There has been a proliferation of new poker derivatives since the advent of Caribbean Stud Poker, described in Suttle et al U.S. Pat. No. 4,836,553 issued Jun. 6, 1989. In this game, the player makes a first ante wager and a hand of five cards is dealt to the dealer and to each of the players. If the player, after looking at his hand, wants to play, the player places a second bet. If the player wishes to fold, he forfeits his ante wager. The dealer and player hands are then revealed. If the dealer's hand does not have a qualifying holding, e.g. Ace-King or higher, the player is paid on the ante wager and the second wager is returned to the player. If the dealer's hand is at least of the qualifying holding, the player's and dealer's hands are resolved by comparing the rankings. If the dealer's hand outranks the player's hand, the player loses both bets. If the player's hand outranks the dealer's hand, he is paid a first amount based upon the ante wager and a second amount based upon the second bet and the ranking of the player's hand.
Webb, U.S. Pat. No. 5,685,774 discloses a Three Card Poker game.
Fold is an option that can be exercised in Caribbean Stud Poker and Three Card Poker. When the player thinks he has a poor hand, he can fold and forfeit the bet. A Caribbean Stud Poker player will fold 46.97% of the time, almost every other hand. A Three Card Poker player will fold 32.58% of the time, almost one in three hands. Although it is an option that gives the player a chance to cut his loss, it takes all the fun away from the game.
When a player folds, not only will he lose his bet but he also must wait until all other players complete their hands and the dealer resolves their bets. While in a lousy mood and bored, the player sits there hoping the next round will begin soon so that he can win it back.
Also, the fact that the games require risking additional bets may intimidate some conservative players who do not want to put more money on the table. In Three Card Poker and Caribbean Stud Poker, the players must put up one or two additional bets to stay in the game. These players may lose more often than they should because they often deviate from the optimal strategy.
Another problem with Three Card Poker and Caribbean Stud Poker is the dealer hand qualifier. A dealer hand qualifier is built into a game to give the house an edge over the player. In Caribbean Stud Poker the dealer must qualify with an Ace-King, or the dealer cannot open his hand to compete against the player. When the dealer disqualifies, the player automatically wins the ante and the raise bet pushes. The house edge is obvious. When the dealer gets a poor hand that can be beat most of the time, the dealer won't compete against the player and the player will be paid less. In Three Card Poker the dealer must qualify with a Queen-high or the dealer cannot play against the player. When the dealer disqualifies, the ante is paid but the “play” bet pushes. It evidently looks unfair if you don't pay or “short pay” the player when they beat you since you take all their money when you beat them. Neither game pays the raise bet when the dealer disqualifies. It spoils the excitement if you don't pay them when they have increased their bet on a good hand that can beat you.
Four Card Poker is a new table game played in some casinos in Mississippi. All players must place an ante wager at the start of each hand. The players are dealt five cards face down and the dealer gets six cards face down. Each player and the dealer will use the best four cards in their hand to make a four-card hand. If the player dislikes his hand, he can fold and forfeit the ante. Otherwise, he must make the play bet in order to stay in the game. Due to the huge advantage the six-card dealer hand has over the five-card player hand, the player has to fold 47.4% of the time, almost every other hand. Also, the player will be stuck with a poor hand since they cannot replace any card to improve it.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,597,162 issued Jan. 28, 1997 to Franklin discloses a card game that allows the player to replace one card twice in succession. Each player places a first bet. A dealer deals himself four cards, only the last of which is dealt face-up; the dealer also deals each player three cards. Each player may then elect to stay or trade one of his three cards. Each player may then elect to stay or trade a card again. If the player elects to trade a card, he must place a second bet. Each player's hand is then compared to the best three-card hand of the dealer, with the party having the highest hand winning the bet.
There are some drawbacks with this card game. First, trading a card twice not only slows the game down very much but also makes the playing strategy too complex. A slow game will reduce the casino's profit because the time to cycle each hand of play is slowed reducing the amount of money per unit time put at risk in the game. A slow game also annoys the players especially when they are dealt a premium hand and have no patience to wait for other players to complete trading their cards. Second, when trading a card the first time, the player must consider how to “pave the way” for the second trade so that he has a better chance of improving his hand. Consequently, the playing strategy becomes unobvious and difficult to memorize. Third, the fact that the second trade requires risking an additional bet may intimidate some conservative players who do not want to put more money on the table. These players may lose more often than they should because they often deviate from the optimal strategy. Fourth is that novice players may become intimidated by the game and either slow the play or choose not to play at all.
There is a need for a game which provides entertainment instead of boredom and frustration. The suspense and excitement aroused during play should never be stripped off of any gambling game. One should try to keep the player in the game to the end. The player should always have a hope that they have a chance to win.
It is the object of the present invention to improve upon the above card games. The game of the present invention does not allow for a second trade nor does it require any additional bet just to stay in the game. In addition, it enhances player appeal by paying the player automatically and more when the dealer has a preset poor hand. It also enhances player appeal by allowing the player 1) to bet that the dealer will receive a poor hand and 2) to increase their bet against a poor dealer up card.
Unlike Three Card Poker where the player's additional raise bet cannot win if the dealer hand is less than queen-high, in the card game of the present invention the player's bet is always in action. Furthermore, if the dealer hand is less than a predetermined qualifying holding, e.g., 10-high, the dealer automatically loses and all players are paid at greater than 1 to 1, e.g., 2 to 1. So, the invention can turn a disappointment into a pleasant surprise when both the player hand and the dealer hand are less than 10-high.
Unlike Three Card Poker or Caribbean Stud where the player has no choice but to fold a poor hand, the player of the invention can draw a card to improve his hand.
Unlike any other side bets that do not allow the player to increase his bet once the bet is made, the player not only can double his side bet but they can also do it after seeing a weak dealer up card. This is kind of like doubling down in blackjack, but is more exciting and straightforward because the doubling is on a poor dealer hand without the player hand having to beat the dealer hand to get paid.
The card game of the invention not only is rid of the bad design found in many poker games today, but also adds more fun.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
There is, therefore, set forth according top the present invention a card game that combines a poker derivative game with at least one and preferably two proposition games. Each player places a first Poker wager to compete against a house dealer. N cards are dealt to a dealer position, one of which is dealt face up. Preferably N is at least 4 and preferably is 4 or 5. Each player also receives a hand face down of N-1 cards. Each player examines their initial hand and may then elect to stand on the initial hand of cards making the initial hand the player's final hand or the player may discard and receive replacements for one or more of his cards to define the final hand for the player of N-1 cards. Discarding and receiving replacements is done without having to either make an additional bet or fold. The dealer exposes his hand and assembles the highest ranking hand of N-1 cards. Each player's hand is then revealed and compared to the dealer's hand. The first (Poker) wager is then resolved according to the following rules:
(1) if the dealer's hand has a ranking below a predetermined rank, paying the player an award based upon the first wager;
(2) if the dealer's hand has a ranking above said predetermined rank and outranks the player's final hand, the player loses their first wager; and
(3) if the dealer's hand has a ranking above said predetermined rank and the player's final hand outranks the dealer's hand, issuing an award to the player based upon said first wager.
In a preferred embodiment, if the player's hand has a predetermined ranking, and the dealer's hand has at least said predetermined ranking and the player's hand outranks the dealer's, the player is issued an award according to a pay schedule which includes awards of at least 2:1.
In a further preferred embodiment, where (1) the dealer's hand has a ranking below the predetermined ranking and (2) the player's hand has a ranking falling within the pay schedule, the player is issued an award which is double the amount of the pay schedule.
The player may also be offered one or both of a dealer hand and player hand side wager. If the player makes the dealer hand wager and the dealer's hand has a ranking below a predetermined ranking, the player is issued an award. In a preferred embodiment, the player may double a dealer hand wager after the cards are dealt when the dealer exposed card is revealed to the player. Preferably, the award for the dealer hand wager is based upon a schedule of awards based upon the composition of the dealer's hand.
The player may also make a player hand wager that the player's final hand will have one of a predetermined schedule of card combinations.