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Publication numberUS20050035552 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/935,021
Publication dateFeb 17, 2005
Filing dateSep 7, 2004
Priority dateApr 12, 2002
Also published asCA2481957A1, EP1499402A1, EP1499402A4, US6817614, US20030193138, WO2003086557A1
Publication number10935021, 935021, US 2005/0035552 A1, US 2005/035552 A1, US 20050035552 A1, US 20050035552A1, US 2005035552 A1, US 2005035552A1, US-A1-20050035552, US-A1-2005035552, US2005/0035552A1, US2005/035552A1, US20050035552 A1, US20050035552A1, US2005035552 A1, US2005035552A1
InventorsSteven Ibbertson, Simon Burgess, Ed Cebulko, Richard Lassiter
Original AssigneeSteven Ibbertson, Simon Burgess, Ed Cebulko, Richard Lassiter
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of conducting a wagering game
US 20050035552 A1
Abstract
A game method for providing a mid-game wager for a base game includes designating at least one intermediate game point and at least one qualifying intermediate holding corresponding to at least one qualifying final result. Players optionally place a base game wager and initiate the base game. The base game is played until an intermediate game point is reached. A player holding a qualifying intermediate holding at the intermediate game point may place an optional mid-game wager. The base game is played to completion. Players with a final holding that is a qualifying final result are rewarded based on the mid-game wager.
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Claims(22)
1. A method for conducting a wagering game applied to a base game, said base game played by a player according to a set of rules that leads to the player obtaining a final holding, comprising:
designating an intermediate game point, a qualifying intermediate holding for said intermediate game point, and a qualifying final result corresponding to said qualifying intermediate holding;
the player making a base game wager and initiating the base game;
conducting said base game according to said set of rules until reaching an intermediate game point;
permitting the player to place a mid-game wager only if the player possesses a predetermined qualifying intermediate holding at an intermediate game point;
conducting said base game according to said set of rules until the player obtains a final holding;
examining the final holding and rewarding the player based on said base wager or collecting the player's base wager according to said set of rules; and
if said player placed a mid-game wager, rewarding said player based on said mid-game wager only if the player's final holding matches a qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding possessed by the player when said mid-game wager was placed.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein said base game is video draw poker in which a player is dealt an initial holding, discards zero or more cards, and receives replacements for the discarded cards, and an intermediate point includes the point prior to discarding zero or more cards.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein said base game is a slot machine having a plurality of reels with a plurality of symbols thereon, the final position in which the reels stop with respect to one or more pay lines determining said final holding, and an intermediate point includes a point after at least one reel but fewer than all the reels have stopped.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein said base game is keno in which a player selects a first quantity of numbers and a second quantity of numbers are drawn, the quantity of selected numbers matching the numbers drawn determining said final holding, and an intermediate point includes a point after at least one number but fewer than the second quantity of the numbers have been drawn.
5. A method for conducting a base game played by a player according to a set of rules using electronic representations of playing cards to obtain a final holding of playing cards, comprising:
designating an intermediate game point, a qualifying intermediate holding of one or more playing cards for said intermediate game point, and a qualifying final result of one or more playing cards corresponding to said qualifying intermediate holding;
the player making a base game wager and initiating the base game;
dealing at least one playing card to said player and conducting said base game according to said set of rules until reaching an intermediate game point;
permitting the player to place a mid-game wager only if the player possesses a qualifying intermediate holding at said intermediate game point;
conducting said base game according to said set of rules until the player obtains a final holding;
examining the final holding and rewarding the player based on said base wager if the player's final holding is a winning hand according to said set of rules; and
if said player placed a mid-game wager, rewarding said player based on said mid-game wager only if the player's final holding matches a qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding possessed by the player when said mid-game wager was placed.
6. The method of claim 5 wherein said base game is video draw poker in which a player is dealt an initial holding of playing cards, discards zero or more playing cards, and receives replacements for the discarded cards, and an intermediate point includes the point prior to discarding zero or more cards.
7. The method of claim 5 further comprising:
designating a plurality of intermediate points, a qualifying intermediate holding of one or more playing cards for said intermediate game point, and a qualifying final holding of one or more playing cards corresponding to each qualifying intermediate holding;
conducting said base game according to said set of rules until reaching each intermediate game point; and
at each intermediate point, permitting the player to place a mid-game wager only if the player possesses a predetermined qualifying intermediate holding at said intermediate game point.
8. The method of claim 5 further comprising, if, at an intermediate point, the player has a holding that forms a winning hand according to said set of rules and a qualifying intermediate holding, rewarding the player based on his base wager prior to said step of conducting said base game to obtain a final holding.
9. The method of claim 5 further comprising, if, at an intermediate point, the player has a holding that forms a winning hand according to said set of rules and a qualifying intermediate holding, rewarding the player based on his base wager and allowing the player to opt to use the reward to place a mid-game wager.
10. The method of claim 5 further comprising:
if, at an intermediate point, the player has a holding that forms a winning hand according to said set of rules and a qualifying intermediate holding, rewarding the player based on his base wager and allowing the player to opt to use the reward to supplement a mid-game wager; and
if said player obtains a final holding matching a qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding possessed by the player when said mid-game wager was placed, rewarding said player on said supplemented mid-game wager.
11. A method of conducting a video draw poker game, comprising:
designating at least one qualifying intermediate holding of one or more playing cards and at least one qualifying final result of one or more playing cards corresponding to said qualifying intermediate holding;
dealing an initial holding of playing cards to said player;
said player selecting to hold zero or more playing cards from said initial holding;
permitting said player to place a mid-game wager only if the playing cards held from said initial holding comprise a qualifying intermediate holding;
discarding the playing cards not selected to be held and replacing the discarded playing cards to form a final holding; and
if said player placed a mid-game wager, rewarding said player based on said mid-game wager only if the player's final holding matches a qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding possessed by the player when said mid-game wager was placed.
12. The method of claim 11 further comprising:
designating a plurality of intermediate points, a qualifying intermediate holding of one or more playing cards for said intermediate game point, and a qualifying final result of one or more playing cards corresponding to each qualifying intermediate holding;
conducting said base game according to said set of rules until reaching each intermediate game point; and
at each intermediate point, permitting the player to place a mid-game wager only if the player possesses a predetermined qualifying intermediate holding at said intermediate game point.
13. The method of claim 11 further comprising:
examining said player's holding at an intermediate game point;
projecting final holdings that can be formed using the player's holding at an intermediate point and determining a strategy of holding playing cards to obtain each projected final holding;
designating a strategy as an optimal strategy; and
if said player placed a mid-game wager and follows a strategy of holding playing cards that is not an optimal strategy, and obtains a final holding matching a qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding possessed by the player when said mid-game wager was placed, issuing a supplemental reward to said player.
14. The method of claim 11 further comprising, if, at an intermediate point, the player has a holding that forms a winning hand according to said set of rules and a mutually exclusive qualifying intermediate holding, rewarding the player based on his base wager prior to said step of conducting said base game to obtain a final holding.
15. The method of claim 11 further comprising, if, at an intermediate point, the player has a holding that forms a winning hand according to said set of rules and a mutually exclusive qualifying intermediate holding, rewarding the player based on his base wager and allowing the player to opt to use the reward to place a mid-game wager.
16. The method of claim 11 further comprising:
if, at an intermediate point, the player has a holding that forms a winning hand according to said set of rules and a mutually exclusive qualifying intermediate holding, rewarding the player based on his base wager and allowing the player to opt to use the reward to supplement a mid-game wager; and
if said player obtains a final holding matching a qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding possessed by the player when said mid-game wager was placed, rewarding said player on said supplemented mid-game wager.
17. A device for conducting a video draw poker game, comprising:
a data processor;
a display communicating with said data processor;
an input device communicating with said data processor;
a bet receiver communicating with said data processor; and
a data storage structure communicating with said data processor, said data storage structure storing electronic representations of playing cards, a schedule of winning poker hands, at least one qualifying intermediate holding, at least one qualifying final result corresponding to said qualifying intermediate holding, and instructions executable by said data processor to conduct said video draw poker game, comprising:
in response to said bet receiver receiving a base wager, said data processor randomly selecting an initial holding of playing cards;
said display displaying said initial holding of playing cards;
receiving input from said player at said input device selecting to hold zero or more playing cards from said initial holding;
permitting said player to place a mid-game wager at said bet receiver only if the playing cards held from said initial holding comprise a qualifying intermediate holding;
said data processor discarding the playing cards not selected to be held and replacing the discarded playing cards to form a final holding;
said data processor examining the final holding and rewarding the player based on said base wager if the player has a winning poker hand or collecting the player's base wager if the player does not have a winning poker hand; and
if a mid-game wager was received at said bet receiver, said data processor rewarding said player based on said mid-game wager only if the player's final holding matches a qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding possessed by the player when said mid-game wager was placed.
18. The device of claim 17 wherein said instructions further comprise:
storing a plurality of intermediate points, a qualifying intermediate holding of one or more playing cards for said intermediate game point, and a qualifying final result of one or more playing cards corresponding to each qualifying intermediate holding;
said data processor conducting said video draw poker game until reaching each intermediate game point; and
at each intermediate point, permitting the player to place a mid-game wager at said bet receiver only if the player possesses a predetermined qualifying intermediate holding at said intermediate game point.
19. The device of claim 17 wherein said instructions further comprise:
said data processor examining said player's holding at an intermediate game point;
said data processor projecting final holdings that can be formed using the player's holding at an intermediate point and determining a strategy of holding playing cards to obtain each projected final holding;
said data processor designating a strategy as an optimal strategy; and
if said player placed a mid-game wager and follows a strategy of holding playing cards that is not an optimal strategy, and obtains a final holding matching a qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding possessed by the player when said mid-game wager was placed, said data processor issuing a supplemental reward to said player.
20. The device of claim 17 wherein said instructions further comprise, if, at an intermediate point, the player has a holding that forms a winning hand and a qualifying intermediate holding, said data processor rewarding the player based on his base wager prior to said step of conducting said base game to obtain a final holding.
21. The device of claim 17 wherein said instructions further comprise:
if, at an intermediate point, the player has a holding that forms a winning hand and a qualifying intermediate holding, said data processor rewarding the player based on his base wager; and
receiving input at said input device from said player opting whether to use the reward to place a mid-game wager.
22. The device of claim 17 wherein said instructions further comprise:
if, at an intermediate point, the player has a holding that forms a winning hand and a qualifying intermediate holding, said data processor rewarding the player based on his base wager;
receiving input at said input device from said player opting whether to use the reward to supplement a mid-game wager; and
if said player obtains a final holding matching a qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding possessed by the player when said mid-game wager was placed, said data processor rewarding said player on said supplemented mid-game wager.
Description
RELATED APPLICATION DATA

The present application is a continuation in part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/121,517, entitled “Method of Conducting a Wagering Game,” filed on Apr. 12, 2002 by Applicants herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to wagering games. Specifically the present invention is a game method that may be applied to a variety of wagering games to permit a separate mid-game wager during game play for qualifying intermediate holdings.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A game well known in the gambling industry is video poker. In the conventional game of video poker known in the art, a gaming machine with an incorporated data processor and display is provided. The gaming machine receives a player's wager thereby prompting the data processor to randomly select a hand of cards from a data structure containing data representing a deck of playing cards. The hand of cards, typically five cards, is displayed face up to represent an initial hand.

The player selects which, if any, of the five cards of the initial hand to hold and prompts the processor, through an input device, to discard the remaining cards. The data processor replaces the discarded cards with cards selected from the data structure containing data representing a deck of cards depleted of the initial hand. The replacements along with the held cards form a final hand.

The video poker device compares the final outcome to a set of pre-determined winning combinations stored in the data structure. Typically, these combinations represent the conventional ranked Poker hands such as a pair of Jacks or better, two pair, three of a kind, and so forth. If the player's final outcome matches a winning combination, the player is rewarded according to a predetermined fixed paytable. Otherwise, the final outcome is deemed to be a loss and the player's wager is retained by the gaming machine.

Another gaming machine known in the art is a slot machine. A slot machine includes a random number generator, which can be either mechanical or electronic, and a set of reels, which also can be either mechanical or electronic. Symbols or symbol sets are randomly selected by the random number generator. If a winning combination of symbols appears on a designated payline, the player is rewarded. If no winning combinations appear on a designated payline, the player's wager is retained by the gaming machine.

It is known in the art that players are attracted to games in which a larger payout is possible. Thus, several methods have been developed to improve payouts for video poker, slot machines, and other wagering games. Two of these methods are secondary games and jackpots.

Secondary games are separate games which are activated by some triggering event occurring during or after the play of a primary game. For example, one secondary game for slot machines is triggered by a designated symbol appearing on the display. Upon triggering, a bonus screen appears in which the gaming machine randomly selects, or a player selects, one or more bonus symbols from a bonus symbol set. Depending on the bonus symbols selected, a bonus is awarded. Rather than a fixed bonus, it is also known to provide a bonus multiplier that multiplies the winnings of the primary game.

Secondary games have also been developed for video poker. For example, one secondary game developed for video poker is triggered if the player has a winning combination. The secondary game is optional and requires no additional wager in exchange for the chance to double the player's winnings.

In the secondary game, one dealer card is displayed face up and four player cards are displayed face down. The player is rewarded when the player selects a player card with a higher value than the dealer card. When the player selects a player card with a lower value than the dealer card, the player loses the amount won from the primary game. The drawbacks of this system are that the player must risk the player's winnings to play the secondary game and the outcome of the secondary game is not tied to the outcome of the primary game.

Progressive jackpots also encourage continued play by making the game exciting, suspenseful, and entertaining. In such a jackpot, a portion of each primary wager is allocated to a progressive jackpot. The prize is generally awarded based on the ultimate outcome of the primary game. However, the odds of obtaining a progressive jackpot are very low.

Thus, it can be seen that there is a need in the art for a method for increasing the payouts of a game such as video poker, slot machines, and other wagering games.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present method may be applied to any gaming game. The game method begins with designating an intermediate game point, a qualifying intermediate holding, and a qualifying final result.

In one optional embodiment, a player makes a base game wager and initiates the base game. In another optional embodiment, a base game wager is not required. The base game is played according to the rules governing play of the base game until reaching a predefined intermediate game point. If the player possesses a predefined qualifying intermediate holding at the intermediate game point, the player is permitted to place a mid-game wager.

The base game is played to completion. In an embodiment in which the player placed a base game wager, the player is rewarded, if at all, based on his base game wager for his or her final holding. If the final holding is also a qualifying final result, the player is also rewarded based on his or her mid-game wager.

In an embodiment directed to video card games, such as video draw poker, the present method utilizes electronic representations of playing cards to obtain a final holding of playing cards. An intermediate game point is designated. Optionally, multiple intermediate game points are designated. At least one qualifying intermediate holding of one or more playing cards is designated for the intermediate game point and at least one qualifying final result of one or more playing cards corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding are designated.

In an optional embodiment, a player places a base game wager. In an alternate optional embodiment, a base game wager is not required. The base game is initiated and at least at least one playing card is dealt to the player. The base game is conducted according to the rules of the game until an intermediate game point is reached. In one optional embodiment directed to video draw poker, an intermediate game point may include a point after an initial holding of playing cards is dealt to a player but before the player discards and replaces selected playing cards.

If, at the intermediate game point, the player has a qualifying intermediate holding, the player is permitted to place a mid-game wager. The base game continues until the player obtains a final holding. In an optional embodiment in which a base wager is placed, the base wager is resolved. For example, in video draw poker, resolving the base wager may include comparing the final holding to a schedule of winning poker hands and rewarding the player based on his base wager if the final holding is a winning poker hand.

If the player placed a mid-game wager, the player is rewarded based on the mid-game wager if the player's final holding matches a qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding possessed by the player when the mid-game wager was placed.

Any number of optional variations could be conducted including if the player has a winning holding and a qualifying intermediate holding at an intermediate point, rewarding the player on the winning holding prior to the player continuing play to obtain a corresponding qualifying final result. The reward may optionally be paid to the player, or the player may have to option to use the reward to place a mid-game wager or supplement a mid-game wager.

In another optional variation, at an intermediate point, the player's holding is examined and the strategies needed to obtain final holdings possible based on the player's holding are projected. One of the strategies is designated an optimal strategy. If the player places a mid-game wager and, by doing so, deviates from the designated optimal strategy, the player is rewarded with a supplemental award to a mid-game wager reward if the player receives a qualifying final result corresponding to the player's qualifying intermediate holding. It is noted that the supplemental award may be grouped with, or separate from, any other award.

A device for conducting a video draw poker game includes a data processor communicating with a display, an input device, a bet receiver, and a data storage structure. The data storage structure stores electronic representations of playing cards, a schedule of winning poker hands, at least one qualifying intermediate holding, at least one qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding, and instructions executable by the data processor to conduct the video draw poker game. The instructions include randomly selecting an intitial holding of playing cards in response to the bet receiver receiving a base wager. The display displays the initial holding and the input device receives input from the player selecting to hold zero or more playing cards from the initial holding. If the playing cards held from the initial holding comprise a qualifying intermediate holding, the player is permitted to place a mid-game wager at the bet receiver.

Playing cards not held are discarded and replaced to form a final holding. The data processor examines the final holding and rewards the player based on the base wager if the player has a winning poker hand according to the stored schedule of winning poker hands.

If the player placed a mid-game wager at the bet receiver, the data processor rewards the player based on the mid-game wager if the player's final holding matches a qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding possessed by the player when the mid-game wager was placed.

The optional variations and additions previously described may be included in the method conducted by the data processor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a flowchart of a gaming method according to an optional embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a gaming device according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a front view of a display of an example video draw poker game conducted according to an embodiment of the present invention before initiation;

FIG. 4 is a front view of a display of the example video draw poker game of FIG. 3 after an initial deal;

FIG. 5 is a front view of a display of the example video draw poker game of FIG. 4 after playing cards are selected to be held;

FIG. 6 is a front view of a display of the example video draw poker game of FIG. 5 after replacement playing cards are dealt;

FIG. 7 is a front view of a display of an alternate example video draw poker game of FIG. 5 after replacement playing cards are dealt;

FIG. 8 is a flowchart of a gaming method according to an optional embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION

Reference is now made to the figures wherein like parts are referred to by like numerals throughout. The game method of the present invention could be applied to any of a variety of base games including, but not limited to, video card games, slot machines, Keno machines, or the like. Likewise, it is contemplated that the present invention could be applied to games played via computer network, such as the Internet, as well as to live games and gaming machines. Thus, it should be noted that the description of the optional embodiments below is exemplary of the claims rather than limiting.

Referring to FIG. 1, the broad game method includes designating at least one intermediate point 26 for the game, at least one qualifying intermediate holding 28 for each intermediate point 26 designated, and at least one qualifying final result 42 for each qualifying intermediate holding 28 designated. The selection of the intermediate point, a qualifying intermediate holding, and a qualifying final result may be fixed and predetermined by the rules of the game, may vary in some fashion, including random, from play to play, or may depend in whole or in part upon player input prior to initiating game play.

The intermediate point 26 or intermediate points 26 depend upon the base game. It is contemplated that an intermediate point could be any predetermined point in the game between wagering and resolution. It is further contemplated that in an optional embodiment, more than one intermediate point may be designated.

For example, for a video draw poker machine, the intermediate point may be after the initial deal but before cards are discarded and replaced. Likewise, for a slot machine, the intermediate point may be after some, but fewer than all, the slot reels have stopped spinning. It is noted that the intermediate point may be fixed or may vary depending upon game play of a specific game. Thus, for some symbols, the intermediate point may be when one symbol appears, for other symbols, the intermediate point may be when two symbols appear. Similarly, in a Keno machine, the intermediate point may be after some, but fewer than all, the numbers have been drawn.

A qualifying intermediate holding is also designated 28. The qualifying intermediate holding is the holding required at the predetermined intermediate point to participate in the mid-game wager of the present invention. It should be noted that more than one qualifying intermediate holding may be designated. Again, the qualifying intermediate holding will vary depending on the base game. However, the qualifying intermediate holding forms the basis for a recognized outcome.

For example, in video poker the qualifying intermediate holding may be any one, two, three, four, or five card hand such as three or four cards to a Royal Flush, a three of a kind, four cards to a straight, or the like. In fact, the qualifying intermediate holding may be a hand that is dissimilar to a hand with a high poker ranking. For example, a qualifying intermediate hand may have no significance at all, except that it is designated a qualifying intermediate hand. Similarly, in a slot machine, the qualifying intermediate holding may be any designated number of reels with any designated symbols in a designated position such as two reels with matching symbols on a payline or a symbol and a multiplier on a payline. In an optional embodiment for Keno, a qualifying intermediate holding may be any catch out of the quantity of numbers selected after a quantity of numbers have been drawn, such as a catch of four numbers out of seven selected after ten numbers have been drawn.

With continued reference to FIG. 1, a qualifying final result is also designated 42 for each qualifying intermediate holding. The qualifying final result is the final holding required at the end of the base game that results in a payout to the player based on a mid-game wager as discussed below. The qualifying final result is related to the corresponding qualifying intermediate holding in that the qualifying final result is the successful completion of the qualifying intermediate holding held at the intermediate point or intermediate points.

In one optional embodiment, only one qualifying final result is designated for each qualifying intermediate holding. For example, in a video draw poker machine embodiment, if the qualifying intermediate holding is four to a Royal Flush, the qualifying final result is a Royal Flush. Similarly, if the qualifying intermediate holding is three of a kind, the qualifying final result is four of a kind.

It is also contemplated that multiple qualifying final results may correspond to each qualifying intermediate holding. For example, in one optional video draw poker embodiment, the player may be prompted to select the qualifying final result he wishes to wager upon based upon his qualifying intermediate holding. In such an alternate embodiment, a player with four to a Royal Flush may be prompted to select a qualifying final result from a Royal Flush or a straight flush with a corresponding adjustment in payout. Alternatively, the game rules themselves may account for the likelihood of each qualifying final result occurring based on the corresponding qualifying intermediate holding. In such an optional embodiment, a set of poker hands, such as Royal Flush, a straight flush, a straight, and a flush, may all be designated as qualifying final results with corresponding adjustments in payouts, for a qualifying intermediate holding of four to a Royal Flush.

Turning to an optional slot machine embodiment, if the qualifying intermediate holding is two matching symbols on a payline, the qualifying final result may be a matching third symbol on a payline. Similarly, in a slot machine embodiment with multiple paylines, the qualifying intermediate holding could be two matching symbols on one or more paylines and the qualifying final result could be a matching third symbol on one or more paylines. For a Keno machine, if the qualifying intermediate holding is a catch of four of seven selected after ten drawn, the qualifying final result may be six of seven selected.

Referring again to FIG. 1, in an optional embodiment the player begins game play by placing 20 a base game wager and initiating 22 the base game. However, it is contemplated that in an optional embodiment, a base game wager may not be required. The base game is conducted in conventional fashion 24 until the predetermined intermediate point is reached. Upon reaching the intermediate point, the player's holding is compared 30 to the qualifying intermediate holding. If the player possesses a qualifying intermediate holding, an optional mid-game wager becomes available 32 to the player. The mid-game wager is a wager that the player will receive a qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding he possessed at the intermediate point. It is contemplated that in the rare instance that a player possesses a qualifying intermediate holding that is also a qualifying final result, the player may be allowed to place a mid-game wager or, alternatively, not be allowed to place a mid-game wager as determined by the game rules.

Relating to this, in an optional embodiment shown in FIG. 7, specific provisions may be made for a player who obtains an qualifying intermediate holding that is a winning hand according to the base rules and, consequently, would qualify the player for a reward on any base wager amount. In one optional embodiment, such a winning hand would be mutually exclusive of the qualifying intermediate holding. For example, if a player holds K⋄ 9

J⋄ 10⋄ Q⋄, the player holds a winning hand of a straight but also holds four cards to a Royal Flush. Since the player cannot hold both, these hands are mutually exclusive. In such a case, the player may be rewarded on his base wager for the winning hand, i.e. the straight in the example, at the intermediate point before the player forms a final holding rather than after forming a final holding. In such an optional embodiment the player would be able to place a mid-game wager and attempt to obtain the Royal Flush, already having been rewarded for the dealt straight. In a further optional embodiment, the reward on the base wager for the winning hand dealt may be automatically or at the player's option rolled into the mid-game wager so no additional wager need be made. Alternatively, the reward may be added to any mid-game wager so that a player winning the mid-game wager would be paid on the mid-game wager supplemented by the reward.

The size of the mid-game wager is not subject to any express limits other than those set by the house depending on the payouts and the desired house advantage. However, it is contemplated that the mid-game wager limit may be adjusted to make the wager attractive to the player.

The base game continues and the player obtains 34 a final holding. In one embodiment of the method, the base wager and mid-game wager are rewarded separately. In such an embodiment, the player is rewarded 38 based his base wager for his final holding according to the rules of the base game. If the player made 36 the optional mid-game wager, the player's final holding is then compared 40 to the qualifying final results corresponding to the player's intermediate holding. If the player's final holding matches a qualifying final result, or a selected qualifying final result in an optional embodiment, the player is also rewarded 46 based on his mid-game wager. It is contemplated that the mid-game wager reward could be any form including a fixed reward, a progressive reward, or any other type of reward. Conversely, if the player's final holding does not match a qualified final result, the player's mid-game wager is collected 44.

In an optional embodiment, a winning mid-game wager acts to multiply the reward on the base wager. Put another way, a multiplier applied to the base wager reward is the reward associated with the mid-game wager.

It should be noted that it is not enough that the player win the base wager to win the mid-game wager. Rather the player must receive a qualifying final result. For example, in a video draw poker embodiment, if an intermediate qualifying holding is four to a Royal Flush and, at the intermediate point, the player's hand comprises 10

J Q K 5 and places a mid-game wager with the goal of obtaining a Royal Flush, he will not be rewarded on his mid-game wager for discarding the 5 and drawing a K even if he is rewarded on his base wager for a pair of Kings. He will only be rewarded for obtaining a qualifying final result, or a selected qualifying final result in an optional embodiment, corresponding to his qualifying intermediate holding. Players rewarded for obtaining a qualifying final result may be paid at any rate including true odds or more.

This will, under some circumstances, cause a player to follow a strategy that may not be the optimal strategy for a game. In an optional embodiment, the player's holding at an intermediate point is examined and the final holdings that can be formed from the player's holding are projected. The strategy or strategies required for the player to obtain those projected final holdings are also projected. At least one of those strategies is designated an optimal strategy. More than one strategy may be designated an optimal strategy and the designation may be random or based on any factor or factors including the odds of obtaining the projected final holding, the payout of the projected final holding, or any other factor.

For example, in an embodiment directed to video draw poker, a player may be dealt a hand of 4

5 6 7 J. Depending upon the playing cards held and the replacement cards dealt, such a hand could become a straight (by discarding the J and attempting an 8 or 3), flush (by discarding the 5 and attempting to obtain a heart), or straight flush (by discarding the 5 and J to obtain the 5 and either the 3 or 8). In this case, holding the four hearts and attempting to obtain a flush would be the strategy most likely to produce a winning outcome and, thus, may be designated an optimal strategy. Holding the consecutive cards has a similar, albeit slightly lower, probability of success and may, or may not, be designated an optimal strategy, depending upon whether the particular embodiment allows for multiple optimal strategies (although the present invention contemplates single or multiple optimal strategies) and the factors, if any, used to designate the optimal strategy. For the sake of the example, however, the flush is optionally designated the optimal strategy. For a player in such an example game who places a mid-game wager and holds playing cards that implement a strategy different from the optimal strategy, and succeeds in winning the mid-game wager, a supplemental reward may be issued. This supplemental reward may be issued in any fashion including a separate reward or an increased reward on the mid-game wager amount.

The present invention also embraces a gaming machine for conducting the gaming method described above. With reference to FIG. 2, a gaming machine according to the present invention includes a display 54, a data processor 50 communicating with the display 54, a data storage structure 52 communicating with the data processor 50, an input device 58 communicating with the data processor 50, and a bet receiver 56 communicating with the data processor 50. The data storage structure 52 may be any type including optical, magnetic, ROM, EPROM, EAROM, RAM, or any other type of storage. The data storage structure 52 stores instructions embodying the method described above, images used during gameplay, and any other data that may be necessary to make the gaming machine operable.

The data processor initiates game play in response to receiving a wager at the bet receiver 56. The data processor conducts game play and prompts the display 54 to display images according to the conduct of the base game. Upon reaching an intermediate point, the data processor 50 examines the player's holding and determines whether the mid-game wager is available to the player. If the mid-game wager is available, the data processor 50 prompts the player, such as through displaying a message at the display 54, to place a mid-game wager if desired. The data processor monitors to determine whether the mid-game wager was received at the bet receiver 56.

Again, the base game is conducted by the data processor 50 to a final holding according to the base game rules stored at the data storage structure 52. Upon reaching a final holding, the data processor 50 compares the player's final holding to the qualifying final result corresponding to the qualifying intermediate holding possessed by the player at the intermediate point at which the mid-game wager was placed. If the player's final holding is a qualifying final result, the data processor 50 directs a reward to be issued to the player based on the mid-game wager.

Turning to FIGS. 3-8, an example game of the present invention as applied to video draw poker played on a gaming machine of the present invention is shown. With reference to FIGS. 1-8, an optional base game wager is placed 20 at a bet receiver 56. In an optional embodiment, touchscreen buttons 72, 74, 76 on the display 54 or push buttons (not shown) may be used to place a base wager using a BET 1 button 72 or BET MAX button 74. As shown in FIG. 3, prior to initiating the game, the display may optionally show overturned playing cards and a schedule 78 of winning poker hands along with payouts. In the example of FIGS. 3-7, the schedule shows final holdings that will result in a payout and the payouts associated with the final holdings for one through five coin wagers. It is noted that this is an example only and that the particular payouts, the particular final holdings, and the particular quantity of coin wagers for which payouts are given, as well as the information displayed and the way the information is displayed, may vary.

Referring generally to FIGS. 3-8, the video draw poker game is initiated 22, optionally by using a DRAW button 76, and a hand 60 of playing cards is dealt 25 to the player. While the hand 60 could be of any size, in this example of an optional embodiment five playing cards 62, 64, 66, 68, 70 are dealt. In this example of an optional embodiment, shown in FIG. 4, the player has been dealt a hand 60 consisting of K

K Q 10 K⋄.

The player may select to hold zero or more playing cards and discard and replace 35 the remaining playing cards. In this case, the player may hold the K

K K⋄ to guarantee a payout for three of a kind and possibly improve to four of a kind or full house. Alternatively, the player may hold the K Q 10 to possibly improve to a Royal Flush.

As discussed above, in an optional embodiment, the player may be rewarded at this point for the three of a kind dealt. However, this is entirely optional and it is contemplated that the method could be conducted without such a step.

As discussed above, in another optional embodiment, the data processor may determine an optimal strategy at this point, such as holding the K

K K⋄. A player who does not follow the optimal strategy by placing a mid-game wager and holding the K Q 10 may receive a supplemental reward if the player succeeds in obtaining a Royal Flush (or straight flush depending upon the qualifying final result associated with this qualifying intermediate holding). However, this too is entirely optional and the method may be conducted with or without such a step.

With particular reference to FIGS. 5 and 8, the player elects to hold K

Q 10. Assuming for this example that three cards to a Royal Flush is designated 30 a qualifying intermediate holding, the mid-game wager becomes available 32 if the player holds these playing cards. This is also reflected in the additional line 80 on the pay schedule 78 that indicates a payout for each coin of the mid-game wager placed by the player if the final qualifying hand (Royal Flush in this case) is obtained.

Turning to FIGS. 6 and 8, the discarded K

K⋄ have been replaced 35 by J A and the player has obtained a final holding of Royal Flush. Assuming that the player in this example game wagered five coins as a base wager and five coins as a mid-game wager, the player in such a situation is rewarded 46 with 4000 coins for obtaining a Royal Flush for his base wager and an additional 5405 coins for obtaining a Royal Flush for his mid-game wager. If the player had held the K Q 10 but not placed a mid-game wager, the player would have only been rewarded 38 with 4000 coins for obtaining a Royal Flush for his base wager. Similarly, if the player had placed a four-coin base wager and a two-coin mid-game wager, the player would have been rewarded 46 with 3200 coins for his base wager plus 2162 coins for his mid-game wager.

Turning to FIGS. 7 and 8, an alternate outcome for the hand of FIG. 5 is illustrated. In this case, the player has discarded the same cards, K

K⋄, but the replacement cards Q 10 only give the player a final holding of two pair. The player in this example would be rewarded 44 for obtaining two pair, i.e. paid 10 coins for a five-coin wager, for example, but the player would not be rewarded on his mid-game wager, if any, because the final qualifying result, in this case a Royal Flush, was not obtained.

While certain embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described it is to be understood that the present invention is subject to many modifications and changes without departing from the spirit and scope of the claims presented herein.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7588251 *Sep 9, 2005Sep 15, 2009Bally Gaming, Inc.System and method for playing a poker game
US7682248 *Jun 6, 2007Mar 23, 2010IgtGaming system and method for enabling a player to select progressive awards to try for and chances of winning progressive awards
US8235783Jan 15, 2008Aug 7, 2012Wms Gaming Inc.Wagering games utilizing a play or pass methodology related application data
US8834247 *Feb 17, 2006Sep 16, 2014Wms Gaming Inc.Video poker wagering game having bonus hands based on qualifying hand
US20110218028 *Mar 5, 2010Sep 8, 2011Acres John FEntertainment game-based gaming device
Classifications
U.S. Classification273/292, 463/20
International ClassificationA63F3/00
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3267, G07F17/32, A63F3/00157
European ClassificationG07F17/32M4, A63F3/00A32, G07F17/32