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Publication numberUS20060160609 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/242,602
Publication dateJul 20, 2006
Filing dateOct 3, 2005
Priority dateOct 1, 2004
Publication number11242602, 242602, US 2006/0160609 A1, US 2006/160609 A1, US 20060160609 A1, US 20060160609A1, US 2006160609 A1, US 2006160609A1, US-A1-20060160609, US-A1-2006160609, US2006/0160609A1, US2006/160609A1, US20060160609 A1, US20060160609A1, US2006160609 A1, US2006160609A1
InventorsFernando DiCarlo
Original AssigneeDicarlo Fernando
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Slot machine with opportunity to earn extra line(s)
US 20060160609 A1
Abstract
A slot machine that can award an extra line or lines as an incentive to the player for playing a predetermined amount of coins. If the player plays the predetermined amount of coins, a random line that is not originally available to the player can be highlighted to the player and activated. If a winning combination appears on the random line, the player wins an award as if the combination appeared on a line the player originally paid for.
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Claims(19)
1. A method of implementing a slot machine game, the method comprising:
receiving a wager from a player comprising a player selected amount of coinage to wager on a chosen set of lines and a line wager for each of the chosen set of lines;
determining if the amount of coinage exceeds a predetermined threshold; and
awarding, if the determining determines that the amount of coinage exceeds the predetermined threshold, at least one extra line to the player not included in the chosen set of lines.
2. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein an extra line wager is equal to the line wager for each of the chosen set of lines.
3. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein predetermined threshold is equal to a maximum amount of coins the player is allowed to wager.
4. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the extra line is not available for direct wagering by the player.
5. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one extra line is available for direct wagering by the player.
6. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one extra line is selected from a plurality of available of extra lines at random.
7. A method as recited in claim 1, further comprising:
highlighting the at least one extra line.
8. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one extra line comprises two or more lines.
9. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one extra line is determined randomly to be either one extra line or more than one extra lines.
10. A slot machine apparatus, the apparatus comprising:
a receiving unit comprising a coin slot to receive a wager from a player comprising a player selected amount of coinage to wager on a chosen set of lines and a line wager for each of the chosen set of lines;
a determining unit comprising a processor to determine if the amount of coinage exceeds a predetermined threshold; and
an awarding unit, if the determining unit determines that the amount of coinage exceeds the predetermined threshold, comprising an output device to highlight and award at least one extra line to the player not included in the chosen set of lines.
11. An apparatus as recited in claim 10, wherein an extra line wager is equal to the line wager for each of the chosen set of lines.
12. An apparatus as recited in claim 10, wherein predetermined threshold is equal to a maximum amount of coins the player is allowed to wager.
13. An apparatus as recited in claim 10, wherein the at least one extra line is not available for direct wagering by the player.
14. An apparatus as recited in claim 10, wherein the at least one extra line is available for direct wagering by the player.
15. An apparatus as recited in claim 10, wherein the at least one extra line is selected from a plurality of available of extra lines at random.
16. An apparatus as recited in claim 10, further comprising:
a highlighting unit to highlight the at least one extra line.
17. An apparatus as recited in claim 10, wherein the at least one extra line comprises two or more extra lines.
18. A method as recited in claim 10, wherein the at least one extra line is determined randomly to be either one extra line or more than one extra lines.
19. A slot machine apparatus, the apparatus comprising:
means for receiving a wager from a player comprising a player selected amount of coinage to wager on a chosen set of lines and a line wager for each of the chosen set of lines;
means for determining if the amount of coinage exceeds a predetermined threshold; and
means for awarding, if the determining determines that the amount of coinage exceeds the predetermined threshold, at least one extra line to the player not included in the chosen set of lines.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims benefit of provisional application No. 60/615,171, filed on Oct. 10, 2004, entitled “Casino Games,” which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. This application also claims benefit of provisional application No. 60/620,555, filed on Oct. 20, 2004, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. This application also claims benefit of provisional application No. 60/648,990, filed on Jan. 31, 2005, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. This application is also a continuation in part of application Ser. No. 11/074,588, entitled, “Multi Hand Poker With Card Transformations,” filed on Mar. 8, 2005 which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is directed to a method, apparatus, and computer readable storage medium directed to a slot machine that can award a player an extra line or lines when the player pays max coin (or other amount of coins).

2. Description of the Related Art

Slot machines are a billion dollar industry, both in the U.S. and around the world. Slot manufacturers prefer if a player plays the maximum amount of coinage, this results in more profit for the casino.

What is needed is a method to provide a more enjoyable slot experience for the player as well as providing a machine which can increase casino revenue.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an aspect of the present invention to provide a slot machine which can encourage players to play more coins per play.

The above aspects can be obtained by a method that includes (a) receiving a wager from a player comprising a player selected amount of coinage to wager on a chosen set of lines and a line wager for each of the chosen set of lines; (b) determining if the amount of coinage exceeds a predetermined threshold; and (c) awarding, if the determining determines that the amount of coinage exceeds the predetermined threshold, at least one extra line to the player not included in the chosen set of lines.

The above aspects can also be obtained by an apparatus that includes (a) a receiving unit comprising a coin slot to receive a wager from a player comprising a player selected amount of coinage to wager on a chosen set of lines and a line wager for each of the chosen set of lines; (b) a determining unit comprising a processor to determine if the amount of coinage exceeds a predetermined threshold; and (c) an awarding unit, if the determining unit determines that the amount of coinage exceeds the predetermined threshold, comprising an output device to highlight and award at least one extra line to the player not included in the chosen set of lines.

The above aspects can also be obtained by an apparatus that includes (a) means for receiving a wager from a player comprising a player selected amount of coinage to wager on a chosen set of lines and a line wager for each of the chosen set of lines; (b) means for determining if the amount of coinage exceeds a predetermined threshold; and (c) means for awarding, if the determining determines that the amount of coinage exceeds the predetermined threshold, at least one extra line to the player not included in the chosen set of lines.

These together with other aspects and advantages which will be subsequently apparent, reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further features and advantages of the present invention, as well as the structure and operation of various embodiments of the present invention, will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of the preferred embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings of which:

FIG. 1 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary method for awarding extra line(s), according to an embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating an exemplary line structure for a slot machine, according to an embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating a sample play for the slot machine illustrated in FIG. 2, according to an embodiment; and

FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary block diagram of hardware that can be used to implement methods described herein, according to an embodiment.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to the presently preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout.

The present inventive concept relates to a slot machine game that awards an extra line or lines when a player wagers more than a predetermined amount of coinage. This can serve as an incentive for players to play more (or the max) coins so that they can receive the extra line(s) which gives the player more chances to win an award.

A line is a series of reel positions which are taken in combination to see if a winning combination has resulted. The extra line can be chosen at random from more than one available extra lines. Alternatively, the extra line can be predetermined and presented to the player ahead of the player's wager. Additionally, more than one extra line can be available to the player.

The extra line gives the player more chances to win, although since it encourages the player to wager more the extra line can still make the machine more profitable to the casino.

Consider a three line game, wherein the player can bet only one coin per line for a maximum bet of three coins. There is a fourth extra line the player can earn if the player plays max bet (three coins). Such a game can consist of a 3×3 grid of symbols, where line 1 is the middle row, line 2 is the top row, line 3 is the bottom row, and line 4 is a diagonal row (e.g. top left symbol, middle middle symbol, bottom right symbol). The machine can have only two symbols, a blank and a cherry. Each of the nine symbols can be independent and can have a 0.63 chance (approximately) of hitting a cherry and a 0.37 (approximately) chance of hitting a blank. Thus, hitting cherry/cherry/cherry has a probability of 25% and can pay $1.60 (per $1 coin bet), and all other combinations lose. This machine has an overall payout percentage of 0.40 per line.

Consider e1 to be the expected return to the player for each line. The amount of coins wagered on line four (the extra line) can be the same as those wagered on the other lines (one coin), or it can be a greater or lesser amount. In this example, e1 is 40% (e.g. for every $1 bet the player gets back on average 0.40 and loses 0.60). On a two coin (wherein each coin is one dollar) bet the player wagers $2 and gets back on average $0.80 and loses 1.20. On a three coin bet (max bet) where the player has earned an extra line, the player wagers $3, gets back on average $1.60 and loses $1.40. The players expected return in the latter situation is $1.60/3 or 53%. Thus, in the latter situation, the player wagers the most, loses the most, yet has the best expected return. Thus it is in the player's interest to bet max coin while it is also in the casinos interest to give a higher return because the casino is still winning more money based on a higher wager.

Of course, an embodiment can also allow the player to lose less for betting max coin (or other amount required to earn extra line or lines), making playing max coin an even stronger play for the player. It is noted that in the above example the return is constant across different paylines, however in real life this may not be the case since some machines may use weighted reels or other features which may make different lines have non-identical expected returns.

In an embodiment, a player can always receive a single extra line for wagering a predetermined amount of coins. In an alternative embodiment, a player can receive an extra line sometimes for wagering a predetermined amount of coins (selected randomly). In an alternative embodiment, a player can receive more than one lines for wagering a predetermined amount of coins, either selected randomly or pre-chosen (either by the player or by the machine). In an alternative embodiment, a player will be expected to be awarded more lines the more the player has wagered (e.g. the player plays max coin the player is expected to get 2 free lines, the player plays more than a predetermined threshold but less than max coin the player is expected to get 1 free line).

Wherever used herein, a predetermined amount of coins, while typically fixed, can also be determined randomly or can be non-static. Further, wherever “max coin” or “max bet” of equivalent is used herein, this can also apply to betting more than a predetermined amount (or threshold) of coins.

FIG. 1 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary method for awarding extra line(s), according to an embodiment.

The method can begin with operation 100, which receives a wager and initiates a spin for n lines. The number of lines (n) is selected by the player. The player can also select how much to wager per line. Typically, the amount wagered on each line is identical, although this is not required.

From operation 100, the method can proceed to operation 102, which determines whether player's bet is greater than a predetermined threshold. The predetermined threshold can be the maximum amount of coins the player is permitted to bet, or it can be a lesser amount.

If the determining in operation 102 determines that the player's bet is greater than the threshold, then the method can proceed to operation 104, which adds an extra line(s). The extra line to be added can be predetermined or it can be chosen randomly from more than one available extra lines. The player may also be allowed to choose which extra line(s) he or she wishes to receive. The extra line added can also be highlighted to alert the player to the extra line. An amount that can be considered to be wagered on the extra line can be equal to the amount wagered on the other lines by the player. For example, if the player is playing a nine line game and the player wagers $2 per line, then if the player earns an extra line the tenth line can be considered to have a wager of $2 on it. Note that the amount wagered on the extra line is not required to be equal to the other line wagers, it can also be more or less.

A random line can easily be determined by assigning a number for each available extra line and then picking a random number with a range encompassing all of the available extra lines.

From operation 104, the method can proceed to operation 106, which continues the game as normal. This typically entails spinning the reels and awarding the player for winning combinations on each of the active paylines. If the determining in operation 102 determines that the player has not earned an extra line, then the method would typically proceed to operation 104 which continues the game (but without the extra line or lines).

FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating an exemplary line structure for a slot machine, according to an embodiment. Note that the symbols in FIG. 2 have been replaced by an identification number to identify each line.

In this example game, line 1 is formed from symbols 1,2,3; line 2 is formed from symbols 7, 8, 9; line 3 is formed from symbols 4, 5, 6; line 4 is formed from symbols 1, 5, 9; line 5 is formed from symbols 7, 5, 3; line 6 is formed from symbols 1, 4, 7; line 7 is formed from symbols 2, 5, 8; line 8 is formed from symbols 3, 6, 9; line 9 is formed from symbols 6, 5, 4; line 10 is formed from symbols 3, 2, 1; line 11 is formed from symbols 9, 8, 7; line 12 is formed from symbols 9, 5, 1; and line 13 is formed from symbols 3, 5, 7.

Note that line 1 is not necessarily the same as line 10 (and other reverse lines). This is because some combinations may be symbol specific, e.g. 7-bar-bar may pay $100 but bar-bar-7 may be a losing symbol. Also note that of course machines can choose their dimensions and lines in many other manners as well.

Note that in an embodiment, an 8-line game can be offered to the player for wagering. Thus, the player can directly wager on lines 1-8 and lines 9-13 can be played by the player only by if the player plays max coin and the game awards some or all of these lines to the player. In an alternative embodiment, the lines awarded for playing max coin can also be available to the player for wagering (e.g. player can directly wager initially on (any combination of) lines 1-13 and the threshold for awarding extra lines can be less than max coin (thus the player can always pay for all lines and receive none free or bet less than the maximum bet and possibly get lines for free).

FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating a sample play for the slot machine illustrated in FIG. 2, according to an embodiment.

Consider in this example that the maximum wager is 8 credits per line for a maximum of 8 lines or 64 credits per spin. Lines 9-13 cannot be wagered on directly. If the player plays the maximum wager, then a random line is chosen from lines 9-13. In this case, the player has wagered the maximum wager and line 10 has been chosen randomly (note that line 10 is highlighted or circled). Of course the extra line can be highlighted in any other known manner as well.

In this example, consider that the only winning combinations are cherry/cherry/cherry and bar/bar/bar which each pay 2 coins per coin bet on that line (e.g. the player wins 16 coins on an 8 coin bet). Out of lines 1-8, the only winning line is line 1 (bar bar bar). Since the player has also earned line 10, line 10 also has a winning bar bar bar. So the player has won the payout for bar bar bar twice or 32 coins.

Of course methods described herein can be used with any type of slot game, whether 3-5 reels, weighted or non weighted symbols, continuous reels or unisymbol (independently spinning symbol), etc. Methods described herein can be applied to a physical slot machine, an application downloaded over a computer communications network (such as the Internet), or viewed over a computer communications network (such as the Internet).

Table I below illustrates one example of two sample payouts for a 3×3 game, wherein max bet is 8 lines with 8 credits bet each (64 credits), and an extra random line is earned (from lines 9-13).

TABLE I
symbol 1 symbol 2 symbol 3 payout 1 payout 2
lion tamer lion tamer lion tamer 75 100
acrobat acrobat acrobat 40 50
cannon cannon cannon 15 18
bear bear bear 12 14
clown clown clown 10 10
elephant elephant elephant 8 10
elephant elephant any 5 5
elephant any any 2 2
seven of a kind 300 100
eight of a kind 1500 500
nine of a kind 3000 1000

Table II below illustrates an exemplary symbol distribution on a virtual reel that can be used with the payouts in Table I and other embodiments described herein. For example, the lion tamer symbol (symbol 0) can be present on 120 reel stops (out of a possible 1360 stops on the reel) for a probably of appearing of 0.0882353. Note that this is a virtual reel and the reel stops don't really exist and the probability of appearing is how the symbol's outcome can be determined.

TABLE II
Symbol Reels
0 Lion Tamer 120 0.0882353
1 Acrobat 160 0.1176471
2 Cannon 280 0.2058824
3 Bear 320 0.2352941
4 Clowns 360 0.2647059
5 Elephant 120 0.0882353
Total 1360

Note that the return in Tables I and II can be 0.859. Offering a guaranteed extra free line for playing max bet (8 lines) will be worth (0.859/8)=0.107, so the machine's return with max play is now 0.966 for all eight lines played (in other words this is the return where the player gets a ninth line for free).

In addition to offering extra lines, a game can offer other features such as progressive jackpots, free games, and any other features known in the art.

In an alternative embodiment, more than one extra line can be awarded (0-5) and the number of extra lines can be determined at random. Table III is an exemplary probability distribution for awarding more than one extra lines, although of course other distributions can be used as well.

TABLE III
# Lines Payout Probability Contribution
1 0.1073188 0.100 1.07%
2 0.2146376 0.080 1.72%
3 0.3219564 0.050 1.61%
4 0.4292752 0.040 1.72%
5 0.536594 0.020 1.07%
Total 0.290 7.19%

For example, there is a 10% chance of the player getting one extra lines, an 8% chance of being awarded two extra lines, etc. There is a 29% chance of getting any extra lines, and thus a 71% chance of not receiving any extra lines. Thus, in this embodiment, a player may play max coin (or a predetermined threshold) and not receive extra lines (although in other embodiments the player can be guaranteed to get an extra line or lines). The extra lines the player receives can be chosen at random by the machine, or from a predetermined set of lines, or selected by the player.

In a further embodiment, if the player plays max bet (or a predetermined threshold) then the player can be guaranteed to get one extra line but additional lines can be awarded at random.

Table IV below illustrates an exemplary payout return structure.

TABLE IV
Main Game With FG With Game JP
Return 84.57% 86.29% 91.37%
Percentage 77.38% 79.10% 84.18%
88.11% 89.84% 94.92%

Table IV reflects an exemplary payout return for a slot machine game (either described herein or separate), according to an embodiment. The first row illustrates a return percentage for a main game that offers up to five extra lines (as illustrated in Table III). FG represents awarding the player a random free game. JP represents a progressive jackpot component. The second row illustrates an exemplary payout percentage when no extra lines are offered. The third row illustrates an exemplary payout percentage when one extra line is always offered upon playing max coin (8 lines times 8 coins=64 coins). Note that the main game return may not match the theoretical return of the game, because winning spins can optionally be modified and turned into losing spins or lesser paying spins in order to reduce the payout.

FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary block diagram of hardware that can be used to implement methods described herein, according to an embodiment.

A processing unit 400 can be connected to an output unit 402 (e.g. CRT, etc.) and an input unit 404 (buttons, keyboard, etc.) The processing unit 400 can also be connected to a ROM 408, a RAM 410, and a network unit 406 which can connect the unit to a computer communications network (e.g. Internet or casino LAN, etc.)

It is also noted that any and/or all of the above embodiments, configurations, variations of the present invention described above can be mixed and matched and used in any combination with one another. This also includes any prior document incorporated by reference, and any feature described herein can also be applied to any such documents. Any feature(s) in any claim(s) herein can be combined with any feature(s) in any other claim(s).

Moreover, any description of a component or embodiment herein also includes hardware, software, and configurations which already exist in the prior art and may be necessary to the operation of such component(s) or embodiment(s).

Further, the operations described herein can be performed in any sensible order. Any operations not required for proper operation can be optional. Further, all methods described herein can also be stored on a computer readable storage to control a computer.

The many features and advantages of the invention are apparent from the detailed specification and, thus, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such features and advantages of the invention that fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described, and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7585221 *Jul 17, 2008Sep 8, 2009IgtSlot machine game having a plurality of ways for a user to obtain payouts for one or more additional pay lines formed by the appearance of special symbols in a symbol matrix
US7607980 *Nov 8, 2004Oct 27, 2009IgtGaming device having free potential winning combinations
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/25
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3244
European ClassificationG07F17/32K