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Publication numberUS20020195773 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/198,969
Publication dateDec 26, 2002
Filing dateJul 19, 2002
Priority dateSep 13, 1999
Publication number10198969, 198969, US 2002/0195773 A1, US 2002/195773 A1, US 20020195773 A1, US 20020195773A1, US 2002195773 A1, US 2002195773A1, US-A1-20020195773, US-A1-2002195773, US2002/0195773A1, US2002/195773A1, US20020195773 A1, US20020195773A1, US2002195773 A1, US2002195773A1
InventorsR. Dunn
Original AssigneeShuffle Master, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of playing a table card game with an electronic multiplier bonus feature and apparatus for playing the game
US 20020195773 A1
Abstract
A method of playing a casino table card game with a bonus event has a player placing a first wager on a casino table card game; providing a hand of cards to the player; determining if the hand of cards provided to a player is within a definition of specific triggering events; if the hand is determined to be within the definition of specific triggering events, allowing the player to enter a bonus game; the player enters at least one bonus game where a random symbol is displayed on a visual display device associated with the casino table, the random symbols identifying an award of an absolute amount of value or a factor that is used to increase a base amount; and resolving all wagers and awards for the player. An apparatus for implementing the method is also shown.
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Claims(34)
What is claimed:
1. A method of playing a casino table card game with a multiple segment bonus event comprising:
a player placing a first wager to participate in a casino table game;
providing game elements to the player;
determining if the game elements provided to a player is within a definition of specific triggering events;
if the game elements are determined to be within the definition of specific triggering events, allowing the player to enter a multiple segment bonus game;
the player enters a first segment of the bonus game where a plurality of randomly selected game symbols are displayed on a visual display device associated with the casino table, the symbols selected from the group consisting of one or more of: an absolute amount, a factor; a maximum payout symbol, a maximum payout factor, extra round(s), a factor plus an extra round(s), an absolute amount plus an extra round(s), a move at least one space in a predetermined direction symbol, a whammy and combinations thereof;
randomly selecting a displayed symbol, and when the symbol includes a factor, applying the factor to one or more of: the first wager, a separate side bet wager, payout on the casino table card game or a combination thereof;
a player optionally participating in a second bonus segment;
and when the player participates in the second bonus segment, the second bonus segment displays at least three distinct game symbols from at least one symbol group type on the visual display device, the game symbols displayed in the second bonus segment selected from the following symbol group types consisting of one or more of: an absolute amount, at least three factors; a maximum payout symbol, a maximum payout factor, extra round(s), a factor plus an extra round(s), an absolute amount plus an extra round(s), a move at least one space on the visual display device in a predetermined direction to another symbol, a whammy and combinations thereof;
randomly selecting a displayed game symbol, and when the symbol is a factor, applying the factor to one or more of the first casino game wager, a separate side bet wager, a payout on the casino table card game, a payout on the first bonus segment or a combination thereof; and
resolving all wagers and awards for the player.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the bonus game randomly assigns a multiplying factor to be applied to a separate side bet wager to determine a bonus award.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein the player must place a side bet wager for the player's hand to be determined within the definition of a specific triggering event.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein the casino table game comprises a game of twenty-one.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein the casino table game is a card game, and the specific triggering event is a single hand of cards with at least a specific rank.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein the casino table game is a card game, and the specific triggering event is a sequence of hands with at least specific ranks.
7. The method of claim 4 wherein the specific triggering event comprises a blackjack.
8. The method of claim 2 wherein the casino table game comprises a game of twenty-one.
9. The method of claim 3 wherein the casino table game comprises a game of twenty-one.
10. The method of claim 8 wherein the specific triggering event comprises a blackjack.
11. The method of claim 2 wherein the factor is applied in a manner selected from the group consisting of a) a wager placed to participate in said casino table card game, b) an amount won in play of the first casino table card game, c) an amount wagered to participate in a bonus game, and d) an amount won in play of the first casino table card game, less said wager placed to participate in said game.
12. The method of claim 1 wherein the at least one bonus game where a random symbol is displayed on a visual display device associated with the casino table comprises at least two bonus segments.
13. The method of claim 12 wherein a second bonus game of said bonus game is substantially similar to the first bonus game segment.
14. The method of claim 12 and further comprising a third bonus game, and the third bonus game is substantially similar to the first and second bonus games.
15. The method of claim 1 wherein during play of the one bonus game where a random symbol is displayed on a visual display device associated with the casino table, at least one factor area is highlighted on the visual display device.
16. The method of claim 1 wherein during play of the one bonus game where a multiplicity of frames are displayed on a visual display device associated with the casino table, and frames are alternatively highlighted and not highlighted on the visual display device.
17. The method of claim 15 wherein at least some of the random symbols identify factors.
18. The method of claim 17 wherein a factor is randomly determined in the first bonus game, values of factors times the amount wagered are changed on the visual display device during play of the bonus game, but before final selection of a random factor and display of an awarded payout amount.
19. The method of claim 16 wherein the change between highlighting and not highlighting is stopped, with a highlighting feature identifying at least one factor.
20. An apparatus for playing a live casino table game with a bonus game comprising:
a casino table with player locations;
a processor operatively connected to the table;
a video display device associated with the table for displaying video information to players at the table, the video display device including the ability to simultaneously display multiple game symbols;
the computer containing a program to display a collection of game symbols on the video display device in at least two separate bonus game segments, wherein in a second bonus segment at least three distinct symbols are simultaneously displayed;
the game symbols being related to identifying an award in the bonus game, the symbols selected from the following group types consisting of one or more of: an absolute amount, a factor, at least one extra bonus event, a maximum payout, a whammy, at least one extra bonus event and a factor, at least one extra bonus event and an absolute amount, a move at least one space in a predetermined direction, and combinations thereof, wherein a dealer or players have a dealer or player controlled element to initiate display on the display device of an award that is randomly selected by the processor.
21. The apparatus of claim 20 wherein a multiplicity of frames is used to identify the award and to increase the base amount and the frames are displayed on the visual display device associated with the casino table, and the frames are alternatively highlighted and not highlighted on the visual display device.
22. The apparatus of claim 20 wherein a separate wagering area is on the table to identify side bet wagers for players to enter a bonus game.
23. The apparatus of claim 22 wherein placing of a side bet wager on the table is indicated at each player position by a visible indicator other than the presence of a token, coinage or chip.
24. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the visible indicator is activated by a sensor for placement of a wager.
25. The apparatus of claim 20 wherein a spin button is present that is engaged to alter a display on the visual display device.
26. A method of playing a casino table card game with a multiple segment bonus event comprising:
a player placing a first wager on a casino table game and an optional wager to participate in a side bet game;
providing a plurality of game elements to the player;
determining if the game elements provided to a player is within a definition of specific triggering events;
if the game elements are determined to be within the definition of specific triggering events and the optional wager has been placed, allowing the player to enter a multiple segment bonus game comprising at least two distinct bonus events;
and when the player's arrangement of game elements are within the definition of a specific triggering event, the player enters a first bonus event wherein a plurality of randomly selected symbols are displayed in a display device in each bonus event;
randomly selecting a symbol;
a player optionally participating in a second bonus event wherein a plurality at least three distinct randomly selected symbols are displayed on the display device;
randomly selecting a symbol; and
resolving all wagers and awards for the player.
27. The method of claim 26, wherein the player who has placed the optional wager has the option of participating in a second distinct bonus event.
28. The method of claim 27, wherein all winnings from a first distinct bonus event are placed at risk when the player chooses to participate in a second distinct bonus event.
29. A method of displaying dynamic game awards in a live game of chance, the method including:
providing a gaming table with a changeable display and bet sensing apparatus;
providing a computer programmed with game outcomes and associated odds and a random number generator for randomly selecting game outcomes;
electronically sensing at least one bet; and
displaying dynamic payout information showing possible absolute payout amounts for a given wager, the absolute payout amounts calculated using an amount of a sensed bet.
30. The method of claim 29, wherein the dynamic payout information comprises a pay table.
31. The method of claim 29, wherein the dynamic payout information comprises a plurality of possible payout amounts.
32. The method of claim 31, wherein the displayed payout amounts are a product of an amount wagered times a plurality of possible payout multipliers.
33. The method of claim 29, wherein the dynamic payout information displays payouts on a side bet game.
34. The method of claim 29, wherein the dynamic payout information displays payouts on a live game of chance base game.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/967,461 filed Sep. 28, 2001 entitled: METHOD OF PLAYING A GAME, APPARATUS FOR PLAYING A GAME AND GAME WITH MULTIPLIER BONUS FEATURE which in turn is a continuation-in-part application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 9/394,748 filed Sep. 13, 1999 entitled: METHOD OF PLAYING A GAME, APPARATUS FOR PLAYING A GAME AND GAME WITH MULTIPLIER BONUS FEATURE now U.S. Pat. No. ______.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention is directed to novel gaming devices, novel gaming processes and novel games and game apparatus associated with card table games. In some casino games, predetermined events at the table (such as achieving a blackjack) trigger bonus segments and bonus events. A processor driven system is used to support the bonus feature.

[0004] 2. Background of the Art

[0005] Games of chance have been enjoyed by people for thousands of years and have enjoyed increased and widespread popularity in recent times. As with most forms of entertainment, players enjoy playing a wide variety of casino games and enjoy learning to play new games. Playing new games adds to the excitement of “gaming.” As is well known in the art and as used herein, the term “gaming” and “gaming devices” are used to indicate that some form of wagering is involved, and that players must make wagers of value, whether actual currency or some equivalent of value, e.g., token or credit. Table games are those gaming systems where players at a physical table engage in the play of a wagering game, usually with a dealer (directly involved in the play of a wagering game) or a house representative (not involved in actual play, but directing the play of a wagering game). Cards, either a standard playing card deck, multiple standard decks, modified decks, video representations of cards, or specialty decks are generally used in the play of casino table games such as casino table card games. Table games may also be equipped with electronic equipment to record betting, control progressive meters, etc.

[0006] A particularly popular casino table game is twenty-one or Blackjack. As outlined in U.S. Pat. No. 5,154,492 (LeVasseur), conventional twenty-one is played in most casinos and involves a game of chance between a dealer and one or more players using a standard deck or multiple decks of playing cards. The object is for the player to achieve a count of his hand closer to 21 than the count of the hand of the dealer. If the count of the player's hand goes over 21 then the player loses regardless of the final count of the dealer's hand.

[0007] At least one standard deck of playing cards is used to play the game. The game is most commonly dealt as a multiple deck game but is also dealt as a single deck and double deck game. Each card counts as its face value, except aces, which have a value of one or eleven as is most beneficial to the count of the hand. Each player initially receives two cards. The dealer also receives two cards. One of the dealer's cards usually is dealt face down and the other of the dealer's cards is dealt face up. In some forms of the game, all player cards are dealt face up and players are not permitted to touch their cards.

[0008] A player may draw additional cards (take “hits”) in order to try and beat the ultimate count of the dealer's hand or to remain in play when a dealer exceeds a count of twenty-one (known as “busting” or “breaking”). If the player's card count exceeds 21, the player “busts.” Similarly, if the dealer's card count exceeds 21, the dealer busts. The player may “stand” on any count of 21 or less. When a player busts, he loses his wager regardless of whether or not the dealer busts. After all of the players have taken hits or stood on their hand, the dealer “stands” or “hits” based on pre-established rules for the game. Typically, if the dealer has a card count of less than 17, the dealer must take a hit. If the dealer has a card count of 17 or more, the dealer stands.

[0009] After the dealer's final hand has been established, the numerical count of the dealer's hand is compared to the numerical count of the player's hand. If the dealer busts, the player wins regardless of the numerical count of his hand. If neither the player nor the dealer have busted, the closest hand to numerical count of 21, without going over, wins; tie hands are a “push.”

[0010] As used in the preceding description and in this disclosure, the terms “conventional twenty-one” and “the conventional manner of play of twenty-one” mean the game of twenty-one as described herein and also including any of the known variations of the game of twenty-one. There are many such variations, such as removal of specific value cards, addition of wild cards, bonuses for consecutive blackjacks, bonuses for suited blackjacks, automatic wins with at least six cards in a players' hand, wins for ‘five-card straights’ in a player's cards, progressive payouts on side bets for strings of certain ranks of cards, i.e., 2's, 3's, 7's and the like.

[0011] Twenty-one has remained remarkably popular and unchanged over the years. Because of its popularity, the fast speed of play, and the need to reduce or eliminate card counting by players, twenty-one is usually played with multiple decks of cards that are frequently shuffled.

[0012] Other casino table card games include Let It Ride® stud poker (as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,288,081, a playing card wagering game method which involves each player placing a three part bet. Cards are dealt by the dealer, two face down to the dealer and three face down to each player. Players inspect or “sweat” their cards and the dealer gives each player the choice of withdrawing or leaving at risk a first part of the bet. Each player decides and the dealer then turns over one of the cards and again gives each player the choice of withdrawing or leaving the second part of the bet. The players decide, their cards are shown, and all remaining bets, which were not withdrawn, are resolved.); Caribbean Stud® poker (as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,86,553, a card game in which a player and a dealer are each dealt five cards. If the dealer has a poker hand having a value less than an Ace-King combination or better, the player automatically wins. If the dealer has a poker hand having a value of an Ace-King combination or better, then the higher of the player's or the dealer's hand wins. If the player wins, he receives a bonus payment depending on the poker rank of his hand.); and Pai Gow poker (as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,275,411 in association with a unique card shuffling and dealing system). Although both Let It Ride® stud poker and Caribbean Stud® poker have the potential for the award of bonuses, these bonuses are directly dependent upon the occurrence of hands of very high rank to a player.

[0013] Another popular game of chance is the slot machine. Conventionally, a slot machine is configured for a player to wager something of value, e.g., currency, house token, established credit or other representation of currency or credit. After the wager has been made, the player activates the slot machine to cause a random event to occur. The player wagers that particular random events will occur that will return value to the player. A standard device causes a plurality of reels to spin and ultimately stop, displaying a random combination of some form of indicia, for example, numbers or symbols. If this display contains one of a preselected plurality of winning combinations, the machine releases money into a payout chute or increments a credit meter by the amount won by the player. For example, if a player initially wagered two coins of a specific denomination and that player achieved a payout, that player may receive the same number or multiples of the wager amount in coins of the same denomination as wagered.

[0014] There are many different formats for generating the random display of events that can occur to determine payouts in wagering devices. The standard or original format was the use of three reels with symbols distributed over the face of the wheel. When the three reels were spun, they would eventually each stop in turn, displaying a combination of three symbols (e.g., with three reels and the use of a single payout line as a row in the middle of the area where the symbols are displayed.) By appropriately distributing and varying the symbols on each of the reels, the random occurrence of predetermined winning combinations can be provided in mathematically predetermined probabilities. By clearly providing for specific probabilities for each of the preselected winning outcomes, precise odds that control the amount of the payout for any particular combination and the percentage return on wagers for the house can be readily controlled.

[0015] Other formats of gaming apparatus that have developed in a progression from the pure slot machine with three reels have dramatically increased with the development of video gaming apparatus. Rather than have only mechanical elements such as wheels or reels that turn and stop to randomly display symbols, video gaming apparatus and the rapidly increasing sophistication in hardware and software have enabled an explosion of new and exciting gaming apparatus. The earlier video apparatus merely imitated or simulated the mechanical slot games in the belief that players would want to play only the same games. Early video games therefore were simulated slot machines. The use of video gaming apparatus to play new games such as draw poker and Keno broke the ground for the realization that there were many untapped formats for gaming apparatus.

[0016] Now casinos may have hundreds of different types of gaming apparatus with an equal number of significant differences in play. The apparatus may vary from traditional three reel slot machines with a single payout line, reel slot machines with bonus features (such as Wheel of Fortune®) video simulations of three reel video slot machines, to five reel, five column simulated slot machines with a choice of twenty or more distinct pay lines, including randomly placed lines, scatter pays, or single image payouts.

[0017] In addition to the variation in formats for the play of games, bonus plays, bonus awards, and progressive jackpots have been introduced to gaming machines with great success. The bonuses may be associated with the play of games that are quite distinct from the play of the original game, such as the video display of a horse race with “bets” on the individual horses randomly assigned to players that qualify for a bonus, the spinning of a wheel with fixed amounts of a variety of bonus payout amounts on the wheel (or simulation thereof), or attempting to select a random card that is of higher value than a card exposed on behalf of a virtual dealer.

[0018] Examples of such gaming apparatus with a distinct bonus feature includes U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,823,874; 5,848,932; 5,836,041; U.K. Patent Nos. 2 201 821 A; 2 202 984 A; and 2 072 395A; and German Patent DE 40 14 477 A1. Each of these patents differs in fairly subtle ways as to the manner in which the bonus round is played. British patent 2 201 821 A and DE 37 00 861 A1 describe a gaming apparatus in which after a winning outcome is first achieved in a reel-type gaming segment, a second segment is engaged to determine the amount of money or extra games awarded. The second segment gaming play involves a spinning wheel with awards listed thereon (e.g., the number of coins or number of extra plays) and a spinning arrow that will point to segments of the wheel with the values of the awards thereon. A player will press a stop button and the arrow will point to one of the values. The specification indicates both that there is a level of skill possibly involved in the stopping of the wheel and the arrow(s), and also that an associated computer operates the random selection of the rotatable numbers and determines the results in the additional winning game, which indicates some level of random selection in the second gaming segment.

[0019] U.K. Patent No. 2 202 984 A describes a slot machine in which when a player has not won a prize in the basic game (that in itself is a randomly determined event), there is the possibility of winning a prize in a complementary game of chance, such as a lottery where numbered balls are removed from a rotating drum device.

[0020] U.K. Patent No. 2 072 395 A describes a gaming or amusement machine having a spinning reel device and a video screen on which a video game may be displayed. Play on the video game may be an award for winning events on the reels.

[0021] U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,823,874 and 5,848,932 describe a gaming device comprising: a first, standard gaming unit for displaying a randomly selected combination of indicia, said displayed indicia selected from the group consisting of reels, indicia of reels, indicia of playing cards, and combinations thereof; means for generating at least one signal corresponding to at least one select display of indicia by said first, standard gaming unit; means for providing at least one discernible indicia of a mechanical bonus indicator, said discernible indicia indicating at least one of a plurality of possible bonuses, wherein said providing means is operatively connected to said first, standard gaming unit and becomes actuable in response to said signal. In effect, the second gaming event simulates a mechanical bonus indicator such as a roulette wheel or wheel with a pointing element.

[0022] U.S. Pat. No. 6,227,696 makes an advance in combined gaming technology by providing a video display in conjunction with a physical casino table card game as a separate game. A side game with potential wagering is provided along with an underlying game. The side game may include the use of symbols or cards or card figures, and may be played live, on video gaming apparatus, or with a combination of live play and various display means, including, but not limited to, cathode ray tubes (monitors), light-emitting diodes (LED's), Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD's), plasma displays and other video gaming displays. A method of playing both an underlying game and a side bet game has the steps of: a) playing an underlying game in which at least two cards are received and at least two cards are kept by a player at the end of an underlying game and at least one wager is placed by the player on the underlying game, b) a player placing a wager on a side bet game, c) providing to the view of the player at least two randomly generated cards which become a part of the side bet game, d) comparing the at least two cards kept at the end of the underlying game to the at least two randomly generated cards which become part of the side bet game, and e) determining a level of correspondence between the at least two cards kept at the end of the underlying game and the at least two randomly generated cards which become part of the side bet game. Wagers may be placed at any time before, during or after play of the underlying game.

[0023] To increase the excitement and entertainment of the player and to offer new games to the player, side bet games have been developed, both for live gaming and for video gaming. In some situations, awards for the side bet games may be independent of the rank of the dealt hand in the primary game. A common feature in some poker games is the addition of a progressive jackpot, as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,861,041; 5,377,973; 5,584,485; and 5,626,341 and specifically to games of Twenty-One in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,288,077; 5,364,105; and 5,577,731. These patents generally show that a progressive, and possibly much higher value jackpot, may be won by a player by making a separate and independent wager at the beginning of the primary game (before cards are dealt). This separate wager is won if predetermined arrangements of cards, such as certain poker hands of rated value (usually at least three-of a-kind, straight, flush, full house, four-of a-kind, straight flush and royal flush), are achieved in the play of the hand. The highest progressive jackpot value is usually won when the player obtains a royal flush, either with the cards in a specific order (e.g., A K Q J 10, also referred to as a “positional win”) or in a random order (e.g., with the cards A K Q J 10 appearing in any arrangement or order). With the separate bet being placed, the jackpot or special award for the player achieving a rated (higher value) hand is paid in addition to awards won in the play of the primary game. This separate wager, however, is still won only when the player exhibits a hand with a relatively high poker value. A predetermined arrangement of cards which is independent of play in the underlying game could be, for example, a rank of a poker hand achieved in the play of a hand of Twenty-One, four aces in a Twenty-One game, or a Twenty-One point count total achieved in a poker hand. An example of a predetermined arrangement of cards which is dependent upon play of the underlying game could be, for example, specific ranks of poker hands (e.g., four-of a-kind or straight flush) achieved during play of an underlying poker game.

[0024] U.S. Pat. No. 5,934,998 describes a complex system of blackjack play using an adjunct computing system for playing a card game involving a dealer and at least one player. The method includes the step of establishing a predetermined player jackpot tally event wherein said predetermined player jackpot tally event is a predetermined outcome of a player's card hand. The method includes establishing a predetermined dealer bust event wherein said predetermined dealer bust event is a predetermined outcome of a dealer's card hand; providing a player jackpot tally event status display for each player comprising a numeric LED readout visible to all players and the dealer and providing a dealer bust event status display. The display includes a numeric LED readout visible to all players and the dealer. The method further includes starting a round of play by dealing a card hand to each player and to the dealer; determining whether a player jackpot tally event has occurred for each player and determining whether a dealer bust event has occurred for the dealer. The player's player jackpot tally event is incremented if said player's card hand is a predetermined player jackpot tally event. The method includes the step of incrementing said dealer bust event display if said dealer's card hand is a predetermined dealer bust event; continuing another round of play and incrementing each player jackpot tally event display and dealer bust event display as recited above. While continuous rounds are played, players are rewarded when their player jackpot tally event display has exceeded a predetermined player jackpot tally event threshold. All players are rewarded if said dealer bust event display has exceeded a predetermined dealer bust event threshold. The player jackpot tally event display is zeroed when the associated player's card hand does not increment the player's said jackpot tally event display. The method also includes zeroing said dealer jackpot tally event display when the dealer's card hand did not increment said dealer bust event display.

[0025] U.S. Pat. No. 6,146,270 describes an apparatus for playing a game consisting of an auxiliary prize game played along with a principal casino game played by a dealer and a plurality of players seated at a plurality of player positions at a casino gaming table. The players possess a number of gaming symbols as a result of playing said principal casino game. The apparatus includes an input device generating a game state signal in response to a dealer command input and a random selector generating at random a value representing a set of said player positions. The set of player positions consists of at least one of none, some and all of said player positions; and a selection indicator indicating based on said value and in response to said state signal ones of said player positions having been selected. Players enjoy an extra random component in the determination of winnings in the auxiliary prize game.

[0026] There are currently a number of commercially available blackjack games with side bet opportunities. One such game is called Wheel of Madness™. The player makes a mandatory bet on the blackjack game, and optionally places a bonus bet on the occurrence of a blackjack. If the player obtains a blackjack, the bonus wheel is activated. A random number generator is used to select the bonus outcome, and a processor sends a signal to a device that stops the wheel at the randomly selected position. A pointer points to one of the absolute amounts displayed on the wheel, identifying the payout amount.

[0027] Another example of a game with side bet opportunities is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,911,418. The base game is five card poker. The apparatus includes an auxiliary wheel with absolute payout amounts on the face of the wheel. A number of preselected hand combinations qualifies the player to spin the wheel. A prerequisite to participating in the bonus event is first placing a side bet on the occurrence of a qualifying event. Some of the areas on the wheel are blank, signifying a loss. If the player wins, there is an option to double the amount won or lose the entire amount. Each area on the wheel is also coded with an indication of win/loss, such as black/red, odd/even, win/lose. If, after the wheel is spun the wheel lands on a “win” designation, the amount won in the first bonus spin is doubled. In the second bonus round of the game, there are only two distinct symbols types that are used to evaluate the outcome. That is, a win symbol or a loss symbol. A win corresponds to a multiplier of 2, and a loss corresponds to a multiplier of zero.

[0028] In a game recently introduced by Mikohn Gaming in Las Vegas, Nev., a live casino blackjack game is equipped with a Monopoly® side bet apparatus and feature. The side bet feature is a video display bearing a visual representation of a Monopoly® game board. If the player has made the optional side bet and receives a blackjack, a video representation of a train moves around the outside of the board, slowly reducing its speed until the front of the train stops at one of the board locations, designating the selected location. Each location bears a payout multiplier. The amount wagered on the side bet game times the randomly selected multiplier defines the bonus payout. The bonus game offers only one bonus round.

[0029] Since it is desirable to offer players games that they have not played before, it would be desirable to provide new games with new additional opportunities to receive winning payouts.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0030] The present invention is a live casino game equipped with a separate bonus gaming apparatus capable of determining outcomes of an auxiliary side bet game. In one example of the invention, the live casino game is blackjack, and the separate gaming apparatus comprises a video gaming apparatus with a processor, a random number generator, and a video bonus display.

[0031] In the broadest form of the invention, the casino table card game includes an auxiliary, bonus-effecting gaming process and gaming apparatus. The base casino table card game provides a method in which after a player provides at least an initial wager, a predetermined event or events provide an outcome or series of outcomes that are considered to determine if a defining event occurs, such as a predetermined arrangement of cards, predetermined order of cards, predetermined number of consecutive wins or losses, a dealer hand matching a player hand in rank, suit or rank and suit, or predetermined combinations of cards in a single hand (e.g., blackjack, same suited blackjack, split aces double blackjack, split tens double blackjack or blackjack and twenty's, for example) occurs. In one form of the invention, the player optionally places a bet to participate in a bonus game. Upon the occurrence of a defining event, and if the player makes the optional bonus wager, the player participates in the bonus event. The amount wagered in the bonus event may be equal to the original wager in the base game, or unequal, and is preferably a separate wager on the occurrence of the defining event (e.g., a side bet or bonus bet). The bonus event comprises at least two gaming segments, more than two gaming segments, or a series of at least two related gaming play segments that are substantively different from the base game. The bonus event is a random event controlled and played on a game processor (e.g., computer, hardware, software, an independent random number generator, and the like or gaming machine controller, for example), while the first gaming segment is played with physical cards at a casino table or on an automated video gaming table, with dice, chips, wheels, reels or other wagering instrumentality at a casino table. At least one of the bonus gaming segments comprises a display of multiple panels, such as frames within one or more video displays (e.g., monitors, screens, panels, etc.) that each display multiple game symbols, such as multiplication factors, absolute payout amounts or other game symbols. Displayed payout amounts may be absolute payouts or payouts resulting from randomly selected multipliers that are not displayed to the player. The symbols, amounts or factors within each frame change over time during bonus game play, either randomly or in sequence. If the bonus segment of the game is a multiple bonus segment game, at least three distinct and different symbols, from one or more symbol group types including absolute amounts, factors or other special game symbols appear within at least some of the frames in subsequent bonus segments. Certain symbols may also appear at a different frequency during subsequent bonus segments. For example, a variety of multipliers appear in a first bonus sequence at a predetermined frequency. In the second bonus round, the higher or larger multipliers occur at a higher frequency, but symbols designating a loss also appear. At least one highlighting feature, such as increased or decreased light intensity of the frames optionally occurs during the time when the symbols or factors are changing. The random selection may also occur without any highlighting so that their selection has no visual imagery except for the conclusion.

[0032] A player may activate a “stop” button to halt both the changing of symbols, payout amounts or factors within a frame and stop the highlighting feature so that at least one frame is highlighted. In a preferred form of the invention, a random number generator generates outcomes, and the player activated “stop” button does not determine game outcomes. Alternatively, the game controller may allot an amount of time to press the button, and automatically stop the display when the time is expired. The highlighted frame presents a multiplication factor, amounts or other bonus symbol that is applied to the side wager, the base game wager or the amount awarded from the occurrence of the predetermined event in the first play segment. The result of the multiplication of the predetermined amount (e.g., the initial wager, the side bet amount, a bonus win amount or the amount awarded) may then preferably be carried forward into at least one more (and even additional) gaming segment(s) that optionally includes a displayed multiplier. In one form of the game, the multipliers randomly selected, (from a preferred group of whole numbers between zero and 50× the amount wagered), but only the possible absolute payout amounts are displayed. Such a display technique is referred to as a “dynamic pay table” or a “dynamic payout amount” and will be described in further detail below.

[0033] The first segment of the gaming device of the present invention is a casino table game. The game may be any casino game, ranging from card games, to dice games, to wheel games, to games that utilize chips, tiles or any known gaming instrumentality. If the game is a casino card game, it can be blackjack or a variation, variants of poker specifically or generally referenced above, but also Casino War™, match card games, Three Card Poker™, baccarat, and the like. The first segment preferably awards payouts for specific predetermined events or wins that occur in the play of the game. Preferably, the occurrence of a minimum number of a single predefined event(s) occurring in the play of the game triggers the bonus event. For example, the roll of a combined value of 7 or snake eyes in a dice game could trigger the bonus event. The predetermined event(s) may or may not be wins in the actual game. For example, in the game of blackjack, a preferred predetermined event is the occurrence of a player blackjack (2 card twenty-one). The use of scanning technology (electronic recognition of bets, card rank and suit, player identity, and the like) on the table to keep track of events is also very useful in identifying specific events or series of events that are intended to result in triggering a bonus event.

[0034] Such a bonusing event and device could easily be incorporated into an electronic gaming table such as the device described in Sines et al. U.S. Pat. No. 6,165,069 entitled Automatic System for Playing Live Casino Table Games Having Tabletop Changeable Playing Card Displays and Monitoring Security Features, the content which is hereby incorporated by reference. Or, the device could be used in connection with one or more of the secure table systems such as the device described in Mikohn Gaming, Inc.'s U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,267,671 and 5,586,936. The content of the two above-identified specifications are also incorporated by reference.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0035]FIG. 1 shows a display panel with a first format for providing an indication of bonus indicia.

[0036]FIG. 2 shows a display panel with a second format for providing an indication of bonus indicia.

[0037]FIG. 3 shows a casino table with player positions and a bonus display screen associated with the casino table.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0038] The various embodiments of the present invention are designed to provide added excitement to a casino table game and to increase the enjoyment to players. The underlying concept in the practice of the invention comprises a game, gaming process and gaming apparatus to implement the game. The game comprises a player entering a first base casino game, such as roulette, craps or a card game. Since casino card games are by far the most popular live casino game in many areas of the country, the device and method will be described with reference to a casino card game. It is to be understood that it is within the scope of the invention to incorporate the side bet apparatus and method of the present invention into virtually any live casino game of chance.

[0039] In the context of a casino card game, players usually enter first base gaming segment by placing one or more wagers on a randomly occurring event or events, such as the attainment of a single unique player's hand or a sequence of events in a card game (e.g., either 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 card stud, draw poker, wild card poker, Pai Gow poker, blackjack or variants thereon). The normal wager may be placed on the table to participate in the live casino game. If a side bet is used in entering the play of the chance to engage in a bonus event, this may be done by separate positioning of a wager on the table. The dealer may collect the side bet or the table apparatus sensing the side bet wager and the dealer or apparatus collecting the sensed side bet wager (e.g., with a drop box automatically collecting inserted coins or tokens, accessing credit directly, inserting currency or credit cards to establish a line of credit, physically placing the bet on the table and having the dealer sweep the bets after the bet is electronically registered or physically marked, or diminishing existing credit evidenced in the apparatus, as on a credit display).

[0040] The first segment game is preferably blackjack, and preferably blackjack played with physical cards, although a video simulation table game of blackjack may also be used. In a preferred form of the game, players optionally place a second side bet on the occurrence of a predetermined event in the first segment to qualify for play in a subsequent multiple segment bonus game. The base game may be a house banked game, or a player banked game. Player banked games allow the player banking the game to collect all player losses, but also require the player to award payouts. The house takes a rake that is usually a flat fee, a fee per unit time or a percentage of wagers placed. In a player banked game, players take turns banking each round of play. Players who do not wish to bank the round may pass. Players who choose to bank a game can represent themselves, or represent an organization that banks such games. The house provides a dealer to administer the game. California card rooms currently operate player banked versions of many casino table games, including blackjack, Let it Ride® Stud Poker and Three Card Poker®, to name a few examples.

[0041] In the play of the bonus game of the present invention, players may be awarded a fixed number of bonus plays or specific numbers of bonus plays or rounds depending upon the particular predetermined events that occur. These bonus numbers of plays may be awarded by providing player(s) symbols on the video display that are associated with the bonus event and/or by special signaling (one or more lights or screen displayed symbols) at specific player positions. One preferred specialty symbol includes a “whammy,” in the form of an animated devil that serves as a symbol for the bonus feature. In one form of the game, the “whammy” designates a loss in a particular bonus segment or the entire bonus round. This should not be considered a “factor” in the definitions of the present invention, but should be considered a loss or end-game event. In one example of the invention, the number of bonus play events in the bonus segment of the game is variable, and is within the control of the players. Assignee's co-pending application describes a method of providing second screen multiplier features in a video wagering game. The subject matter of that co-pending application, “Method of Scoring a Video Wagering Game,” Ser. No. 08/820,438, filed Mar. 12, 1997, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,179,711 is herein incorporated by reference.

[0042] As previously noted, certain designated events in each game may trigger bonus play. The player is then awarded a predetermined number (e.g., two, three or more) of “opportunities” to participate in the bonus segment. Although in the example provided above the triggering event is a single winning event (for example, obtaining a blackjack), it is not necessary to award the player a payout in the first segment to qualify the player to participate in the second segment of the game. It is also not necessary to provide only one triggering event. For example, in a blackjack base game, the triggering event might be one or more of: a blackjack, a suited blackjack, consecutive blackjacks, consecutive 21's, specific numbers of consecutive losses (e.g., 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 consecutive losses), consecutively dealt cards such as three sevens or an event unrelated to the game, such as the random selection of a player present at the table at a specified time, or any other specific event that is defined in drafting rules for the play of the base game to trigger bonus play. When the base game is poker, examples of the specific triggering event or events include five-card straight in a player's hand, full houses or better (these events could also be used in a blackjack game).

[0043] The advantage of card and/or bet sensing in the play of the base game can be appreciated as a facilitating apparatus in the play of the bonus aspects of the game. By programming a processor as to the bonus triggering events, these events may be automatically identified by an apparatus, rather than requiring the dealer or the player to accurately account for events (e.g., three consecutive blackjacks or six consecutive losses coupled with a corresponding bet). The processor associated with the reading of cards to individual hands [e.g., done by scanning cards as they leave a shoe, scanning cards as the shuffling apparatus deals hands, scanning cards within the shuffling or hand creating apparatus (as described in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/957,665, filed Sep. 20, 2001, and titled, Card Shuffler With Sequential Card Feeding Module And Method Of Delivering Groups Of Cards), scanning or optically sensing cards on the table surface may also be used to signal the occurrence of the predetermined triggering event, control the play of the bonus event, verify qualification to participate in the bonus event (e.g.—verify the presence of a side bet in a predetermined location), determine the amount involved in the bonus play (e.g., by weighing chips, optically scanning chips to determine how many chips have been wagered, calculating extra award amounts entered into bonus play, or the like, as known in the art and as improved upon), calculate awards, signal displays to publicize bonus events, control sound and visual displays, and the like.

[0044] After providing a conclusion to an event in the play of the first gaming segment, the play of that hand or consecutive hands are examined to determine if a defining event has occurred. A defining event, defined event, or predefined event means in the practice of the present invention that a predetermined random event has occurred that is recognized as a predetermined defined event, as described above. At least some portion (including all) of either or both the initial wager, a side wager and/or any amount awarded to the player for the occurrence of the defining event may then be carried forth into the play of the first bonus segment, the second segment (and optionally subsequent segments) of the game. In one preferred embodiment, the defining event is the occurrence of, for example, a blackjack. The entrance into the bonus segment is compulsory when the rules of the game so dictate and is optional in another example of the invention. The play of the bonus segment requires the play of at least two distinct rounds of play, and preferably includes the option to engage in multiple rounds of bonus play after the first bonus segment. When the bonus segment of the game includes at least two bonus rounds, it is desirable that all of the distinct rounds of play require that the amount of wager in the bonus play is multiplied (factored) by one or more award factors or multipliers determined in the play of each bonus play segment. In a preferred form of the invention, upon placing an optional side wager, and upon the occurrence of a defining event, the player participates in a first round of bonus play. At the conclusion of the round, the player has the option to return to the first segment of play or put the amount won in the first bonus round at risk in a second bonus round. In one form of the game, a minimum first round bonus award is 1× the amount wagered. In the second round, it is possible to lose the bonus award carried forward from the first bonus round.

[0045] According to the invention, in the second or subsequent bonus game segments, at least three distinct symbols are displayed on the screen at any given time. Most preferably, a large number (such as 18, for example) of game symbols are simultaneously displayed. The symbols may be selected from a number of symbol group types. One preferred symbol group type is a multiplier. Another preferred symbol group type is an absolute payout amount. The absolute payout amount can be a randomly selected payout amount, or the product of a randomly selected multiplier and an amount wagered. Other symbol types include special game symbols, such as a whammy (designating a loss), an extra spin or spins symbol, an absolute amount plus an extra spin or spins, a multiplier plus an extra spin or spins, a skip a defined number of frames to a new game symbol, or other game symbol.

[0046] According to the invention, when three distinct symbols are displayed, the symbols may all be of the same symbol group type or of different types. In one example of the invention, all displayed game symbols in the first bonus spin are of one type (absolute payout amounts that are the product of available game multipliers and the amount wagered), and all displayed game symbols in the second bonus spin are of two different types—absolute payout amounts that are the product of available game multipliers and an amount wagered on the bonus event, and whammies (which are not to be considered a factor). Many other symbol combinations are possible, and the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular symbol combinations described in the examples.

[0047] It is preferred that a side bet be made to effect or allow entry into bonus play prior to or at the same time of making a bet in the base game to allow bonus events to be awarded, and for the size of the side bet to be used as the monetary basis for award of multiples in the bonus play. For example, a one-dollar side bet may be placed, and when the bonus event occurs, the sum of the randomly determined multipliers (times the initial side bet) in separate bonus rounds will be awarded, or even the factor of the multiples (times the initial side bet) will be awarded. Again, if the initial side bet wager were one or five dollars, with two bonus spins, the award for a first factor of 5 and a second factor of 50 would be 50 dollars for a one-dollar side bet and 250 dollars for a five dollar side bet wager (when the factors are additive) and 250 dollars and 1250 dollars if the factors are to be factored (5×50) against the initial side bet wager. In this example of the invention, side bets are swept, the payouts do not include the amounts wagered. In other forms of the invention, the bets stay on the table and are returned to the player along with a payout. In the example described above, the payouts would have been $55 and $255 had the bets stayed on the table. The determination of whether or not to sweep the bets is typically set by the house. The first distinct round of bonus play preferably comprises the use of a panel or display of multiple possible factors, game outcomes or other game symbols. The generic term used in the practice of the present invention for any mechanism capable of displaying the group of factors that may be selected in play of this at least distinct round of play in the bonus feature is a bonus display. A bonus display is any display device (mechanical, electromechanical, electronic, video, flat panel, plasma, liquid crystal display, etc.) that displays multiple panels or multiple display areas, at least some if not all of the panels being capable of displaying alternating (though not necessarily in a specific pattern, although that is an option) factors, absolute payout amounts equal to a randomly selected factor times a wager amount (or other amount) and other game symbols. By alternating factors it is meant that the same value is not displayed continuously within at least some frames. For example, the factor in a given panel may randomly alternate between factors such as 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100 (or respective absolute payout amounts for simplicity) and the like during the course of the bonus round.

[0048] Individual factors or absolute payout amounts may reappear in the group from which the factors are selected, and the selection from the group of numbers and/or game symbols such as whammies, designating a loss, (which may be as small as two numbers in the group, preferably three or more numbers in the group) may be random from within the group or in an unvarying sequence. For example, a particular frame might display, 2, 10, 2, 4, 2, 8, 15, a whammy and then 2 in a particular bonus round. In one example of the invention, whammies only appear in a second bonus round, so that the player cannot lose his bet in the first round of the bonus segment. In another example of the invention, whammies appear in each bonus round. At the same time that factors within at least some of the frames are alternating, a highlighting function is preferably also being enacted. A highlighting function is any visual event that focuses visual attention onto specific frames (less than all frames, preferably one or more frames). In a less preferred embodiment, a pointer such as a virtual arrow or line points to the highlighted frame.

[0049] More preferably the individual frame undergoes a change in lighting intensity or color or framing color as the highlighting feature. For example, the frame may increase the intensity of illumination within the frame, decrease the intensity of illumination within the frame, change colors within the frame, change background patterns within the frame, change the edging color, edging intensity, edging pattern or edging shape of the frame, change the size of the frame, or any other visually observable change that will indicate to the player that a selection process is operating. The player may then actuate the computer to randomly select a position for stopping the highlighting and thus highlighting a specific factor in that frame. Although the stop actuation gives the impression of control over the selection, by law the selection must be based on random selection rather than true skill. The factor will then be applied to one of 1) the amount wagered on the base game in the first game segment, 2) the amount wagered on the bonus segment, 3) the amount won in the first game segment, or 4) another predetermined amount, to determine the amount that the player is then entitled to carry hold and/or carry forth into an optional or compulsory second bonus play feature of the additional gaming segment.

[0050] The second bonus play feature may be the same, relatively the same or different from the first bonus play feature in the second gaming segment, except that at least three distinct game symbols are displayed at each given point in time in the second and/or subsequent bonus segments. Either the initial wager on the base game, the initial wager on the bonus game, the initial amount won in the play of the first gaming segment, the initial wager plus the amount won in the play of the first gaming segment, the amount won by play in the first bonus play of the second gaming segment or the initial wager and the amount won in the play of the first bonus play in the second gaming segment, or combinations thereof, are wagered in the play of the second bonus play in the second bonus segment. In one preferred form of the invention, the amount won in the first bonus round is either collected or put at risk in a second bonus round, at the option of the player. Upon determination of a game symbol such as a factor in the play of the second bonus play in the second gaming segment, that second determined factor is preferably applied against the amount won (and put at risk) in the first bonus round of the second segment of play. It is to be understood that the factor itself need not be displayed. In one form of the invention, the factor is randomly selected and multiplied by the amount wagered and the absolute amounts are displayed, with or without other game symbols, such as a whammy (designating a loss) or other suitable symbol. The result of that application of the factor in the second bonus play of the second gaming segment will either determine the absolute amount that the player is then entitled to or is put at risk in additional game segments. Preferably, the second bonus round allows for higher payout multiples, but also includes game symbols that indicate a loss in the entire second segment, or in the second bonus round of the second segment. The potential for higher payouts and the risk of loss heightens the excitement of the bonus game to the player.

[0051] According to the invention, the bonus display is capable of displaying dynamic payout amounts. For purposes of this disclosure, a “dynamic payout amount” is defined as an absolute payout that is displayed and is paid in proportion to an amount wagered.

[0052] If two players placed different side bet amounts on a bonus game, according to the dynamic payout display of the present invention, different absolute payout amounts would be displayed and available for winning by the two players.

[0053] For example, player #1 places a $2.00 side bet, and player #2 places a $10.00 side bet. The bets are electronically sensed and the information is collected by the game computer. The group of available multipliers from which the processor randomly selects a multiplier is the same for both players. However, the absolute payout amounts that are displayed for player #2 are five times higher than for player #1. In one example of the invention, a single player plays out his hand, and his dynamic pay table is displayed on a common display apparatus. When the play is complete, the next player plays, and his or her dynamic pay table is displayed.

[0054] In another form of the dynamic payout display of the present invention, a typical pay table is displayed on the video display except that absolute payout amounts in relation to the bet placed are displayed, rather than payout odds. In the game of LET IT RIDE® stud poker (a 5 card stud poker game as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,288,081, whose disclosure is herein incorporated by reference), a typical payout schedule is shown in the attached Table 1 below:

TABLE 1
Player #1 Player #2
Hands Odds Amount Amount
Royal Flush 1000:1   1000 2000
Straight Flush 200:1  200 400
Four of a Kind 50:1  50 100
Full House 11:1  11 22
Flush 8:1 8 16
Straight 5:1 5 10
Three of a Kind 3:1 3 6
Two Pairs 2:1 2 4
Pair of 10's or Better 1:1 1 2

[0055] Player #1 bets a $1.00 side wager, and the absolute payouts corresponding to his $1.00 side bet are displayed rather than the odds. Player #2 places a $2.00 side bet, and the absolute payout amounts corresponding to his $2.00 side bet are displayed rather than the odds.

[0056] Providing a dynamic pay table (in the case of a card game, dice game or other live game of chance) with a predetermined hierarchy of game outcomes, or a dynamic game display (in the case of a symbol display from which one or more outcomes are randomly selected and displayed) has a number of advantages.

[0057] Displaying higher amounts when the amount of the bet is greater heightens player excitement over the possibility of winning larger payouts. Games that require the dealer to dispense payouts would benefit from providing the dealer the absolute payout amounts. Such a display cuts down or eliminates payout calculation errors, and can prevent dealer cheating, because the gaming table apparatus will capture information about the dealer identity, the winning hand and the calculated payout amounts.

[0058] An essential requirement for providing a dynamic pay table is either providing multi-denomination electronic bet sensing apparatus and/or an electronic dealer input module (not shown) to enter the amount of the bet.

[0059] In one example of the invention, player bets must be equal in the first bonus round, but need not be equal with each subsequent round of play. For example, two players participate in a blackjack game. A two-segment bonus game is provided. The players both place a $1.00 side bet and qualify to place the bonus game. Player #1 wins $5.00 and player #2 wins $20.00. Both players have the option of cashing out or advancing to the next bonus spin. The game computer is aware of the amounts won in the first bonus round (in one example, a randomly selected multiplier times the amount bet), so denominational bet sensing is not necessary. At the conclusion of the second round of play, player #1 loses the bonus round (he gets a Whammy), and player #2 wins $160.00 (8×$20.00). The payouts here are at odds of eight for one, but odds may also be provided as 8-to-1, in which the payout would have been $168.00. The basis and amount of he odds are at the discretion of the programmer and the house. It is only necessary to use equipment that senses the presence of a bet in this example of the invention. In other forms of the invention, the amount of the bet is sensed (for example, using video equipment and software to interpret the image) and the dynamic display changes in response to the amounts wagered.

[0060] This mathematic treatment can alternatively be exemplified by consideration of specific additive award treatments. In this example, the player makes a 5 unit initial wager and a 5 unit side bet wager. The player may win, for example, a total of 10 units (2 for 1 on the base game) and the game outcome might also be a triggering event. The triggering event in the base game segment is an event that compels or allows the player to participate in a bonus play second gaming segment. Preferably the player places a separate wager to participate in the bonus event. Among the options in the design of the game are carrying forth the initial wager (5 units) and retaining the amount won (10 units), carrying forth only the amount won (10 units), putting at risk only a separate side bet wager (5 units), carrying forth the amount won less the amount wagered (10 units) and combinations thereof. By way of example only, a predetermined fixed amount of five units is wagered in the second gaming segment Upon play of the first bonus feature or bonus play in the second gaming segment, a factor of 8 is randomly selected from a group of random factors. In one example, the factors range between 1× and 20× the amount wagered. The player thus has 10 units retained (the amount won in the first gaming segment, but not wagered in the second gaming segment) and 40 units (8×5=40) in play in the second gaming segment. The player then advances to a second segment of bonus play in the second gaming segment. In one preferred form of the game, the advancement into the second bonus segment is optional. That is, the amount won in the first bonus segment may be collected, or put at risk at the option of the player. In another example, the second bonus round is compulsory. Again, there may or may not be an option on what amount may be wagered on this second segment, the choices now being all or part of the amount won in the first gaming segment less the amount wagered (10 units), the amount still controlled from play of the first bonus play of the second gaming segment (40 units) or the total of all (55 units) or part of a combination of the two groups of units.

[0061] For example only here, it will be assumed that the player may wager only the total amount resulting from the first bonus play in the second gaming segment (40 units). A randomly selected multiplier is then preferably determined in the second bonus play of the second gaming segment (although selection of a sum certain payout amount to be added or subtracted from the wager may also be used). After the second multiplier is determined, that multiplier is factored against the amount wagered in the play of the second bonus feature in the second gaming segment. The available factors from which the determined factor is randomly selected may be displayed on a bonus screen, or absolute payout amounts equal to the amount wagered, times each factor may be displayed. In another form of the invention, absolute payouts that are not multiples of an amount wagered are displayed.

[0062] In the second bonus round, there are preferably additional game symbols displayed such as at least one of a whammy (designating a partial or total loss of the bonus event), an extra spin symbol, a skip to an adjacent frame symbol, a “big bucks” symbol (designating a maximum payout amount) or other game symbol, as described in my co-pending application Ser. No. 09/394,748 filed Sep. 13, 1999, for Method Of Playing A Game, Apparatus For Playing A Game And Game With Multiplier Bonus Feature, issued as U.S. Pat. No. ______. The disclosure of the above application is herein incorporated by reference.

[0063] Table 2 lists all possible game payout amounts for the first bonus game ($1.00 bonus bet) segment in one example of the invention. In this example, payout multipliers are randomly selected, but only absolute payout amounts are displayed.

TABLE 2
Payout Displayed Payout
Multiple Weight Amount
(Multiplier) (Probability) ($1.00 Side Bet)
50 1 50
20 5 20
15 10 15
10 15 10
9 15 9
8 15 8
7 15 7
6 13 6
5 8 5
4 3 4
3 0 3
2 0 2
1 0 1
100

[0064] In one form of the invention, a side bet of a fixed amount (e.g. one dollar) is made, and absolute amounts (equal to the possible multipliers times the amount wagered) are displayed on the display screen. In this example, it is only necessary to sense the presence of the bet. In other forms of the game, players may bet unequal amounts. The apparatus would then require more sophisticated denomination bet sensing equipment. Preferably multiple possible outcomes are simultaneously displayed. In one example of the invention, all possible outcomes are simultaneously displayed. In a preferred form of the invention, fewer than all possible outcomes are simultaneously displayed. Preferably, the probability of earning a greater payout is higher in the second round of play than in the first round of play, as shown in Table 1.

[0065] A unique feature of the present invention is found in the display of subsequent rounds of bonus play. When the bonus wager amount is fixed, all players will observe the same absolute payout amounts in the first round of play. However, the payout in the first round determines the amount the player puts at risk in the second bonus round. For example, two players place a one dollar side bet, and both players obtain a blackjack—(a preferred triggering event) to enter the bonus round. The dealer activates the bonus event for Player #1. Multiple outcomes (all multiples of the amount wagered times a multiplier) are displayed. The player hits the “stop” button, causing a randomly selected outcome to be selected and highlighted on the screen.

[0066] In this example, the player lands on the number “5”, which is 5× the amount wagered. The player is given the option to cash out or “Press Your Luck”. The bonus game controller retains the knowledge of the outcome in round one, defining the amount put at risk in round 2. The player decides to put the $5.00 at risk and hits the “stop” button again. This time, the possible multipliers and other game symbols displayed are selected from Table 3 below:

TABLE 3
Payout Multiple
(Multiplier/Symbol Weight Displayed
Whammy) (Probability) Payout Amounts
20 1 100
15 1 75
10 1 50
9 5 45
8 5 40
7 5 35
6 17 30
5 50 25
4 50 20
3 178 15
2 307 10
1 1 5
0 (Whammy) 379 0
1000

[0067] Preferably, the probability of at least some of the larger multipliers being selected are higher than in value of the multipliers in the first round (Table 1). However, whammies are also part of this pay table, compensating for the higher payouts for wins.

[0068] In this example, only total absolute amounts and other game symbols are displayed, but a multiplier or other game symbol from Table 2 is randomly selected. The absolute amounts are displayed to increase player excitement when the amount put at risk is large.

[0069] The second player bets one dollar, and randomly selects 1× in bonus round #1. The possible absolute payout amounts displayed in this second round are ⅕ the size of the payouts for player #1, because the amount put at risk in the second segment of the bonus round for player #2 is ⅕ the size of the amount put at risk by the first player.

[0070] Returning back to the original example, if a factor of 15 is randomly selected (as by the same or substantially same or different mechanism used in the play of the first bonus play of the second gaming segment), that factor is applied against the amount wagered, in this example, 40 units, and a continuing bonus amount of (15×40=600) is now controlled by the player. The player, under this example now has 10 retained units plus 600 units in his control. Where there are only two bonus plays in the second gaming segment, the player will then have 610 units added to the credit amount registered on the machine or have 610 units paid out.

[0071] In one preferred format of play, the player earns a number of bonus rounds corresponding to the number of bonus rounds predetermined in the rules of the game to be provided for specific events. For example, if the player has placed a $1.00 side bet wager on every hand, he may be awarded one bonus spin for a single blackjack and two bonus spins for two consecutive blackjacks (and it may be a game play rule that after a first blackjack, the side bet wager must remain constant in the next hand played). There is therefore the potential for multiple bonus opportunities, such as a third or more bonus plays, in the second gaming segment. There are numerous options available in the design of the game for the amount of the wager in the third bonus play and subsequent rounds in the second gaming segment, however, the play and factoring of that amount are generally within the description provided above for play of the second bonus play of the second gaming segment. At the conclusion of a third and last bonus play in the second gaming segment, the total amount returned to the player will be returned as credits or paid out as units (coins or tokens). In the practice of the present invention, a triggering event is a particular event that is predetermined or preselected to initiate a bonus event by its mere occurrence, whether or not that event is a winning combination in the play of the base game.

[0072] That method may include events during play of the at least one bonus play in the second gaming segment, wherein at least one of said number of display areas is highlighted, as described in greater detail herein. The method may be practiced wherein the highlighting is stopped and the change of game symbols, such as an absolute payout amount, a factor or other game symbol display is stopped, with a highlighting feature identifying at least one symbol. For example, as also described elsewhere herein, a panel display of frames or display areas in a grid may have individual values of payout amounts (factors multiplied by the amount wagered) or multipliers that change with time, while the highlighting feature moves from grid to grid.

[0073] One method of play according to the present invention would be described as:

[0074] a) a player making a wager and playing a first wagering card game;

[0075] b) upon achieving a predetermined triggering event in the play of the first wagering card game, the player is awarded at least one bonus play;

[0076] c) the bonus play comprises a random selection of at least two distinct additive bonuses for an award to a player or a random selection of a factor bonus or bonuses to be applied to a base amount; and

[0077] d) the additive bonus or the factor bonus applied to a base amount being awarded to the player in addition to any awards from play of the first wagering game or together with any award from play of the first wagering game.

[0078] It is preferred that in addition to a wager being made in accordance with step a), a second side wager is placed to enter the player into a side game to allow possibility of achieving bonus play. That is, if the player makes a side wager that he/she will achieve the qualifying event, and that qualifying or triggering event occurs, the player is awarded the bonus. On the other hand, if the player does not make a side wager that he/she will achieve the qualifying or triggering event, and that qualifying or triggering event occurs, the player is not awarded the chance to participate in bonus play. The base amount identified above is preferably the side bet wagered amount, and the preferred bonus is a factor (a multiplier) multiplied by the base amount. In one example of the invention, certain triggering events may provide for multiple bonus rounds as described above.

[0079] In an example of the invention, the player may place a $5.00 bet in a basic blackjack game, and $1.00 on a side bet game. Assuming the triggering event is achieving a blackjack, and the player does so, he is paid 3:2 on this basic bet as is customary in traditional blackjack, and enters the bonus round. In this example of the invention, he is awarded two bonus events, and the bonus awards are additive. In the first bonus event, the player is awarded a factor of 5. He is awarded a total of 5 credits (5×$1.00 bet in the side bet) in the first round. He is then awarded a factor of 20. His second bonus award is $20.00 (a factor of 20 times the original $1.00 bet). This is an additive award, so his total bonus award is $25.00 ($5.00 plus $20.00). This payout is in addition to the payout on the base game.

[0080] It will facilitate an understanding of the method of play to describe an example of the steps in playing such a game, with the example showing blackjack as the first wagering card game, although it will be apparent to those skilled in the art how other card wagering games may be used in parallel practice of the invention.

[0081] Players have assigned seats at a gaming table 1 shown in FIG. 1. Seven player positions 2 are shown on the table 1. A processor 4 such as a gaming machine operating system computer is positioned under the table 1. In one example of the invention, the processor communicates with a card shuffling device 6 such as a Shuffle Master Gaming King® shuffler. Cards 8 are provided to each player position 2 and to the dealer's hand position 16, the cards being provided in the customary manner, typically one at a time to each of the player positions 2 and the dealer's hand position 16.

[0082] Prior to dealing the cards to players and dealer, at least a wager in the blackjack game is placed on the table 1, usually in wagering space 10. If the individual players want to be able to gain access to the bonus element of the game, a separate wager, referred to as the side bet wager, is placed into space 11. The space 11 preferably automatically detects the presence of the side bet, and provides an indication to the game processor that a side bet wager has been placed at that player position 2. This indication may be in the form of a signal directly to the processor (with the placement of the wager sensed by an optical sensor, weight sensor, proximity detector, manual pressure on the space 11, or the like) or the dealer may manually input data into the processor. Alternatively, a light may be activated in or adjacent to space 11, so that there is a visual indication that the side bet wager has been placed at a specific player position 2.

[0083] After the side bet wagers have been placed (or not placed), the traditional or variant of the game of blackjack or 21 is played. The cards at the end of the play of each hand where a side bet wager has been placed in the card game are examined (either by means of an optical scanning or another type of card reader such as a video reader, or by the dealer) to see if a triggering event or defining event or predetermined event occurs that allows a player to enter a bonus segment. If the dealer or the processor 4 determines that a player has qualified for a bonus event, a button on the dealer control pan 20 is pressed to activate the bonus. The bonus round is typically activated by the dealer, for each player individually when the player has qualified for the bonus event. A player display panel (such as 30 a or 30 b as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3) is activated as described above. It is to be noted that the numbers within the frames shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 correspond to frame numbers, not game symbols. According to the invention, game symbols randomly appear within the frames once the device is activated. Typical game symbols for purposes of this disclosure are defined as multipliers, whammies (designating a loss), plus spin, skip to the position right or left of the selected position, absolute payout amounts and multipliers plus spins. Other game symbols are contemplated. (It is also possible in this game for players to merely enter a number or position of a specific panel, with no moving lighting on the panels 30 a and 30 b) The panels are displayed, for example, on an embedded visual display device 14 on the table 1. In a preferred device, the visual display device 14 is an upright video monitor of a size and positioned such that all players and the dealer can visualize the bonus play and outcomes.

[0084] Although the video display is shown as being a common display for all players, the present invention contemplates providing each player with a player display at the player station for displaying the bonus event and/or the dynamic payout amounts and/or dynamic pay tables.

[0085] In a preferred form of the invention, the display device 14 is in communication with a programmable computer, and preferably falls within the definition of a gaming device by gaming regulators. The computer is equipped with a random number generator for guaranteeing that the selection of game symbols is fair and meets regulatory requirements. An example of one such system for controlling the operation of the display device 14 is described in commonly owned co-pending applications for Video Gaming Apparatus for Wagering With Universal Computerized Controller and I/O Interface for Unique Architecture, assigned Ser. No. 09/405,921 and filed on Sep. 24, 1999, and for Computerized Gaming System, Method and Apparatus, assigned Ser. No. 09/520,405, and filed on Mar. 8, 2000, the disclosures of which are incorporated by reference.

[0086] In one example of the invention, the same button 12 is moveable on the table and is in communication with the processor via a data line 12 a. After activating the bonus feature, the dealer can then pass the moveable button 12 to the player participating in bonus play. The player may then contact the Press button 12 at his player position 2 to attempt to select an advantageous symbol or award. According to most jurisdictional requirements, there can be no potential for the exercise of skill in this selection, so that the pressing on the Press Button 12, even though it may stop light movement or even select a particular frame (e.g., 1-23 in FIG. 2 or 1-42 in FIG. 3) it will not determine the award or the bonus factor. In one preferred form of the device, the bonus spin will automatically stop after a preselected period of time if the player does not activate the stop feature. The occurrence of the award or bonus factor is therefore randomly generated, as with a random number generator, by the processor 4. That randomly assigned absolute award amount or factor is then displayed on the monitor 14 and the final award for the bonus event is determined and may also be displayed on the monitor 14. In one form of the invention, the number of bonus rounds is awarded prior to or during bonus play. Individual monitors (not shown) may be located at each player position to indicate the amount of the award or even to display factors, other game symbols or dynamic payout information.

[0087] As also noted above, the number of bonus plays is either fixed at two or more, or is determined dynamically by the processor and/or the rules of play of the game. After each bonus event is played, the award may be collectively totaled on the display screen 14 in view of the players. As also noted, the awards may or may not be cumulative of factored, all of which information is displayed on the screen. The amounts of the award are determined according to the intended payout profile of the side bet game. For example, the awards may range from 0 times the side bet wager up to 100,000 times the side bet wager, with the probability of the awards being such that a margin is retained by the house. For example, if the frequency of the bonus triggering event occurring is calculated to be 1 event in 50 game plays, the payouts from the bonus should be weighted to be less than 50 times the side bet wager, so that the weighted average payout would be, for example, 45 times the side bet wager. This can be done by having the random number generator weigh the events according to various algorithms such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,117,009 entitled: “Method and Apparatus for Configuring a Video Output Wagering Device”, the specification incorporated by reference herein.

[0088] In one form of the invention, the bonus display apparatus randomly displays in the display areas one or more symbols from the following list of bonus game symbols: multipliers or factors, fixed payout amounts, whammy's, bonus spin or spins, a fixed award plus a bonus spin, a multiplier plus a bonus spin, a move one or more frames in any direction, an amount representing an amount wagered times a randomly selected multiplier, and a “big bucks” symbol. The big bucks symbol awards the player the highest possible payout in the round of play.

[0089] An additional method of play according to the invention includes playing a first casino table card wagering game comprising: a player wagering a first amount on a first casino card wagering gaming segment that provides for random events; when a predefined event or series of events occurs in the play of the first casino card wagering game for a player, the player engages in play of at least one bonus game in which no value of the player is at risk; the at least one bonus game comprising determination of a random award to be credited to the player engaging in the at least one bonus game; and awarding the random award to the player.

[0090] The random award may comprise a random absolute amount (e.g., 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 10,000, 50,000 dollars or the like), may be a factor that is used to multiply against a base amount, may be an award of extra bonus events, may be a fixed payout plus one or more bonus spins, may be a multiplier plus one or more bonus events, or may be a whammy. As noted above, the base amount may be the initial amount wagered by the player in the base game, the amount won by the player, the sum of the amount wagered and the amount won by the player, or a side bet specific to entry by the player in an opportunity to engage in the bonus game. The factors may range from a whole number or fractional number (e.g., 1.5) factor of 1×, 1.5×, 2×, 5×, 10×, 25×, 50×, 100×, 250×, 500×, 1,000×, 10,000×, 25,000×, 100,000× or the like.

[0091] The bonus game may provide a display for displaying absolute payout amounts, factors and/or other game symbols, comprising a number of “display” areas (e.g., frames) within which factors or other game symbols are displayed, the number of factors displayed being greater than or equal to 1, especially where at least some of the factor display areas change the factor or other game symbol displayed within that display area during play of at least one bonus game. A processor randomly selects a game symbol (including factors, absolute payout amounts and other game symbols) that is displayed, and the randomly selected symbol is applied to the base amount to indicate a final bonus award. In this method, during play of the at least two bonus segments, at least one of said number of display areas may be highlighted. The method may, as described above, have the highlighting stopped when the display stops changing, with a highlighting feature identifying at least one selected symbol.

[0092] In the play of one method of the invention, additional bonus games or bonus rounds may be played either at the option of the player or as a required step. The additional bonus round or rounds payouts may be additive or again factored with the award of the first bonus round. The probability of specific factors may be different in the play of the second or third bonus event. For example, the probability for higher factors may be greater in the play of the first bonus game may be higher or lower than the probability for higher factors in the second or third bonus game.

[0093] The method may be played so that the play of the second bonus game segment randomly determines a factor from a group of factors. In a preferred form of play, the payout awarded in the first bonus spin is put at risk in the second spin, at the option of the player. The rules of the game preferably allow the player to cash out or put the entire bonus spin winnings at risk to play the next round. The display may highlight factors, absolute payout amounts or other game symbols.

[0094] The highlighting is preferably random, although sequential movement of the highlighting (e.g., moving to each consecutive higher number in FIGS. 2 and 3) is useful in the practice of the invention. The second bonus round may display of at least one bonus feature selected from the group consisting of extra play(s), absolute payout amounts, factors, skip to a different display area, a big bucks, a whammy or a factor plus extra play(s). These extra plays would use the amount of the previous wager as the previous bonus game payout as a base amount, but would not place that amount at risk. The player could therefore double down or split cards that would not usually be played with that strategy to maximize his winning (e.g., split tens, double down on a count of four, etc.). The method may also include a scoring sequence for at least two bonus rounds. That is, the game allows for addition or storage and/or identification of amounts won or retained during a sequence or a specific sequence of bonus games. The scoring sequence is preferably for 2 to 5 bonus rounds. The bonus play may be triggered by the appearance of, for example, specific preselected triggering events in play of the base casino table card game. The triggering event can be a paying event, i.e., a blackjack, or a nonpaying event, i.e., three consecutive Deuces. The number of bonus games may be awarded in play of the first casino table card wagering game in proportion to the difficulty or frequency of each trigger event occurring.

[0095] The method may be practiced wherein a button on the dealer control pad 20 is engaged by a dealer to activate each bonus round, or the display of panels is automatically displayed in visual display 14 by computer 4 or activation of dealer input keys 20, upon the occurrence of a triggering event wherein the keys communicate with the processor. There may be multiple bonus rounds, and between each of the rounds in the multiple bonus rounds, symbols may be blanked out. That is, when moving from one bonus round to another or even during the play of a single bonus round, there may be no continuous display of any single symbol or frame or no continuous display of alternating symbols within any frame of the panel. The factors or bonus awards including multipliers may be selected from the group consisting of equal to 0 or more. In one form of the invention, the bonus wager should not be placed at risk.

[0096] Another preferred feature of the game of the present invention is that the bonus screen may include additional game symbols that serve special functions. One such special symbol entitles the player to a free play or a multiplier plus a free play, for example, using the amount of the previous wager as the bonus play of the casino table card game as the wager amount, without that wager being placed at risk. Another special symbol entitles the player to move a predetermined number of adjacent spaces (for example, two spaces) in a single direction to select a new multiplier or special symbol. This would offer the player an opportunity to select a different factor amount. This ‘selection’ would still be controlled by the random number generator and algorithms, so that the options are random and involve no real skill (e.g., it would be obvious to move from a factor of one to a factor of 100). In one other embodiment, yet another special symbol would allow the player to exchange a lower multiplier plus a free spin for a higher multiplier. An additional special symbol, such as a Big Bucks symbol, functions to provide the player with the highest ranking multiplier or an intermediate multiplier displayed on the bonus game display when the special symbol is randomly selected. In addition, a whammy symbol may be present that causes the player to lose his bonus bet and optionally terminate additional bonus play.

[0097] In order to enhance the excitement the game and provide the player with some sense of control over game outcomes, an oversized spin-stop button or Press button 12 may be provided. Preferably, the dealer activates the initiation of a bonus spin, and the player activates stoppage by pressing this button 12. The button is also pressed to initiate the random selection of a bonus game symbol, such as a special function symbol or multiplier. As the excitement and anticipation of bonus wins increases, the players will tend to hit the button harder.

[0098] It is to be understood that the examples of the invention described above are merely examples, and that other embodiments of the invention are contemplated. All of the methods disclosed and claimed herein can be made and executed without undue experimentation in light of the present disclosure. While the methods of this invention have been described in terms of preferred embodiments, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that variations may be applied to the methods described herein without departing from the concept and scope of the invention. All such similar substitutes and modifications apparent to those skilled in the art are deemed to be within the scope and concept of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification273/274, 273/292
International ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/34
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3262, G07F17/32, G07F17/3244, G07F17/3267, G07F17/34, G07F17/3293
European ClassificationG07F17/34, G07F17/32P6, G07F17/32M2, G07F17/32K, G07F17/32M4, G07F17/32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 19, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: SHUFFLE MASTER, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:DUNN, R. BROOKE;REEL/FRAME:013132/0772
Effective date: 20020719