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Publication numberUS20060264255 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/131,906
Publication dateNov 23, 2006
Filing dateMay 17, 2005
Priority dateMay 17, 2005
Publication number11131906, 131906, US 2006/0264255 A1, US 2006/264255 A1, US 20060264255 A1, US 20060264255A1, US 2006264255 A1, US 2006264255A1, US-A1-20060264255, US-A1-2006264255, US2006/0264255A1, US2006/264255A1, US20060264255 A1, US20060264255A1, US2006264255 A1, US2006264255A1
InventorsMilo Borissov
Original AssigneeMilo Borissov
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Game played with playing card and non-playing card symbols
US 20060264255 A1
Abstract
A slot-type game provides the opportunity to receive or form combinations of winning slot symbols as well as cards forming poker card combinations. In particular, slot-type, non-playing card symbols are displayed along with playing card symbols. Winning results occur if particular combinations of slot symbols and/or playing card symbols are received. In one embodiment, winning combinations of slot symbols must be located along active paylines, while winning combinations of playing card symbols may occur anywhere in the group of symbols. A respin feature permits a player to replace one or more symbols in an additional attempt to obtain winning results.
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Claims(10)
1. A method of playing a game comprising the steps of:
accepting a wager;
displaying a first plurality of symbols selected from a group consisting of playing card symbols and non-playing card symbols, one or more of said symbols of said first plurality of symbols displayed along one or more paylines;
determining from said first plurality of symbols if any combinations of non-playing card symbols along one or more of said paylines comprise winning combinations of non-playing card symbols;
determining from said first plurality of symbols if any winning combinations of playing card symbols exist in said plurality of displayed symbols; and
declaring a winning outcome for any winning combinations of non-playing card or playing card symbols in said first plurality of symbols.
2. The method in accordance with claim 1 including the step of awarding winnings for winning outcomes.
3. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said step of determining if winning combinations of playing card symbols exist comprises determining if any playing card symbols comprise a poker hand of at least one pair or higher value.
4. The method in accordance with claim 1 including the step of activating at least one payline and determining if any combinations of non-playing card symbols along one or more active paylines comprise winning combinations of non-playing card symbols.
5. The method in accordance with claim 4 including the step of activating at least one payline for a minimum wager and activating a more than one payline for a wager greater than said minimum wager.
6. The method in accordance with claim 1 including the steps of:
accepting input from a player regarding one or more symbols of said first plurality of symbols to be replaced;
replacing said symbols to create a second plurality of symbols;
determining from said second plurality of symbols if any combinations of non-playing card symbols along one or more of said paylines comprise winning combinations of non-playing card symbols;
determining from said second plurality of symbols if any winning combinations of playing card symbols exist in said plurality of displayed symbols; and
declaring a winning outcome for any winning combinations of non-playing card or playing card symbols in said second plurality of symbols.
7. The method in accordance with claim 6 including the step of awarding winnings for winning outcomes from said first and second pluralities of symbols.
8. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said first plurality of symbols are selected from a group of symbols, said group of symbols including a greater number of non-playing card symbols than playing card symbols.
9. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said step of displaying comprises the step of rotating one or more reels bearing symbols.
10. The method in accordance with claim 1 including the step of generating symbol information and wherein said step of displaying comprises utilizing said generated symbol information to display said symbols on a video display.
Description
    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to casino-style games in which symbols are displayed as part of the play of a game.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    Slot-type gaming machines are well-known and have been popular for years. These games have their origin in old mechanical spinning reel games where a player attempted to receive certain combinations of symbols as a result of the spin of the reels. More recently, these games have been implemented on video gaming machines where the symbols are generated and displayed on a video display.
  • [0003]
    The problem with these games is that the basic configuration of the game is relatively simple, and the game offers little player interaction. In order to make these games exciting, gaming manufacturers have recently begun offering “themed” slot type games. For example, popular themed gaming machines currently include Playboy®, Star Wars® and others. Associating a “theme” with the game does not, however, generally change the method of game play or the minimal player interaction offered thereby.
  • [0004]
    A slot-type game which provides a higher level of player excitement and interaction is desired.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0005]
    The present invention comprises a method of playing a game and a gaming machine configured to present a game. One embodiment of the invention is a slot-type game providing a player the opportunity to receive or form combinations of winning slot symbols, as well as cards forming poker card combinations. In particular, slot-type, non-playing card symbols are displayed along with playing card symbols. Winning results occur if particular combinations of slot symbols and/or playing card symbols are received.
  • [0006]
    In accordance with one embodiment of a game, a plurality of symbols are displayed. Those symbols are selected from a group consisting of playing card symbols and non-playing card symbols.
  • [0007]
    Next, it is determined if any combinations of non-playing card symbols comprise winning combinations of non-playing card symbols. In a preferred embodiment, the symbols are displayed in association with one or more paylines, and only combinations of non-playing card symbols along a payline may be declared winning combinations of non-playing card symbols.
  • [0008]
    It is also determined if any winning combinations of playing card symbols exist in the plurality of displayed symbols. In a preferred embodiment, winning combinations of playing card symbols may be declared for combinations of playing cards which appear or occur anywhere, i.e. are “scattered,” in the group of symbols, regardless of wether those symbols exist along a payline. Winning combinations of playing cards may comprise poker card combinations, such as “a pair,” “two pair” and the like.
  • [0009]
    A winning outcome is declared for any winning combinations of non-playing card or playing card symbols. In one embodiment, the game is played as a wagering type game and a player is awarded winnings such as credits, points or other monetary value, or prizes.
  • [0010]
    In one embodiment, the probability of receiving non-playing card symbols is greater than that for receiving playing card symbols.
  • [0011]
    In one embodiment, a player may be provided the opportunity to replace one or more of the displayed symbols, such as by selection of particular symbols to replace or by respinning one or more physical or virtual reels with which symbols are associated.
  • [0012]
    In a preferred embodiment, after an initial set of symbols is displayed, that set of symbols is evaluated to determine if any winning combinations of slot or non-playing card symbols exist (such as winning sets of non-playing cards along active paylines). A player is then permitted to replace one or more of the displayed symbols, such as by respinning one or more of the reels. The resultant set of symbols is then evaluated to determine if any winning card symbol combinations exist.
  • [0013]
    One embodiment of the invention is a gaming machine configured to present a game of the invention.
  • [0014]
    Further objects, features, and advantages of the present invention over the prior art will become apparent from the detailed description of the drawings which follows, when considered with the attached figures.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0015]
    FIG. 1 illustrates a gaming device of the type which may be used to implement a game in accordance with the invention for play by a player;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 2 illustrates one set of symbols representing the outcome of a game in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 3 illustrates one set of symbols representing a first outcome of a game in accordance with another embodiment of the invention; and
  • [0018]
    FIG. 4 illustrates one set of symbols representing a second outcome of the game in FIG. 3 after certain symbols from that set of symbols have been replaced.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0019]
    The invention is a method of presenting and playing a game. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough description of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.
  • [0020]
    In general, the invention comprises a method of playing a game in which a plurality of symbols are displayed. The game is a “slot” type game in which a player attempts to receive certain combinations of slot symbols, those symbols preferably comprising non-playing card symbols. In addition, the game includes the opportunity for a player to receive playing card symbols in an attempt to form winning card combinations.
  • [0021]
    In a preferred embodiment, the game of the invention is presented to a player with a gaming machine. FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a gaming machine 20 in accordance with the invention. As illustrated, the gaming machine 20 includes a housing 22 for enclosing/supporting various components of the gaming machine. The housing 22 have a variety of configurations. In one embodiment, the housing 22 is configured to the machine has an “upright” configuration. The machine 20 might also be configured as a “slant”-type, “bar-top” or have other forms.
  • [0022]
    In one embodiment, the gaming machine 20 is configured as a “video” type gaming machine, the machine including at least one display 24 for displaying game information to a player. As described below, this game information may include playing card and non-playing card symbols or indicia.
  • [0023]
    The gaming machine 20 may include other means for providing information to a player. For example, speakers (not shown) or other devices may be provided for generating sound associated with the game. The gaming machine 20 may also include lights, printed instructions and other displays/display devices.
  • [0024]
    In one embodiment, a player must make payment in order to be entitled to play the game. Preferably, the game is presented as a wagering type game, and a player must place a bet or wager in order to play the game for the opportunity to receive winnings. Preferably, if the player is a winner of the game, the player is provided an award, such as a monetary payout (such as coins), credits representing monetary value, points or tangible prizes. As illustrated, the gaming machine 20 may include a bill validator/acceptor 26 for accepting paper currency and a coin acceptor 28 for accepting coins. Other means of payment, such as a credit card reader, may be provided. An award of winnings in the form of coins may be paid to the player via a coin tray 30.
  • [0025]
    Preferably, the gaming machine 20 includes means for a player to provide input. In one embodiment, this means comprises one or more buttons. For example, a plurality of reel “spin” or “select” buttons 32 may be provided for permitting a player to hold/select cards in a hand. A bet one button 34 and bet max button 36 are provided for a player to select the amount to bet on a particular game. Other means of input may be provided, such as a touch-screen display and other devices now known or later developed.
  • [0026]
    A game controller (not shown) is provided for controlling the various devices of the gaming machine and for providing game information. For example, the game controller may be arranged to generate video and audio data for presentation by the display and speakers of the gaming machine 20. The game controller may be arranged to detect a signal from the coin acceptor indicating the receipt of coins or from the bill validator regarding accepted bills and for registering credits corresponding to those inputs, for subtracting credits for wagers placed by a player, and for causing a coin delivery mechanism to deliver coins from a coin hopper to the coin tray 30 for payment of winnings and/or return to a player of unwagered credits. Preferably, the one or more player input devices provide an output to the gaming controller for use in play of the game. For example, in response to a “bet one” input by a player, the gaming controller is preferably transmitted a signal which causes the gaming controller to initiate presentation of the game.
  • [0027]
    It will be appreciated that the gaming machine 20 may have a variety of configurations, and that the gaming machine 20 illustrated and described above is but an example of a device for implementing the game of the present invention. For example, in one or more embodiments, the gaming machine 20 may be associated with a network and receive game information remotely and may transmit information, such as payout and game play information, to a remote location. For example, a remote master controller may generate game information which is transmitted over a communication link to the gaming machine 20. That information may be utilized by a local controller or processor to present the game, such as by displaying game play data or information.
  • [0028]
    As indicated, in one embodiment, game information is displayed by a video display 24 to a player. That display may be of a variety of types, including CRT, LCD, plasma and others. The gaming machine 20 may also include more than one video display.
  • [0029]
    In one embodiment, as described in more detail below, game information which is presented to a player comprises simulated reels displaying game symbols. As indicated, these symbols may be displayed in graphical representation by the display.
  • [0030]
    In another embodiment, the gaming machine 20 may include one or more physical reels capable of displaying symbols. In such a configuration, means are provided for rotating the physical reels. In one or more embodiments, the means may comprise a mechanical linkage associated with a spin arm, with movement of the spin arm (a “pull”) by a user causing the reels to spin. In such an arrangement, the reels are generally allowed to free-wheel and then stop. In another embodiment, electronically controlled mechanisms are arranged to rotate and stop each reel. Such mechanisms are well known to those of skill in the art. In this arrangement, actuation of the spin arm or depression a spin button causes a controller (not shown) to signal the activation of the spin mechanism associated with one or more of the reels. Preferably, the controller is arranged to either turn off the signal to the device(s) effecting the rotation of each or all of the reels or generates a signal for activating a braking device, whereby the reels are stopped. As is well known, the combinations of reel positions and their odds of hitting are associated with the controller, and the controller is arranged to stop the reels in a position displaying a combination of indicia as determined by the controller based on the combinations and odds. The principal of such an arrangement is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,448,419 to Telnaes, which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0031]
    The gaming machine 20 may have other configurations, including other features. For example, the gaming machine 20 may include a player tracking device 38, such as a card reader and associated keypad. Such player tracking devices are well known and may permit the game operator to track play of players of the gaming machine. The tracked play may be utilized to offer player bonuses or awards.
  • [0032]
    In one embodiment, the gaming machine 20 may be configured to dispense media, such as printed paper tickets, which have associated value. For example, winnings or unused credits may be returned to the player via a printed ticket having value or associated value. In one embodiment, the gaming machine 20 might also be configured to accept such media for providing credit for game play. Such systems are well known and thus not described in detail herein.
  • [0033]
    It will also be appreciated that the games of the invention maybe presented or played as table games, such as using card marked with playing card and symbol information as detailed below.
  • [0034]
    In one embodiment, the games of the invention are played as wagering type games in which a player must place a wager in order to play the game for an opportunity of winnings. In other embodiments, the game may be played for fun or prizes. In such event, the player may be permitted to play the game for free or may be required to make payment to play the game.
  • [0035]
    As indicated above, a player may provide value to the gaming machine 20 or machine operator in a number of ways, including with coins or bills. The player might also be permitted to provide value remotely.
  • [0036]
    Once the player provides value, the player preferably places a wager to play the game. This may be accomplished, in one embodiment, by the player pressing the “bet one” button 34 or the “bet max” button 36, or by other means.
  • [0037]
    Preferably, in response to the player placing a wager, a plurality of symbols or indicia are displayed to the player. In one embodiment, the controller of the gaming machine 20 is configured to randomly select or generate the symbols which are to be displayed. Such methods of generation/selection are well known and may include the generation of random numbers which correspond to symbols which are to be displayed.
  • [0038]
    The symbols are displayed to the player. In one embodiment, display of the symbols is via the video display 24. As indicated above, in another embodiment, the display of the symbols could be by one or more physical devices, such as physical reels, or a combination of physical reels and virtual reels displayed by a display.
  • [0039]
    Preferably, the outcome of the game is dependent upon the symbols which are generated and displayed to the player. In particular, certain combinations of symbols preferably comprise pre-determined winning combinations of symbols. Other combinations of symbols are losing combinations.
  • [0040]
    Most importantly, in accordance with the invention, the symbols which are generated and displayed to the player are selected from a group of symbols comprising playing card symbols and non-playing card or “slot” symbols.
  • [0041]
    In a preferred embodiment, the playing card symbols comprise one or more of the symbols 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K and A of the four suits clubs (), spades (), heart () and diamonds (⋄). The card symbols could be selected from a group of symbols comprising less than all of such cards, or from a group including additional or other cards, such as card values of other or additional suits. The playing card symbols may comprise computer-simulated images of playing cards, may comprise playing card symbols, or may comprise images of actual playing cards or may comprise other information, including other types of symbols, which transmits or provides playing card value and/or suit information.
  • [0042]
    In one embodiment, symbols comprising or representing at least one of each of the cards of a standard fifty-two (52) card deck of cards are used in play of the game. In another embodiment, only symbols corresponding to a “partial” deck of cards may be used. For example, in one embodiment, only one or more of the playing cards 10, J, Q, K and A of each of the four suits (or equivalent representations of those cards) are utilized.
  • [0043]
    The non-playing card symbols may be of a variety of types. Preferably, the non-playing card symbols comprise symbols which can be distinguished from the playing card symbols as not comprising playing card symbols. In the embodiment illustrated, the symbols are common slot machine symbols, such as BAR, 7, Cherries and the like. In the event the gaming machine 20 is themed, the non-playing card symbols maybe associated with that theme. One again, the symbols could be computer generated, comprise images of actual items or elements or the like.
  • [0044]
    As detailed below, the symbols could be displayed in a variety of formats or arrangements. In an embodiment of the invention where the symbols are displayed by a video display, the symbols are preferably displayed in a plurality of columns similar to the manner symbols are displayed by physical rotatable reels in well-known slot machines. In such a configuration, each column may display a plurality of symbols. In one common configuration, five (5) columns of three (3) symbols, thus comprising a three (3) by five (5) matrix of symbols, are displayed. The symbols could be displayed in a variety of other configurations, such as in positions of a square matrix, a pyramid or other patterns.
  • [0045]
    An outcome of the game is determined by or from the combination of symbols which is generated and/or displayed. In one embodiment, one or more combinations of symbols are declared “winning” combinations. Those combinations may be referred to as “predetermined winning combinations,” since it is predetermined that those combinations, if generated as a result of game play, comprise winning combinations.
  • [0046]
    In one embodiment, it is determined if the generated symbols comprise any predetermined winning combination(s) of symbols. In a preferred embodiment, this determination is made, in at least one instance, with respect to symbols appearing along paylines and, preferably, active paylines.
  • [0047]
    In one embodiment, the generated symbols are displayed with reference to one or more paylines. Preferably, paylines define groups of two or more symbol locations. In one embodiment, the symbols may be displayed in a matrix format. In such instance, the paylines may be linear or non-linear. For example, the paylines may be common straight horizontal lines, or may be vertical, diagonal, “V” or other shapes/configurations. Preferably, however, one or more symbols are displayed with reference to one or more of the paylines.
  • [0048]
    In one embodiment, the size of a player's wager determines the number of paylines which are activated. A minimum wager may activate one or more paylines, while larger wagers than the minimum may activate additional or all of the paylines. For example, there may be five (5) paylines and the player may be permitted to place a wager of one (1) to five (5) credits. In such a configuration, one (1) payline may be activated for each credit which is wagered. Thus, all five (5) paylines would only be activated in the event the player wagered a five (5) credit wager.
  • [0049]
    In one embodiment, winning combinations include one or more combinations of non-playing card symbols. Preferably, winning combinations of non-playing card symbols must be associated with a payline and, more preferably, an active payline. For example, a combination of symbols comprising all of the same symbol along an active payline may be declared a winning combination. One or more combinations of non-playing card symbols may be declared winning combinations. The particular combinations which comprise winning combinations may be determined based upon a number of factors, including the desired house hold for the game.
  • [0050]
    In one embodiment, winning combinations also include one or more combinations of playing card symbols. Preferably, winning combinations of playing card symbols include any combinations of such symbols, regardless of their location. In this configuration, the playing card symbols which comprise a predetermined winning combination of symbols may be ‘scattered’ or displayed anywhere, not necessarily groups of such symbols only along a payline or active payline. The particular combinations of playing card symbols which comprise winning combinations may vary. In one embodiment, such combinations comprise one or more combinations of cards forming poker hands or poker card combinations. Such combinations may comprise, for example, a minimum high card, a Pair, Two Pair, Three of a Kind, a Full House, a Straight, a Flush, Four of a Kind, a Straight Flush and/or a Royal Flush, among others.
  • [0051]
    Winning combinations may also comprise additional or other combinations of cards (including combinations which are not “traditional” poker hands), such as straights of three or four cards, a Five of a Kind, or others. In fact, winning combinations of cards may be based upon a variety of different criteria. For example, in one embodiment, a player may attempt to form a Blackjack or Baccarat hand from the displayed card indicia. A player might be rewarded, for example, for obtaining a card value total of eight (8) or nine (9) in an embodiment where the card indicia are utilized to form a Baccarat hand. A player might be rewarded, for example, for obtaining a card value total of twenty (20) or twenty-one (21) in an embodiment where the card indicia are utilized to form a Blackjack hand. In other embodiments, a “game” hand of Baccarat or Blackjack may be dealt (such as by being generated and displayed at the beginning of the game) and the player may win only if the displayed card indicia “beats” the game hand.
  • [0052]
    In a preferred embodiment, a player is awarded winnings for winning outcomes. As indicated above, such winnings may comprise a monetary award, credits, points, or tangible prizes. In one embodiment, the size or value of the award may vary proportionately to the probability of receiving a winning combination. For example, a player may be paid a greater amount of winnings for a combination of non-playing card symbols which is less likely to be obtained than a combination of such symbols which is more likely to be obtained.
  • [0053]
    One example of the play of such a game will be described with reference to FIG. 2. As illustrated, a gaming machine is configured to display a plurality of symbols. Those symbols may comprise playing card and non-playing card symbols. The symbols may be displayed via mechanical reels, a video display or otherwise.
  • [0054]
    In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, three paylines PL1, PL2 and PL3 are designated. These paylines comprise horizontal lines corresponding to rows of symbol positions. As indicated above, other paylines or payline configurations may be utilized.
  • [0055]
    As indicated, a player may be required to place a wager of a certain size in order to “activate” the paylines. For example, by placing a minimum wager, payline PL1 may be activated and the player may be permitted to play the game. The player may be required to place a larger wager in order to activate the additional paylines PL2 and/or PL3.
  • [0056]
    The game symbols are generated and displayed to the player. One such set of symbols is illustrated in FIG. 2. As illustrated, the set of symbols which was generated and displayed comprised some playing card symbols (such as the A, A⋄, and 10 ), and non-playing card symbols such as BAR, CHERRY, 7 and WILD. In one embodiment, the WILD symbol may be designated to comprise any symbol.
  • [0057]
    It is determined if the player received any combination of non-playing card symbols which comprise predetermined winning combinations of symbols. As indicated above, in a preferred embodiment, such symbols must lie along an active payline. Assuming the combination of symbols 7-7-7-7-7 is a winning combination (as illustrated in FIG. 2, the gaming machine may be configured to display, such as on the machine or via menu feature, what combinations of symbols comprise winning combination and the associated winning or result associated with that combination) and that payline PL3 is active, the player has received that winning combination along payline PL3 (with the WILD symbol substituting as a 7 symbol).
  • [0058]
    In addition, it is determined if the player received any combination of playing card symbols which comprise a predetermined winning combination of symbols. As indicated, predetermined winning combinations of playing card symbols may comprise combinations of symbols which are commonly designated as winning in the game of poker/video poker. As also indicated, in a preferred embodiment, the combination of playing card symbols which comprise a predetermined winning combination of symbols may be located anywhere, not necessarily along a payline or active payline.
  • [0059]
    Assuming that the playing card combination a “Pair of Jacks or Better” is designated a winning combination, then in the game result indicated in FIG. 2, the player has received a winning playing card combination. In FIG. 2, that combination comprises the playing cards A and A⋄.
  • [0060]
    As indicated above, the player may be awarded a prize or winning for these winning combinations.
  • [0061]
    In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, a player may be permitted to replace one or more of the symbols. In one embodiment, a player may be permitted replace one or more individual symbols or “respin” one or more reels or columns of symbols. In the case of mechanical reels, this may actually comprise the respinning of one or more reels. In the case of a video type game, this may simply comprise the generation of one or more new symbols and the display of those symbols in replacement of other symbols.
  • [0062]
    In one embodiment, a player may obtain one or more winning results (and be awarded winnings) for the base or main event, as well as the secondary or bonus event or respin. In a preferred embodiment, the player is awarded only for winning non-playing card or slot symbols in the first spin or display, and is only awarded for winning card symbols after the replacement/spin(s).
  • [0063]
    One example of this embodiment game will be described with reference to FIGS. 3 and 4. FIG. 3 illustrates the outcome of the base or main game in which a first set of symbols are selected and displayed, those symbols comprising one or more playing card and/or non-playing card symbols. In accordance with that main game or event, it is determined if the player received any winning outcomes. Preferably, this comprises determining if the player received any winning non-playing card symbols. As illustrated, the player might be deemed to have received a winning combination of non-playing card symbols, such as the combination of two (2) CHERRIES along payline PL3 or the like, depending on the particular combinations of symbols which are designated winning combinations of symbols.
  • [0064]
    In accordance with this embodiment invention, the player may be permitted to replace one or more of the symbols from the first set of symbols. In a configuration where symbols are arranged in groups in “reel” format, the player may be permitted to “respin” one or more of the reels in an attempt to receive other symbols which might form a winning combination of symbols. In a preferred embodiment, the player may replace one or more symbols in an attempt to obtain a winning set of card symbols.
  • [0065]
    Referring to FIG. 3, in the original display or presentation of symbols, the player has received all but one card necessary to form a Royal Flush poker hand. In particular, the player has received the A, K, Q and J of Diamonds (⋄) as part of the symbols displayed in the first four reels R1, R2, R3 and R4. As such, the player may elect to spin the last reel, R5, in attempt to obtain card necessary to form the Royal Flush, namely the 10 of Diamonds (⋄).
  • [0066]
    In one embodiment, the player may make a selection of one or more reels to spin (or symbols to replace) or the player may make a selection of reels to hold (or symbols to hold), with the remaining reel(s) respinning (or symbols being replaced). As illustrated in FIG. 4, as a result of the respin, a new set of symbols are generated and displayed at reel R5. In this case, the respin resulted in the display of the symbol 10 of Diamonds (⋄). As a result, the player may be declared to have received a winning card symbol combination (a Royal Flush), and may be awarded corresponding winnings. The player may also not be required to replace or respin. For example, if the player received a winning set of card symbols in the original display of symbols, the player may wish to keep those card symbols as a winning combination. The player might, however, also wish to try and obtain a better set of card symbols by replacement/respin.
  • [0067]
    In one embodiment, the game may include an “auto-hold” feature. This feature may be activated by the player or may be a default setting or implementation of the game which the player may deactivate. The “auto-hold” feature may implement an optimum play strategy, evaluating the reels for card symbols and making a selection of one or more of the reels to hold/spin or symbols to replace in an attempt to obtain a winning hand of card symbols. This feature has the benefit of not requiring the player to evaluate the displayed symbols and make complex decisions regarding the formation of winning card symbol combinations.
  • [0068]
    A variety of advantages and features of the game will now be appreciated. First, a game is provided which has the excitement of the game of slots in which groups of symbols are displayed in attempt to obtaining winning combinations. At the same time, a card-type game is presented where a player attempts to obtain winning combinations or sets of cards. Advantageously, in one embodiment a player is permitted to employ a strategy to obtain winning combinations of card symbols and/or non-playing card symbols by replacing one or more existing symbols with one or more new symbols.
  • [0069]
    A variety of configurations of the games of the invention are contemplated. As indicated, in one embodiment, winning combinations of non-playing card symbols are declared only if the symbols appear along a payline, and winning combinations of card symbols are declared if the symbols appear anywhere. The game may be configured so that playing card symbols must also appear along a payline to be declared winning combinations, and/or winning combinations of non-playing card symbols may be declared regardless of whether the symbols appear along a payline. In one embodiment, playing card symbols are evaluated by determining the “best” result when considering at most one card symbol per reel. For example, if two Ace symbols appear on a single reel, then these symbols may not form a Pair of Aces. Instead, only one of those Ace symbols may be used, in conjunction with the card symbols on one or more of the other reels, to form winning or non-winning results.
  • [0070]
    As also indicated above, while in a preferred embodiment combinations of non-playing card symbols are evaluated after the first display and combinations of playing card symbols are evaluated after the replacement/respin opportunity(ies). In another embodiment, the symbols could be evaluated for both winning playing card and non-playing card symbols at both times.
  • [0071]
    In one embodiment, WILD or other symbols may be utilized, those symbols having special meaning or import. For example, a WILD symbol may serve as any playing card symbol and/or any non-playing card symbol.
  • [0072]
    In one embodiment, symbols are displayed in columns, each column of symbols associated with a reel, whether the reel is actual or “virtual” in the case where the symbols are displayed via a video display. In that configuration, “reels” may be spun and respun. Of course, symbols may be displayed and replaced in other fashions. For example, the player may be permitted to select specific symbols for replacement, or rows or other combinations of symbols.
  • [0073]
    Preferably, symbols are randomly selected for replacement of other symbols in the case of a respin feature. In such event, the same symbol or a different symbol may be selected for replacement of a prior symbol. In one embodiment, symbols may be selected from a group of symbols with symbols not being capable of re-selection or re-use during the same game. Such a configuration is particularly applicable to the playing card symbols. For example, if a player receives a particular playing card symbol in a column or reel, then upon respin, that same playing card (having already been used) may not be re-selected for re-display during that same game.
  • [0074]
    In one embodiment, the total number of symbols which the player is permitted to select for replacement (such as the number of reels which the player may respin) may be limited. For example, a player may be permitted to respin at most two reels, or replace at most 5 symbols. In another embodiment, the respin/replacement maybe done automatically without player input, such as in random fashion via the controller. It is also noted that symbols could be replaced in various ways, including by replacement of individual symbols (such as symbols which are “touched” on a touch-screen), by spinning columns or rows of “reels” of the symbols, or by shifting or otherwise moving symbols.
  • [0075]
    In an embodiment where the “reels” are respun, the symbols which are displayed after the respin may include card and/or non-card symbols. In other embodiments, a “respin” may result in replacement of only the displayed card symbols. The card symbols may be replaced with other card symbols or, in one embodiment, a non-card symbol. Thus, after a respin, a player may actually end up with a “worse” hand than before.
  • [0076]
    In one embodiment of the invention, the probability of receiving a playing card symbol is less than the probability of receiving a non-playing card symbol, such that, a greater number of non-playing card symbols are generally displayed. For example, in the case of mechanical reels, the ratio of non-playing card symbols to playing card symbols may be 10 to 1. In the case of a video type implementation, symbols may be selected from a group of possible symbols. Again, the ratio of the non-playing card to playing card symbols may be 10 to 1. Of course, in other embodiments, the probabilities of receiving such symbols may be the same, or the probabilities of receiving playing and non-playing card symbols may be the same. Where game symbols are randomly selected, it may be possible for the set of symbols to not include any playing card symbols (i.e. all non-playing card symbols are displayed) or non-playing card symbols (i.e. all playing card symbols are displayed).
  • [0077]
    As described, a player may be provided with the opportunity to win both the base game and have a second opportunity to win after replacement of one or more symbols. In one embodiment, the outcome of the game may only be determined after the player has replaced the one or more symbols (in which case a player may only receive winnings for winning combinations received after the symbol replacement, and not additionally when the symbols are first displayed).
  • [0078]
    In one embodiment, a player may be provided one or more additional opportunities to replace one or more symbols in addition to a first opportunity. A player may be permitted to respin one or more reels or replace one or more symbols after a first opportunity to respin one or more reels or replace one or more symbols. In one embodiment, a player is required to place an additional wager in order to be provided this opportunity. The player may be required to place this extra wager at the beginning of the game, before the first replacement/respin opportunity, or before each additional replacement/respin opportunity. For example, after a first respin, a player may still not have a winning set of card symbols. The player may place an additional wager, however, and respin one or more of the reels or otherwise replace one or more of the symbols in a further attempt to obtain a winning set of card symbols. In an embodiment where the player is provided the opportunity for winning slot symbols after symbol replacement, evaluation of the slot symbols may be made after replacement.
  • [0079]
    The game may be presented in the form of a Class II type game or as part of such a game. It is known to play a Class II type game such as bingo and present the results of such a game as the outcome of a Class III type game. For example, based upon results of a Class II bingo game, a set of symbols as described above may be displayed to the player. That set of symbols may have a particular combination of winning symbols which corresponds to the outcome of the Class II game, thus representing the outcome of the Class II game in the format described above.
  • [0080]
    One embodiment of the invention is a gaming machine configured to present the game. In one embodiment, the gaming machine includes a controller and at least one display. The controller is configured to generate game information comprising data representing playing card and non-playing card symbols. The display is configured to display the symbols based upon the generated data. As indicated, the controller may be configured to receive input such as wager information and other player input. The controller is also configured to determine game results and, if appropriate, award winnings.
  • [0081]
    In another embodiment, the gaming machine may include a controller and one or more physical reels capable of displaying the game indicia. Preferably, the controller is configured to generate game information which is used to control the reels, including spinning of the reels and stopping of the reels in particular positions, such as in the manner described above in greater detail. Again, the controller may be configured to receive player input and award winnings.
  • [0082]
    As indicated above, the controller may be a single processing unit or device directly associated with the gaming machine, or may comprise one or more elements located remote from one another. For example, a main controller may be configured to generate game information which is routed to local game controllers.
  • [0083]
    The game may also be played in Internet and other distributed environments. For example, the game may be presented to a player at a home computer. In one embodiment, a player may access a website which is supported by a remote host server. The host server may generate game information which is transmitted to the player's computer for display.
  • [0084]
    The game of the invention may be played as a bonus event or as part of other games, and/or itself may include bonus events. For example, in one embodiment, the game of the invention may be played as a bonus event as part of one or more main games. In such event, a player may not be required to place a wager to be entitled to play the game, but may instead become entitled to play the game as a result of the play of a base game (which itself may require a wager in order to be played).
  • [0085]
    It will be understood that the above described arrangements of apparatus and the method therefrom are merely illustrative of applications of the principles of this invention and many other embodiments and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/20
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32