|Publication number||US20030071417 A1|
|Application number||US 09/974,971|
|Publication date||Apr 17, 2003|
|Filing date||Oct 12, 2001|
|Priority date||Oct 12, 2001|
|Publication number||09974971, 974971, US 2003/0071417 A1, US 2003/071417 A1, US 20030071417 A1, US 20030071417A1, US 2003071417 A1, US 2003071417A1, US-A1-20030071417, US-A1-2003071417, US2003/0071417A1, US2003/071417A1, US20030071417 A1, US20030071417A1, US2003071417 A1, US2003071417A1|
|Original Assignee||Prime Table Games Llc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (17), Classifications (4), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
 (NOT APPLICABLE)
 (NOT APPLICABLE)
 The present invention relates to games of chance and, more particularly, to games of chance incorporating a bonus multiplier.
 With the expansion of casino gaining, the trend toward machine games rather than table games and the attraction of video games over traditional slot reel games, there has been a growth in demand for new video casino games. The majority of these games, however, have many similarities to traditional slot reel games and/or other video casino games.
 Secondary screens with bonus features or games within games have become popular. The secondary bonus games reduce the win frequency and payoff in the primary game to enable an extra payoff in the secondary game. Multi-line games have also become popular, wherein, for example, all visible horizontal lines may be played rather than a single middle line. Other lines such as diagonals may also offer payoffs. Multi-line play in a video poker format is described in, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,823,873 and 5,732,950. Multi-line play allows a hand to be played on multiple lines with the subsequent draw as in original video poker applying to all hands. All multi-line games require multiple credits to play; that is, to play a three-line game for a maximum of five units per line requires fifteen credits, being three times the number of credits to play the traditional single line. Whilst the majority of players may play a multi-line game in the same monetary value denomination as a single line game, some players may trade down to a lower denomination, which is undesirable to the casino operator. Additionally, with multi-line play, the actual hit frequency increases although the win frequency may be lower. When a player with fifteen credits has two winning lines paying five credits each, the result is that there is actually a loss of five credits. In single line play, a partial loss situation could not occur as the minimum winning result is a return of the full five credits.
 The mathematics of gaming dictate that where hit frequency increases, payoffs must decrease, therefore, game volatility is affected. Volatility is the comparative relationship between high payoffs, low payoffs and losses. A high volatility offers prospects of a positive result and may attract a more serious gambler, whereas limited volatility may attract a player wishing to pass the time.
 Both multi-line games and secondary bonus games are thus not necessarily as attractive to traditional players.
 With the modes of play according to the present invention, a bonus multiplier can be incorporated into any video or table game providing added player attraction and excitement. With the bonus feature of the present invention, conventional game play is not affected. Once a winning combination (e.g., hand of cards, roll of dice, etc.) is established according to the rules of a particular game, another preferably higher criteria is used to determine whether that winning combination qualifies for a bonus round bonus multiplier. For example, in a Jacks or Better video poker game, a player's wager is usually returned with a hand of a pair of jacks or better. Higher payouts are provided for poker combinations of a higher rank, such as two pair or the like. For these winning combinations to qualify for a bonus round, however, according to the present invention, a higher hand rank such as three-of-a-kind may be required for qualification. Alternatively, other criteria may be used to qualify the winning combination, such as all cards being of the same color, all cards being higher or lower than a particular number, or combinations of hand rank and some other criteria.
 In the bonus round, a bonus multiplier or bonus factor is generated that multiplies the payout for the winning combination. The bonus multiplier for qualified hands may be randomly generated or may be biased toward a particular number. Added excitement for the bonus round can be effected in the manner of determining or displaying the bonus factor. For example, in a video poker game, a single die may be displayed and “rolled” to determine a bonus factor between 1 and 6. In a table game, in a similar context, the dealer or player may roll a die to determine the bonus factor.
 In one operating mode, there may be multiple bonus round levels with separate qualifications. For example, using hand rank as criteria, a hand rank of three-of-a-kind or better may qualify the result for a first level bonus round, whereas a hand rank of flush or better may qualify the result for a second level bonus round. In the second level, the potential bonus multiplier is higher, for example, using a pair of dice to determine the bonus factor.
 In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a method is provided of playing a game including a bonus multiplier. At least one winning combination is established according to rules of the game, wherein the winning combination has a predetermined payoff based on a player wager. The game is played to arrive at a player result, and the player result is compared with the at least one winning combination. If the player result corresponds to the at least one winning combination and is a qualified result, the bonus round is entered to determine a bonus factor. The bonus round preferably includes multiple bonus levels based on the winning combinations. The qualified result may be determined according to criteria for establishing the at least one winning combination. In this context, at least two criteria may be used for establishing the winning combination, wherein the qualified result can be determined according to the at least two criteria. In this context, the qualified result may be determined according to a hand rank and one additional criteria.
 In one embodiment, the game is a card game using at least one deck of cards, wherein a plurality of winning combinations are established by hand rank, and wherein the qualified result is set according to hand rank. In this context, a lowest hand rank that corresponds to the qualified result is preferably a higher hand rank than a lowest hand rank of the winning combinations. The plurality of bonus levels may be determined based on the hand rank.
 The game may be a card game using at least one deck of cards, either actual cards or video cards, wherein a plurality of winning combinations are established by hand rank, and wherein the qualified result is not set according to hand rank. In this context, the qualified result may be based on at least one criteria of the cards, such as all of the cards being the same color, all of the cards having a numerical value of at least a particular number, or all of the cards having a numerical value less than or equal to a particular number, or both.
 The bonus factor may be determined by assigning a random number, which may be between 1 and 6. In this context, the random number may be determined by rolling a six-sided die. Alternatively, the bonus factor may be determined by assigning a low-biased number between 1 and 6 as the bonus factor. Similar to the random number operating mode, particularly in a video format, the bonus factor can be displayed as a six-sided die.
 If the qualified result is determined according to a hand rank, the multiple bonus levels may be determined based on the hand rank. The bonus factor in a first level can be determined as a number between 1 and 6, and the bonus factor in a second level can be determined as a number between 2 and 12. In this context, the bonus factor may be randomly determined according to a roll of one die in the first bonus level and a roll of two dice in the second bonus level. Alternatively, the bonus factor may be a low-bias number, wherein the bonus factor is displayed by a roll of one die in the first bonus level and a roll of two dice in the second bonus level. In still another arrangement, the bonus factor in the second level may be determined as a product of the two-dice roll, resulting in a bonus factor between 1 and 36.
 In another exemplary embodiment of the invention, a method of playing a game including a bonus multiplier includes the steps of (a) establishing at least one winning combination according to rules of the game, the winning combination having a predetermined payoff based on a player wager; and (b) playing the game to arrive at a player result, and comparing the player result with the at least one winning combination. If the player result corresponds to the at least one winning combination and is a qualified result, the method includes (c) multiplying the predetermined payoff based on the player wager by a bonus factor to determine a game payout for the player, wherein the bonus factor is determined in one of multiple bonus levels that are based on the at least one winning combination.
 In still another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, an apparatus is provided for carrying out the method of the invention.
 These and other aspects and advantages of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an exemplary video component for carrying out the game according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an exemplary display for one game embodiment according to the invention; and
FIG. 3 is an exemplary display for a bonus round according to the invention.
 Although the present invention will be described in the context of a video game unit 10, it is noted that the concepts of the invention are readily applicable to live table games and the like. Additionally, the electronic format of the exemplary description is suitable for an internet casino.
FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration showing the components of a video game unit 10 configured or programmed with software for playing the game according to the present invention. Software and programming of the game unit for carrying out the game according to the invention do not form part of the present invention and will thus not be further described. Those of ordinary skill in the art will contemplate various known means for such software and programming, and the invention is not meant to be limited to any particular means. Additionally, since the bonus feature according to the present invention is applicable to many different casino games, the invention is not necessarily meant to be limited to the exemplary poker game described.
 The game unit 10 includes a display 12, a player interface 14, and circuitry 16 for effecting game play. The processing circuit 16 effects game play according to the rules of the game, resolves wagers based on established winning combinations and processes the bonus round according to the invention.
 Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the invention will be described using an exemplary application to a Jacks or Better version of video poker. The invention, however, is not meant to be limited to any particular game or game format, and the invention can be applied to any casino game where a winning combination can be established.
 With reference to FIG. 2, Jacks or Better video poker is a five-card draw poker game wherein hands of jacks or better result in winning combinations. Additional combinations are based on standard poker combinations and have increasing payouts according to hand rank. In most operating versions of video poker, players can insert multiple coins (up to five in the version shown in FIG. 2) for increasing the payout scale multiple.
 After receiving a first dealt hand, the player designates which cards, if any, should be held for further play. The player then selects “deal/draw,” and the non-held cards are replaced with new cards. In FIG. 2, the player has drawn a full house, with a payout of 45 units.
 With the bonus feature of the present invention, once it is determined that the player result corresponds to at least one winning combination, it is subsequently determined whether the player result is a qualified result. In this context, the qualified result may be defined according to casino preference, and in the exemplary video poker application, a hand of straight or higher is qualified for the bonus round. In this context, the qualified result is determined according to the same criteria for establishing the at least one winning combination. In other operating modes, still additional criteria or completely different criteria may be required to qualify the result for the bonus round. For example, in the exemplary video poker application illustrated in FIG. 2, any winning hand may be deemed a qualified result if all cards in the player hand are the same color. Other exemplary qualified results may require all cards having a numerical value of at least a particular number such as 8 or less than or equal to a particular number such as 8 or both. Of course, many other criteria can be implemented for qualifying a player result for the bonus round, and the invention is not necessarily meant to be limited to the described examples.
 Once it is determined that the player result is a qualified result, the bonus round is played. In the bonus round, a payout multiplier or bonus factor is determined, and a game payout or final payout to the player is the product of the predetermined payoff multiplied by the bonus factor determined in the bonus round. In the bonus round, the bonus factor may be determined as a random number up to a particular maximum, such as 6. As shown in FIG. 3, if the bonus factor is between 1 and 6, the bonus round can be played by rolling (or displaying a roll of) a single six-sided die. Even in the video format, a graphic illustration of a rolling die adds anticipation and excitement to the game. Alternatively, the number may not necessarily be purely random, but rather may be a low-biased number up to a particular number such as 6.
 The bonus round may include multiple bonus levels, increasing the potential payout for the player. In the exemplary application illustrated in FIG. 2, a hand of four-of-a-kind or better qualifies for a second bonus level. In the second bonus level, the bonus factor can be determined as a number up to a higher maximum number, such as 12, which can be determined by rolling two six-sided dice, either randomly or low-biased as discussed above. In the second bonus level, the bonus factor in the exemplary embodiment could thus be a number between 2 and 12. Alternatively, the numbers could be multiplied such that the bonus factor in the second level can be determined as a number between 1 and 36. Of course, other combinations and variations will be contemplated by those of ordinary skill in the art.
 In order to maintain a casino advantage that is consistent with a desired casino advantage, the various payouts can be slightly reduced to compensate for the frequency of bonus round winners. If a low-biased bonus factor is incorporated into the bonus round, only minimal changes may be required to a standard payout schedule. Alternatively, the bonus feature can be provided as a side wager, requiring the player to make a dedicated bonus wager, such as a $1 side wager, prior to game play. In this manner, the standard game schedules can likely be unchanged. Of course, since the casino advantage is affected by numerous factors, any of these factors could be modified to accommodate the bonus feature of the present invention.
 With the bonus multiplier of the present invention, increased player attraction and added excitement can be obtained for practically any casino game. The bonus feature provides a high potential payout without affecting game play with which the players are already comfortable. Casinos can benefit by exploiting the appearance of higher payouts without affecting casino advantage.
 While the invention has been described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the disclosed embodiments, but on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
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|Oct 12, 2001||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: PRIME TABLE GAMES LLC, NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WEBB, DEREK J.;REEL/FRAME:012254/0475
Effective date: 20011008