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Publication numberUS20060089189 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/261,225
Publication dateApr 27, 2006
Filing dateOct 27, 2005
Priority dateOct 27, 2004
Publication number11261225, 261225, US 2006/0089189 A1, US 2006/089189 A1, US 20060089189 A1, US 20060089189A1, US 2006089189 A1, US 2006089189A1, US-A1-20060089189, US-A1-2006089189, US2006/0089189A1, US2006/089189A1, US20060089189 A1, US20060089189A1, US2006089189 A1, US2006089189A1
InventorsKevin Harvey
Original AssigneeHarvey Kevin T
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System and method for league gaming
US 20060089189 A1
Abstract
A system and method for playing a card game, e.g. Poker, using a team format includes associating participants with two or more teams, and conducting two or more sets of card games wherein a participant on one team competes with participants of one or more other teams. Scores are computed for each participant based on that participant's performance. The scores for the participants of each team are combined, and the team with the best combined score wins. The card games are conducted with the aid of one or more computers, either within a gambling casino or over the Internet.
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Claims(23)
1. A method for playing Poker using a team format, said method including the steps of:
a. forming a group of at least four participants;
b. associating at least a first and a second participant with a first team, and associating at least a third and a fourth participant with a second team;
c. conducting a first set of Poker games wherein said first participant on said first team competes against at least said third participant on said second team;
d. computing a score for said first participant based upon said first participant's performance in said first set of Poker games relative to the performance of other participants to said first set of Poker games;
e. computing a score for said third participant based upon said third participant's performance in said first set of Poker games relative to the performance of other participants to said first set of Poker games;
f. conducting a second set of Poker games wherein said second participant on said first team competes against at least said fourth participant on said second team;
g. computing a score for said second participant based upon said second participant's performance in said second set of Poker games relative to the performance of other participants to said second set of Poker games;
h. computing a score for said fourth participant based upon said fourth participant's performance in said second set of Poker games relative to the performance of other participants to said first set of Poker games;
i. combining the scores for said first and second participants on said first team to compute a first team score;
j. combining the scores for said third and fourth participants on said second team to compute a second team score; and
k. awarding a prize to the team with the best combined score.
2. The method for playing Poker recited by claim 1 wherein said method is performed at a gambling casino, and wherein said first, second, third, and fourth participants are all physically present at said gambling casino.
3. The method for playing Poker recited by claim 2 wherein said first set of Poker games are conducted at a first gambling table at which said first and third participants are present, and wherein said second set of Poker games are conducted at a second gambling table at which said second and fourth participants are present.
4. The method for playing Poker recited by claim 1 wherein said method is performed over a computer network.
5. The method for playing Poker recited by claim 4 wherein each of said first, second, third and fourth participants uses a computer to participate in a Poker game, and wherein at least one of said first, second, and third participants is located remotely from said fourth participant.
6. The method recited by claim 1, wherein said steps of computing scores for participants, and combining scores for participants associated with the same team, are performed by a computer.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein said first, second, third and fourth participants are amateur Poker players.
8. The method of claim 1 wherein said first, second, third and fourth participants are professional Poker players.
9. The method of claim 1 wherein said first, second, third and fourth participants are celebrities.
10. The method of claim 1 wherein said first, second, third and fourth participants are sports stars.
11. The method of claim 1 wherein said first and second sets of Poker games are of the version known as Texas Holdem.
12. A method for playing a card game using a team format, said method including the steps of:
a. forming a group of at least four participants;
b. associating at least a first and a second participant with a first team, and associating at least a third and a fourth participant with a second team;
c. conducting a first set of card games wherein said first participant on said first team competes against at least said third participant on said second team;
d. computing a score for said first participant based upon said first participant's performance in said first set of card games relative to the performance of other participants to said first set of card games;
e. computing a score for said third participant based upon said third participant's performance in said first set of card games relative to the performance of other participants to said first set of card games;
f. conducting a second set of card games wherein said second participant on said first team competes against at least said fourth participant on said second team;
g. computing a score for said second participant based upon said second participant's performance in said second set of card games relative to the performance of other participants to said second set of card games;
h. computing a score for said fourth participant based upon said fourth participant's performance in said second set of card games relative to the performance of other participants to said first set of card games;
i. combining the scores for said first and second participants on said first team to compute a first team score;
j. combining the scores for said third and fourth participants on said second team to compute a second team score; and
k. awarding a prize to the team with the best combined score.
13. The method for playing a card game recited by claim 12 wherein said method is performed at a gambling casino, and wherein said first, second, third, and fourth participants are all physically present at said gambling casino.
14. The method for playing a card game recited by claim 13 wherein said first set of card games are conducted at a first gambling table at which said first and third participants are present, and wherein said second set of card games are conducted at a second gambling table at which said second and fourth participants are present.
15. The method for playing a card game recited by claim 12 wherein said method is performed over a computer network.
16. The method for playing a card game recited by claim 15 wherein each of said first, second, third and fourth participants uses a computer to participate in a card game, and wherein at least one of said first, second, and third participants is located remotely from said fourth participant.
17. The method recited by claim 12 wherein said steps of computing scores for participants, and combining scores for participants associated with the same team, are performed by a computer.
18. The method of claim 12 wherein said first, second, third and fourth participants are celebrities.
19. The method of claim 12 wherein said first, second, third and fourth participants are sports stars.
20. A computerized system to facilitate team play of card gaming, the computerized system comprising in combination:
a. a first computer for use by a first participant associated with a first team;
b. a second computer for use by a second participant associated with a second team;
c. a third computer for use by a third participant associated with said first team;
d. a fourth computer for use by a fourth participant associated with said second team;
e. a computer network linking the first and second computers to each other for allowing the first and second participants to compete against each other for team points in a first set of card gaming, the computer network also linking the third and fourth computers to each other for allowing the third and fourth participants to compete against each other for team points in a second set of card gaming;
f. a central server computer coupled to said computer network, the central server computer tallying together team points earned by participants of each team to compute an overall team score for each team.
21. The computerized system of claim 20 wherein the central server computer computes the team points earned by each of the first, second, third, and fourth participants.
22. The computerized system of claim 20 wherein the computer network comprises a local area network.
23. The computerized system of claim 20 wherein the computer network comprises the internet.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application relates to subject matter described in, and claims priority to, a provisional application entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR LEAGUE GAMING,” assigned Ser. No. 60/622,448, filed Oct. 27, 2004, and describing an invention made by the present inventor.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to a gaming process whereby participants compete in gambling games in a league format utilizing teams, and more particularly, to a process and method for playing the card game of Poker in a league format.

2. Description of the Related Art

Since its inception in approximately 1834, Poker has always been a popular gambling game. With the advent of the World Series of Poker in 1970, the game of Poker gained additional publicity and popularity. In recent years, with the addition of cameras that can see hole (face-down) cards, the game has begun to be televised and has grown enormously in popularity. This particularly applies to the version of Poker known as “Texas Holdem”. In this version of the game, each player is initially dealt two cards face down. A first round of betting then occurs. After this first round of betting, three communal cards are dealt face up, and then a second round of betting takes place. After the second round of betting is completed, a fourth communal card is dealt face up and a third round of betting takes place. Finally, a fifth communal card is dealt face up. The player with the best five-card hand, using the five communal cards and the two individual cards originally dealt to such player, wins the game.

Playing Poker has heretofore been an individual effort. Each player plays against one or more competitors, but Poker players have not been able to combine their efforts as a group or team. Thus, each player wins or loses solely in accordance with the skill possessed by, and luck enjoyed by, each such player. On the other hand, people often like to engage in sporting events and other social activities as teams in order to share the rewards of success, as well as the risks of failure Team play is common in bowling leagues, for example, and is particularly popular among persons who are employed by the same employer. Participating as a team helps to build comradery and friendship among the members of a team.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a method that allows groups of two or more persons to engage in Poker, or another card game in which gambling is an element, as a team.

Another object of the present invention is to provide such a method wherein participants can be present together at a gambling casino, social hall, or the like while engaging in such team play.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide such a method wherein, alternatively, one or more of the participants can engage in such activity from remote locations over a computer network.

A further object of the present invention is to provide such a method wherein a computer is used to combine scores of participants who are associated with the same team.

These and other objects of the present invention will become more apparent to those skilled in the art as the description thereof proceeds.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly described, and in accordance with a preferred embodiment thereof, the present invention relates to a method for playing a card game, for example, Poker, using a team format, among at least four participants. Two or more of such participants (including first and second participants) are associated with a first team, and two or more different participants (including third and fourth participants) are associated with a second team. A first set of card games is conducted wherein the first participant on the first team competes against at least the third participant on the second team, and perhaps against other participants on other teams. The first and third participants (as well as any other participants to the first set of card games) are scored based upon their relative performance in the first set of card games. Similarly, a second set of card games is conducted wherein the second participant on the first team competes against at least the fourth participant on the second team, and perhaps against other participants on other teams. The second and fourth participants (as well as any other participants to the second set of card games) are scored based upon their relative performance in the second set of card games. The scores for the participants on each team are then combined to compute a first team score and a second team score (along with additional team scores, if more than two teams are participating). An award is then presented to the team with the best combined score. The result is that each participant participates on behalf of his or her team, and the teams compete against each other in a league of teams.

In one preferred embodiment of the invention, the method described above is performed at a gambling casino at which the participants are all physically present. In this event, it is preferred that the first set of card games is conducted at a first gambling table at which said first and third participants are present, and wherein the second set of card games are conducted at a second gambling table at which the second and fourth participants are present.

In an alternate preferred embodiment, the method described above is performed over a computer network. This computer network may either be an intranet wherein all networked computers are physically present in the same locale, or an internet wherein at least some of the networked computers are physically remote from each other. In either case, the first and third participants each use a computer to participate in the first set of card games, and wherein the second and fourth participants each use a computer to participate in the second set of card games. Preferably, each of the participant computers is linked over the computer network to a central server computer. In one preferred embodiment, the central server computer computes and tracks the score for each participant, and also computes and tracks overall team scores.

The participants engaged in the above-described method may be amateur card players or professional card players. To foster additional popularity for such team play, the participants may also be celebrities and/or sports stars. In the preferred embodiment, the card game in which the participants are engaged is the game of Poker, preferably the version known as Texas Holdem.

Another aspect of the present invention relates to a computerized system that facilitates team play of card gaming in the manner described above. The computerized system includes at least a first computer for use by a first participant associated with a first team; a second computer for use by a second participant associated with a second team; a third computer for use by a third participant associated with the first team; and a fourth computer for use by a fourth participant associated with the second team. A computer network links the first and second computers to each other for allowing the first and second participants to compete against each other for team points in a first set of card gaming. Likewise, the computer network also links the third and fourth computers to each other for allowing the third and fourth participants to compete against each other for team points in a second set of card gaming. A central server computer coupled to the computer network coordinates the first, second, third and fourth computers, and tallies together team points earned by participants of each team to compute an overall team score for each team. Preferably, the central server computer also computes the team points earned individually by each of the first, second, third, and fourth participants. The aforementioned computer network may be in the form of a local area network, assuming that the aforementioned computers are located relatively close to each other, as within a casino. Alternatively, the aforementioned computer network may be the internet in the case wherein one or more of such computers are located remotely from the others.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a table showing an example of scoring for a first group of eight participants playing on behalf of eight respective teams at a “first gambling table” in conjunction with a first set of card games.

FIG. 2 is a table showing an example of scoring for a second group of eight participants playing on behalf of the same eight respective teams at a “second gambling table” in conjunction with a second set of card games.

FIG. 3 is a table showing the overall team scores for the eight teams after combining the scores of the respective participants at the first and second gaming tables.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a computer system implementation of the method of team play described herein.

FIG. 5 is a flow chart showing the steps performed in implementing a preferred form of the method of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

An example of a preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated by FIGS. 1-3. FIG. 1 shows an example of how players in a league, all competing at a first gaming table, could have their scores determined based on their respective positions following the final round of play at such gaming table. Still referring to FIG. 1, Table 1 is a chart listing eight participants (A-H) each associated with one of eight respective teams (Team 1-Team 8). Player A is associated with Team 1; player B is associated with Team 2; and so forth. Each of participants A-H engages in a first set of card games at a first table. This “first table” may be a physical table, for example, a physical card gaming table in a casino, or a virtual card gaming table formed by a series of networked computers. As shown in FIG. 1, each of players A-H is ranked in position ranging from first position (or “1”) to eighth position (or “8”). These rankings are based upon how well each such player performed over the course of the first set of card games at the first gaming table. Based upon such ranking, each player receives an amount of team points. In the illustrated example, first position receives ten team points, second position receives seven team points, third position receives six team points, and so forth, down to eighth position which receives one team point. The above-described scoring formula is merely an example and can be readily modified to suit the particular league. In this instance, a weighting is given to the player that finishes first at the table, but this is an optional scoring refinement and is not required.

Similarly, in FIG. 2, Table 2 is a chart listing eight additional participants (I-P) each associated with one of the aforementioned Teams 1-8. Player I is associated with Team 1; player J is associated with Team 2; and so forth. Thus, players A and I are team mates; players B and J are team mates; etc. Each of participants I-P engages in a second set of card games at a second tablet. Once again, this “second table” may be a physical table, for example, a second physical card gaming table in the aforementioned casino, or a second virtual card gaming table formed by a series of networked computers. As shown in FIG. 2, each of players I-P is again ranked in position ranging from first position (or “1”) to eighth position (or “8”), depending upon how well each such player performed over the course of the second set of card games at the second gaming table. Players I-P likewise receive team points based upon their respective rankings, preferably using the same formula applied for the player rankings at Table 1. While only two “tables” are illustrated in the patent drawings, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the number of tables could be increased if there are a sufficient number of participants.

FIG. 3 is a table that combines the team points from FIGS. 1 and 2 to compute total team points for Teams 1-8. Thus, Table 3 of FIG. 3 shows current league standings on a team-wide basis, including each team's current total score and current positional standing within the league. These results are carried forward within the league until all rounds of the league play have been completed. These rounds can occur sequentially or over a period of time, e.g., weekly, monthly or quarterly. As indicated in FIG. 3, Team 1 has the highest number of team points (17 points), while Team 8 has the lowest number of team points (2 points). The respective ranking for Teams 1-8 is also indicated in the right-most column of the table in FIG. 3. Thus, if the activity recorded in FIGS. 1-3 represents the final stage of a league tournament, then Team 1 (players A and I) would win the tournament.

While eight teams are illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, the league can be comprised of as many teams as are best suited to the playing venue. As mentioned above, the number of gaming tables (and the number of players on each team) can be two or more. Each team can be comprised of the number of players that best suits the playing venue and logistics of the league. It is recommended that each team have four or five representatives playing in the league games, and that the teams be comprised of additional reserve players to ensure full team participation in each round of the league.

For league play, it is preferred that each team pay an entry fee at the beginning of the league season; monetary prizes, or other prizes, can be awarded to higher ranking teams at the end of the league season. The size of the fee and prize monies can be tailored by league and venue as appropriate.

For each round of league play, the playing members of the team are randomly drawn, or otherwise assigned, to a table of between seven and nine players. It is preferred that each gaming table have no more than one team member from each team. This gaming table structure is consistent with the so-called “final table” format found in typical poker tournaments. The players are then eliminated as they run out of chips and are awarded points commensurate with their performance/position. The scores for the individual team members are then tallied to determine the team score, as illustrated in FIG. 3.

The method described herein may, of course, be applied to amateur card game players. To create additional interest in such league play from the public at large, leagues can be formed from teams of professional poker players, celebrities and/or sports personalities or combinations thereof. Broadcast of such league play via television and/or over the internet could help to attract spectators, and could also be used to generate advertising revenue from sponsors.

As will be appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art, the present invention may be embodied in various versions and configurations. Accordingly, the present invention may take the form of numerous leagues with varied numbers of players, teams venues, entry fees, scoring mechanisms and league rules. The number of rounds played in the league can be established by league rules and as appropriate for the venue. The venue for conducting such league gaming can be any legal place, or legal form, of gambling. Furthermore, as mentioned above, the present invention may take the form of a computer-based league as might be implemented via the Internet for on-line gaming. While the invention described herein is ideally suited to card games in which participants typically engage in betting against each other, such as Poker, the method described herein is equally applicable to a wide variety of card games.

Turning to FIG. 4, one preferred embodiment of a system that implements the league gaming method described above is shown in block diagram form. In FIG. 4, a server computer 100 is used to link together two virtual tables, Table 1 and Table 2, over a computer network. As mentioned above, the computer network could be a local intranet or an internet connection between a series of remote computers. The players of Table 1 each have their own computer to participate. For example, player A on Team 1 uses computer 102, player B on Team 2 uses computer 104, player C on Team 3 uses computer 106, player D on Team 4 uses computer 108, player E on Team 5 uses computer 110, player F on Team 6 uses computer 112, player G on Team 7 uses computer 114, and player H on Team 8 uses computer 116. Each of computers 102-116 is linked to server computer 100 by a local area network connection, or over the internet. As used herein, the word “computer” includes a computer terminal with limited computing power, but linked over a computer network to a more powerful server computer.

Likewise, the players of Table 2 each have their own computer terminal to participate. For example, player I on Team 1 uses computer 118, player J on Team 2 uses computer 120, player K on Team 3 uses computer 122, player L on Team 4 uses computer 124, player M on Team 5 uses computer 126, player N on Team 6 uses computer 128, player O on Team 7 uses computer 130, and player P on Team 8 uses computer 132. Each of computers 118-132 is linked to server computer 100 by a local area network connection, or over the internet.

Each player at each virtual table can see, on his or her computer screen display, the images of the cards that have been dealt on the table, along with betting information reflecting bids placed by each player at such table, as well as the amount of chips remaining to be bet by each player. Each player may also indicate, by using a keyboard, pointing device, or other input device, whether the player is making a bet, raising, calling, folding, etc. As participants drop out of play, the server computer records the performance of each player to generate the information shown in FIGS. 1-3.

FIG. 5 is illustrative of some of the processes performed when playing each round of the league at each gaming table. These rounds can be played within a single day or over a period of time, as specified by the league rules. Some of the processes shown in FIG. 5 can be performed manually; preferably such processes are performed wholly or partially on a computer based system, for example, on the computer-based system shown in FIG. 4. In a computer based league, the processes will be performed by a central computer or server (e.g., computer server 100 in FIG. 4). If desired, there could be a multiple number of such servers, e.g., a sub-server assigned to each separate gaming table, and a central server linking together all of the sub-servers.

Referring to FIG. 5, the first step (box 134) depicts the startup of this particular round of the league which may, or may not, already have been formed. If the league did not previously exist, and is currently being formed (as determined in hex-shaped box 136), then players are registered to teams in step 1.1 (box 138). These could be pre-formed teams by request of the players, or could be randomly assigned, depending on the leagues requirements. Once the players are all assigned to teams, players are then assigned, in step 2, to tables for this round of the tournament (see box 140). Step 3, represented by box 142, i.e., playing a hand of cards, is then performed at each of the gaming tables. It is not necessary that these hands be played at the exact same time at each gaming table. At each gaming table, after each hand, a determination is made as to whether any of the players have been eliminated by the hand just completed (see hex-shaped box 144). If not, another hand is played, as represented by the “No” arrow returning from hex-shaped box 144 to box 142. Alternatively, if a player was just eliminated, the relative position for the player just eliminated on that gaming table is determined, and the eliminated player is assigned the commensurate amount of team points for his or her performance at such table based upon his or her position, per league rules, as represented in step 3.1 (box 146). It is then determined (see hex-shaped box 148) whether there is more than one player remaining at the gaming table; if so, another hand of cards is played, as represented by the “Yes” arrow returning from hex-shaped box 148 to box 142. This process is repeated until a final player or winner is established at each gaming table, as indicated by step 4 (box 150), in which case, the teams must wait until play at all of the gaming tables has been completed so that the final tally of team points can be made.

The points scored by each team are then totaled and recorded, to be carried forward to the next round of the tournament. On the other hand, if the final round of the tournament has just been completed, then the final ranking of each team is determined by their final cumulative score. Prizes are then awarded as established by league rules.

Those skilled in the art will now appreciate that a method has been described that allows groups of two or more persons to engage, as a team, in Poker, or another card game in which gambling is an element. The described method can be used under circumstances wherein participants are all present at the same location, e.g., at a gambling casino, social hall, or the like while engaging in such team play. However, it will be appreciated that the described method can also be used under circumstances wherein one or more of the participants can engage in such activity from remote locations over a computer network. It will further be appreciated that, while at least some of the steps of the described method may be performed manually, the described method lends itself to partial, or full, implementation by a computer system.

While the present invention has been described with respect to preferred embodiments thereof, such description is for illustrative purposes only, and is not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention. Details of the invention have been described above with regard to specific preferred embodiments. However, the exemplary details are not to be construed as critical, required, or essential features or elements of any or all the claims. Various modifications and changes may be made to the described embodiments by those skilled in the art without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Classifications
U.S. Classification463/13
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationA63F2001/005, A63F3/00157, A63F1/00
European ClassificationA63F1/00