US 20060247019 A1
A random number is generated using two or more designations taken from a ball draw and applied to affect a game. The random number generation process preferably results in a uniform distribution of random numbers across a certain range. The uniformity in which the random numbers may be distributed over a certain range allows the numbers to be employed to affect games in a uniform and unbiased fashion.
1. A method including:
(a) generating a random number using two or more designations of a ball draw; and
(b) employing the random number to affect a game.
2. The method of
3. The method of
4. The method of
5. The method of
6. The method of
7. A method including:
(a) generating a ball draw for a game;
(b) generating a random number from two or more designations of the ball draw; and
(c) applying the random number to affect the game.
8. The method of
9. The method of
10. The method of
11. The method of
12. A system including:
(a) a ball draw generating device;
(b) an indexing controller for generating a random number based on two or more designations taken from a ball draw generated by the ball draw generating device; and
(c) a game controller for applying the random number to affect a game.
13. The system of
14. The system of
15. The system of
16. The system of
17. A program product having a set of machine-readable instructions that when executed are configured to:
(a) generate a random number using two or more designations of a ball draw; and
(b) employ the random number to affect a game.
18. The program product of
19. The program product of
20. The program product of
This invention relates to electronically implemented games of chance such as electronic bingo games. More particularly, the invention relates to using two or more designations from a ball draw or other sequence of designations to generate a random number which is then used to affect some aspect of a game.
The game referred to generally as “bingo” is played with predetermined bingo cards that include a number of designations randomly arranged in a grid, matrix, or other layout of spots or locations. In the traditional bingo game sequence, a number of the predetermined bingo cards are sold for play in a particular game. After the sale of bingo cards is closed for a given game, designations are randomly selected from a pool of available designations and matched to the designations on each bingo card that is in play in the bingo game. This matching of randomly selected bingo designations with a card in play in the game is commonly referred to as daubing the card.
In traditional bingo games, daubing is done manually by the player holding the bingo card. More recent bingo gaming systems automatically check for designation matches for each bingo card in play in a game as designations are randomly selected for the game. Regardless of how the bingo cards in play are daubed, the first card which is daubed in some predefined, game ending pattern of matched card locations is considered a winning card for the game. Patterns achieved in the game other than the game ending pattern may also be associated with prizes.
A large number of variations have been developed on the traditional bingo game played with paper bingo cards. Bingo may be played through a network of interconnected player stations using data representations of bingo cards (bingo card representations) in place of the traditional paper bingo cards. Also, the order in which tasks are done has also been varied. For example, bingo cards or bingo card representations may also be pre-matched to a random series of bingo designations and then sold to players with the resulting daub patterns obscured or otherwise kept from the purchasing players. A player purchasing the pre-daubed bingo card or bingo card representation may reveal or otherwise view the daubed pattern to see if the card or card representation they have purchased produced any winning pattern of matches. Games in which bingo cards or card representations are matched with a sequence of bingo designations, including traditional bingo and variations on the game of bingo, will all be referred to in this document as bingo-type games. The present disclosure and accompanying claims will also refer to any sequence of designations taken from a pool of designations as a “ball draw,” regardless of how the designations are actually produced. Under this definition, a ball draw may be a sequence of numbers from a random number generator, from a pseudo random number generator, or any other suitable device or system, and not necessarily a sequence obtained from a physical ball draw.
The present invention provides apparatus, methods, and program products for generating a random number that may be used to affect a game in a gaming system. The random number is generated using two or more designations taken from a ball draw. The random number generation process according to the invention preferably results in a uniform distribution of random numbers across a certain range. The uniformity in which random numbers generated according to the present invention may be distributed over a certain range allows the numbers to be employed to affect games in a uniform and unbiased fashion.
The random number generated according to the present invention may be applied to affect a game by indicating a prize to be awarded in the game, by indicating a graphic presentation to be selected for display in the game, indicating a tangential game (a bonus game or a completely separate game) that a player enter, or in some other manner. In one preferred form of the invention, the random number is generated using designations from a ball draw for a given bingo-type game and the number is applied to affect that particular bingo-type game.
One preferred gaming system according to principles of the present invention includes a ball draw generating device, an indexing controller, and a game controller. The ball draw generating device generates a ball draw in some fashion and the indexing controller applies two or more designations from the ball draw to generate a random number. The game controller then applies the random number to affect a game in some manner.
The present invention also includes a program product stored on at least one storage medium. The program product includes a set of machine-readable instructions that when executed are configured to carry out the methods disclosed herein.
These and other advantages and features of the invention will be apparent from the following description of preferred embodiments, considered along with the accompanying drawings.
Gaming system 100 of
Gaming system 100 includes an indexing controller 105 that uses two or more designations from a ball draw to generate a random number for use in the gaming system. Gaming system 100 also includes a game controller 106 that is responsible for employing the random number to affect a game as will be described in detail below. Although
The LASs 102 are also shown diagrammatically in
Regardless of the specific configuration of an LAS 102, in a bingo-type game conducted through gaming system 100, each LAS may serve to transfer or relay information from its respective EPSs 103 to CGS 101, and transfer or relay information from the CGS to the LAS's respective EPSs 103. Each LAS 102 according to the present invention may also have the ability to actually conduct bingo-type games in certain situations. For example, where one LAS 102 serves a large number of EPSs 103, the LAS 102 may group players or game play requests from its respective EPSs 103 during a time of high player activity, obtain or produce a ball draw, identify bingo patterns, and return bingo results to the EPSs rather than having the CGS 101 perform these tasks. Also, each LAS 102 may be configured to perform the tasks normally performed by CGS 101 in the event the communications link between the respective LAS and CGS is degraded below a certain level or is severed altogether.
CGS 101 may also include one or more computer systems, each including one or more processors, nonvolatile memory, volatile memory, a user interface arrangement (for system operator access), and a communications interface, all operably interconnected. Regardless of the particular configuration for CGS 101, in the normal operation of gaming system 100, CGS 101 accepts players for participation in bingo-type games offered through the system, produces or obtains ball draws, identifies the achieved patterns in the bingo-type games, and communicates the results to the players at the various EPSs 103.
Again, it should be noted that the particular configuration of hardware components illustrated in
Also, although some preferred forms of the present invention may be implemented in a networked, electronic bingo gaming system such as that described with reference to
Generating a ball draw as shown at process block 202 in
Generating a random number as shown at process block 204 preferably involves a process that provides a uniform distribution of random numbers over a certain range. That is, the preferred random number generating process employed at process block 204 is one that, when applied to a number of different ball draws, results in a number of random numbers that are uniformly distributed over a certain range. The example gaming system 100 shown in
One preferred form of the invention employs the following formula to generate a random number at process block 204 in
It will be noted that the above-described formula for generating a random number from a ball draw requires numeric values to represent the possible designations in the draw. However, this does not require that the ball draw designations must comprise numeric values. Rather, non-numeric values may be used for ball draw designations, provided that the non-numeric ball draw designations are mapped to numeric values. For example, a pool of designations from which a ball draw is generated may comprise the designations B-1 through B-15, I-1 through I-15, N-1 through N-15, G-1 through G-15, and O-1 through O-15. In this case, each of these non-numeric ball draw designations could be uniquely mapped to a respective number from 0 to 74, inclusive, and the mapped numeric values of the first three non-numeric ball draw designations from a ball draw could be used in the formula described above to generate the desired random number.
Regardless of how the random number is generated at process block 204 in
In some forms of the invention, the ball draw-generated random number may be used to affect a game which otherwise uses that ball draw in the conduct of the game. For example, the invention may be employed in a gaming system for conducting bingo-type games, each bingo-type game using a ball draw to identify the results for the various bingo card representations entered in the game. In this example, the same ball draw used to identify results in a given bingo-type game may be used according to the invention to generate a random number which is applied to affect the bingo-type game in some fashion. That is, the ball draw produced at process block 202 in
One preferred way of using the random number to affect the game as shown at process block 206 involves correlating the random number to some game affecting feature such as a graphic presentation used in the game or to a game result, for example. An index table may be used to effect this correlation. In such a table, index values are divided up into different ranges of index values and each range of index values is correlated to a game affecting feature. These index values are preferably taken from a universe of potential random numbers so that a given random number generated according to the invention at process block 204 in
The following simple, example table may be used to describe an index table within the scope of the present invention.
It will be appreciated that numerous variations are possible on the basic example shown in Table I. In one variation, the index value ranges may be unequal or non-uniform. In another variation, one or more potential random numbers may not correlate to any game affecting feature. Of course, the invention is not limited to any particular game affecting feature. As discussed above, such features may include graphic presentations, tangential games, tangential game results, game play characteristics, or any other features that may affect the game.
The invention is not limited to any structure or arrangement for performing the step shown at block 206 in
As mentioned above, one preferred use of a ball draw-generated random number may be in selecting a graphic presentation to be used in a game. An example of this use may be described in connection with the gaming system set out in U.S. provisional patent application No. 60/610,339, entitled “Player Action Influenced Prize Distribution in a Bingo Game,” the entire content of which is incorporated herein by this reference. In this gaming system, bingo-type games are employed to mimic play in a card game such as draw poker. Each bingo result in the system is mapped to a number of different groups of playing card representations. A particular one of these different groups of playing card representations is assigned to a player for a given game play and the player is allowed to take various actions relating to the card representation, such as discarding certain cards or holding certain cards. The actions taken by the player in light of an exposed portion of the playing card representations determine the prize ultimately awarded to the player in the game. In this system, the present invention may be used to select one of the various playing card representation groups mapped to a particular result in a game.
The following Table II is similar to Table I above, with the exception that the game affecting features are defined as the different playing card groups from set 304 in
Several specific examples with reference to
That playing card group may then be displayed to the player to continue the process described in U.S. provisional patent application No. 60/610,339.
For a first example, assume that the first three designations from the ball draw are 5, 34, and 18. Applying the indexing formula above, the resulting random number is:
As a second example, assume that the first three designations from a ball draw are 12, 25, and 56. Applying the indexing formula for this situation results in the random number 66630 calculated:
As a final example, assume the first three designations from a ball draw are 64, 41, and 23. Applying the preferred indexing formula to this set of three designations results in the random number:
It will be noted from the above three examples that the ball draw-generated random number may be applied to select a graphic presentation, namely a respective playing card group, to affect play in the game. In an actual implementation of the invention described in U.S. provisional patent application No. 60/610,339, a large number of different playing card groups may be defined. Randomly selecting the different playing card groups for display to the player in the course of the game helps ensure that the game appears as random as an actual draw poker game. This application of the ball draw-generated random number according to the invention together with the system described in U.S. provisional patent application No. 60/610,339 may provide a very realistic and effective simulation of draw poker or some other playing card game while still obtaining the player's result in the game from the underlying bingo-type game.
It should be noted that although the random number produced from a ball draw according to the present invention will be uniformly distributed over the given range, the manner in which the random number is used to affect a game may introduce certain biases. For example, a ball draw may be used to play a bingo game and the random number generated from the ball draw as described above may be used to regulate some further event that is specified by the pattern produced for a player in the bingo game. In this case, although the random number produced from the ball draw will be uniform over the potential range, the ball draw itself may be biased because certain ball draws may be slightly more likely than others to produce the pattern produced for the player. The bias in the ball draw in this case will translate to a bias in the number generated from the ball draw.
The bias introduced by how a random number produced according to the present invention is applied may not detract from a given application of the random number, and thus the random number may be used without correction. However, correction for the bias may be desirable in other instances. One preferred method for correcting for the bias described in the preceding paragraph for a given bingo pattern involves first empirically measuring the distribution of random numbers given that the particular bingo pattern was hit. This empirical distribution of random numbers may be generated by repeatedly simulating the play of the bingo game and calculating the random number according to the invention for each simulation in which the given pattern is achieved. The empirically determined distribution of random numbers may then be considered in specifying how the actual random numbers will affect the game when the given pattern is hit.
The above described preferred embodiments are intended to illustrate the principles of the invention, but not to limit the scope of the invention. Various other embodiments and modifications to these preferred embodiments may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention.
As used herein, whether in the above description or the following claims, the terms “comprising”, “including”, “carrying”, “having”, “containing”, “involving”, and the like are to be understood to be open-ended, that is, to mean including but not limited to. Only the transitional phrases “consisting of” and “consisting essentially of”, respectively, shall be closed or semi-closed transitional phrases, as set forth, with respect to claims, in the United States Patent Office Manual of Patent Examining Procedures (Eighth Edition, August 2001 as revised May 2004), Section 2111.03.