”) and be awarded a jackpot amount.

[0279] In another embodiment, a jackpot may be awarded when two players or a player and the house/machine have hands meeting predetermined criteria. For example, a jackpot may be awarded to a player having a full house when the machine against which he or she is playing also has a full house. In another example, other combinations of hands may be specified as the criteria. For example, a jackpot may be awarded if the machine has four-of-a-kind and the player has a straight. Any other combination of hands can be used as the criteria.

[0280] In another embodiment, a jackpot or additional payout may be awarded when two players or a player and the house or gaming machine have the same combination of card hands and/or hands of equal strength. For example, a jackpot may be awarded to a player having a flush, straight, or other hand when the gaming machine against which he or she is playing also has the same type of hand. The same or an even larger jackpot may also be awarded to the player when the player and the machine both have the exact same rank, for example, a king high straight.

[0281] In another embodiment, to qualify for a jackpot payout, a player must win two or more consecutive games. By way of example, if a user-player is playing a gaming machine and wins two or more consecutive games of video-poker, the player may win a jackpot. In one embodiment, the jackpot that is paid to a player increases as the number of games won increases. In one embodiment, once a player wins a jackpot the player may be permitted to rollover that jackpot in an attempt to win a larger jackpot if the player wins the next consecutive game or games. For example, if a player is awarded a first jackpot for winning three consecutive games, the player may be permitted to wager that jackpot. If the player then wins a fourth or additional consecutive games, the player may be awarded a much larger jackpot. If the player loses the next game or contest(s), the player may lose the original jackpot that he or she won and then wagered.

[0282] In one embodiment, to qualify for a jackpot payout, a player must have cards or a hand meeting predetermined criteria after wining one or more previous games. For example, a player may be rewarded with a jackpot if the player has a poker hand ranking greater than 3of-a-kind after the player won three consecutive poker games.

[0283] In one or more embodiments, in the event a player or players qualifies for a first jackpot, the player or players may qualify for an additional (second) jackpot or other additional payout or amount upon meeting certain criteria. This second jackpot may be larger or smaller than the first jackpot and larger or smaller than any original payout.

[0284] In one embodiment, a player is entitled to a second jackpot or payout if he or she wins a game or games after winning a first jackpot.

[0285] In another embodiment, a player is entitled to a second jackpot or payout if he or she has cards or a hand meeting certain criteria after winning a first jackpot.

[0286] As stated above, the particular size of the jackpot or other award may vary. For example, a user-player may be rewarded with a larger jackpot when the player is required to win 4 games in a row than the jackpot that is paid when the player is only required to win 3 games in a row. The size of the jackpot may also depend on the amount bet by the player, the size of a pot of a game or games, or other factors. The jackpot may also comprise a pot created or based upon bets made by one or more players or one or more games, in what is known as a “progressive” arrangement. In such an arrangement, the jackpot may become very large if a jackpot paying situation does not arise for a long period of time.

Examples of Multiple Contest Play

[0287] Four example embodiments of the invention in which a player may place more than one bet, may have the opportunity to play two or more contests, may win more than one payout based on more than one combination of cards or hands of cards, and may win a jackpot payout, are illustrated in FIGS. 24-28 and described in detail below.

[0288]FIG. 24 illustrates one embodiment of the invention in which one contest that is played is Omaha Hold'em (described in greater detail above) and the possibility exits for a player to play one or more additional contests with one or more cards from the Omaha Hold'em game. The description of this embodiment of the invention will be made with reference to the play of the contest(s) by a single user-player, it being understood that one or more players may play one another and/or a machine or the house.

[0289] Referring to FIG. 24, after the start of the game, the four hole or pocket cards are dealt to the user-player for use in the Omaha Hold'em game, and if appropriate, another game or games in a step S1. In a step S2, a determination is made as to whether the user-player is entitled to play an additional game or contest, such as a game or contest A. If so, such as, for example, if the user-player placed a first bonus bet, in a step S3 the additional contest is played (the term bonus bet is intended to mean a bet placed to obtain the right to play an additional contest or games). This additional contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's four hole cards are compared against a predetermined payout table or criteria, such as that illustrated in FIG. 19.

[0290] After play of the additional contest in step S3, or in the event the player was not entitled to play the additional contest A, in a step S4 betting begins in the Omaha Hold'em game.

[0291] In the event the user-player folds in the first round of betting, in a step S5 it is determined whether the player is entitled to play an additional contest, such as a contest B. If not, in a step S6 the game terminates for that player. If so, for example if the player placed an appropriate second bonus bet, then in a step S7 the player plays the additional contest B. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which another players or a machine's four hole cards are compared against a predetermined payout schedule.

[0292] In the event the user-player remains active through the first round of betting, then in a step S8, three community cards are dealt. A second round of betting then ensues in a step S9. If the user-player folds in this round, then in a step S10 it is determined whether the player is entitled to play an additional contest, for example a contest C. If not, then in a step S11 the game terminates for that player. If so, for example if the player placed an appropriate third bonus bet, then the user-player is permitted to participate in the additional contest C in a step 12. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's best five cards from the player's hole cards and the community cards are compared against a predetermined payoff table (for example that illustrated in FIG. 18) in a video-poker type format.

[0293] Regardless of the outcome of the additional contest, in a step S13 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. “Cumulative game play” as used herein refers to a player being permitted to play more than one additional contest simultaneously, or in sequence, at any point in a game. If not, then in a step S14, the game is terminated for that player. If so, for example if the player placed second and third bonus bets, the player is also permitted to participate in another additional contest, for example contest B in step S7.

[0294] If the player remains active through the second round of betting, then in a step S15 a fourth community card is dealt. In step S16, a third round of betting ensues. If the user-player folds, then in a step S17, a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest D. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S18. If so, for example if the player placed a fourth bonus bet, then in a step S19 the player is permitted to participate in the additional contest D. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's best five cards from the player's four hole cards and four community cards are compared against a predetermined payout table.

[0295] Regardless of the outcome of the contest D, in a step S20 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S21 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in another game, for example contest C in step S12, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contest B via step S13, as also described above.

[0296] If the player remains active through the third round of betting, then in a step S22 the fifth and final community card is dealt. In a step S23, a fourth round of betting ensues. If the user-player folds, then in a step S24, a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest E. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S25. If so, for example if the player placed a fifth bonus bet, then in a step S26 the player is permitted to participate in the contest E. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's best five cards from the player's four hole cards and five community cards are compared against a predetermined payout table (for example, that illustrated in FIG. 20).

[0297] Regardless of the outcome of the contest E, in a step S27 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S28 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in another game, for example the contest D in a step S19, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contests C and B via steps S20 and S13, as also described above.

[0298] If the player remains active, the winner of the Omaha Hold'em game is determined in a showdown in step S29. In the event the user-player loses, in a step S30 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest F. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S31. If so, for example if the player placed a sixth bonus bet, then in a step S32 the player is permitted to participate in the contest F. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's best four and five card hands from the player's four hole cards and five community cards are compared against a predetermined payout table.

[0299] Regardless of the outcome of the contest F, in a step S33 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S34 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in another game, for example the contest E in a step S26, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contests D, C and B via steps S27, S20 and S13, as also described above.

[0300] In the event the user-player wins the showdown, then a determination is made as to whether the user-player is entitled to participate in additional contest F in a step S 30, in like manner to the loser(s) of the showdown. In a step S35 a determination is made as to whether the user-player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example contest G. If not, in a step S36 the game terminates for the player. If so, for example if the player placed an appropriate seventh bonus bet, the player is permitted to participate in the contest Gin a step S37. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which another player's or a machine's best five card hand from its hole and community cards is compared against a predetermined payout table. The game then terminates at step S38.

[0301] If the user-player wins the showdown in step S29, the player may be entitled to the betting pot or other payout. If the user-player wins any of the additional contests in which the player participates, the player may be awarded a payout. The user-player may also be entitled to a jackpot. As an example, if the player wins one or more additional contests ( ex. F, E, D, C and B) the player may be entitled to a jackpot amount in addition to the amount(s) paid for winning each of these contests individually.

[0302]FIG. 25 illustrates an embodiment of the invention in which one contest that is played is Texas Hold'em (described in more detail above) and the possibility exits for a player to play one or more additional contests with one or more cards from the Texas Hold'em game. The description of this embodiment of the invention will be made with reference to the play of the contest(s) by a single user-player, it being understood that one or more players may play one another and/or a machine or the house.

[0303] Referring to FIG. 25, after the start of the game in a step S101, the two hole or pocket cards are dealt to the user-player for use in the Texas Hold'em game, and if appropriate, another game or games. In a step S102, a determination is made as to whether the user-player is entitled to play an additional contest, for example a contest A. If so, for example if the user-player placed a first bonus bet, in a step S103 the contest A is played. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's two hole cards are compared against a predetermined payout table or criteria (for example that illustrated in FIG. 22).

[0304] An example of the play of this additional contest A is illustrated in FIG. 26. In a first step S201, the two hole or pocket cards of the user-player are compared to a predetermined two card payout table. In the event the user-player's cards comprise “winning” cards, then in a step S202 a payout is awarded the user-player and in a step S204 play of the main game resumes. In the event the user-player's cards comprise “losing” cards, then in a step S203 it is determined that the user-player is not entitled to a payout and in step S204 play of the main game resumes.

[0305] After play of the contest A in step S103, or in the event the player was not entitled to play the game, in a step S104 betting begins in the Texas Hold'em game.

[0306] In the event the user-player folds in the first round of betting, in a step S105 it is determined whether the player is entitled to play an additional contest, for example a contest B. If not, in a step S106 the game terminates for that player. If so, for example if the player placed an appropriate second bonus bet, then in a step S107 the player plays the additional contest B. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which another player's or the machine's two hole cards are compared against a predetermined payout schedule.

[0307] In the event the user-player remains active through the first round of betting, then in a step S108, three community cards are dealt. A second round of betting then ensues in a step S109. If the user-player folds in this round, then in a step S110 it is determined whether the player is entitled to play an additional contest, for example a contest C. If not, then in a step S111 the game terminates for that player. If so, for example if the player placed an appropriate third bonus bet, then the user-player is permitted to participate in additional contest C in a step S112. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's best five cards from the player's hole cards and the community cards are compared against a predetermined payoff table (for example that illustrated in FIG. 18) in a video-poker type format.

[0308] Regardless of the outcome of the additional contest C, in a step S113 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S114, the game is terminated for that player. If so, for example if the player placed second and third bonus bets, the player is also permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest B in step S107.

[0309] If the player remains active through the second round of betting, then in a step S115 a fourth community card is dealt. In step S116, a third round of betting ensues. If the user-player folds, then in a step S117, a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest D. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S118. If so, for example if the player placed a fourth bonus bet, then in a step S119 the player is permitted to participate in additional contest D. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's best five cards from the player's two hole cards and four community cards are compared against a predetermined payout table.

[0310] Regardless of the outcome of the contest D, in a step S120 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S121 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest C in step S112, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contest B via step S113, as also described above.

[0311] If the player remains active through the third round of betting, then in a step S122 the fifth and final community card is dealt. In a step S123, a fourth round of betting ensues. If the user-player folds, then in a step S24, a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest E. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S125. If so, for example if the player placed a fifth bonus bet, then in a step S126 the player is permitted to participate in contest E. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-players best five cards from the player's two hole cards and five community cards are compared against a predetermined payout table.

[0312] Regardless of the outcome of the contest E, in a step S127 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S128 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest D in a step S119, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contests C and B via steps S120 and S113, as also described above.

[0313] If the player remains active, the winner of the Texas Hold'em game is determined in a showdown in step S129. In the event the user-player loses, then in a step S130, a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest F. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S131. If so, for example if the player placed a sixth bonus bet, then in a step S132 the player is permitted to participate in contest F. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's best two and five card hands from the player's two hole cards and five community cards are compared against a predetermined payout table.

[0314] Regardless of the outcome of the contest F, in a step S133 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S134 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest E in a step S126, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contests D, C and B via steps S127, S120 and S113, as also described above.

[0315] In the event the user-player wins the showdown, then a determination is made as to whether the user-player is entitled to participate in additional contest F in a step S130, in like manner to the loser(s) of the showdown. In a step S135 a determination is made as to whether the user-player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest G. If not, in a step S136 the game terminates for the player. If so, for example if the player placed an appropriate seventh bonus bet, the player is permitted to participate in the contest G in a step S137. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which another player's or a machine's best five card hand from its hole and community cards is compared against a predetermined payout table. The game then ends in a step S138.

[0316] If the user-player wins the showdown in step S129, the player may be entitled to the betting pot or other payout. If the user-player wins any of the additional contests in which the player participates, the player may be awarded a payout. The user-player may also be entitled to a jackpot. As an example, if the player wins one or more additional contests (ex. F, E, D, C and B) the player may be entitled to a jackpot amount in addition to the amount(s) paid for winning each of these contests individually.

[0317]FIG. 27 illustrates an embodiment of the invention in which one contest that is played is Seven Card Stud (described in more detail above) and the possibility exits for a player to play one or more additional contests with one or more cards from the Seven Card Stud game. The description of this embodiment of the invention will be made with reference to the play of the contest(s) by a single user-player, it being understood that one or more players may play one another and/or a machine or the house.

[0318] Referring to FIG. 27, after the start of the game in a step S301, the two hole or pocket cards are dealt face-down and a third card is dealt face-up to the user-player for use in the Seven Card Stud game, and if appropriate, another game or games. In a step S302, a determination is made as to whether the user-player is entitled to play an additional game or contest, for example a contest A. If so, for example if the user-player placed a first bonus bet, in a step S303 the contest A is played. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-players three cards are compared against a predetermined payout table or criteria (for example that illustrated in FIG. 23).

[0319] After play of the contest A in step S303, or in the event the player was not entitled to play the game, in a step S304 betting begins in the Seven Card Stud game.

[0320] In the event the user-player folds in the first round of betting, in a step S305 it is determined whether the player is entitled to play an additional contest, for example a contest B. If not, in a step S306 the game terminates for that player. If so, for example if the player placed an appropriate second bonus bet, then in a step S307 the player plays the additional contest B. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which another player's or a machine's three cards are compared against a predetermined payout schedule.

[0321] In the event the user-player remains active through the first round of betting, then in a step S308, another card is dealt face-up card to each player. A second round of betting then ensues in a step S309. If the user-player folds in this round, then in a step S310 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to play an additional contest, for example a contest C. If not, then in a step S311 the game terminates for that player. If so, for example if the player placed an appropriate third bonus bet, then the user-player is permitting to participate in additional contest C in a step 312. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's four cards are compared against a predetermined payoff table in a video-poker type format.

[0322] Regardless of the outcome of the additional contest C, in a step S313 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S314, the game is terminated for that player. If so, for example if the player placed second and third bonus bets, the player is also permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest B in step S307.

[0323] If the player remains active through the second round of betting, then in a step S315 another card is dealt face-up to each player. In step S316, a third round of betting ensues. If the user-player folds, then in a step S317, a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest D. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S318. If so, for example if the player placed a fourth bonus bet, then in a step S319 the player is permitted to participate in additional contest D. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-players five cards are compared against a predetermined payout table.

[0324] Regardless of the outcome of the contest D, in a step S320 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S321 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest C in step S312, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contest B via step S313, as also described above.

[0325] If the player remains active through the third round of betting, then in a step S322 another card is dealt face-up to each player. In a step S323, a fourth round of betting ensues. If the user-player folds, then in a step S324, a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest E. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S325. If so, for example if the player placed a fifth bonus bet, then in a step S326 the player is permitted to participate in contest E. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's best five card hand from the player's six cards is compared against a predetermined payout table.

[0326] Regardless of the outcome of the contest E, in a step S327 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S328 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest D in a step S319, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contests C and B via steps S320 and S313, as also described above.

[0327] If the player remains active through the fourth round of betting, then in a step S329 a final card is dealt face-down to each player. In a step S330, a fifth round of betting ensues. If the user-player folds, then in a step S331, a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest F. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S332. If so, for example if the player placed a sixth bonus bet, then in a step S333 the player is permitted to participate in contest F. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's best five card from the player's seven cards is compared against a predetermined payout table (for example that illustrated in FIG. 18).

[0328] Regardless of the outcome of the contest F, in a step S334 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S335 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest E in a step S326, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contests D, C and B via steps S327, S320 and S313, as also described above.

[0329] If the player remains active, the winner of the Seven Card Stud game is determined in a showdown in step S336. In the event the user-player loses, then in a step S337, a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest G. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S338. If so, for example if the player placed a seventh bonus bet, then in a step S339 the player is permitted to participate in contest G. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's best two and five card hands from the player's seven cards are compared against a predetermined payout table.

[0330] Regardless of the outcome of the contest G, in a step S340 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S341 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest F in a step S333, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contests E, D, C and B via steps S334, S327, S320 and S313, as also described above.

[0331] In the event the user-player wins the showdown, then a determination is made as to whether the user-player is entitled to participate in additional contest G in step S337, in like manner to the loser(s) of the showdown. In a step S342 a determination is made as to whether the user-player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest H. If not, in a step S343 the game terminates for the player. If so, for example if the player placed an appropriate eighth bonus bet, the player is permitted to participate in the contest H. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which another player's or a machine's best five card hand from its seven cards is compared against a predetermined payout table. The game then ends at step S345.

[0332] If the user-player wins the showdown in step S342, the player may be entitled to the betting pot or other payout. If the user-player wins any of the additional contests in which the player participates, the player may be awarded a payout. The user-player may also be entitled to a jackpot. As an example, if the player wins one or more additional contests (ex. G, F, E, D, C and B) the player may be entitled to a jackpot amount in addition to the amount(s) paid for winning each of these contests individually.

[0333]FIG. 28 illustrates an embodiment of the invention in which one contest that is played is Five Card Stud (described in more detail above) and the possibility exits for a player to play one or more additional contests with one or more cards from the Five Card Stud game. The description of this embodiment of the invention will be made with reference to the play of the contest(s) by a single user-player, it being understood that one or more players may play one another and/or a machine or the house.

[0334] Referring to FIG. 28, after the start of the game in a step S401, a first face-down card, and a second face-up card, are dealt to each player for use in the Five Card Stud game, and if appropriate, another contest of contests. In a step S402, a determination is made as to whether the user-player is entitled to play an additional contest, for example a contest A. If so, for example if the user-player placed a first bonus bet, in a step S403 the contest A is played. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's two cards are compared against a predetermined payout table or criteria.

[0335] After play of the contest A in step S403, or in the event the player was not entitled to play the game, in a step S404 betting begins in the Five Card Stud game.

[0336] In the event the user-player folds in the first round of betting, in a step S405 it is determined whether the player is entitled to play an additional contest, for example a contest B. If not, in a step S406 the game terminates for that player. If so, for example if the player placed an appropriate second bonus bet, then in a step S407 the player plays the additional contest B. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which another player's or the machine's two cards are compared against a predetermined payout schedule.

[0337] In the event the user-player remains active through the first round of betting, then in a step S408 a third card is dealt, face-up, to each player. A second round of betting then ensues in a step S409. If the user-player folds in this round, then in a step S410 it is determined whether the player is entitled to play an additional contest, for example a contest C. If not, then in a step S411 the game terminates for that player. If so, for example if the player placed an appropriate third bonus bet, then the user-player is permitting to participate in additional contest C in a step 412. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's three cards are compared against a predetermined payoff table in a video-poker type format.

[0338] Regardless of the outcome of the additional contest C, in a step S413 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S414, the game is terminated for that player. If so, for example if the player placed second and third bonus bets, the player is permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest B in step S407.

[0339] If the player remains active through the second round of betting, then in a step S415 a fourth card is dealt, face-up, to each player. In step S416, a third round of betting ensues. If the user-player folds, then in a step S417, a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest D. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S418. If so, for example if the player placed a fourth bonus bet, then in a step S419 the player is permitted to participate in additional contest D. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's four cards are compared against a predetermined payout table.

[0340] Regardless of the outcome of the contest D, in a step S420 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S421 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest C in step S412, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contest B via step S413, as also described above.

[0341] If the player remains active through the third round of betting, then in a step S422 a fifth and final card is dealt to each player, face-up. In a step S423, a fourth round of betting ensues. If the user-player folds, then in a step S424, a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest E. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S425. If so, for example if the player placed a fifth bonus bet, then in a step S426 the player is permitted to participate in contest E. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's best five cards are compared against a predetermined payout table (for example that illustrated in FIG. 17).

[0342] Regardless of the outcome of the contest E, in a step S427 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S428 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest D in a step S419, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contests C and B via steps S420 and S413, as also described above.

[0343] If the player remains active, the winner of the Five Card Stud game is determined in a showdown in step S429. In the event the user-player loses, then in a step S430, a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest F. If not, then the game is terminated for that player in a step S431. If so, for example if the player placed a sixth bonus bet, then in a step S432 the player is permitted to participate in contest F. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which the user-player's lowest five card hand is compared against a predetermined payout table.

[0344] Regardless of the outcome of the contest F, in a step S433 a determination is made as to whether the player is entitled to cumulative game play. If not, then in a step S434 the game is terminated as to that player. If so, then the player is permitted to participate in an additional contest, for example contest E in a step S426, as described above. In addition, the player may be entitled to participate in contests D, C and B via steps S427, S420 and S413, as also described above.

[0345] In the event the user-player wins the showdown, then a determination is made as to whether the user-player is entitled to participate in additional contest F in a step S430, in like manner to the loser(s) of the showdown. In a step S435 a determination is made as to whether the user-player is entitled to participate in an additional contest, for example a contest G. If not, in a step S436 the game terminates for the player. If so, for example if the player placed an appropriate seventh bonus bet, the player is permitted to participate in the contest G in a step S437. This contest may comprise, for example, a video-poker type game in which another player's or a machine's best five card hand is compared against a predetermined payout table. The game then ends in a step S438.

[0346] If the user-player wins the showdown in step S429, the player may be entitled to the betting pot or other payout. If the user-player wins any of the additional contests in which the player participates, the player may be awarded a payout. The user-player may also be entitled to a jackpot. As an example, if the player wins one or more additional contests (ex. F, E, D, C and B) the player may be entitled to a jackpot amount in addition to the amount(s) paid for winning each of these contests individually.

[0347] The above descriptions are examples of embodiments of the invention and the invention is not limited to these arrangements. For example, the particular additional contests which are played may vary, as may the payouts, game play, the criteria used to determine whether a player is permitted to play additional contests, etc.

Slot Machine Embodiments of the Invention

[0348] Many of the contests, games, game combinations and aspects of the games or combinations of the present invention may be implemented in table play or with a computer or other electro or electromechanical machine.

[0349]FIGS. 29 and 30 illustrate slot machine embodiments of the gaming system of the invention. It will be understood that the features shown for the embodiments of FIGS. 29 and 30 are by way of example, only. Slot machine embodiments of the invention may have any variety of other configurations, as will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

[0350]FIG. 30 is a schematic diagram illustrating the functional components in one slot machine embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIG. 30, the functional components in this embodiment include a CPU unit 1800, a cash accumulator/controller 1810, a coin input mechanism 1820, a bill reader 1840, a coin payout mechanism 1830, a control panel 1860, a touch-screen display 1850, and light and sound emitters 1870.

[0351] CPU unit 1800 contains a microprocessor such as, for example, a Pentiuma processor from Intel, along with associated software, components and peripherals, such as main memory, video graphics adapter, sound card, mass storage, and input/output interfaces, that allow CPU unit 1800 to function as an intelligent controller of the slot machine unit. CPU unit 1800 monitors user input, generates strategies for and controls actions of one or more simulated players, determines outcomes of games, and controls payout of user winnings.

[0352] Cash accumulator/controller 1810 monitors a user's cash input from coin input mechanism 1820 and bill reader 1840, and controls cash payout to a user provided by coin payout mechanism 1830, all under the control of CPU unit 1800.

[0353] Display 1850, which may, for example, be a CRT or LCD or other type of display, displays output to the user, such as, for example, images of cards dealt to a user, images of cards dealt to the simulated player(s), information concerning the state of the game, the size of the pot, the actions available to the user, etc. In the embodiment of FIG. 30, display 1850 is a touch screen display that accepts touch input from a user. In this embodiment, a user can indicate the user's desired actions by touching corresponding images displayed on the display screen. For example, the user may indicate cards to hold during a drawing phase of a game by touching the cards the user wishes to hold. Preferably, visual feedback is provided to the user to confirm that the user's touch screen input has been recognized. For example, the receipt of a touch screen input may be indicated by highlighting the image (e.g. a card selected for holding) underlying the position at which the user touches the screen.

[0354] In addition to a touch-screen, the embodiment of FIG. 30 also contains a control panel 1860 that may be used as an alternate means to provide user input. Control panel 1860 may, for example, consist of a panel containing a number of button switches. Each button corresponds to one or more user actions. A user chooses a desired action by pressing the appropriate button. In one embodiment, a user may indicate desired user actions by touching an appropriate area on touch screen 1850 and/or by pressing an appropriate button on control panel 1860.

[0355] Light/sound emitter 1870 is used to provide sound and light output. For example, light/sound emitter 1870 in one embodiment includes a flashing light and emits the sound of a bell ringing to indicate that the user has won a game.

[0356] The system of FIG. 30 may include other features found on slot machines as are known in the art.

[0357]FIG. 29 illustrates the outward appearance of one embodiment of a card playing slot machine system such as the system of FIG. 30. As shown in FIG. 29, this slot machine comprises a housing 1700 which contains functional components of the system, for example components 1800-1870 of FIG. 30. The input and output interfaces with a user are situated on the front of housing 1700. These input and output interfaces include a display screen 1710 (which may be a touch-screen display), a control panel 1720, a bill reader 1760, and a coin output tray 1775. The front of housing 1700 also includes a first and second billboard display areas 1705 and 1780, respectively.

[0358] First billboard display area 1705 comprises a backlit display containing graphics. The graphics are intended to attract players to the game, and may, for example, include the name of the game played by the slot machine system. The slot machine system may, for example, play five card draw poker. In one embodiment, the slot machine system allows a user to play a simulated poker game against an intelligent, simulated player. In another embodiment, the slot machine system allows a player to play simultaneously against an intelligent, simulated player and against a video-poker style payoff table. If the slot machine system provides combined play against a simulated opponent and a payoff table, display area 1705 may include a depiction of the payoff table 1715. Display area 1705 may also include flashing lights that are activated when a user wins a game.

[0359] Second display area 1780 provides an area in which additional graphics may be displayed. Second display area 1780 includes bill reader 1760 that is used to accept cash bills from a user.

[0360] Display 1710 is a CRT or LCD display that provides output to, and, in the case of an embodiment in which display 1710 is a touch screen display, accepts input from, a user as described with respect to display 1850 of FIG. 30.

[0361] Control panel 1720 includes a coin slot 1740 for accepting coins from a user and a number of button switches that the user may activate to indicate desired user actions. In the embodiment of FIG. 29, the buttons include a “call” button 1725, a “raise/bet” button 1730, an “ante” button 1765, a “fold/check” button 1730, five “hold” buttons 1735, a “draw” button 1745, a “cashout” button 1750, and a “game select” button 1755. Call button 1725 is activated by a user to indicate a desired call action. Raise/bet button 1730 is activated by a user to indicate a desired raise or bet action, depending on the state of the game. Ante button 1765 is activated by a user to debit the amount required for an ante from a balance of money deposited by the user into the slot machine system via coin slot 1740 or bill reader 1760, thereby initiating a new game. Fold/check button 1730 is activated by a user to indicate a desired fold or check action, depending on the state of the game. Hold buttons 1735 are used to indicate cards that the user wishes to hold prior to a draw. There is one hold button for each card in a user's hand. In the embodiment of FIG. 29, there are five hold buttons 1735, corresponding to a five-card game such as five card draw. Draw button 1745 is used by a user to initiate a draw, such that the user is dealt a new card for each card discarded (i.e. for the cards the user has indicated the user does not wish to hold). Cashout button 1750 is used by a user to obtain a payout, in cash, of any balance remaining to the user's account. The cashout amount is paid out to the user by depositing coins in payout tray 1775. Game select button 1755 is used by a user to select the desired game to play in embodiments that allow a user to select from different games. For example, in one embodiment, game select button 1755 allows a user to select optional play against a payoff table in addition to play against a simulated, intelligent opponent.

[0362] In one embodiment, the available actions available to a user an any stage of a game are indicated by lighting up only those buttons corresponding to the available actions.

[0363] Thus, a game system and a method of playing one or more games have been presented.

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16
International ClassificationA63F3/00, A63F1/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63F2001/005, A63F2001/008, A63F3/00157, A63F2003/0017
European ClassificationA63F3/00A32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 4, 1999ASAssignment
Owner name: GAMECRAFT, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ROMMERDAHL, BILL;RAGGE, RON;MIERS, DARRELL;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:009832/0804
Effective date: 19980918