US 20020175468 A1
A method of playing a four-card poker game by at least one player and a banker who is preferably also the dealer. The player has the option to wager against the dealer, wager against a predetermined payout schedule, or both. Additional options of a progressive wager and/or a bad beat wager may be made available.
1. A method of playing a game comprising the steps of:
(a) providing one standard deck of playing cards;
(b) at least one player making a wager on any allowable combination of offered bets consisting of the following;
(1) a first wager against a dealer (ante);
(2) a wager against a predetermined payscale;
(3) a bad beat wager;
(4) a progressive wager;
(c) dealing X amount of cards to said player;
(d) dealing Y amount of cards to a dealer;
(e) said player either
(1) folding his or her hand, thereby withdrawing from the game and losing his or her wager(s), or
(2) if wagering against the dealer, before seeing the dealer's hand, placing a second wager (play) in support of the first wager of exactly Z times the first wager or
(3) if wagering against a predetermined payscale, electing to remain in the game;
(f) comparing the best four card poker hand of the dealer and said player after discarding any additional cards;
(g) resolving said poker wager by;
(1) making a payout to said player by the dealer when said player has wagered against a predetermined payscale and has achieved a rank that is either higher than or equal to a predetermined rank;
(2) paying said player's is wager (ante) against the dealer if the dealer does not achieve at predetermined qualifying rank;
(3) paying said player both the first and second wagers against the dealer if said player achieved a higher ranking hand than the dealer;
(4) paying said player, who has made a first wager against the dealer and has supported said wager, for achieving a predetermined ranking hand an amount (ante reward) from a predetermined payscale, regardless of the rank of the dealer's hand.
(5) taking said player's wager against a predetermined payscale that does not achieve a wining hand;
(6) taking said player's first and second wagers against the dealer if the dealer's hand outranks theirs;
(7) taking said player's first wager, if said player does not achieve a predetermined qualifying hand;
(8) pushing said player's first and second wager if said player has exactly the same ranking hand as the dealer;
(9) pushing said player's second wager (play) if the dealer did not achieve a predetermined qualifying hand;
2. The method according to
in step (b), the allowable single wagers are a wager against the dealer or a wager against a predetermined payscale.
3. The method of
In step (b), any progressive wager must be made in conjunction with a wager against a payscale or a wager against the dealer.
4. The method of
In step (b), any bad beat wager must be made in conjunction with a wager against a payscale or a wager against the dealer.
5. The method according to
In step (c), X=4, 5, or 6.
6. The method according to
In step (d), Y=4, 5, or 6.
7. The method according to
In step (e) (2), Z=1, 2, or 3
8. The method according to
In step (g) (2), the dealer qualifying hand is King/Queen or better.
9. The method according to
The dealer qualifying hand can be any predetermined hand ranking.
10. The method according to
In step (g) (2), the dealer does not have to qualify and does not automatically pay said player's ante for not attaining a predetermined hand ranking.
11. The method according to
In step (g) (4) the ante reward payout is based upon the amount of said player's first wager against the dealer.
12. The method according to
In step (g) (7), said player does not have to qualify and does not automatically lose to the dealer for not attaining a predetermined hand ranking.
13. The method of playing a card game according to
In step (g) (7), said player's qualifying hand is an Ace/King/Queen or better.
14. The method of playing a card game according to
The qualifying hand for said player could be any predetermined hand ranking.
 This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/277,018 filed on Mar. 19, 2001, and U.S. Provisional No. 60/314,503 filed on Aug. 23, 2001.
 The present invention relates to gaming and to card games. More particularly, the present invention pertains to a method of playing a new type of poker game especially adapted for casino gaming, both in live table and electronic video formats.
 Gaming establishments continually require new games to offer their players. Casinos are also in need of games which are easy to play and easy to deal. Such games are generally required to enable each player to play against a banker (who usually also acts a dealer) provided by a casino, rather than against other players. This type of Casino Poker can provide more revenue to the casino than traditional poker because Casino Poker is invariably structured to give the casino an advantage. Exemplary of Casino Poker are the casino games of “Caribbean Stud Poker”, “Let It Ride”, and “Three Card Poker”. These type games require less space than the traditionally larger tables found in poker rooms and are dealt much faster.
 In games like Caribbean Stud and Let It Ride the five card poker hands that the player must make to get a larger payoff are hard to get thus the larger payoffs are infrequent. The player is frustrated because many times they will get four cards to a straight or a flush but not have a good hand. In a three-card game like Three Card Poker the higher hands are made more easily but therefore the payouts are comparatively low. Therefore there is a need for a game which would bridge the gap in ease of making a hand with higher payouts to the player.
 It is an object of the present invention to provide an enjoyable new card game.
 It is a further object of the present invention to provide a game that is easy to learn and deal.
 It is a further object of the present invention to provide a game that makes it easier for a player to make a hand than in five-card poker games.
 It is a further object of the present invention to provide a game that has higher payoffs than a three-card poker game.
 The present invention discloses a poker game variation in which one or more players play against the casino. Broadly, the invention is directed to a poker game variant in which a player has a choice between several wagers among the following; a wager against a dealer, a wager against a predetermined payscale, a bad beat wager, or a progressive wager.
 In one preferred embodiment of the invention, one or more players initially place a wager(s) and then five cards are dealt to the player and five cards are dealt to the dealer. Players would inspect their hands and decide whether to fold or to continue to play. If the player was playing a wager against the dealer and wanted to continue to play, they would place another wager in support of their first wager in the appropriate betting area. The dealer would inspect his/her hand to see if they qualified. If the dealer did not qualify with a predetermined rank of cards, the dealer would pay the first wager of the player and return the supporting wager. If the dealer had a qualifying hand, then the player and the dealer would compare their best four-card hand to determine the winner. Ties hands would be a push. If the player had made a wager against the dealer and had supported that wager, they would be eligible for a payoff for achieving a predetermined hand raking regardless of the tanking of the dealer's hand If the player had made any wagers against achieving a predetermined rank, the dealer would pay or take the wagers accordingly.
 In a second embodiment of the invention, one or more players initially place bets and then five cards are dealt to the player and six cards are dealt to the dealer. Players would inspect their hands and decide whether to fold or to continue to play. If the player was playing a wager against the dealer and wanted to continue to play, they would place another wager in support of their first wager in the appropriate betting area. In games against the dealer, the player would play their best four cards out of five and compare that to the dealer's best four cards out of six to determine the winner. Tie hands would be a push. In this version the dealer would not have to have a qualifying hand to continue play. If the player had made any optional wagers against achieving a predetermined rank, the dealer would pay or take the wagers accordingly.
 In a third embodiment of the invention, one or more players initially place bets and then four cards are dealt to the player and four cards are dealt to the dealer. Players would inspect their hands and decide whether to fold or to continue to play. If the player was playing a wager against the dealer and wanted to continue to play, they would place another wager in support of their first wager in the appropriate betting area. In games against the dealer, the player would play their four cards against the four cards of the dealer. The dealer would have to achieve a qualifying hand to continue play against the player. If the player had made any bets against achieving a predetermined rank, the dealer would pay or take the bets accordingly.
 A novel gaming layout for use in the casino version of the game is also disclosed.
 There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto. In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent construction insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
FIG. 1 shows a playing surface for use in playing a card game of one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a chart indicating winning poker hands and their payouts in one example of a wager against a predetermined payscale of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a chart indicating wing poker hands and their payouts in another variation of a wager against a predetermined payscale of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a chart indicating the winning hands and their payouts for the Ante Reward of one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 5 illustrates one player area of the playing surface shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a chart indicating payoffs for the Ante and Play wagers.
 According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, players play against a casino. However, in jurisdictions where such games are not legal, such as in California, one player may be designated “Player-Dealer” and all the other players would play against the Player-Dealer. The option to act as Player-Dealer would be offered to each player in turn. In this specification, the term “Dealer” is intended to refer to either a casino dealer, or a Player-Dealer, whichever is appropriate for the circumstances under which the game of the present invention is played.
FIG. 1 shows a playing surface or table layout 25 on which one embodiment of the present invention may be played. The layout 25 may be marked or placed on any suitable surface such as a gaming table. For example, the layout may be in the form of a layout cloth supported on a supporting surface. The layout provides a playing area 30 for a plurality of players, for example seven players, and a separate area 35 for a banker who also preferably acts as the dealer. Each playing area 30 has a number of marked sections or zones 12, 14, 16 for the placing of various wagers by a player as will be described hereinafter.
 Each player takes a place at one of the playing areas 30. The game is played in a number of rounds as will be described In each round, each player has the option of playing against the dealer, or wagering on the rank of his/her hand or playing a combination of these two options. In other variations of the game a player may have additional betting options. The presently preferred embodiment of the present invention is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards, each deck having 13 cards in each of four suits.
 At the commencement of the game each player decides whether to play the particular round by wagering against the dealer, i.e. an “ANTE” wager, by wagering on the value of his/her hand, i.e. a “Pair of Jacks or Better” wager, or both. To play against the dealer a player makes an Ante wager by placing an appropriate wager, such as a token or chip, or where permitted, cash, on the section 14 of his/her playing area 30. The gaming chips may be of any conventional kind and available in a number of denominations such as are well know within the art. If the player wishes (alternatively or in addition) to make a wager based on the value of his/her hand, the player places an appropriate token or chip on “Pair of Jacks or Better” in section 12 of his/her playing area 30. In the present example, the rules of the game provide that payouts will be made according to a displayed payout schedule with “Pair of Jacks or Better” payouts starting at a pair of jacks or better. In one embodiment of the present invention, hands are preferably ranked according to the following hierarchy, though other rankings may be used:
 The payout schedule may be varied in accordance with the rules of the game and/or the casino. For example another version of the game may eliminate the royal flush hand and have the following rankings;
 Four of a Kind
 Straight Flush
 Three of a Kind
 Straight (A-2-3-4 is the lowest straight)
 Two Pair
 One Pair
 High Card
 One of the wagering options in one embodiment of the present invention is a “Pair of Jacks or Better”. An example of one preferred payout schedule for that wager is as follows;
 Pair of Jacks or Better Pays
 PAIR OF JACKS OR BETTER . . . 1 TO 1
 TWO PAIR . . . 2 TO 1
 THREE OF A KIND . . . 3 TO 1
 STRAIGHT . . . 4 TO 1
 FLUSH . . . 4 TO 1
 STRAIGHT FLUSH . . . 25 TO 1
 FOUR OF A KIND . . . 75 TO 1
 ROYAL FLUSH . . . 200 TO 1
 Another of the wagering options in a second embodiment of the present invention is a “Pair of Queens or Better”. An example of one preferred payout schedule for that wager is as follows;
 Pair of Queens or Better Pays
 PAIR OF QUEENS OR BETTER . . . 1 TO 1
 TWO PAIR . . . 2 TO 1
 THREE OF KIND . . . 4 TO 1
 STRAIGHT . . . 4 TO 1
 FLUSH . . . 4 TO 1
 STRAIGHT FLUSH . . . 40 TO 1
 FOUR OF A KIND . . . 100 TO 1
 ROYAL FLUSH . . . 250 TO 1
 The payout schedules are preferably displayed in a convenient manner and location. At times the payscales for different wagers and any extra reward payouts will be displayed on the playing layout itself and at other times the payouts will be on mobile display material.
 According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the two wagering options are independent, so that a player may wager unequal amounts on the ANTE and PAIR OF JACKS OR BETTER options.
 When the above wagers are in place, the dealer preferably shuffles the cards (manually or otherwise) and then deals a five-card hand to each player and him/herself.
 The cards may initially be dealt to the players face up or face down depending upon casino policy.
 When the cards have been dealt, any player who has placed an ANTE wager inspects his/her hand and determines whether he/she wishes either to fold and forfeit the ANTE wager, or to continue. If the player wishes to continue, according to this illustrated embodiment, the player must place a PLAY wager, which must be of proportionate value to and is preferably the same as the ANTE wager. The PLAY wager is made by placing an appropriate chip on the section 16 marked “PLAY” on the player's playing area 30. When the player has made the wager then he/she places the cards in the PLAY area below the PLAY wager section 30.
 If a player forfeits his/her ANTE wager, the dealer takes the wager and the player's cards are discarded before the game proceeds.
 “PAIR OF JACKS OR BETTER” wagers are not affected to this point. However, a player playing “PAIR OF JACKS OR BETTER” only, places his/her cards in the playing area if they wish to continue the hand. If the player wishes to forfeit or fold their hand they would indicate such by tossing their hand towards the dealer. If the player is also playing against the dealer with an ANTE wager, he/she must make a PLAY wager if he/she has a wining PAIR OF JACKS OR BETTER wager.
 The dealer reveals his/her cards and arranges the cards to show the best four-card poker hand. The dealer then in turn reveals each other player's cards (if they are not already visible), compares the player's best four card poker hand to that of the dealer, and resolves each player's wager(s).
 All players with ANTE and PLAY wagers are automatically winners if the dealer does not have a KING/QUEEN high hand or better. This rank may be varied in accordance with the rules of the game or of the casino. Players are preferably paid even money on the ANTE wager and their PLAY wager is returned.
 If the dealer has a KING/QUEEN high hand or better, each player's hand is compared with that of the dealer. If the player's hand is higher, the player is paid even money on both the ANTE and PLAY wagers. If the player's hand is lower, the player loses his/her ANTE and PLAY wagers. If the dealer and player have exactly the same hand, then the hand is a push and the player may either withdraw his/her wager, leave it, or adjust it for the next round.
 Preferably an additional payout is made by the dealer to any player who is in play against the dealer, i.e. who has made an ANTE and PLAY wager, and who has a achieved a hand of a predetermined high rank. The ranks to which such extra “ANTE REWARD” payouts are made may be predetermined by the rules of the game and/or the casino. The payouts would preferably be based on the ANTE wager amount. These payouts are independent of the results of the game against the dealer. One preferred payout schedule is as follows:
 Ante Reward Pays
 STRAIGHT FLUSH . . . 3 TO 1
 FOUR OF KIND . . . 8 TO 1
 ROYAL STRAIGHT FLUSH . . . 20 TO 1
 Players who have wagered on the value of the hand (i.e. PAIR of JACKS or BETTER) win if the hand is at least a pair of jacks and are paid by the dealer according to the posted payscale. These payouts are independent of the results of the game against the dealer.
 This procedure completes a single round of the game. Play then continues in another round, with players commencing by making ANTE and/or PAIR of JACKS or BETTER wagers.
 The novel methods of the present invention may be played utilizing playing cards or as an electrical or electro-mechanical device such as a slot machine. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that suitable controls can be provided for receiving the necessary input and therefore will not be described in detail herein. While the game may be played on a single slot machine, it is within the scope of the present invention to provide a multi-unit video format wherein a plurality of players may play against each other and/or against a dealer.
 From the present description, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications may be made without departure from the scope of the present invention. For example, the naming of the different wagers, the naming and/or ranking of any hand, the changing of the necessity of qualifying hands for both the dealer and/or the player, the payout schedules, and predetermined winning or losing ranks may be varied in accordance with the rules of the game or the requirements of the casino. The table game layout may be varied from that described and shown. The rules may be varied, or additional rules imposed, within the scope of the invention.
 In particular, there may be introduced a further option of a player wagering on a high odds payout wager or on a fixed or variable jackpot which is paid out in accordance with the rules of the casino on a specific hand, or when a high ranked hand is beaten by the dealer. An example would be in a game wherein the player is dealt five cards and has the option to wager on a progressive using these five cards for getting a royal flush or other high ranked hand. This progressive option may be linked to other jackpots offered in the casino. Bad beat type wagers could have reduced payouts and if desired consolation payouts could be made to players having hands less than the premium hand/and or to other players who have taken part in the jackpot.
 Where the game incorporates a jackpot or a numerical hand value wager, separate designated wagering areas may be provided for these wagers. These may be incorporated at any convenient position on the player's playing area or on a display stand.
 While the game is described particularly for play in a gaming establishment, it is not limited in this respect and may also be played for example on a board game, a video game, a scratch card, a slot machine, or the like.