CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/329,608, filed Oct. 15, 2001.
The embodiments of the present invention relate to wagering games. More specifically, wagering games in which a player separates an initial set of playing cards into multiple hands, and where a final evaluation of said hands is based on the cards in said multiple hands in combination with one or more community cards.
The game of Texas Hold'Em poker is widely played in casinos and cardrooms. In Texas Hold'Em, players play against each other to win the pot. Following several initial “blind” bets, each player is dealt two cards from a standard deck of playing cards. A round of betting ensues during which each player may increase the bet, match the bet, or fold. Then three community cards, known as the “flop”, are dealt face-up in the center of the table. The game continues with another round of betting, then a fourth and fifth community card, each followed by a betting round, are dealt. The players who have not folded their cards during the numerous betting cycles show their cards and the highest-ranking poker hand wins the money in the pot.
The game of Pai Gow poker, also known as Double Hand poker, is also well known in the casino industry. In casino Pai Gow poker, each player makes a wager against the casino and initially receives seven cards from a standard deck of playing cards which must be divided into a two-card “front” hand and five-card “back” hand. The house likewise receives seven cards and arranges them similarly. The player wins if the player's front and back hands rank better than the dealer's front and back hands, respectively. The player loses if the player's front and back hands rank worse than the dealer's front and back hands, respectively. Any other event is a push, and the player neither wins nor loses.
Although popular, both Texas Hold'em and Pai Gai poker suffer from disadvantages for both the casino and players.
For example, a disadvantage of Texas Hold'Em for the casino is that it is not played directly against the casino such as Blackjack. Players play against each other and the casino takes a fee from each pot generated. This tends to lower both the excitement level of the players and the casino's overall income. Moreover, another disadvantage of Texas Hold'Em is that a single game of Hold'em can take several minutes to play. Since the casino makes its money on a per hand basis, lengthy playing times negatively affect the casino's overall income.
A significant disadvantage of Pai Gow poker is that the player must set the player's front and back hands such that the player's back hand outranks the player's front hand. If the player's front hand accidently outranks the player's back hand, the casino declares a foul and the player's wager is forfeit.
The embodiments of the present invention address the disadvantages of Texas Hold'em and Pai Gow poker games. Accordingly, the embodiments of the present invention provide a game with a relatively short duration thereby increasing casino profits, provide a game which has several features similar to the popular poker game of Texas Hold'em, but which is played against the casino rather than against other players thereby increasing both player excitement and casino profits, and provide a game which involves multiple player hands wherein the player cannot automatically forfeit due to incorrect game play as with Pai Gow poker. Other advantages and features of the embodiments of the present invention will become evident from the abstract, detailed description, drawings and claims set forth herein.
The embodiments of the present invention provide a method for playing wagering games. According to a first method of play, a player places a wager and a dealer deals four cards to the player and to the dealer. Alternatively, other gaming indicators selected or dealt from a set of gaming indicators, including a plurality of gaming indicators or bearing indicia designating a series of ordered rank, such as dice, dominoes, or numbered tokens may be employed. Once the four cards are received, the player is afforded the opportunity to inspect the four cards and to arrange them into two separate two-card hands while the dealer does the same. After the arrangement is complete, five cards are dealt face-up as community cards to be used in conjunction with each of the two separate two-card hands. The player's wager is then resolved by evaluating the player's two seven card hands and the dealer's two seven card hands in a predetermined fashion. Various modifications of the method of the first embodiment are discussed herein.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and various other features which characterize the embodiments of the present invention are recited with particularity in the claims annexed hereto and which form a part hereof. However, for a better understanding of the embodiments of the present invention, its advantages, and the objects obtained by its use, reference should be made to the drawings which form a further part hereof, and to the accompanying descriptive matter, in which there is illustrated and described numerous embodiments of the present invention.
FIG. 1 is a flow chart illustrating the steps in playing a wagering game according to a first embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a flow chart illustrating the steps in playing a wagering game according to a more generalized second embodiment of the present invention; and
FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective front view of a traditional gaming machine that may be used to implement the embodiments of the present invention in an electronic version.
Referring now to FIG. 1, a method of playing a wagering game according to a first embodiment of the present invention is described. In the first embodiment of the invention, a single fifty-two card standard deck of playing cards is employed. Alternatively, a standard deck plus additional cards, or a non-standard deck of cards may be used.
The game may be played by one or more players, in electronic video formats, on personal computers, over a global computer network, or in a live casino table game setting. It is reiterated that other ranked tokens, beside playing cards, or indicators may be employed, such as dice or dominos or numbered tokens or tiles. Such ranked indicators or tokens may comprise tangible physical objects, or electronic representations appearing on an electronic video gaming device or computer monitor. For the sake of brevity, playing cards are the preferred choice for describing the embodiments of the present invention.
In a card game format, each of the one or more players is first afforded an opportunity to place a wager 100 to participate in the game. Each player and a dealer is then dealt four cards 110. After inspecting their cards, each player and dealer arranges their four cards into two separate two-card hands each in a face down fashion 120. The order of dealing cards to the players and the dealer can follow any pattern so that each player and the dealer is provided with four initial cards. For example, the dealer may give each player and herself a single card in a revolving fashion until each of the players and the dealer possess four cards. Alternatively, each player and the dealer may be dealt four cards in a row until each of the players and the dealer possess four cards. The selected dealing pattern is not critical to the embodiments of the present invention as long as each player and the dealer receive four cards in a random fashion. However, it is preferred that the players and dealer arrange their four cards into two separate two-card hands in confidence from one another. Once each player and the dealer has their initial four cards, the dealer deals five cards as community cards 130. Next, each player's two separate two-card hands are revealed and evaluated by the dealer 140 as follows:
1. Each two-card hand is combined with the five community cards to form a seven-card hand;
2. From each seven-card hand, the best five-card poker hand is determined using traditional poker rankings;
3. Of the player's two separate two-card hands, the higher-ranking hand is designated “High”, and the lesser-ranking hand “Low”;
4. The dealer then evaluates her own hands using the aforementioned method and proceeds to resolve the player's wagers as follows:
a. If the player's High hand ranks higher than the dealer's High hand, and the player's Low hand ranks higher than the dealer's Low hand, the player wins the wager and is paid off at even odds;
b. If one of the player's hands ranks higher than the dealer's corresponding hand and the other player's hand ranks equal to the dealer's corresponding hand, the player wins the wager and is paid off at even odds;
c. If one of the player's hands ranks higher than the dealer's corresponding hand and the other player's hand ranks less than the dealer's corresponding hand, the player pushes the wager; and
d. If neither of the player's hands rank higher than the dealer's corresponding hand, the player loses the wager.
Additional embodiments of the present invention are set forth below. The various alternative options discussed below may be employed alone or in any combination or permutation.
Instead of being dealt four cards, the players may each be dealt any number of cards sufficient to arrange them into multiple hands. Moreover, the dealer may deal any number of additional cards for use as community cards as long as the total number of cards does not cause the determination of the strength of the separate hands to become overly complicated and time consuming. For example, players and the dealer may each be dealt six cards to be divided into two separate three-card hands. Thereafter, the dealer exposes four additional common cards. Each seven-card hand is then evaluated as described previously.
In another embodiment, the players and dealer are each dealt four cards to be divided into two separate two-card hands. Thereafter, the dealer exposes three additional common cards. Each five-card hand is then evaluated as described previously. In another embodiment, the players are dealt four cards to be divided into two hands containing any number of cards, and the dealer subsequently exposes five additional cards. From each player hand, the best five-card hand is determined and evaluated as described previously.
It is also contemplated that the initially dealt cards may be separated into more than two hands. For example, players and the dealer may each be dealt six cards which are separated into three separate two-card hands. The best three five-card hands are then determined and evaluated as described previously.
The first embodiment indicates that the wager is resolved in the player's favor only when one or more of the player's hands outrank the corresponding dealer's hands, and none rank lower. However, the player may win the wager if another predetermined winning relationship exists between the player's multiple hands and the dealer's multiple hands. One such predetermined relationship requires that all of the player's hands rank lower than the corresponding dealer's hands.
Although an even money payout has been described heretofore, the aforementioned predetermined relationships allow for payout variations such that a different payoff amount may be assigned to any of the predetermined winning relationships. The major limitations with respect to the payout is that they appear attractive to players and provide the casino with an advantage.
In another embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 2, the player may be afforded the option 115, or may be required to, modify an initial wager before or after the common cards have been dealt. The modification may include, but is not limited to increasing the wager or forfeiting the hand and initial wager, removing part of the wager and surrendering the remainder of the wager, increasing the wager and subsequently receiving additional cards, increasing the wager to purchase additional cards, and increasing the wager to replace existing cards.
By way of example, the common cards can be dealt individually or in a predetermined pattern with betting rounds after each common card or series of common cards are dealt. In a style reminiscent of Texas Hold'em, each player is required to place an additional wager to see the next common card or series of common cards. Only those players which place all required wagers have their cards evaluated according to the rules set forth above.
In another example, players may optionally increase their wager once they see their dealt cards. In this manner, players may attempt to increase their potential winnings once they see the strength of their dealt cards.
In another example, players may be required to increase their initial wager once they inspect their dealt cards. In other words, each player must increase their wager to see the common cards. In this manner, players may decide, based on their dealt cards, to drop out of the game prior to seeing the common cards.
In yet another example, players may optionally pay monies to replace one or more of their dealt cards. In this manner, players may attempt to improve the strength of their hand.
It should be understood that the embodiments of the card game disclosed herein are also ideal for implementation in an electronic gaming machine. It is well known to utilize gaming machines, controlled by processing units, for operating wagering games. The processing unit is typically a computer microprocessor. The first embodiment of the present invention will be used to describe a gaming machine implemented version of the present invention.
FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective front view of a traditional gaming machine that may be used to implement the embodiments of the present invention. The gaming machine includes a screen display 5, selection buttons 10, card reader 15, coin slot 20, and wager buttons 25.
The gaming machine may also incorporate a wager accepting means, such as a bill acceptor in addition to the coin slot 20, such that a player may place one or more wagers. Once a wager is accepted, a gaming machine processor causes four randomly selected cards to be dealt and displayed to the player and the dealer. The cards are displayed on a gaming machine display unit such as a CRT screen, plasma screen, video screen, etc. The gaming machine includes means for the player to arrange his four cards into two separate two card hands. The arrangement means may be in the form of a touch screen or panel selection buttons 10. The processing unit arranges the dealer's cards in a preprogrammed fashion or in a random fashion. Thereafter, the processing unit causes the player's hands to be compared to the dealer's hands to determine whether a payout is due. If so, the player is paid in credits or coins. Each of the embodiments of the present invention can be practiced by means of an electronic gaming machine, personal computer or in a live setting at a wagering table.
It is to be understood, however, that even though numerous characteristics of the present invention have been set forth in the foregoing description, together with an explanation of various possible embodiments and modifications thereto, this disclosure is illustrative only and changes may be made within the spirit of the invention to the full extent indicated by the broad general meaning of the terms in which the appended claims are expressed.