US 20040266507 A1
A device and method are set forth for playing a game where the player allocates a game wager among a plurality of game hands, the cards of which are undisclosed. Upon allocation, the cards of the game hands are revealed and the player wins or loses based upon the holding of each game hand. In a further embodiment, information concerning winning holdings may be imparted to the player prior to allocation and revelation of the game hands cards.
1. An electronic device for a player to play a Poker game comprising:
a computer processor including a data structure storing data representing at least one deck of playing cards;
a video display;
said processor controlling the display to display at least one indicia for each of a plurality of game hands; and
apparatus for the player to allocate at least one wager to any game hand and prompt play, said processor configured to randomly select and display a plurality of cards from said data structure representing a Poker holding for each game hand, to compare each holding with a schedule of winning or losing Poker holdings and for each winning holding issue an award based upon the amount of the wager allocated thereto.
2. The device of
3. The device and method of
4. An electronic device for a player to play a Poker game comprising:
a computer processor including a data structure storing data representing at least one deck of playing cards;
apparatus for the player to make a wager to play a hand of the game;
a video display;
said processor controlling the display to display a plurality of game hands and for each game hand five indicia each represent a position for a playing card ; and
means for the player to allocate said wager among said game hands and prompt play, said processor configured to randomly select and display a card from said data structure representing a Poker holding for each game hand indicia, to compare each holding with a schedule of winning or losing Poker holdings and for each winning holding issue an award based upon the amount of the wager allocated thereto.
5. The device and method of
6. A method for the play of an electronic game comprising:
providing a computer processor and a display;
the player making a wager and allocating said wager between a plurality of game hands;
prompting play, said processor in response to prompting play randomly selecting and displaying for each game hand a plurality of playing cards defining for each game hand a Poker holding; and
comparing the Poker holding for each game hand to a predetermined schedule of winning and losing Poker holdings and for winning holdings issuing an award to the player based upon the amount of the wager allocated thereto.
7. The method of
 The present invention relates to Poker game methods and devices.
 Poker game methods and devices according to the prior art are well known. In one embodiment, known as video Poker, there is included a game processor and an electronic display such as a video display, VRT, plasma display or the like. Means are provided for the player to make a wager. These means include a coin or token acceptor, cash validator, debit or credit card reader or means for wagering accumulated game credits.
 Once a player has entered a wager and prompted play, the processor randomly selects data representing five playing cards from a data structure storing data representing typically a single deck of cards. The card data may represent a single deck of 52 playing cards or a deck including one or more Jokers, if the game is in a Joker's Wild format. The selected cards are displayed to the player. The player then has the option, through suitable means such as a touch screen display input device or buttons, keyboard or mouse, to discard any unwanted cards from the initial five card holding. The processor replaces the discarded cards with other randomly selected cards to define a final, five card, Poker holding for the player. This final holding is compared to a schedule of winning Poker holdings which may be as follows:
 Royal Flush
 Straight Flush
 Four of a Kind
 Full House
 Three of a Kind
 Two Pair
 Pair of Jacks or better
 Any other holdings are deemed losing holdings. For winning holdings the player receives an award based upon the holding and the amount wagered on the hand of play. A typical pay schedule according to the prior art may be a follows
 It has been known to adopt other pay schedules to make fours of a kind more attractive (higher pays).
 The aforementioned video Poker games are based upon a five card draw Poker game where cards can be discarded and replaced.
 It has also been known to provide for a Stud Poker game where the player does not have the opportunity to discard and replace cards. In Fulton, U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,460, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference, there is disclosed a video Stud Poker game where the player has the option of placing a second wager after exposure of four cards of a five card stud Poker hand.
 Feola, U.S. Pat. No. 5,664,781 discloses a stud Poker game where each player, prior to dealing a plurality of hands, makes a wager as to which hand(s) will have the highest ranked outcome among a plurality of hands. During dealing the player may increase their wager. According to the rules of 5-card Stud and 7-card Stud some of the cards are dealt face up and some are dealt face down. The patent also states that the game may be provided by an electronic device.
 Johnson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,573,249 discloses a game where a plurality of seven card Stud Poker hands are partially displayed. The player allocates his wager to what he thinks will be the highest ranking final hand. The remainder of the cards are revealed and if the player has wagered on the highest hand they are paid on their wager.
 In Moody, U.S. Pat. No. 5,823,873, there is disclosed an electronic draw Poker game where a player plays multiple hands. From a primary first hand, held cards are replicated into the other wagered upon hands and each hand is completed to a Poker holding of five cards each. Each hand is compared to a schedule of winning outcomes and where winning outcomes are obtained, the player receives an award.
 There is a need for entertaining games which provide the player with an opportunity to win an award such as a jackpot and which provide a degree of excitement and entertainment. In this regard there is a need for a game where a player can select which, some or all of a plurality of hands to allocate a wager to, cards unseen, with the proposition being that when the cards of the hand are displayed, the hand will have a winning Stud Poker ranking. There is also a need in this regard to provide the player with the opportunity to obtain more than one winning outcome.
 There is also a need for such a game where, prior to allocation, if one or more of the unseen hands has a winning holding the player is so informed so the player may attempt to allocate a greater portion of the wager to the winning hand(s).
 There is, therefore, set forth according to the present invention an electronic device for a player to play a Poker game which includes a computer processor having a data structure storing data representing at least one deck of playing cards. Apparatus for the player to make a wager to play a hand of the game is provided as well as a video display. The processor is configured to control the display to display at least one indicia for each of a plurality of game hands. For example, the processor may control the display to display, for each hand of play, a logo, image or preferably the backs of five cards of undisclosed value and suit. Apparatus is provided for the player to allocate wager(s) to any, some or all game hands and prompt play. The wager may be allocated to a single hand, between several hands or a portion allocated to each game hand. The processor is configured to randomly select and display a plurality of cards from said data structure representing a Stud Poker holding for each game hand and to compare each holding with a schedule of winning or losing Stud Poker holdings to determine for each hand whether it is a winning or losing outcome. For each hand representing a winning outcome the processor is configured to issue an award to the player.
 In another embodiment, before the player allocates wager(s) to game hands, cards are selected for each game hand; but remain undisclosed. The processor is configured to determine if any game hand has a winning or losing Stud Poker outcome and if at least one game hand has a winning outcome, display information that the group of game hands includes one with the winning outcome. In one embodiment the processor is configured to display information to the player of the nature of at least one of the winning holdings, e.g. one of the undisclosed game hands has a four-of-a-kind. After determination and display of any game hand information, the player allocates their wager. Thus the player may decide to allocate all of the wager to one game hand hoping it to be the one representing the winning outcome.
 Also set forth is a method for the play of an electronic game including providing a computer processor and a display. The player makes a wager and allocates the wager between a plurality of game hands. Play is prompted and the processor, in response to prompting play, randomly selects and displays for each game hand a plurality of playing cards defining for each game hand a Poker holding. The holding of each game hand is compared to a predetermined schedule of winning and losing Poker holdings and for winning holdings with an allocated wager, the method includes issuing an award to the player.
 In a further embodiment, prior to allocation, the processor may select the cards for the game hands and determine which, if any, have a winning outcome and based upon that determination display information to the player that at least one game hand has a winning outcome without disclosing which hand. The player may then allocate the wager in hopes of allocating all or most of the wager to the winning hand(s).
 Accordingly, the device and method of the present invention afford the player the excitement and opportunity to allocate game wagers between a plurality of game hands of undisclosed value. In a further embodiment the device and method may impart some information to the player in advance of allocation of the wager to increase the excitement of the game. Still further the player has the opportunity of obtaining multiple winning outcomes.
 These and other features and advantages will become better appreciated as the same becomes better understood with reference to the description, claims and drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 illustrates a device according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 illustrates the display of game hand indicia prior to revelation of the stud Poker hand holdings and after allocation of wagers;
FIG. 3 illustrates the display of the revealed game hands;
FIG. 4 is a logic flow diagram for one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a logic flow diagram for another embodiment of the present invention; and
FIG. 6 is a logic flow diagram for another embodiment of the present invention where the device and method impart game hand outcome information prior to wager allocation.
 Turning to the drawings FIG. 1 shows a device 10 configured for the play of the game and method of the present invention. It should be understood that while the following description is directed to a gaming device of the type shown in FIG. 1, the game method may be embodied in other devices such as hand held devices such as PDAs and other hand held devices, personal computers and the like. Further the game method may be practiced by interactive play on the Internet.
 The device 10 includes a housing 12 which contains the device computer processor (not shown) of conventional design. The housing 12 supports a video display 14 which may be a VRT, plasma display or other electronic display. The processor is configured to control the display 14 and the various inputs and outputs for the device 10.
 To permit the player to make a wager, apparatus (not shown) is provided of conventional configuration. The device 10 may include a token acceptor to accept coin or token wagers, a cash validator to accept cash, script or printed voucher wagers and/or credit or debit card readers. As is known, the player may input tokens, cash, script or electronic funds to accumulate game credits available for wagering. A credit meter (not shown) of known configuration is displayed on the device 10 to display the game credits available to the player for wagering. In a gaming environment these game credits represent money currency units, e.g. dollars, quarters, nickels, or the like. The device 10 processor communicates with the wager apparatus and credit meter to display the number of credits available, display debiting of credits when wagered and to display the pay of game credits to the meter for winning outcomes.
 Where the device 10 is embodied as a novelty device, fictitious game credits are provided for novelty wagering.
 The device 10 housing 12 mounts a tray 16 to receive tokens dispensed from the device 10.
 To play the device 10 a player inputs a wager by, for example, depositing tokens or wagering accumulated game credits. For wagering of game credits, the player may depress a Bet One button 18 to wager in single credit increments of a desired amount up to the maximum amount permitted by the device 10, e.g. 10 credits. A Max Bet button 20 permits the player to wager the maximum permitted at once. The amount wagered by the player for a hand of play are debited from the credit meter as is known. Also shown is a Draw button 22 to permit the player to prompt the processor for the play of a hand of play as hereinafter described.
 With continuing reference to FIG. 1, the device 10 also includes a Call button 24 for the player to call an attendant. The Call Button is operatively connected to illuminate the light of the candle 26 to beacon for assistance. A Cash out button 28, if depressed by the player, controls the processor to dispense the accumulated credits to the player in the form of, for example, coins, tokens, cash, script printed voucher or as writing the amount onto an instrument such as a credit or debit card or as transmitting an electronic credit to the player's casino account. Where coins or tokens are dispensed, they are dispensed from a hopper (not shown) of conventional design in the housing 12 into the tray 16.
 The player makes the wager by allocating wagers to one, some or all of a plurality of game hands. As shown in FIG. 1, as an example, three game hands 30 a-c are shown. Initially the processor controls the display 14 to display indicia representing each of the game hands 30 a-c available for wagering. These indicia may be logos, designs, icons or other displays. As shown, and to convey to players that the game is a Poker game, the processor controls the display 14 to display for each game hand 30 a-c indicia representing the backs of five playing cards as best shown in FIG. 2. It should be understood that while the following description is directed to the method where three game hands 30 a-c are displayed, that two or more game hands may be displayed and played by the player. For example, the processor may be configured for the play of five or ten game hands and preferably four. To allocate wagers suitable means are provided for instructing the processor for the wager to be applied to each game hand. For example, the display 14 may be a touch screen display. Other suitable means may be provided such as a keyboard, mouse or other data input means. As shown in FIG. 1 three buttons 32 a-c are provided, each corresponding to a game hand 30 a-c. By depressing button 32 a, the player may wager on game hand 30 a the desired amount. The same holds true for the buttons 32 b, c for game hands 30 b, c. Thus the player by depressing the corresponding button 32 a-c can wager the desired amount for one, some or all of the game hands 30 a-c.
 The processor is configured to control the display 14 to display the amount wagered for each game hand 30 a-c. As shown in FIG. 2 there is shown an example where the player has wagered 6 credits on game hand 30 a, 2 credits on game hand 30 b and 2 credits on game hand 30 c. It should be noted that when the wagers are made, the cards for each game hand 30 a-c remain undisclosed to the player.
 As an alternative embodiment, the player may make a block wager of credits, e.g. 10 credits, and using the data input means allocate the block wager between the game hands 30 a-c. The player can allocate the entire wager to one game hand 30 a-c, among several game hands 30 a-c or, as suggested in FIG. 2, spread the wager(s) among the undisclosed game hands 30 a-c.
FIG. 5 illustrates the method of play. According to one embodiment. At 34 the player inputs a block wager, e.g. 10 credits, and at 36 allocates the wager among the undisclosed game hands 30 a-c. Depressing the draw button 22 (or touching a designated region on the touch screen display 14), the processor at 37 is prompted to play the game. At 38 the processor randomly selects at 38 from a first data structure 40 the cards for each game hand 30 a-c. The first data structure 40 is a memory storage device which stores data representing the cards for play of the game. The first data structure 40 may be configured to contain data representing each card of at least one deck of fifty-two playing cards. If the game is based on a Joker's Wild format the first data structure 40 stores data representing each card of at least one deck of at fifty-three playing cards, i.e. fifty-two cards plus at least one Joker.
 Upon selection of the cards by the processor, the processor controls the display 14 to display at 42 the cards for each game hand 30 a-c. As shown in the example of FIG. 3, the processor has selected and displayed the following cards for the game hands 30 a-c.
 Game Hand 30 a: Q
 Game Hand 30 b: K
 Game Hand 30 c: A
 At 44 the processor is configured to compare the holdings of each game hand 30 a-c to determine if each is a winning or losing outcome. A second data structure 46 is provided which stores data representing a schedule of winning outcomes. An example of the data representing winning outcomes is as shown in Table 1.
 Other schedules of winning outcomes may also be provided. As can be appreciated, and according to the schedule of Table 1, game hand 30 a has a winning outcome of 3 of a kind, game hand 30 b is a loser with no winning holding and game hand 30 c is a winning outcome holding of a pair of Aces.
 At 48 the processor determines for each game hand 30 a-c whether it has a winning or losing outcome. If the game hand has a winning outcome holding at 50 the processor is configured to issue an award corresponding to the amount wagered on the game hand 30 a-c and the holding. The game is then concluded and the player is prompted to enter and allocate wagers for playing another set of game hands 30 a-c.
 Turning to FIG. 4, another embodiment of the method and device of the present invention will now be described. According to the embodiment of FIG. 4, the player enters a block wager at 34 and prompts play at 37. The processor selects cards at 38 in the manner described above; however the cards for each hand remain as of yet undisclosed. At 36 the player then allocates their wager between the game hands and thereafter depresses the draw button 22 to prompt the processor at 39 to display the cards for the game hands 30 a-c. The holdings for the game hands 30 a-c are compared at 44 and for winning hands determined at 48 awards are issued at 50.
 Thus according to the embodiment of FIG. 4, the sequence of card selection and allocation of wagers is reversed; however the method continues to conceal all cards of the game hands 30 a-c until wagers have been allocated and the device 10 prompted.
 Turning to FIG. 6 yet another embodiment of the present invention will be described. According to this embodiment, the undisclosed, selected cards of the game hands 30 a-c are compared at 44 prior to allocation of the player's wager. If at 44 the processor determines that one or more of the game hands 30 a-c has a wining outcome at 52 the processor controls the display 14 to display information to the player regarding the presence of a winning game hand 30 a-c. For example the processor may control the display 14 to display the presence of one or more winning hands or may display the presence of the actual holding, e.g. “4 of a Kind” without indicating which hand includes the “4 of a Kind”. This information increases the excitement since the player may attempt to guess which game hand(s) has the winning holding(s) and allocate all of the wager to that hand to maximize the award. For example, if the processor selects the cards and one of the as of yet undisclosed game hands has a 4 of a Kind, the player may guess that it is in game hand 30 b and allocate the entire wager, e.g. 10 credits, to game hand 30 b in an attempt to maximize the award.
 After the information is displayed at 52, the player at 36 allocates their wager and at 39 prompts play. The cards are displayed at 42, and winners determined at 48 and paid at 50.
 As suggested above the game method may provide for the player to allocate the game hand 30 a-c wagers as they are being made or the method may require an initial block wager with subsequent allocation. Where outcome information is imparted to the player, an initial block wager is required to initiate play.
 While the embodiments described above disclose revelation of all game hands 30 a-c, as an alternative embodiment only the game hands 30 a-c having an allocated wager may be revealed. That is, if the player wagers only on game hands 30 a, b only those hands would be processed by the processor and revealed.
 Still further, the processor may be configured to include a wager input protocol whereby as wagers are made they are allocated, according to the protocol, to the game hands. Preferably, in such a case, the player can override the protocol.
 While I have shown and described certain embodiments of the present invention, it should be understood that it is subject to many modifications and changes without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims. As stated above the player may wager on one some or all of the game hands.