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Publication numberUS20050032563 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/637,238
Publication dateFeb 10, 2005
Filing dateAug 8, 2003
Priority dateAug 8, 2003
Publication number10637238, 637238, US 2005/0032563 A1, US 2005/032563 A1, US 20050032563 A1, US 20050032563A1, US 2005032563 A1, US 2005032563A1, US-A1-20050032563, US-A1-2005032563, US2005/0032563A1, US2005/032563A1, US20050032563 A1, US20050032563A1, US2005032563 A1, US2005032563A1
InventorsRandy Sines
Original AssigneeSines Randy D.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Methods and apparatus for playing a poker game
US 20050032563 A1
Abstract
Representative embodiments provide a method for playing a poker game, comprising defining a qualifying hand and dealing an initial hand to each of one or more players. The method includes accepting an initial bet into a pot from at least one of the players, dealing at least one additional card to each betting player, and awarding the pot to any betting player who has a best hand that comprises a qualifying hand. In the alternative, if no player has a qualifying hand, the method repeats the dealing of an initial hand, and the accepting an initial bet, and the dealing of at least one additional card, while including in the pot any previously un-awarded pot or pots until the pot is awarded in accordance with a qualifying hand. Also provided are a gaming table and individual gaming machines for playing the poker games of the present invention.
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Claims(50)
1. A method for playing a poker game, comprising:
defining a qualifying hand;
dealing an initial hand of at least one card to each of one or more players;
accepting an initial bet into a pot from at least one of the players;
dealing at least one additional card to each betting player; and
awarding the pot to any betting player who has a best hand that comprises a qualifying hand, or, if no player has a qualifying hand, repeating the dealing an initial hand and the accepting an initial bet and the dealing at least one additional card, and including in the pot any previously unawarded pot or pots until the pot is awarded.
2. The method of claim 1, and wherein the qualifying hand is defined by a house.
3. The method of claim 1, and further compromising collecting an ante from each player before the initial hand is dealt.
4. The method of claim 1, and wherein the initial bet is predefined as a minimum initial bet.
5. The method of claim 1, and further comprising extracting a predefined percentage out of the pot by a house each time the initial hand is dealt.
6. The method of claim 1, and further comprising extracting a rake out of the pot by a house each time the initial hand is dealt.
7. The method claim 1, and wherein at least one of the players plays the poker game by way of an individual gaming machine.
8. The method of claim 1, and wherein:
at least two players play the poker game by way of respective individual gaming machines; and
each of the individual gaming machines are coupled in signal communication.
9. The method of claim 1, and further comprising:
collecting an ante from each player before the initial hand is dealt;
extracting a predefined portion from a sum of the antes;
adding the predefined portion to a progressive jackpot; and
awarding one of the progressive jackpot or a fixed jackpot to a player achieving a corresponding predefined hand.
10. The method of claim 1, and wherein the initial hand and the at least one additional card are respectively dealt in a face-up condition.
11. The method of claim 1, and wherein at least two players play the poker game by way of an electronic gaming table.
12. A method for playing a poker game, comprising:
defining a qualifying hand;
dealing an initial hand of at least one card to each of one or more players;
accepting an initial bet into a pot from at least one of the players;
exchanging at least one card between a house and each betting player electing to draw; and
awarding the pot to any betting player who has a best hand that comprises a qualifying hand, or, if no player has a qualifying hand, repeating the dealing an initial hand and the accepting an initial bet and the exchanging at least one card, and including in the pot any previously unawarded pot or pots until the pot is awarded.
13. The method of claim 12, and wherein the qualifying hand is defined by the house.
14. The method of claim 12, and further compromising collecting an ante from each player before the initial hand is dealt.
15. The method of claim 12, and wherein the initial bet is predefined as a minimum initial bet.
16. The method of claim 12, and further comprising extracting a percentage out of the pot by the house each time the initial hand is dealt.
17. The method of claim 12, and further comprising extracting a fixed amount out of the pot by the house each time an initial hand is dealt.
18. The method of claim 12, and further comprising accepting an additional bet from at least one betting player placing an initial bet.
19. The method claim 12, and wherein at least one of the players plays the poker game by way of an individual gaming machine.
20. The method of claim 12, and wherein:
at least two players play the poker game by way of respective individual gaming machines; and
each of the individual gaming machines are coupled in signal communication.
21. The method of claim 12, and wherein the initial hand and the exchanging at least one card are respectively dealt in a face-up condition.
22. The method of claim 12, and wherein at least two players play the poker game by way of an electronic gaming table.
23. The method of claim 12, and further comprising:
collecting an ante from each player before the initial hand is dealt;
extracting a predefined portion from a sum of the antes;
adding the predefined portion to a progressive jackpot; and
awarding one of the progressive jackpot or a fixed jackpot to a player achieving a corresponding predefined hand.
24. A gaming table, comprising:
a plurality of user interfaces; and
an electronic controller coupled in signal communication with each of the user interfaces, the electronic controller configured to:
define a qualifying hand;
deal an initial hand of at least one card to each of at least two players by way of the user interface corresponding to the player;
record an initial bet into a collective pot from each of at least one of the players by way of the corresponding user interface;
deal at least one later card to each betting player by way of the corresponding user interface; and
award the collective pot to any betting player who has a best hand that comprises a qualifying hand, or, if no player has a qualifying hand, repeating the dealing an initial hand and the recording an initial bet and the dealing at least one later card until at least one player has a qualifying hand and the collective pot is awarded.
25. The gaming table of claim 24, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured such that dealing the at least one later card to each betting player is defined by exchanging a respectively selected number of cards between the electronic controller and each betting player electing to draw by way of the corresponding user interface.
26. The gaming table of claim 24, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured to record an additional bet into the collective pot from each betting player by way of the corresponding user interface before dealing the at least one later card to each betting player.
27. The gaming table of claim 24, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured to record an ante from each of the at least two players by way of the corresponding user interface before dealing the initial hand.
28. The gaming table of claim 27, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured to:
add a predefined portion of a sum of the antes to a progressive jackpot; and
award one of the progressive jackpot or a fixed jackpot to an anteing player achieving a corresponding predefined hand.
29. The gaming table of claim 24, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured to extract a rake from the collective pot for a house.
30. The gaming table of claim 24, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured to extract a predefined fixed amount from the collective pot for a house.
31. The gaming table of claim 24, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured such that the initial hand and the at least one later card are respectively dealt in a face-up condition.
32. The gaming table of claim 24, and wherein each of the user interfaces comprise a display screen configured to display graphical images of the cards.
33. The gaming table of claim 24, and wherein each of the user interfaces further comprise a chip sensor.
34. The gaming table of claim 24, and further comprising a display configured to display a current amount of the collective pot.
35. A computer-accessible storage media including an executable program code, the executable program code configured to cause a processor to:
define a qualifying hand;
deal an initial hand of at least one card to each of one or more players by way of a respective user interface coupled to the processor;
record an initial bet into a collective pot from at least one of the players;
deal at least one later card to each betting player by way of the respective user interface; and
award the collective pot to any betting player who has a best hand that comprises a qualifying hand, or, if none of the betting players has a qualifying hand, repeating the dealing an initial hand and the recording an initial bet and the dealing at least one later card until at least one player has a qualifying hand and the collective pot is awarded.
36. The computer-accessible storage media of claim 35, and wherein the executable program code is further configured to cause the processor to exchange a respectively selected number of cards between the processor and each betting player electing to draw during the dealing at least one later card.
37. The computer-accessible storage media of claim 35, and wherein the executable program code is further configured to cause the processor to record an additional bet into the collective pot from each of the betting players before dealing the at least one later card to each betting player.
38. The computer-accessible storage media of claim 35, and wherein the executable program code is further configured to cause the processor to record an ante from each of the one or more players before dealing the initial hand.
39. The computer-accessible storage media of claim 38, and wherein the executable program code is further configured to cause the processor to:
add a predefined portion of a sum of the antes to a progressive jackpot; and
award one of the progressive jackpot or a fixed jackpot to an anteing player achieving a corresponding predefined hand.
40. The computer-accessible storage media of claim 35, and wherein the executable program code is further configured to cause the processor to deal the initial hand and the at least one later card in a face-up condition.
41. The computer-accessible storage media of claim 35, and wherein the executable program code is further configured to cause the processor to extract a rake from the collective pot for a house.
42. An individual gaming machine, comprising:
a user interface; and
an electronic controller coupled in signal communication with the user interface, the electronic controller configured to be coupled in signal communication with at least one other electronic controller of another individual gaming machine, the electronic controller configured to:
define a qualifying hand;
deal an initial hand of at least one card to a player by way of the user interface;
record an initial bet from the player into a collective pot by way of the user interface, the collective pot including an initial bet from at least one of the player or one or more other players;
deal at least one later card to the player by way of the user interface; and
award the pot to the player upon achieving a best hand that comprises a qualifying hand as compared to the one or more other players, or, if none of the player or the one or more other players has a qualifying hand, repeating the dealing an initial hand and the recording an initial bet and the dealing at least one later card until at least one player has a qualifying hand and the collective pot is awarded.
43. The individual gaming machine of claim 42, and wherein:
each of the one or more other players are associated with respective other individual gaming machines; and
each of the other individual gaming machines and the individual gaming machine are coupled in mutual signal communication.
44. The individual gaming machine of claim 42, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured to record an ante from the player into an ante pool before dealing the initial hand.
45. The individual gaming machine of claim 44, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured to:
add a predefined portion of the ante pool to a progressive jackpot; and
award one of the progressive jackpot or a fixed jackpot to the player upon achieving a corresponding predefined hand.
46. The individual gaming machine of claim 42, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured to exchange a respectively selected number of cards with the player upon electing to draw during the dealing at least one later card.
47. The individual gaming machine of claim 42, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured to record an additional bet into the collective pot from the player before dealing the at least one later card to the player.
48. The individual gaming machine of claim 42, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured to extract a rake from the collective pot for a house.
49. The individual gaming machine of claim 42, and wherein:
the user interface includes a display; and
the electronic controller is further configured to indicate a current amount of the collective pot by way of the display.
50. The individual gaming machine of claim 42, and wherein the electronic controller is further configured to deal the initial hand and the at least one later card in a face-up condition.
Description
BACKGROUND

Various kinds of wagering games are known. Examples of such wagering games include craps, blackjack (twenty-one), baccarat, etc. Play of such a wagering game typically involves a player's individual skill, playing strategy, and some degree of probabilistic chance operating within the rules of the game to determine a winner or winners. Commonly, wagering games are played within a casino, card house, or similar establishment in which players can enjoy numerous amenities such as beverage and food services, cashier services, lines of credit, personal security, or other resources that generally make for an attractive atmosphere in which to play such wagering games.

Generally, players take significant interest in a particular type of wagering game and the challenge offered in playing that game well. As a result, some degree of variation in the rules and/or other dynamics of play are sought by a number of players so that the particular wagering game of choice continues to provide interest and excitement. Furthermore, an increasing number of wagering games can now be played in a manner that is, to some extent, computerized or automated. In such a venue, certain tasks such as, for example, the dealing of cards, accounting for wagers, and the awarding of winnings is handled automatically so that players are better able to concentrate on and enjoy the play of the game.

Therefore, it is generally desirable to provide methods and apparatus for playing wagering games that provide interest and excitement to the players.

SUMMARY

The present invention provides for any number of different poker games. Typical to each of the poker games of the present invention is the use of a standard poker deck, including the use of two jokers (wildcards). Various stud and draw versions of the game are provided, wherein betting is a predefined amount. As betting (wagering) during the particular poker game is performed substantially simultaneously by each player, the overall progress (play) of the game is generally faster than that of known styles of poker game play.

Furthermore, the present invention provides for substantially automated (i.e., electronic) venues for play of the instant poker games. Such venues include a wager gaming table configured to provide play for a plurality of players, as well as individual gaming machines that can be played as a collective network. Of course, the poker games of the present invention can also be played in a more traditional environment on a known poker table, through the use of conventional poker playing cards and wagering chips, etc. Also, typical embodiments of the poker games of the present invention include the dealing of all cards in a face-up condition. However, other variations can be played in which some or all of the cards are dealt in a face-down condition.

One embodiment of the present invention provides a method for playing a poker game, the method including defining a qualifying hand, and dealing an initial hand of at least one card to each of the one or more players. The method also includes accepting an initial bet into a pot from at least one of the players. The method then includes dealing at least one additional card to each betting player, and awarding the pot to any betting player who has a best hand that comprises a qualifying hand. If no player has a qualifying hand, the method repeats the dealing of an initial hand, and the accepting of an initial bet, and the dealing of at least one additional card, while including in the pot any previously un-awarded pot or pots until the pot is awarded in accordance with a qualifying hand. The method can also include the house accepting of an ante from each player prior to the dealing of the initial hand.

Another embodiment of the present invention provides a method for playing a poker game, the method including defining a qualifying hand, and dealing an initial hand of at least one card to each of one or more players. The method further includes accepting an initial bet into a pot from at least one of the players. The method also includes exchanging at least one card between a house and each betting player electing to draw. Also, the method includes awarding the pot to any betting player who has a best hand that comprises a qualifying hand. In the event that no player has a qualifying hand, the method includes repeating the dealing an initial hand and the accepting an initial bet and the exchanging at least one card, and including in the pot any previously un-awarded pot or pots until the pot is awarded. The method also includes the house accepting an ante from each player prior to the dealing the initial hand.

Yet another embodiment of the present invention provides for a gaming table, including a plurality of user interfaces, and an electronic controller coupled in signal communication with each of the user interfaces. The electronic controller is configured to define a qualifying hand, and to deal an initial hand of at least one card to each of at least two players by way of the user interface corresponding to the player. The controller is further configured to record an initial bet into a collective pot from each of at least one of the players by way of the corresponding user interface, and to deal at least one later card to each betting player by way of the corresponding user interface. The controller is further configured to award the collective pot to any betting player who has a best hand that comprises a qualifying hand, or, if no player has a qualifying hand, repeat the dealing of an initial hand and the recording of an initial bet and the dealing of at least one later card until at least one player has a qualifying hand and the collective pot is awarded.

Another embodiment of the present invention provides a computer-accessible storage media including an executable program code. The executable program code configured to cause a corresponding processor to define a qualifying hand and to deal an initial hand of at least one card to each of one or more players by way of a respective user interface coupled to the processor. Such user interfaces can, include, for example, a touch-sensitive electronic display. The executable program code is also configured to cause to the processor to record an initial bet into a collective pot from at least one of the players and then to deal at least one later card to each betting player by way of the respective user interface. Furthermore, the executable program code is configured to cause the processor to award the collective pot to any betting player who has a best hand that comprises a qualifying hand. In the event that none of the betting players has a qualifying hand, the executable program code is configured to cause the processor to repeat the dealing of an initial hand, and the recording of an initial bet, and the dealing of at least one later card until at least one player has a qualifying hand and the collective pot is awarded.

Still another embodiment of the present invention provides an individual gaming machine, the individual gaming machine including a user interface and an electronic controller coupled in signal communication with the user interface. The electronic controller is configured to be coupled in signal communication with at least one other electronic controller of another individual gaming machine. The electronic controller is further configured to define a qualifying hand, to deal an initial hand of at least one card to a player by way of the user interface, and to record an initial bet from the player into a collective pot by way of the user interface. The electronic controller is further configured such that the collective pot includes an initial bet from at least one of the player or one or more other players. The electronic controller is also configured to deal at least one later card to the player by way of the user interface, and award the pot to the player upon achieving a best hand that comprises a qualifying hand as compared to the one or more other players. In the event that none of the players of the one or more other players has a qualifying hand, the electronic controller is configured to repeat the dealing an initial hand and the recording an initial bet and the dealing at least one later card until at least one player has a qualifying hand and the collective pot is awarded.

These and other aspects and embodiments will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a flowchart depicting a method of playing a poker game in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a flowchart depicting a method of playing a poker game in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a plan view depicting a wager gaming table in accordance with still another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is front elevation view depicting a gaming network in accordance with the yet another embodiment of the present invention

FIG. 5 is a front elevation view depicting an exemplary display in accordance with still another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In representative embodiments, the present teachings provide methods and apparatus for playing a poker game including wagering.

Certain terms are used and applied herein that are generally defined as follows:

House: The house is a game administrator or host for playing a game or games in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. In some circumstances, the house can be generally defined by a casino, or the agents thereof, which is/are authorized to define particular rules or other aspects of playing the game or games of the present invention. In other situations, the house can be defined by one or more individuals hosting or otherwise officiating the play of a game or games as provided herein. Such individuals are commonly referred to as dealers.

Rake: The rake is a portion of the wagers or other designated monies or valuables put forth by the player or players of a game that is extracted (taken) by the house as charge for playing the game. The rake may be a predefined percentage of the wagers, a fixed amount taken from the wagers, or some other function of the wagers or other monies or valuables put forth (bet or risked) during the play of the game.

Turning now to FIG. 1, a flowchart 100 depicts a method for playing a poker game in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The embodiment described in the method depicted by flowchart 100 is generally considered a “stud” version of the poker game of the present invention. While the method depicted by flowchart 100 describes particular steps and order of execution, it is to be understood that other embodiments of the present invention that respectively include other steps and/or orders of execution can also be used in accordance with the teaching of the present invention.

In step 102 of flowchart 100, the house defines a qualifying hand for play of the poker game. The qualifying hand is generally considered a minimum hand necessary for a player to qualify for winning a collective pot (described hereafter). The qualifying hand is ranked relative to other hands in accordance with typical rules for playing poker. One of skill in the poker gaming arts is familiar with such rankings (i.e., hierarchy of hands), and an exhaustive elaboration is not required for purposes herein. Qualifying hands can include, for example, two of a kind, three of kind, two pair, a pair of jacks or better, etc. Other qualifying hands can also be defined and used, for example, in accordance with a consensus of the player(s) prior to the beginning of the poker game.

In step 104, each of one or more players places (i.e., puts forth) an ante so as to establish their initial participation in the game about to commence. Typically, the ante is a fixed amount of money predefined by the house. All of the antes put forth by the players can be collectively considered an ante pool.

In step 106, the house collects the collective antes (i.e., ante pool) as its share for hosting, or officiating, the present game.

In step 108, the house deals an initial hand of one or more cards—in accordance with the present embodiment of poker game being played—in a face-up condition to each of the players participating in the game (i.e., those players that have anted; also considered valid players for purposes herein). For purposes of example, it is assumed that an initial hand of three cards is dealt to each valid player and that a full hand constitutes five cards total for the present embodiment of the game. Other card counts corresponding to other initial hands and full hands can also be used. Further, it is assumed that cards used during play are dealt from a standard (fifty two card) poker deck or its equivalent. Further still, the two standard jokers (wild cards) can also be used.

In step 110, each player decides if they are to continue the game or quit at this point without further play of the present game. Those players who elect to quit, or ‘fold’ continue to step 112 below. Those players that elect to continue play continue to step 114 below.

In step 112, those players electing to quit in step 110 above, do so. The present instance of the game of flowchart 100 is now ended for those players. However, players that fold at this point are eligible to continue play in the next (sequential) game and can therefore continue to compete with other players for the same collective pot, should it not be awarded to a player or players at the end of any current round of the poker game.

In step 114, each player that elected to continue play in step 110 above now places a respective wager, or bet, into a collective pot. For purposes herein, each of these wagers can also be considered an initial bet. It is to be understood that each of the wagers is of equivalent value, and is typically predefined by the house as a minimum initial bet or wager. The amount of the minimum initial bet can be fixed for all instances of playing the game, or can change from time to time. In another embodiment of the game, for example, the amount of the initial bet escalates (increases) in value with each successive instance of playing the poker game. Other strategies of establishing the minimum initial bet can also be used.

In any case, the (initial) bet or bets from the player or players are placed into a collective pot that includes any residual bet or bets not yet awarded to a player or players from previous play(s) of the poker game of flowchart 100. In another embodiment, the house takes a rake (or a percentage) out of the collective pot at this time, once betting following the dealing of the initial hand in step 108 is complete. It is to be understood that the betting players place their respective equivalent bets in a near simultaneous fashion. In this way, the substantially traditional system of call/check/raise is typically not applicable to the stud poker game(s) of the present invention, although such check/call/raise features are not precluded under poker games of the present invention. Thus, the stud poker game of flowchart 100 results in a generally faster sequence of play relative to that of substantially traditional poker. Furthermore, betting is typically performed in equal amounts within each round of a poker game of the present invention.

In step 116, the house deals an additional card in a face-up condition to each of the presently valid players. In the present example, each player now holds four cards of a five card full hand.

In step 118, it is determined if each player now has a full hand. In the present example, each valid player is due one more card. In such a case (where one or more additional cards are due), the flowchart 100 returns to steps 110 through 116 above, repeatedly as needed, in accordance with the present embodiment of the poker game in progress. During such repeat of step 114 above, after each valid player has been dealt a final card in step 116 above (i.e., each valid player has a full hand), the flowchart 100 proceeds to step 120 below.

In step 120, the house determines if any of the valid players has a qualifying (final) hand. If one or more players has a qualifying hand, then the flowchart 100 proceeds to step 124 below. If none of the players has a qualifying hand, then the flowchart 100 proceeds to step 122 below.

In step 122, the house sets the present collective pot aside for use in the next instance of playing the game. In this way, the collective pot can be considered a “progressive” pot. The flowchart 100 then proceeds to step 128 in which the present instance of the poker game is ended without awarding the collective pot to any player or players. The present instance (iteration) of the poker game provided by flowchart 100 is considered complete.

In step 124, the house evaluates and compares any qualifying hands held by one or more of the players in accordance with standard (or other defined) hierarchical rules of poker, to determine which is a superior (or “best”) qualifying hand, or if equivalent superior qualifying hands are held by two or more players.

In step 126, the house awards the collective pot to a single player (winner) holding the superior qualifying hand as determined in step 124 above. If two (or more) players hold equivalent superior qualifying hands, then the collective pot can be equally split between them.

In step 128, the present instance of the poker game is considered complete. If the collective pot has not been awarded during the most recent instance of the game, the poker game of the flowchart 100 is typically repeated, as one or more additional instances of the poker game, until the collective pot is finally awarded to one or more of the present players.

The flowchart 100 as described above generally provides for one possible embodiment of playing a game of “stud” poker in accordance with the present invention. Other embodiments corresponding to other steps, procedures and/or orders of execution can also be used. It is important to note that numerous aspects of the flowchart 100 can be suitably varied, typically by the house and/or in accordance with player agreement. For example, the ante put forth by the players in step 104 above can be either fixed or varying. Such a varying ante can be defined by an escalating ante that increases with each successive instance of playing the poker game of flowchart 100. Such a varying (e.g., escalating) ante is desirable to the house as it usually corresponds to higher earnings or profits in exchange for hosting the game. Other forms of varying ante can also be used.

Furthermore, certain embodiments of the poker game of the present invention can also include a jackpot or a progressive (i.e., accumulating) jackpot that is awarded to a player that holds a correspondingly predefined hand (for example, during step 126 above). For example, a progressive jackpot can be awarded to a player whose final hand constitutes a straight flush (or better). In another example, a jackpot can be awarded to a player whose final hand constitutes four-of-a-kind (or better). Other types of jackpots awarded for correspondingly predefined hands can also be used.

Typically, the amount of a progressive jackpot is increased by way of adding a portion from each of the antes (e.g., the ante pool) put forth by the players during each game (for example, as in step 104 above). This strategy can be attractive to both the players and the house, as the house can charge an incrementally higher ante while providing the progressive jackpot as an exciting inducement to the players of the poker game. On the other hand, a jackpot can be provided as a fixed value, house funded incentive with no apparent bearing on a player's antes or wagers. Also, other jackpot or progressive jackpot schemes can be used.

In yet another embodiment of the flowchart 100, the house can offer a “bad beat” jackpot to a player that holds an otherwise exceptional qualifying hand when that player loses to another player with a generally very rare, superior qualifying hand. For example, a player may qualify for a jackpot with a hand of four-of-a-kind, only to lose to a player that holds a royal flush. While the probability of such circumstances are quite rare, a bad beat jackpot can provide additional inducement to players to participate in the game despite such a possibility.

In yet another embodiment of the stud poker game of flowchart 100, any player electing to ‘sit out’ for a hand (not participate) in the present instance of the game forfeits their option to continue playing toward the present collective pot. Thus, under such an embodiment, the collective pot at hand is particular to the specific player or players whose poker play resulting in the creation and perpetuation of the present collective pot, and such collective pot will not be awarded to another player or other players.

FIG. 2 is a flowchart 200 depicting a method of playing a poker game in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. The embodiment described in flowchart (method) 200 is generally considered a “draw” version of the poker game of the present invention. While the flowchart 200 describes particular steps and order of execution, it is to be understood that other embodiments of the present invention that respectively include other steps and/or orders of execution can also be used in accordance with the teaching of the present invention.

In step 202, the house defines a qualifying hand for playing the poker game in accordance with the flowchart 200. As described above in regard to step 102 of the flowchart 100 of FIG. 1, the qualifying hand is generally considered a minimum hand necessary for a player to qualify for winning a collective pot. As also described above, the qualifying hand is ranked relative to other hands in accordance with typical (or otherwise reestablished) rules for playing poker.

In step 204 of flowchart 200, each player places or puts forth an ante as an initial qualification for participating in the present instance of the poker game.

In step 206, the house collects the collective antes (ante pool) as its share.

In step 208, the house deals an initial hand of one or more cards, to each of one or more valid (anteing) players, in a face-up condition. The number of cards dealt in the initial hand is determined in accordance with the particular embodiment of the poker game in progress. For purposes of example, it is assumed that an initial hand of five cards is dealt to each of the valid players. Furthermore, the initial hand constitutes a full hand within the context of the flowchart 200.

In step 210, each of the players decides either to place a bet or to fold (quit). Those players electing to fold proceed to step 212 below. Those players that elect to place a bet and continue playing the poker game advance to step 214 below.

In step 212, each player electing to quit in step 210 above does so at this point. The present instance of the poker game of flowchart 200 is now considered complete for such a player or players.

In step 214, those players that elected in step 210 above to continue put forth a bet (i.e., initial bet). The house then adds the bets to a collective pot. Generally, such bets (initial bets) are of a fixed amount predefined by the house. Other bet establishing strategies such as minimum betting, for example, can also be used. In any case, all of the bets are typically of equal amount and are placed by the respective players in a substantially simultaneous fashion. In another embodiment, the house extracts a percentage or rake for itself from the collective pot at this time.

In step 216, each valid (betting) player elects to stand with their initial hand, or to draw one or more cards in accordance with the number of cards in the present full hand. Those players electing to stand continue to step 220 below. Those players electing to draw continue to step 218.

In step 218, the house exchanges one or more cards with each of those valid players electing to draw. That is, each drawing player individually selects what particular card or cards to discard from their initial hand in exchange for a new card or cards dealt, face-up, by the house. In another embodiment, the house accepts an additional bet from each of one or more players placing an initial bet (i.e., valid players). Typically, such an embodiment includes the dealing (exchanging) of cards in a face-down condition prior to the accepting the additional bet or bets.

In step 220, the house determines if any of the valid players has a qualifying (final) hand. If one or more players has a qualifying hand, then the flowchart 200 proceeds to step 224 below. If none of the players has a qualifying hand, then the flowchart 200 proceeds to step 222 below.

In step 222, the house sets the collective pot aside for use in the next instance of playing the game according to the flowchart 200. In this way, as described in the flowchart 100 above, the collective pot can be considered a progressive pot. The flowchart 200 then proceeds to step 228 in which the present instance of the draw poker game is ended without awarding the collective pot to any winner or winners. The present instance (iteration) of the poker game provided by flowchart 200 is then considered complete.

In step 224, the house evaluates and compares any qualifying hands held by one or more of the players in accordance with standard or other predefined hierarchical rules of poker to determine which is a superior qualifying hand or if equivalent superior qualifying hands are held by two or more players.

In step 226, the house awards the collective pot to a single player holding the superior (“best”) qualifying hand as determined in step 224 above. In the alternative, if two (or more) players hold equivalent superior qualifying hands, then the collective pot can be equally split between them.

In step 228, the present instance of the draw poker game according to the flowchart 200 of FIG. 2 is considered complete. In the event that no player or players is/are awarded the collective pot in step 226 above, play of the poker game of the flowchart 200 is substantially repeated until the collective pot is awarded to one or more of the original players (associated with the creation of the present collective pot).

The flowchart 200 as described above generally provides for one embodiment of playing a game of “draw” poker in accordance with the present invention. Other embodiments corresponding to other steps, procedures and/or orders of execution can also be used. It is to be noted that various aspects of the game can be altered from those as described in regard to the flowchart 200 of FIG. 2 in accordance with the present invention. For example, such aspects as a varying (e.g., escalating) ante, and/or the offering of a jackpot, progressive jackpot, and/or bad beat jackpot can also be used substantially as described above (respectively) in regard to the flowchart 100 of FIG. 1. Other embodiments of a draw poker game can include, for example, those aspects or features substantially as described above in regard to the stud poker game of the flowchart 100.

It will be appreciated that, in variations of the methods described above, cards can be dealt in any manner of face-up and/or face-down initial orientation. For example, in a stud version (similar to that described in flowchart 100) two cards can be dealt face up, and a third card dealt face-down. Two additional cards can be dealt in separate betting cycles, each face up. After the last (e.g., fifth) card has been dealt and bets place, the face-down card can be turned face up. In another example five cards can be dealt all initially in a face-down orientation, and the cards turned face-up, one at a time during each betting cycle, until the last card has been turned face-up, at which time it is determined if any player or players have qualifying hands and, if so, which of the qualifying hands is the best hand.

The methods described above can also incorporate the use of “wild cards”, such as jokers or other special cards, which can be designated by a player as whatever value the player chooses to facilitate achieving a qualifying hand, or a best qualifying hand.

As can be seen by the example depicted in flowchart 100, one feature of a poker game in accordance with the present invention is that play of the game among the players can be performed essentially simultaneously. That is, each time cards are dealt to the players, all players can bet simultaneously, verses betting sequentially as in traditional poker games (i.e., where players individually and sequentially elect to fold, meet a current bet, or raise the current bet). This feature of the games of the present invention allows for faster play.

Another feature of a poker game in accordance with the present invention is that the house can take the ante, thus ensuring a known income for the house. The house can establish the ante to cover its costs of hosting the game, as well as making a profit. Further, the house can elect to put some of the ante money into a special jackpot to enhance attractiveness of the game. Further, between games the house can change the amount of the ante (e.g., increase the ante to cover higher costs or make additional profit, or lower the ante to attract more players). One benefit of this arrangement of the house taking the ante is that the players know that they are essentially playing against one another, versus playing against the house. Consequently, players may be more inclined to play the game since there is essentially a guarantee that all bets (excluding the ante) will eventually be won by one of the players, and not by the house.

While the respective stud (flowchart 100) and draw (flowchart 200) poker games described above can be played, for example, within the context of traditional (discrete) playing cards and wagering chips, it is to be understood that the games of the present invention can also be played through the use of suitable, substantially electronic wager gaming apparatus. Examples of such apparatus as provided by the present invention are described in detail hereafter.

FIG. 3 is a plan view depicting a wager gaming table (hereafter, table) 300 in accordance with still another embodiment of the present invention. The wager gaming table 300, substantially as depicted in FIG. 3, is commercially available from DigiDeal Corporation of Spokane, Wash. The table 300 includes a playing surface 302. The playing surface 302 can be formed from any suitable material such as, for example, felt, satin, etc. Other materials can also be used to form the playing surface 302 of the table 300.

The table 300 also includes an electronic controller 304. The electronic controller 304 can be defined by any suitable controller usable to control the play one or more embodiments of the poker games of the present invention (e.g., the poker games of flowcharts 100 and 200 above, or their corresponding variations, respectively). As such, the controller 304 can be suitably defined by a microprocessor-based controller, a state-machine, a dedicated-purpose integrated controller, etc. The controller 304 is commercially available in the form of a proprietary (DCS) platform from DigiDeal Corporation of Spokane, Wash.

In one embodiment, the electronic controller 304 includes a computer-accessible storage media (i.e., memory, storage disk etc., not shown) including an executable program code. Such an executable program code (not shown) is configured to cause a corresponding processor to perform various operations in accordance with one or more embodiments of poker game of the present invention. One of skill in the computer engineering and electronic arts can appreciate that the electronic controller 304 can be defined by a number of suitable different embodiments and that further elaboration is not required for purposes of understanding the present invention.

The table 300 also includes a plurality of user interfaces 306. Each user interface 306 is coupled in signal communication with the electronic controller 304. Each user interface includes an electronic display 308 that is coupled in signal communication with the electronic controller 304. In the case of draw-poker type games, the electronic display 308 can be a touch-sensitive electronic display. Other embodiments of electronic display 308 can also be used. In any case, the electronic displays 308 are configured to display information to, and receive input from, a player during play of a poker game at the table 308. Non-limiting examples of such displayed information include images of playing cards, present amount of a collective pot, present amount of a jackpot and/or progressive jackpot, amount of credit available to the player, etc. Examples of player (i.e., user) input include selection of cards to discard during a draw, election to bet and/or fold, etc. Other kinds of information can be displayed, and other types of player input received, by way of the electronic display 308.

As further depicted in FIG. 3, each user interface 306 further includes one or more chip sensors 310. Each chip sensor 310 is configured to provide a signal to the electronic controller 304 indicative of the presence and/or total face value of any wagering chips (not shown) resting upon the chip sensor 310. One of skill in the electronic arts is aware of a number of suitable such embodiments of chip sensor 310 and further description is not needed for purposes herein.

In another embodiment of the table 300 (not shown), the chip sensors 310 are not included. In such an embodiment (not shown), “virtual” chips can be displayed to, and manipulated by (i.e., selected, put forth during a wager, etc.), players using associated electronic displays 308. Thus, in such an embodiment, tangible wagering chips are not used, and any antes and/or wagering corresponding to the play of the present poker game are handled by way of the electronic displays 308.

The table 300 can also includes a dealer display 312, although in many embodiments no dealer display is used. The dealer display 312 can be defined by any suitable electronic display for displaying information to a dealer (typically representing the house). In one embodiment, the display 312 is substantially the same as one of the plurality of electronic displays 308. Other forms of electronic display can also be used. In any event, the dealer display 312 is coupled in signal communication with the electronic controller 304 and is configured to display various information relevant to a dealer (typically representing the house) during play of the poker game at the table 300. Typical such information displayed on the dealer display 312 can include, for example, the amount of the various relevant collective pots and jackpots, identification of player at the table 300 in possession (i.e., holding) a qualifying or superior qualifying hand, etc. Information provided to the dealer can be presented, for example, in the form of an “ante meter”, a “wager meter”, etc., or as any other desirable graphical representation.

The table 300 further includes a chip tray 314. The chip tray 314 is configured to support a plurality of suitable wagering chips for use during play of the poker game at table 300. The chip tray 314 is generally positioned to be readily used by a dealer. A more elaborate description of the chip tray 314 is not necessary to an understanding of the present invention. In the variation described above wherein “virtual” chips can be used with the table 300 the chip tray can be eliminated.

Typical use of the table 300 is a follows: to begin, it is assumed that the house offers play of a poker game in accordance with the present invention (e.g., stud poker according to flowchart 100 of FIG. 1, or draw poker according to flowchart 200 of FIG. 2, etc.) to interested players by way of the table 300. Those players interested in playing the poker game generally seat themselves, one person each, within usable adjacency to the user interfaces 306. As depicted in FIG. 3, the table 300 can accommodate up to six players. Other tables 300 (not shown) having other player accommodation capacities can also be used.

Next, a dealer begins play of the poker game at the table 300 by way of appropriate input (i.e., password entry, startup actuation, etc.) to the controller 304 using dealer hands controls (such as buttons, etc., not shown) or, if provided, the dealer display 312. Thereafter, the controller 304 assumes general control of the game in substantial accordance with the methods described above in regard to the stud poker game of flowchart 100 of FIG. 1 or the draw poker game of flowchart 200 of FIG. 2, including, for example, providing graphical displays of cards, collective pots values, credit, etc., to each of the electronic displays 308 currently used by a player. In response, players provide their desired respective inputs directly to the dealer who can then input them into the electronic controller 304 (or, if a user input is provided, via their respective electronic displays 308). Such displays and player (user) inputs (if provided) are performed in accordance with the currently used embodiment of poker game of the present invention.

During such play, the players place their corresponding antes and wagers in the form of wagering chips on their respective chip sensors 310. These wagering chips are collected for the house by the dealer, generally into the chip tray 314, while the electronic controller 304 can keep track of (i.e., record) the ante pools, discrete wagers from each player, the rake (if any), the collective pot, a jackpot (if any), and/or any progressive jackpot, exchanges cards during a draw, etc. In various alternate configurations certain of these functions (e.g., keeping track of the ante pool) can be performed by a live dealer and not by the controller 304. Furthermore, the electronic controller 304 can indicate to the dealer and/or players (by way of the electronic displays 308 and/or dealer display 312) when a player or players is/are to be awarded the collective pot, jackpot, bad beat jackpot, and/or progressive jackpot corresponding to the poker game in progress.

Other operations can also be performed by the electronic controller 304 corresponding to the play and/or officiating of the current instance of the poker game of the present invention. For example, in an embodiment (not shown) of the table 300 in which tangible chips are not used, the electronic controller 304 receives antes and wagers, and awards the collective pot and/or any jackpots, through the use of virtual chips displayed and manipulated on the electronic displays 308. Still other operations of the electronic controller 304 can be performed. For example, the controller 304 can be used to provide audio output for informational purposes, enhancing excitement of the play of the game, or supplementing visual play of the game. In this way, the table 300 provides for play of one or more poker games (selectively), by two or more players, in accordance with the present invention and in a manner that is substantially automated by virtue of the electronic controller 304, the user interfaces 306 and the dealer display 312 (when provided).

It is to be understood that certain embodiments of the controller 304 can be linked in communication with a central computer or database (not shown) of the house so that information regarding the present status of the poker game in progress can be related to the central computer. Thus, for example, the current value of the collective pot, the total amount of credit in use, the current awarding of a jackpot, etc., for the table 300 can be recorded and/or verified for security purposes using the central computer (not shown).

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view depicting a gaming network 400 in accordance with the yet another embodiment of the present invention. The gaming network 400 includes a plurality of individual gaming machines (hereafter, gaming machine) 402. Each gaming machine 402 includes an electronic controller 404. The electronic controller 404 can be defined by any suitable electronic controller usable to control the gaming machine 402 in accordance with the poker games of the present invention (e.g., the stud poker game of flowchart 100 of FIG. 1, the draw poker game of flowchart 200 of FIG. 2, etc.).

In one embodiment (not shown), the controller 404 includes a processor and a computer-accessible storage media including an executable program code. The executable program code (not shown) is configured to cause the processor to perform numerous operations in accordance with one or more embodiments of poker game according to the present invention. Other forms of electronic controller 404 can also be used. In any case, each of the electronic controllers 404 is configured to be coupled in mutual data communication thus defining a network of gaming machines 402. In this way, the electronic controllers 404 can communicate with each other so as to conduct a multi-player instance of a poker game of the present invention, wherein each player participates in the game by way of a respective gaming machine 402. Although the gaming machines are depicted as being directly connected to one another by communication cables 403, it is appreciated that the gaming tables can be placed in communication by other known means such as the Internet or other network configurations. In another embodiment (not shown), the individual gaming machines 402 are networked by way of wireless communication. Other embodiments can also be used.

Each gaming machine 402 also includes an electronic display 406. Each electronic display 406 is coupled in signal communication with the corresponding electronic controller 404 of the particular gaming machine 402. Each electronic display 406 can be defined by any suitable such electronic display configured to display various kinds of information in accordance with the present instance of a poker game of the present invention. Such displayed information can include, for example, images of playing cards, collective pot amount, present jackpot amounts, available credit, etc. Other information can also be displayed. Typically, each electronic display 406 is defined by a touch-sensitive electronic display such that each constitutes a user (player) interface to the respective electronic controller 404. Other forms of electronic display 406 can also be used, and other user input devices (such as buttons, keys, etc. not shown, can also be used.).

Each gaming machine can (optionally) include additional user interface controls 408. Controls 408 are typically provided in the form of pushbuttons. Other types of user interface controls 408 can also be used. The electronic display 406 and controls 408 are collectively referred to as a user interface 410 within a particular gaming machine 402.

Operation of the gaming network 400 is generally as follows: for purposes of example, it is initially assumed that all of the gaming machines 402 of the gaming network 400 are presently configured (selectively set) to play one embodiment (version, or type) of a poker game of the present invention, for example the draw poker game of the flowchart 200 of FIG. 2.

Next, each player deposits money into their respective gaming machine 402 so as to establish a corresponding amount of playable credit, referred to herein as prepaid credits. This can be done, for example, by way of a conventional currency acceptor (not shown) as is known in the art. The draw poker game in accordance with the present invention then commences once all players have secured their respective gaming credits.

Thereafter, the electronic controllers 404 operate in cooperation with each other and with their respective electronic displays 406 so as to carry out play of the current draw poker game. Generally, play is conducted as a succession of such draw poker games until at least one collective pot has been awarded. Furthermore, any applicable jackpots (bad beat, progressive, etc.) are also awarded during play under the control of the electronic controller(s) 404. Typically, individual players can exit (depart from) the game at any appropriate time of their choosing (e.g., at the beginning of the next game, after folding, etc.), while other (new) players can join at correspondingly appropriate times by way of associated gaming machines 402 of the gaming network 400.

Thus, the gaming network 400 is generally configured to provide for multi-user, substantially random-access (i.e., individually selected entry to and exit from) play of the poker games of the present invention. In another embodiment of the gaming network 400, each of the electronic controllers 404 is configured to permit a player to select from a menu of different poker games of the present invention (draw, stud, etc.) to play against other corresponding players within the same gaming network 400.

For example, a gaming network 400 (not shown) can be provided that includes twenty gaming machines 402, of which fourteen are presently being used to play a draw poker game of the present invention, while the remaining six are used to play a stud poker game of the present invention. Other possible such poker game playing combinations within a single gaming network 400 can also be performed.

In yet another embodiment, the controller 404 of each gaming machine 402 is configured to permit a player to selectively choose to play a poker game of the present invention in a solitaire or “individual play” mode. In such an embodiment, the player is effectively playing against the controller 404, and there is no interaction or competition against other players. Furthermore, such an embodiment (not shown) typically includes simultaneous display of both the player's cards and simulated opponent players cards. Other various embodiments of playing the poker games of the present invention can also be used.

FIG. 5 is a front elevation view depicting an exemplary display 500 in accordance with still another embodiment of the present invention. The display 500 can be provided by way of the electronic displays 308 of FIG. 3, or the electronic displays 406 of FIG. 4. It is to be understood that the display 500 is intended to show exemplary details that are provided to a player during play of the poker games of the present invention, and that other details (not shown) can also be displayed. Alternatively, certain details as depicted in the display 500 of FIG. 5 can also be omitted in particular embodiments of the poker games of the present invention.

The display 500 includes a plurality of card images (hereafter, cards) 502. As depicted, a total of five cards 502 are provided. Other numbers of cards 502 can also be displayed. The display 500 also includes the present values of a bet (wager) 504, a collective pot 506, a progressive jackpot 508 and a prepaid credits 510 available to the player, respectively, which are defined substantially as described above in regard to the stud poker game of flowchart 100 of FIG. 1, the draw poker game of flowchart 200 of FIG. 2., and the gaming machines 402 of FIG. 4.

The display 500 also includes a plurality of controls 512 through 534, inclusive. As depicted in FIG. 5, it is assumed that the controls 512-534 are provided as interactive icons on a suitable touch-sensitive electronic display (e.g., the electronic displays 308 of FIG. 3). In this way, a player activates a particular control 512-534 simply by touching their finger (or a stylus, etc.) generally on that area of the electronic display occupied by the particular control 512-534. Each of the controls 512-534 provides for player actuation of a certain operation or function as indicated by the indicia and/or form of the control 512-534.

For example, a HOLD control 514 permits a player to select and retain the card 502 adjacent to the HOLD control 514 during an election to draw cards 502 while playing a draw version of the poker games of the present invention (e.g., the flowchart 200 of FIG. 2). Once a player's selection of retained cards 502 is made via the corresponding HOLD controls 514-520, a DRAW control 526 is used to signal the associated electronic controller (not shown—see the electronic controller 304 of FIG. 3) that the player is ready to draw (exchange) those non-held cards with the house. Other exemplary operations of other controls 512-534 can also be performed.

In certain embodiments of the present invention, particular of the (interactive icon) controls 512-534 can be associated with other forms of controls provided to a player. For example, each of the HOLD controls 512-520 can be associated with a respective pushbutton control 408 of a gaming machine 402 of FIG. 4. Thus, under such an embodiment, a player can have two (or more) ways in which to actuate a given operation or to make a particular selection during play of a poker game of the present invention.

In another embodiment (not shown), the display 500 can also include meters (not shown) relating game play information regarding, for example: the number of hands (games) played by the player or players thus far; the frequency at which qualifying hands have occurred, resulting in the awarding of the collective pot (i.e., average number of games or hands per win); the frequency at which applicable jackpots or progressive jackpots have been awarded; etc. Such displays of information (meters) can include any suitable graphics and/or indicia and generally tend to stimulate player interest in relatively long-term play of the poker game.

Another embodiment of the present invention provides a gaming table for the play of at least one of the poker games of the present invention. The gaming table includes a plurality of user interfaces. The gaming table also includes an electronic controller coupled in signal communication with each of the user interfaces. Such a gaming table is described in regard to the table 300 of FIG. 3, which includes the electronic controller 304 and the plurality of user interfaces 306. The electronic controller is configured to define a qualifying hand, and to deal an initial hand of at least one card to each of at least two players by way of the user interface corresponding to the player. The electronic controller is also configured to record an initial bet into a collective pot, from each of at least one of the players, by way of the corresponding user interface. The electronic controller is further configured deal at least one later card to each betting player by way of the corresponding user interface.

Furthermore, the electronic controller is also configured to award the collective pot to any betting player who has a best hand that comprises a qualifying hand. In the event that no player has a qualifying hand, the electronic controller is also configured to repeat the dealing an initial hand and the recording an initial bet and the dealing at least one later card until at least one player has a qualifying hand and the collective pot is awarded.

Another embodiment of the present invention provides an electronic controller including a computer-accessible storage media. The computer-accessible storage media includes an executable program code. The executable program code can be configured to cause a corresponding processor to perform the steps recited above in regard to the electronic controller of the gaming table, as well various of the steps described hereafter. Thus, such an electronic controller can be used in conjunction with the gaming table or other suitable apparatus of the present invention.

One variation of the electronic controller of the gaming table is configured to exchange a respectively selected number of cards between the electronic controller and each betting player electing to draw, by way of the corresponding user interface, during the dealing of at least one additional card. Another variation of the electronic controller is configured to record an additional bet into the collective pot from each betting player, by way of the corresponding user interface, before the dealing of at least one later card to each betting player. In still another variation, the electronic controller is configured to record an ante from each of the least two players by way of the corresponding user interface, before dealing the initial hand.

Other respective variations of the electronic controller of the gaming table described above can also be provided. In one such variation, the electronic controller is configured to add a predefined portion of a sum of the antes to a progressive jackpot, and then to award the progressive jackpot (or, a fixed jackpot) to an anteing player upon achieving a corresponding predefined jackpot) hand. In another variation, the electronic controller is configured to extract a rake from the collective pot for a house. In still another variation, the electronic controller is configured to extract a predefined fixed amount from the collective pot for a house. In yet another variation, the electronic controller is configured such that the initial hand and the at least one later card are dealt in a face-up condition, respectively.

The present invention further provides for an individual gaming machine. The individual gaming machine includes a user interface, and an electronic controller. Such an individual gaming machine is described above in regard to the individual gaming machines 402 of FIG. 4, each of which includes a user interface 410 and an electronic controller 404. The electronic controller of the individual gaming machine is coupled in signal communication with the user interface, and is configured to be coupled in signal communication with at least one other electronic controller of another individual gaming machine.

In this way, a cooperative network (i.e., plurality) of such individual gaming machines can be defined. The electronic controller of each individual gaming machine is configured to perform selective of the steps described above in regard to the electronic controller of the gaming table, substantially as described. Thus, various embodiments of the individual gaming machine of the present invention can be defined.

In yet another embodiment the present invention provides for a method of playing a card game of chance wherein one or more players are each dealt an initial hand comprising at least one card. A bet (either an initial bet or a side bet) is accepted from at least one of the players and is added to a pot. A secondary chance activity is then performed (such as dealing another card to one or more of the players, or exchanging at least one card with one or more of the players, or turning a card from a face-down position to a face-up position). Following the secondary chance activity a determination is made if one or more of the players has a hand meeting a predefined criteria. If so, the pot is awarded to that player. If not, the pot is maintained as a collective pot, and the game is repeated until a player has a hand which meets the predefined criteria, at which time the collective pot is awarded to that player. Non-limiting examples of card games of chance to which this method can be applied include blackjack, poker (all variations), slot-jack, etc.

In a further embodiment the present invention provides for a method of playing an electronic game of chance wherein one or more players are each provided (by way of an electronic display) an initial image set comprising one or more virtual images (such as cards, slot machine-type images (cherries, lemons, etc), “blanked” images (i.e., an obscured image) or other images which can be mixed and matches with one another to thereby define a winning set of images. A bet (either an initial bet or a side bet) is accepted from at least one of the players and is added to a pot. A secondary chance activity is then performed (such as providing another virtual image to one or more of the players, or exchanging at least one previously provided virtual image card with one or more of the players, or uncovering a “blanked” virtual image. Following the secondary chance activity a determination is made if one or more of the players has an image set meeting a predefined criteria. If so, the pot is awarded to that player. If not, the pot is maintained as a collective pot, and the game is repeated until a player has an image set which meets the predefined criteria, at which time the collective pot is awarded to that player.

While the above methods and apparatus have been described in language more or less specific as to structural and methodical features, it is to be understood, however, that they are not limited to the specific features shown and described, since the means herein disclosed comprise preferred forms of putting the invention into effect. The methods and apparatus are, therefore, claimed in any of their forms or modifications within the proper scope of the appended claims appropriately interpreted in accordance with the doctrine of equivalents.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/13
International ClassificationG07F17/32, A63F3/00
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3293, A63F3/00157, G07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32P6, A63F3/00A32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 8, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: DIGIDEAL CORPORATION, WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SINES, RANDY D.;REEL/FRAME:014389/0014
Effective date: 20030807