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Publication numberUS20060211468 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/377,865
Publication dateSep 21, 2006
Filing dateMar 16, 2006
Priority dateMar 16, 2005
Publication number11377865, 377865, US 2006/0211468 A1, US 2006/211468 A1, US 20060211468 A1, US 20060211468A1, US 2006211468 A1, US 2006211468A1, US-A1-20060211468, US-A1-2006211468, US2006/0211468A1, US2006/211468A1, US20060211468 A1, US20060211468A1, US2006211468 A1, US2006211468A1
InventorsJohn Flint, Joel Jaffe, Michael Mastropietro, Larry Pacey
Original AssigneeFlint John D, Jaffe Joel R, Mastropietro Michael W, Pacey Larry J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Video poker wagering game for playing multi-level hands
US 20060211468 A1
Abstract
A gaming system for playing a video poker game includes a wager-input device, a display, and a controller. The wager-input receives a wager input from a player to purchase a plurality of poker hands, wherein the poker hands include a first hand and a second hand. The display displays a plurality of first cards as a first played hand of the first hand. The controller is coupled to the display and is programmed to create the second hand initially consisting of the plurality of first cards, if the first played hand is a predetermined ranked winning card combination. The controller is further programmed to allow the player to create a second played hand of the second hand. The second played hand includes at least one player-selected card of the first cards and at least one randomly selected card from a deck of cards.
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Claims(20)
1. A gaming system for playing a video poker game having a plurality of ranked winning card combinations from a deck of cards, comprising:
a wager-input device for receiving a wager input from a player to purchase a plurality of poker hands for playing said video poker game from a deck of cards, said poker hands including a first hand and a second hand to be played by the player;
a display for displaying a plurality of first cards as a first played hand of said first hand; and
a controller coupled to said display and programmed to
create said second hand initially consisting of said plurality of first cards in response to said first played hand being at least a predetermined one of said plurality of ranked winning card combinations, and
allow the player to create a second played hand of said second hand, said second played hand including at least one player-selected card of said plurality of first cards and at least one randomly selected card from said deck of cards.
2. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the displaying of said plurality of first cards includes the player replacing undesired cards with other cards from said deck of cards.
3. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein said display further displays a pay table having at least one award associated with said plurality of ranked winning card combinations.
4. The gaming system of claim 3, wherein said display further includes multiplier values for said first and second hands, said multiplier values being used to multiply said at least one award associated with at said at least one ranked winning card combination.
5. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein said pay table further includes said plurality of multiplier values.
6. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein said display is internal to a gaming terminal, said controller being external to said gaming terminal.
7. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein said display shows each one of said plurality of poker hands generally simultaneously on a single gaming screen.
8. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein said controller is further programmed to award a total award, said total award including a plurality of awards, each one of said plurality of awards being associated with a ranked winning card combination of said first hand and said second hand.
9. A method of conducting a video poker game on a gaming machine, the method comprising:
receiving a wager input from a player to purchase a plurality of poker hands for playing said video poker game from a deck of cards, said poker hands including a first hand and a second hand to be played by the player;
displaying a plurality of first cards as a first played hand of said first hand, said first played hand indicating an outcome;
in response to said first played hand being at least a predetermined one of a plurality of ranked winning card combinations, creating said second hand initially consisting of said plurality of first cards; and
allowing the player to create a second played hand of said second hand, said second played hand including at least one player-selected card of said plurality of first cards and at least one randomly selected card from said deck of cards.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein said displaying of said plurality of first cards includes the player replacing undesired cards with other cards from said deck of cards.
11. The method of claim 9 further comprising:
listing a plurality of awards in a pay table, each of said plurality of awards corresponding to a respective one of said plurality of ranked winning card combinations; and
multiplying said awards according to a multiplier value corresponding to each one of said poker hands.
12. The method of claim 9, further comprising
displaying a plurality of second cards as said second played hand;
in response to said second played hand being at least another predetermined one of said plurality of ranked winning card combinations, creating another hand consisting initially of said plurality of second cards; and
allowing the player to create another played hand of said another hand, said another played hand including at least one player-selected card of said plurality of second cards and at least one randomly selected card from said deck of cards.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein said another predetermined one of said plurality of ranked winning card combinations is a corresponding hand ranking that is higher than a hand ranking corresponding to said predetermined one of said plurality of ranked winning card combinations.
14. The method of claim 12, wherein said predetermined one of said plurality of ranked winning card combinations is a ranking of Jacks-Or-Better and said another predetermined one of said plurality of ranked winning card combinations is a ranking that is at least equal to a Three-Of-A-Kind ranking.
15. The method of claim 12, further comprising:
awarding a first award for said first played hand if said second played hand does not meet said predetermined one of a plurality of ranked winning card combinations; and
awarding a second award for said second played hand if said another played hand does not meet said another predetermined one of said plurality of ranked winning card combinations, said second award being awarded instead of said first award and being larger than said first award.
16. The method of claim 15, wherein said second award is twice larger than said first award.
17. A computer readable storage medium encoded with instructions for directing a gaming device to perform the method of claim 9.
18. A method of conducting a video poker game on a gaming machine, the method comprising:
receiving a wager input from a player to purchase a plurality of poker hands for playing said video poker game from a deck of cards, said poker hands including a qualifying hand and a subsequent qualifying hand to be played by the player;
displaying a plurality of initial cards for playing said qualifying hand, said initial cards being randomly selected from said deck of cards;
allowing the player to create a qualifying played hand of said qualifying hand, said qualifying played hand indicating an outcome; and
in response to said qualifying played hand being at least a predetermined one of a plurality of ranked winning card combinations, creating a subsequent qualifying hand initially consisting of said initial cards.
19. The method of claim 18, further comprising awarding an award if said qualifying played hand is a winning hand.
20. The method of claim 19, further comprising increasing said award if a subsequent qualifying played hand of said subsequent qualifying hand is a subsequent winning hand.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to and claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/662,445 filed Mar. 16, 2005, titled “Video Poker Wagering Game For Playing Multi-Level Hands,” which is incorporated herein in its entirety.

COPYRIGHT

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to gaming machines, and methods for playing wagering games, and more particularly, to a gaming machine for playing a plurality of successive gaming levels that are arranged according to a predetermined hierarchy.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing machines and the expectation of winning at each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting machines. Shrewd operators consequently strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines, features, and enhancements available because such machines attract frequent play and hence increase profitability to the operator. Therefore, there is a continuing need for gaming machine manufacturers to continuously develop new games and improved gaming enhancements that will attract frequent play through enhanced entertainment value to the player.

One concept that has been successfully employed to enhance the entertainment value of a game is the concept of a “secondary” or “bonus” game that may be played in conjunction with a “basic” game. The bonus game may comprise any type of game, either similar to or completely different from the basic game, which is entered upon the occurrence of a selected event or outcome in the basic game. Generally, bonus games provide a greater expectation of winning than the basic game and may also be accompanied with more attractive or unusual video displays and/or audio. Bonus games may additionally award players with “progressive jackpot” awards that are funded, at least in part, by a percentage of coin-in from the gaming machine or a plurality of participating gaming machines.

Because the bonus game concept offers tremendous advantages in player appeal and excitement relative to other known games, and because such games are attractive to both players and operators, there is a continuing need to develop gaming machines with new types of bonus games or other feature to satisfy the demands of players and operators.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention, a gaming system for playing a video poker game includes a wager-input device, a display, and a controller. The wager-input receives a wager input from a player to purchase a plurality of poker hands, wherein the poker hands include a first hand and a second hand. The display displays a plurality of first cards as a first played hand of the first hand. The controller is coupled to the display and is programmed to create the second hand initially consisting of the plurality of first cards, if the first played hand is a predetermined ranked winning card combination. The controller is further programmed to allow the player to create a second played hand of the second hand. The second played hand includes at least one player-selected card of the first cards and at least one randomly selected card from a deck of cards.

According to another aspect of the invention, a method of conducting a video poker game on a gaming machine includes receiving a wager input from a player to purchase a plurality of poker hands for playing the video poker game from a deck of cards. The poker hands include a first hand and a second hand to be played by the player. The method further includes displaying a plurality of first cards as a first played hand of the first hand, wherein the first played hand indicates an outcome. In response to the first played hand being at least a predetermined one of a plurality of ranked winning card combinations, the second hand is created initially consisting of the plurality of first cards. The player is allowed to create a second played hand of the second hand, wherein the second played hand includes at least one player-selected card of the plurality of first cards and at least one randomly selected card from the deck of cards.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, a method of conducting a video poker game on a gaming machine includes receiving a wager input from a player to purchase a plurality of poker hands for playing the video poker game from a deck of cards. The poker hands include a qualifying hand and a subsequent qualifying hand to be played by the player. The method further includes displaying a plurality of initial cards for playing the qualifying hand, wherein the initial cards are randomly selected from the deck of cards. The player is allowed to create a qualifying played hand of the qualifying hand, wherein the qualifying played hand indicates an outcome. In response to the qualifying played hand being at least a predetermined one of a plurality of ranked winning card combinations, a subsequent qualifying hand is created initially consisting of the initial cards.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, a computer readable storage medium is encoded with instructions for directing a gaming device to perform the above methods.

Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a gaming machine embodying the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a control system suitable for operating the gaming machine;

FIG. 3 is an illustration of the primary display of the gaming machine in FIGS. 1-2, showing a plurality of poker hands in a hierarchy arrangement, according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an illustration of the primary display of FIG. 3 showing a different plurality of poker hands;

FIG. 5 is an illustration of the primary display showing a plurality of poker hands in a hierarchy arrangement, according to another embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is an illustration of the primary display of FIG. 5 showing a different plurality of poker hands.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.

Referring to FIG. 1, a gaming machine 10 is used in gaming establishments such as casinos. With regard to the present invention, the gaming machine 10 may be any type of gaming machine and may have varying structures and methods of operation. For example, the gaming machine 10 may be an electromechanical gaming machine configured to play mechanical slots, or it may be an electronic gaming machine configured to play a video casino game, such as blackjack, slots, keno, poker, blackjack, roulette, etc. In particular, the present invention is directed to poker games.

The gaming machine 10 comprises a housing 12 and includes input devices, including a value input device 18 and a player input device 24. For output the gaming machine 10 includes a primary display 14 for displaying information about the basic wagering game. The primary display 14 can also display information about a bonus wagering game and a progressive wagering game. The gaming machine 10 may also include a secondary display 16 for displaying game events, game outcomes, and/or signage information. While these typical components found in the gaming machine 10 are described below, it should be understood that numerous other elements may exist and may be used in any number of combinations to create various forms of a gaming machine 10.

The value input device 18 may be provided in many forms, individually or in combination, and is preferably located on the front of the housing 12. The value input device 18 receives currency and/or credits that are inserted by a player. The value input device 18 may include a coin acceptor 20 for receiving coin currency (see FIG. 1). Alternatively, or in addition, the value input device 18 may include a bill acceptor 22 for receiving paper currency. Furthermore, the value input device 18 may include a ticket reader, or barcode scanner, for reading information stored on a credit ticket, a card, or other tangible portable credit storage device. The credit ticket or card may also authorize access to a central account, which can transfer money to the gaming machine 10.

The player input device 24 comprises a plurality of push buttons 26 on a button panel for operating the gaming machine 10. In addition, or alternatively, the player input device 24 may comprise a touch screen 28 mounted by adhesive, tape, or the like over the primary display 14 and/or secondary display 16. The touch screen 28 contains soft touch keys 30 denoted by graphics on the underlying primary display 14 and used to operate the gaming machine 10. The touch screen 28 provides players with an alternative method of input. A player enables a desired function either by touching the touch screen 28 at an appropriate touch key 30 or by pressing an appropriate push button 26 on the button panel. The touch keys 30 may be used to implement the same functions as push buttons 26. Alternatively, the push buttons 26 may provide inputs for one aspect of the operating the game, while the touch keys 30 may allow for input needed for another aspect of the game.

The various components of the gaming machine 10 may be connected directly to, or contained within, the housing 12, as seen in FIG. 1, or may be located outboard of the housing 12 and connected to the housing 12 via a variety of different wired or wireless connection methods. Thus, the gaming machine 10 comprises these components whether housed in the housing 12, or outboard of the housing 12 and connected remotely.

The operation of the basic wagering game is displayed to the player on the primary display 14. The primary display 14 can also display the bonus game associated with the basic wagering game. The primary display 14 may take the form of a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high resolution LCD, a plasma display, an LED, or any other type of display suitable for use in the gaming machine 10. As shown, the primary display 14 includes the touch screen 28 overlaying the entire monitor (or a portion thereof) to allow players to make game-related selections. Alternatively, the primary display 14 of the gaming machine 10 may include a number of mechanical reels to display the outcome in visual association to at least one payline 32. In the illustrated embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is an “upright” version in which the primary display 14 is oriented vertically relative to the player. Alternatively, the gaming machine may be a “slant-top” version in which the primary display 14 is slanted at about a thirty-degree angle toward the player of the gaming machine 10.

A player begins play of the basic wagering game by making a wager via the value input device 18 of the gaming machine 10. A player can select play by using the player input device 24, via the buttons 26 or the touch screen keys 30. The basic game consists of a plurality of symbols arranged in an array, and includes at least one payline 32 that indicates one or more outcomes of the basic game. Such outcomes are randomly selected in response to the wagering input by the player. At least one of the plurality of randomly selected outcomes may be a start-bonus outcome, which can include any variations of symbols or symbol combinations triggering a bonus game.

In some embodiments, the gaming machine 10 may also include a player information reader 52 that allows for identification of a player by reading a card with information indicating his or her true identity. The player information reader 52 is shown in FIG. 1 as a card reader, but may take on many forms including a ticket reader, bar code scanner, RFID transceiver or computer readable storage medium interface. Currently, identification is generally used by casinos for rewarding certain players with complimentary services or special offers. For example, a player may be enrolled in the gaming establishment's loyalty club and may be awarded certain complimentary services as that player collects points in his or her player-tracking account. The player inserts his or her card into the player information reader 52, which allows the casino's computers to register that player's wagering at the gaming machine 10. The gaming machine 10 may use the secondary display 16 or other dedicated player-tracking display for providing the player with information about his or her account or other player-specific information. Also, in some embodiments, the information reader 52 may be used to restore game assets that the player achieved and saved during a previous game session.

Turning now to FIG. 2, the various components of the gaming machine 10 are controlled by a central processing unit (CPU) 34, also referred to herein as a controller or processor (such as a microcontroller or microprocessor). To provide gaming functions, the controller 34 executes one or more game programs stored in a computer readable storage medium, in the form of memory 36. The controller 34 performs the random selection (using a random number generator (RNG)) of an outcome from the plurality of possible outcomes of the wagering game. Alternatively, the random event may be determined at a remote controller. The remote controller may use either an RNG or pooling scheme for its central determination of a game outcome. It should be appreciated that the controller 34 may include one or more microprocessors, including but not limited to a master processor, a slave processor, and a secondary or parallel processor.

The controller 34 is also coupled to the system memory 36 and a money/credit detector 38. The system memory 36 may comprise a volatile memory (e.g., a random-access memory (RAM)) and a non-volatile memory (e.g., an EEPROM). The system memory 36 may include multiple RAM and multiple program memories. The money/credit detector 38 signals the processor that money and/or credits have been input via the value input device 18. Preferably, these components are located within the housing 12 of the gaming machine 10. However, as explained above, these components may be located outboard of the housing 12 and connected to the remainder of the components of the gaming machine 10 via a variety of different wired or wireless connection methods.

As seen in FIG. 2, the controller 34 is also connected to, and controls, the primary display 14, the player input device 24, and a payoff mechanism 40. The payoff mechanism 40 is operable in response to instructions from the controller 34 to award a payoff to the player in response to certain winning outcomes that might occur in the basic game or the bonus game(s). The payoff may be provided in the form of points, bills, tickets, coupons, cards, etc. For example, in FIG. 1, the payoff mechanism 40 includes both a ticket printer 42 and a coin outlet 44. However, any of a variety of payoff mechanisms 40 well known in the art may be implemented, including cards, coins, tickets, smartcards, cash, etc. The payoff amounts distributed by the payoff mechanism 40 are determined by one or more pay tables stored in the system memory 36.

Communications between the controller 34 and both the peripheral components of the gaming machine 10 and external systems 50 occur through input/output (I/O) circuits 46, 48. More specifically, the controller 34 controls and receives inputs from the peripheral components of the gaming machine 10 through the input/output circuits 46. Further, the controller 34 communicates with the external systems 50 via the I/O circuits 48 and a communication path (e.g., serial, parallel, IR, RC, 10bT, etc.). The external systems 50 may include a gaming network, other gaming machines, a gaming server, communications hardware, or a variety of other interfaced systems or components. Although the I/O circuits 46, 48 may be shown as a single block, it should be appreciated that each of the I/O circuits 46, 48 may include a number of different types of I/O circuits.

Controller 34, as used herein, comprises any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware that may be disposed or resident inside and/or outside of the gaming machine 10 that may communicate with and/or control the transfer of data between the gaming machine 10 and a bus, another computer, processor, or device and/or a service and/or a network. The controller 34 may comprise one or more controllers or processors. In FIG. 2, the controller 34 in the gaming machine 10 is depicted as comprising a CPU, but the controller 34 may alternatively comprise a CPU in combination with other components, such as the I/O circuits 46, 48 and the system memory 36.

Turning now to FIG. 3, a player of a video poker game purchases a block of poker hands, which includes a first hand 60 a, a second hand 60 b, a third hand 60 c, and a fourth hand 60 d, on the primary display 14. Each of the hands 60 a-60 d is shown in a state after the player has played his or her hand. Each of the poker hands 60 a-60 d includes a dealt hand (e.g., the first hand 60 a is derived from a first dealt hand 61), a played (or final) hand, and a plurality of playing cards 62. The played hand for each of the poker hands 60 a-60 d includes the cards 62 as shown, including the cards 62 that are crossed-out with an “X” mark. As described in more detail below, an initial poker hand (e.g., the first hand 60 a) acts as a qualifying hand for playing a subsequent hand (e.g., the second hand 60 b) if a predetermined poker ranking is met for the initial poker hand. If the predetermined poker ranking is met, then the played hand in the qualifying hand becomes the dealt hand in the subsequent hand. For example, the played hand for the first hand 60 a becomes the dealt hand for the second hand 60 b.

A pay table 64 indicates the corresponding awards for winning ranked hands. For example, a Jacks-Or-Better ranking pays one credit, a Two Pairs ranking pays two credits, a Three-Of-A-Kind ranking pays three credits, etc.

The pay table 64 further indicates which qualifying hands are needed to move up to each of the levels for the hands 60 a-60 d. Initially, the player plays the first hand 60 a, which corresponds to a First Level of the poker game. If the played hand of the first hand 60 a has a ranking of at least Jacks-Or-Better then the player qualifies for a Second Level, during which the player plays the second hand 60 b. If the played hand for the second hand 60 b has a ranking of at least Three-Of-A-Kind, then the player qualifies for a Third Level, during which the player plays the third hand 60 c. If the played hand for the third hand 60 c has a ranking of at least a Flush, then the player qualifies for a Fourth level, during which the player plays the fourth hand 60 d. If the played hand for the fourth hand 60 d has a ranking of at least a Four-Of-A-Kind, then the player wins a corresponding award and, optionally, a corresponding multiplier (e.g., 8 multiplier). In other embodiments, if the played hand of the fourth hand 60 d meets a predetermined criterion, then it can trigger other game outcomes (e.g., a game bonus, a game award, etc.). Optionally, the pay table 64 indicates the multipliers corresponding to each one of the four levels.

For each of the four levels, First Level to the Fourth Level, a multiplier is awarded if the played hand meets the predetermined ranking corresponding to that particular level. The 1-8 multipliers shown in the gaming screen of the primary display 14 are associated with the First Level to the Fourth Level, correspondingly. As shown, a 1 multiplier is awarded at the First Level if the first hand 60 a has at least a Jacks-Or-Better ranking. A 2 multiplier is awarded at the Second Level (i.e., it pays double the award) if the second hand 60 b has at least a Three-Of-A-Kind ranking. A 4 multiplier is awarded at the Third Level if the third hand 60 c has at least a Flush ranking. An 8 multiplier is awarded at the Fourth Level if the fourth hand 60 d has at least a Four-Of-A-Kind ranking. Optionally, the award multipliers can be indicated in the pay table 64.

A number of indicators are included on the primary display 14 for visually displaying game-related information to the player. Specifically, the primary display 14 includes a credits indicator 66, a wager indicator 68, a block of hands indicator 70, and an award indicator 72.

To purchase the block of hands 60 a-60 d, the player makes an extra bet or a side bet. Thus, assuming that a single hand of poker costs one credit, the player pays, for example, three extra credits to purchase the block of hands 60 a-60 d. The wager indicator 68 shows that four credits have been wagered, and the block of hands indicator 70 shows that one block has been purchased. Optionally, the block of hands 60 a-60 d can be awarded as a bonus.

After the player has purchased the block of hands 60 a-60 d, the player is dealt the first dealt hand 61, which includes the Jack of Diamonds, the 3 of Spades, the 10 of Hearts, the 5 of Hearts, and the Ace of Spades. The first dealt hand 61 is not a winning hand. The player selects for replacement the 3 of Spades and the 5 of Hearts, which are shown crossed-out with an “X” mark on each card. The cards are then replaced with the Jack of Hearts and the 7 of Spades, which are shown above the first dealt hand 61, in the row of cards 62 indicating the played hand of the first hand 60 a.

The played hand of the first hand 60 a meets the predetermined criteria because it includes a pair of Jacks, i.e., the Jack of Diamonds, which was present in the dealt hand of the first hand 60 a, and the Jack of Hearts, which replaced the 3 of Spades. The pay table 64 indicates that the played hand of the first hand 60 a is a winning hand because a Jacks-Or-Better ranking pays one credit. Further, because a Jacks-Or-Better ranking is the minimum required ranking for qualifying the player for the next level, or hand, a determination has been made that the winning pair of Jacks of the first hand 60 a qualifies the player for playing the second hand 60 b. The award for the first hand 60 a is 1 credit, wherein the multiplier for this level is 1.

The dealt hand of the second hand 60 b is the played hand of the first hand 60 a. Specifically, the dealt hand of the second hand 60 b includes the Jack of Diamonds, the Jack of Hearts, the 10 of Hearts, the 7 of Spades, and the Ace of Spades. The player selects for replacement the 10 of Hearts and the 7 of Spades, as shown by the crossed-out “X” mark on each of the two cards. The two cards are replaced by the Jack of Spades and the 6 of Diamonds. Thus, the played hand of the second hand 60 b has a Three-Of-A-Kind ranking, which consists of the three Jacks—the Jack of Diamonds, the Jack of Hearts, and the Jack of Spades. As indicated, the Three-Of-A-Kind ranking earns the player an award of 3 credits and a 2 multiplier, for a total of 6 credits. Thus, the player's award from the first hand 60 a has now been increased by 6 credits to 7 total credits. In addition, the player has qualified for playing the next level of the game, which is the third hand 60 c.

The dealt hand (i.e., starting hand) of the third hand 60 c is the played hand of the second hand 60 b. Specifically, the dealt hand of the third hand 60 c includes the Jack of Diamonds, the Jack of Hearts, the Jack of Spades, the 6 of Diamonds, and the Ace of Spades. The player selects for replacement a single card—the 6 of Diamonds, which is replaced by the Ace of Clubs. Thus, the played hand of the third hand 60 c has a Full House ranking. As indicated, the Full House ranking earns the player an award of 9 credits and a 4 multiplier, for a total of 36 credits. The player's total award has, thus, increased by 36 from 7 credits to 43 credits. In addition, the player has qualified for playing the next level of the game, which is the fourth hand 60 d.

The dealt hand of the fourth hand 60 d is the played hand of the third hand 60 c. Specifically, the dealt hand of the fourth hand 60 c includes the Jack of Diamonds, the Jack of Hearts, the Jack of Spades, the Ace of Clubs, and the Ace of Spades. The player selects for replacement the three Jacks, which are replaced by the King of Diamonds, the Ace of Hearts, and the Ace of Diamonds. Thus, the played hand of the fourth hand 60 d has a Four-Of-A-Kind ranking. As indicated, the Four-Of-A-Kind ranking earns the player an award of 25 credits and an 8 multiplier, for a total of 200 credits for the fourth hand 60 c. The total award has now increased from 43 credits to 243 credits.

If the player does not qualify for a subsequent hand, then the player has finished playing the game. Specifically, the player has lost the chance to play any of the higher level hands. For example, if the player does not achieve a Three-Of-A-Kind ranking while playing the second hand 60 b, then the player cannot play the third hand 60 c or the fourth hand 60 d. Thus, if the player does not qualify for the predetermined ranking associated with the second hand 60 b, the award will not receive a 2 multiplier. Nevertheless, the player may still receive an award for the second hand 60 b if the player achieves a ranking of Two Pairs or Jacks-Or-Better. Alternatively, by making it to the Second Level, but not qualifying for the Third Level, the winning hand (e.g., Two Pairs) can still be paid with a 2 multiplier in the second hand 60 b. In a further alternative, if the player does not meet the predetermined ranking criterion associated with a particular hand, the player can have the option to continue playing the subsequent hand by making an extra wager.

Referring to FIG. 4, in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the player automatically wins an award that is associated with a higher-level if the ranking of a lower played hand meets the predetermined criterion for the higher award. For example, the player can win a Fourth Level award while playing a Second Level hand if the played hand of the Second Level meets the predetermined criteria required to win the Fourth Level award.

In this example, the player has purchased a block of hands, which includes a first hand 160 a and a second hand 160 b. A dealt hand 161 for the first hand 160 a is identical to the dealt hand 61 described above in reference to FIG. 3. As before, the player selects for replacement the 3 of Spades and the 5 of Hearts. The replacement cards are the Jack of Hearts and the Ace of Hearts. Thus, the played hand of the first hand 160 a has Two Pairs, a pair including the Jack of Diamonds and the Jack of Hearts and a pair including the Ace of Hearts and the Ace of Spades. A ranking of Two Pairs is a winning ranking that meets the Jacks-Or-Better criteria. Accordingly, for the first hand 160 a the player wins an award of 2 credits that has a 1 multiplier. Further, the Two Pair ranking qualifies the player for playing a second hand 160 b.

The dealt hand for the second hand 160 b includes all the cards from the played hand of the first hand 160 a, i.e., the Jack of Diamonds, the Jack of Hearts, the 10 of Hearts, the Ace of Hearts, and the Ace of Spades. The player selects for replacement the Jack of Diamonds and the Ace of Spades. The replacement cards are the Queen of Hearts and the King of Hearts. The ranking of the second hand 160 b is a Royal Flush, which is associated with a Fourth Level winning hand. The Royal Flush earns the player an award of 250 credits having an 8 multiplier, resulting in a total award of 2,000 credits for the second hand 160 b. Thus, unlike FIG. 3 which results in a cumulative award to the player for each level, the player is only paid an award equal to the highest award achieved.

FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative play mechanic for the card game whereby an identical poker hand 261 is dealt for each one of a plurality of hierarchical poker hands 260 a-260 d. Although for convenience purposes all the poker hands 260-260 d and the dealt hand 261 are shown on the primary display 14 at the same time, it should be recognized that the poker hands 260-260 d and the dealt hand 261 can be shown on the primary display 14 one at a time, or in any other combination. Unlike the dealt hand described in reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, which was the played hand in a previous hand, the dealt hand in this embodiment is the same for each hand regardless of the hand hierarchy level. Thus, the strategy that the player uses will be different than in the embodiments described in reference to FIGS. 3 and 4 because the player essentially has a fresh, but identical, start every time a new hand is played.

Similar to the previous embodiments, it is assumed in this example that there are four hierarchy levels for a block of four poker hands. The player needs a Jacks-Or-Better ranking to qualify for the second level, which pays 2 the normal award; a Three-Of-A-Kind ranking or better to qualify for the third level, which pays 4 the normal award; a Flush ranking or better to qualify for the fourth level, which pays 8 the normal award; and a Four-Of-A-Kind ranking or better to win the 8 multiplier associated with the fourth level.

The player has purchased a block of hands, which includes a first hand 260 a, a second hand 260 b, a third hand 260 c, and a fourth hand 260 d. A dealt hand 261 is received for playing the first hand 260 a. The dealt hand 261 includes the Jack of Diamonds, the 3 of Spades, the 10 of Hearts, the 5 of Hearts, and the Ace of Spades. The player selects for replacement the 3 of Spades and the 5 of Hearts, and the replacement cards are the Jack of Hearts and the Ace of Hearts. The ranking of the played hand of the first hand 260 a is Two Pairs, which includes the pair of Jacks and the pair of Aces. The Two Pairs ranking meets the predetermined criterion of Jacks-Or-Better and, thus, the player qualifies for playing the next hand. The award for Two Pairs is 2 credits and a multiplier of 1.

The dealt hand 261 is now received for playing the second hand 260 b. The player selects for replacement the 3 of Spades and the 5 of Hearts, as in the previous hand, and the replacement cards are the Ace of Diamonds and the Ace of Hearts. The ranking of the played hand of the second hand 260 b is Three-Of-A-Kind, which includes the three Aces. The Three-Of-A-Kind ranking meets the predetermined criterion of Three-Of-A-Kind that is associated with the second level, and the player qualifies for playing the next hand. The award corresponding to the Three-Of-A-Kind ranking is 3 credits and the multiplier is 2, for an award of 6 credits.

The dealt hand 261 is now received for playing the third hand 260 c. The player selects for replacement the 3 of Spades, the 5 of Hearts, and the Ace of Spades, and the replacement cards are the Jack of Hearts, the 10 of Diamonds, and the 10 of Clubs. The ranking of the played hand of the third hand 260 c is a Full House, which meets the predetermined criterion of at least a Flush ranking that is associated with the third level. The player qualifies for the next hand and is awarded, as of now, an award of 9 credits having a multiplier of 4, for an award of 36 credits.

The dealt hand 261 is now received for playing the fourth hand 260 d. The player selects for replacement four cards, the Jack of Spades, the 3 of Spades, the 10 of Hearts, and the 5 of Hearts. The replacement cards are the Queen of Hearts, the Queen of Diamonds, the Queen of Clubs, and the Queen of Spades. The ranking of the played hand of the fourth hand 260 d is Four-Of-A-Kind and, therefore, the player is awarded an award of 25 credits having a multiplier of 8, for an award of 200 credits. Thus, the total award for the player is 244 credits.

Referring to FIG. 6, the player qualifies for a higher level hand, which is not subsequent to a lower level hand, by meeting the predetermined criterion associated with the higher level hand. After purchasing a block of hands, which includes a first hand 360 a, a second hand 360 b, a third hand 360 c, and a fourth hand 360 d, the player receives a dealt hand 361 for the first hand 360 a. The cards of the dealt hand 361 are the Jack of Diamonds, the 2 of Spades, the 3 of Clubs, the 5 of Hearts, and the 4 of Diamonds. The player selects for replacement three cards, the Jack of Diamonds, the 3 of Clubs, and the 5 of Hearts. The replacement cards are the 2 of Hearts, the 2 of Diamonds, and the 4 of Hearts. Thus, the player has achieved a ranking of a Full House, which qualifies the player for playing the fourth hand 360 d. Specifically, the player does not have to play the second hand 360 b and the third hand 360 c. The player is awarded 9 credits with a multiplier of 4, for a total of 36 credits.

The player now plays the fourth hand 360 d and receives the dealt hand 361. The player selects for replacement all the cards except the 4 of Diamonds. The replacement cards are the 8 of Diamonds, the 7 of Diamonds, the 6 of Diamonds, and the 5 of Diamonds, which results in a ranking of a Straight Flush. Thus, the player has won the fourth hand 360 d, winning a total award of 400 credits (50 credits multiplied by the 8 multiplier).

In the embodiments describe above in reference to FIGS. 3-6, forty-seven cards (assuming a standard deck of fifty-two cards) are randomly available for each subsequent hand, even if dealt in a previous hand to replace selected cards. Thus, discarded cards can be randomly selected in one or more hands by placing the discarded cards back in the available deck of cards after each level. Alternatively, after the cards are used, or discarded, only remaining cards are available. Thus, discarded cards are not placed back in the deck of cards such that there are less available cards in the deck for the higher levels. The decision of the player may be affected by knowing whether the discarded cards are placed back in the deck of cards.

In other embodiments, a block of hands can include any number of poker hands, which can have a hierarchy determined according to any poker rankings. Optionally, multiplier values and their corresponding poker hands can vary according to any predetermined manner. For example, a multiplier value can be awarded for every other poker hand. Thus, a multiplier value can be awarded for a first hand, a third hand, a fifth hand, etc., but not for a second hand, a fourth hand, a sixth hand, etc. In yet other embodiments, the multiplier values can be any type of bonus award. For example, the bonus award can be a free block of hands, a predetermined credit amount, etc. In another example, the awards of the pay table 64 can vary for each of the poker hands of a block of hands.

In the above-described embodiments, all the hands of a purchased block of hands are shown on the primary display 14. Optionally, only one hand can be shown on the primary display 14 at one time.

Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7862417 *Sep 29, 2009Jan 4, 2011IgtCard game enabling separate evaluations for multiple game outcome combinations
US7931527 *Dec 7, 2006Apr 26, 2011Daniel CaissieVideo poker draw game
US8235783Jan 15, 2008Aug 7, 2012Wms Gaming Inc.Wagering games utilizing a play or pass methodology related application data
US8662988 *Dec 30, 2009Mar 4, 2014Multimedia Games, Inc.Gaming machines and methods particularly for use in environments imposing prize restrictions
US20110159943 *Dec 30, 2009Jun 30, 2011Gordon Thomas GravesGaming machines and methods particularly for use in environments imposing prize restrictions
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3293, G07F17/3211
European ClassificationG07F17/32C2F, G07F17/32P6
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 12, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FLINT, JOHN D.;PACEY, LARRY J.;JAFFE, JOEL R.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:017863/0224;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060224 TO 20060313
Jul 29, 2015ASAssignment
Owner name: BALLY GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:036225/0201
Effective date: 20150629