US 20060287101 A1
An electronic gaming system has a plurality of tables each having a plurality of electronic player interaction areas (EPIA's) spaced preferably about a table periphery so that a gaming player locates oneself in front of a respective EPIA to play a game. A controller of the system assigns any one of preferably a variety of games to any one table. The player is then free to choose what game he/she desires to play by picking a particular table. When playing of a game is being conducted by the controller at a particular table, the table is considered to be active. When a table is without players and thus a game is not being played, the table is considered to be inactive. The gaming system has a host console that communicates with each EPIA via the controller for managerial control of the plurality of tables. A host interface of the host console enables input by a host to move a game and the respective players from an active table to an inactive table.
1. An electronic gaming system for control of a game being played by at least one player, the system comprising:
first and second game tables each having a plurality of electronic player interaction areas for player communication and player input, wherein the first game table is active and thus locates each one of the at least one player at a respective one of the plurality of electronic player interaction areas of the first game table, and wherein the second game table is inactive; and
a host console being in communication with the plurality of electronic player interaction areas for managerial control of the first and second game tables, the host console having a host interface that enables host input to move a game from the active first game table to the inactive second game table.
2. The electronic gaming system set forth in
3. The electronic gaming system set forth in
4. The electronic gaming system set forth in
5. The electronic gaming system set forth in
6. The electronic gaming system set forth in
7. The electronic gaming system set forth in
8. The electronic gaming system set forth in
9. The electronic gaming system set forth in
10. The electronic gaming system set forth in
11. The electronic gaming system set forth in
12. The electronic gaming system set forth in
the host interface being a touch-screen display; and
wherein the move now button and the resume game button are virtual buttons on the touch-screen display.
13. A method of moving a game between a plurality of electronic gaming tables of an electronic gaming system, the method comprising the steps of:
playing a game controlled by a controller at an active table of the plurality of electronic gaming tables;
displaying table representations of the plurality of tables on an interface by the controller;
determining which of the plurality of tables are inactive via the table representations;
selecting a destination table from the inactive tables utilizing the interface;
deactivating the active table by the controller; and
activating the destination table by the controller.
14. The method set forth in
15. The method set forth in
16. The method set forth in
17. The method set forth in
18. The method set forth in
19. The method set forth in
20. The method set forth in
21. The method set forth in
22. A method of moving a game from an active electronic gaming table to a destination electronic gaming table, the method comprising the steps of:
selection of a pause game option;
deactivation of the electronic gaming table;
selection of the destination electronic gaming table;
moving of game in mid-play to the destination electronic gaming table via software; and
resuming of game play by the players.
The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application 60/683,810, filed May 23, 2005, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application (Ser. No. Not Available; Atty. Docket No. 60,667-091), both of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.
The present invention relates generally to an electronic gaming system and method of operation and more particularly to a host console of the system and method of moving a game controlled by the electronic gaming system.
Gaming is an increasingly popular form of entertainment. Games, particularly, games of chance and skill where one or more players play and place wagers on a desired and/or predicted outcome can be played in a variety of ways and in a variety of places, including at a casino or other venue or on the Internet. Of the various forms of games that are available for play, many utilize playing cards. Of these, poker is arguably the most popular.
Traditionally, poker is played at a table with several players wagering paper or coin money on a series of playing cards dealt from a deck of fifty-two cards. This deck is comprised of four suits at thirteen cards per suit. This form of poker requires a human dealer to coordinate the game, including dealing, wagering, folding, and the like. In “social” card games, especially poker, the players take turns acting as the dealer, but in licensed commercial gaming establishments, such as casinos, the dealer is typically a non-playing employee. Unfortunately, traditional poker is potentially prone to human dealer error. Moreover, human dealers in casino type establishments must be trained and paid a salary sufficient to retain them.
One alternative form of gaming, with particular reference to poker, has flourished on the internet. Internet gaming has become quite successful in that it provides many choices for the players. In particular, internet gaming is fast and convenient, with registration, betting and payouts available from almost any computer with internet access and with payments typically arranged via a credit card. Yet further, poker or other card games may also be provided by stand-alone machines similar to slot machines.
One major drawback of internet and stand-alone type games is the lack of the human element. Many people prefer to play poker against other players face-to-face, because of the drama associated with “live” gaming. Undoubtedly, an elevated level of competition exists when people compete directly against one another and face-to-face. In gaming establishments, experienced players are trying to hone strategy and read other players' intentions through their movements and style of play to be more competitive.
In U.S. Patent Application Publication number US 2005/0090304 A1, filed Sep. 13, 2004, and disclosed herein by reference in its entirety, an electronic gaming system and method of displaying and obscuring electronic playing cards is disclosed and assigned to the same assignee of the present invention. Generally, this electronic gaming system replaces the human dealer with a computer capable of simulating the deal and simulating the playing cards via video displays. The system has a plurality of tables with each table having a plurality of electronic player interaction areas or stations (EPIA's). An individual interested in playing a particular game can locate oneself in front of a particular station of a table (or can be assigned) and upon logging-in, can play the game. Unfortunately, if an EPIA breaks down or any portion of the table becomes undesirable for further play of the game, the electronic gaming system is not capable of efficiently and conveniently relocating the players to another inactive table. Players well into a game and players holding good cards for a particular hand can be inconvenienced without the ability to resume play where the game left-off at the time of malfunction or when play at the table became undesirable.
The present invention is aimed at one or more of the problems set forth above.
An electronic gaming system has a plurality of tables each having a plurality of electronic player interaction areas (EPIA's) spaced preferably about a table periphery so that a gaming player is free to locate oneself in front of a respective EPIA to play a particular game. A controller of the system assigns any one of preferably a variety of games to any one table. Generally, the current system assigns players to seat off the wait list. The player is then free to choose what game he/she desires to play by picking a particular table. When playing of a game is being conducted by the controller at a particular table, the table is considered to be active. When a table is without players and thus a game is not being played, the table is considered to be inactive. The gaming system has a host console that communicates with each EPIA via the controller for managerial control of the plurality of tables. A host interface of the host console enables input by a host to move a game and the respective players from an active table to an inactive table.
A method of moving a game controlled by the electronic gaming system, and in mid-play, is enabled by the host console. A host interface of the host console preferably displays a plurality of table representations associated with the tables and their current status. From the table representations, the host selects an inactive destination table of the plurality of tables then also from the host console deactivates the active table that the players are to move from. Once the players have moved, the host activates the destination table to resume play of the game with the same players.
Benefits and advantages of the present invention include an automated electronic gaming system that does not require a human dealer of cards that could be prone to mistakes and other human frailties such as sickness. Yet another advantage is the ability to efficiently switch electronic tables should a table break down or become otherwise undesirable with minimal gaming interruption and minimal or no trouble for the players.
Other advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
In the illustrated embodiment and as best shown in
I. The Game
The electronic playing cards 76 may be used in any sort of electronic card game, and even in such games where the player chooses when to reveal their hole cards 28 to themselves or to the other players. The electronic poker tables 18 are preferably capable of playing any variety of card games. Each card game, whether poker or otherwise, will generally have its own set of rules, including the number of cards, how the cards are dealt, the number of betting rounds, the structure of permissible wagers, and the like. Thus, while the present invention may be described below in the context of an electronic poker game (and more specifically, with respect to a player's hole cards 28 in a Hold'em style poker game), the present invention is not limited to such a card game.
Furthermore, the poker or card game can be a timed game, i.e., the player's have a predetermined time period to complete each turn. For example, the player's have a set period of one minute to complete each turn, or, the period of time may vary. For instance, the first turn may have a period of completion of one minute, while the second turn may have a shorter or longer period of completion. During a given betting round, the players have a predetermined period of time to either fold, check, or make a wager. If no action is taken during the predetermined time period, a default action is taken where the player preferably must fold or check. Generally, the time period for response during a betting round will decrease as the hand of the electronic poker game progresses. Parameters, such as the predetermined time period for each betting round may be automatically modified by the system 10.
More specific to the electronic playing cards 76, as best shown in
In a traditional card game with physical cards, the player's hole cards are dealt “face-down” so that they are not revealed to any other player. The dealt player must then discretely view their own hole cards without revealing them to other players. To do this, the player typically lifts the hole cards close to their bodies, fanning them out, and shielding them with their hands, so only the dealt player can see the front side of their cards. Alternatively, the dealt player may leave the cards face down on the table and lift one side or corner revealing at least a portion of the front side, while shielding the cards with their hands. Similarly, and with electronic hole cards 28 of cards 76 (as best shown in
The image displayed on the back side 76B of the playing cards may be a logo, a random image (chosen from a set of predetermined images), or may be advertising directed at the player. The image may include a video or a cycling through of a set of predetermined images. Alternatively, the image may be selectable by either a player or an employee of a casino 12.
II. The Casino
III. The Table
Although the EPIA's 24 and CDA 26 are generally computer generated visual displays, thus authentic playing cards are not utilized, the electronic poker tables of the gaming system 10 are aesthetically designed to convey and retain the overall sense and ambience of a standard poker room with non-electrical poker tables. The playing surface area not taken up by the EPIA's 24 and the CDA 26 is preferably covered in a traditional material such as felt having any variety of colors. Moreover, logos, game information, or other information may be printed on the material. Alternatively, the EPIA's 24 and the CDA 26 is a single display that covers a substantial portion or all of the table top 20. The EPIA's 24 and the CDA 26 can be set apart from the rest of the table top 20 by virtual or computer generated borders. The areas of the display around the EPIA's 24 and the CDA 26 are preferably used to simulate the playing surface 22 of a standard poker table by, for example, providing an electronic image of a felt material. Furthermore, logos, game information, other information, advertisements, announcements, pictures, videos, or other information may be displayed and rotated, cycled, or shown for a limited period of time on the table top 20.
IV. Electronic Player interaction Areas
With reference to
a) Card Reader and Player Account:
In one aspect of the present invention, the gaming system 10 may utilize a cashless system, such as Ticket-In Ticket-Out (TITO), that is constructed and arranged into each EPIA 24. Alternatively, a preferably bar-coded ticket, magnetic card, RFID card, or some other media (jointly referred to as a TICKET) may be inserted in the EPIA 24. The TICKET may have an associated value that is either printed and/or encoded thereon or that is associated with the TICKET in the gaming system 10. Additionally, once the player decides to leave the table 18, any remaining chips they have, may be instantly converted back into dollars and stored in their player account and/or a new Ticket preferably generated at the table 18.
A controller that is either the module 34, the personal computer (not shown), the hand-held device 58, the server 50 or a combination thereof, controls the player interface 54 (i.e. controls the information components of the player interface 54), detects touches if the player interface 54 is a touch-screen display device, and interprets the touches as trigger or touch events. The controller preferably controls the display device 54 including obscuring or hiding the player's hole cards 28 such that the player may controllably display and view the cards, while maintaining them secret from the other players.
c) Visual Player Interface
In one embodiment, not only is the EPIA 24 capable of controllably displaying and/or obscuring a player's hole cards, the EPIA 24 is also capable of providing an indication of the player's current highest hand based on the player's current hand and the community cards 30. The highest hand may be shown textually, e.g., two-pairs, and/or graphically, pictures of the five cards which make of the highest hand. The highest hand may be triggered and shown using the same trigger event associated with the hole cards 28. Alternatively, a separate trigger event, such as a touch-event on another location on the EPIA 24 may be used to show the highest hand.
The player interface 54 preferably includes a series of player buttons 72 and a series of game buttons 74. The player buttons 72 include, for example, a sit-in button 72A, a leave table button 72B, and an options button 72C. Generally, only one of the sit in button 72A and the leave table button 72B would be active at any time. The options button 72C allows the player to access an option menu or screen (not shown) that allows the player to modify certain parameters of the player interface 54, such as for example, to choose between different formats of the player interface 54 (i.e. graphical display or text display). The player buttons 72 are preferably implemented on the touch screen display 54, or alternatively, can be embodied in electromechanical switches or buttons (not shown).
Regarding the leave table button 72B, a player may decide to activate this feature when the player decides to change seats or move to another table altogether. For example, if another player or players have left the table 18 leaving fewer players at the table and the player does not like to play at a table with that few of players, the player may request through the EPIA 24 another seat assignment.
The series of game buttons 74 allow the player to signal their game play decisions to the gaming system 10 during the play of the game, and thus preferably include a fold button 74A, a call button 74B and a raise button 74C. The game buttons 74 are active when it is a player's turn in the poker game and preferably inactive when it is not. Moreover, the EPIA 24 only activates those buttons 74 that are appropriate, given the rules of the game being played, during the current turn. For example, if the maximum number of raises for a particular game has already been made, then the wager or raise button would be inactive. The raise button 74C may be replaced with one or more buttons (not shown) which allow the player to make a wager of a predetermined or allowed amount, e.g. $10. In addition or alternatively, a keypad (not shown) may be provided which allows the player to key in a wager amount.
Preferably, the EPIA 24 provides a player with virtual buttons that summon or direct specific employees of the casino 12. For example the player may request a host/hostess to order a drink. Additionally, the player may anonymously request that an employee review something that occurred or is occurring at the table 18 (e.g. possible collusion).
Preferably, the player interface 54 also displays the community cards 30. Other information that can be displayed on the player interface include, but is not limited to, an indication (visual icon and/or audio) of the player whose turn it is to act, a total of chips for each player, any cards of the other players that are face-up, and/or messages to the player, such as advertising.
Moreover, in the casino 12 environment, preferably a portion of each pot goes to the house for running the poker game. This portion of the pot is known as the rake and is preferably displayed on each EPIA 24. The rake may be shown as an amount in dollars and may include a graphical representation of virtual chips. Similarly, the EPIA 24 preferably displays a graphical representation of the chips and/or a dollar amount indicative of the amount of chips each player at the table has remaining and the amount of the current pot.
In addition, or alternatively, to the common cards 30 displayed by the CDA 26, each EPIA preferably includes a graphical representation of the community cards in the middle of the graphical representation 56 of the poker table 18. Graphical representations of the other player's card may also be shown (face-down during the current hand and face-up at the end of the hand). The common card 30 displayed in the graphical representation 56 are preferably smaller than the display of the hole cards 28 for the player of the specific EPIA 24. The display of the common cards 30 in the CDA 26 are preferably larger than the display of the common cards 30 in the EPIA representation 56.
Other attributes of the EPIA's 24 may include:
d) Audio Player Interface:
Preferably, the EPIA 24 includes a player sound generation device that generates sounds audible to the player assigned to the EPIA 24. The player sound generation device may be implemented as an earpiece (60) or headphones (see
e) Physical Structure of the EPIA:
As best illustrated in
V. Central Display Area and Audio
As best illustrated in
As previously described, the CDA 26 is preferably separate from the plurality of EPIA's 24, and is implemented preferably utilizing a LCD or plasma monitor or similar device. The CDA 26 preferably indicates which player's turn it is and which player is the designated “dealer” for the current hand. These indications are provided by respective visual signals such as an icon, arrow or the like, and/or an audio signal such as a beep, musical tone, and/or voice message. This indication of a player's turn and dealer designation CDA 26 can also be in addition to the indication provided on the respective EPIA 24. With audio indication, the CDA 26 can utilize integrated “transducer sound emitting technology” thus eliminating the need for separate speakers.
In other card games other than Texas Hold'em, community cards 30 may not exist, hence, during play of these games, the CDA 26 can be used to display advertising messages instead. The advertising messages may be from the casino or third parties and may consist of graphics, pictures, animations, video and/or audio. The advertising may be presented at predetermined locations on the central display 38 for varied durations as the CDA cycles through a plurality of advertising messages.
In general, the CDA 26 is preferably capable of displaying and/or animating:
Preferably, the gaming table 18 includes a table or system sound generation device (as oppose to the player sound generation device previously described) that is used to generate sounds audible to all the players. The table sound generation device may be implemented by one or more speakers mounted to the table 18. Alternatively, the table sound generation device may include one or more speakers adjacent to or integral with each EPIA 24 as previously described. For example, system sounds may include sounds imitating the shuffling of cards, the dealing of cards, chips thrown into the pot, sounds related to the winning of the jackpot. Player sounds may include a reminder or indication of a player's turn or if the game is timed, an indication of the time remaining or that time is running out. Generally, player exclusive sounds will not be played through the system sound generation device.
VI. Server Computer
As best illustrated in
The server 50 is preferably used to implement and facilitate player tracking, ticket in ticket out (cashless) wagering, assigning player's to the seat 40 at a particular table 18, tournament play, table set-up (including turning the tables on and off and modifying table parameters), and progressive jackpots. In general, the server 50 runs the game wherein the server 50 electronically “shuffles” the playing cards, deals the cards, controls the players' turns, receives the player's inputs and acts accordingly; tracks, manages, and awards the pot, and tracks the rake. Game data is stored in a database preferably of the server 50 with each input, wager, play, and the like stored in the database. Other functions implemented by the server 50 are:
In addition, other devices may be connected to the server 50 for providing additional features and/or functions. For example, a queuing system can be provided utilizing its own dedicated computer. However, in some systems these additional features or function could be provided, at least in part, by the server(s) 50.
VII. Host Console
With particular reference to
In general, the host console 102 is an administration device that can be used to create and edit game profiles including setting the game type, limits, play timing, and/or number of required players. The host console 102 allows the host or casino employee to start, pause, and stop games and to monitor table play. Additional electronic tables 18 can be activated or opened, and ring or tournament games (see below) can be easily started. Preferably, the host console 102 provides the ability to turn any one or all of the poker tables 18 on and off by communicating with the EPIA computers and CDA computer 52 via the server 50.
The host console 102 may enable a casino employee or host to:
Other functions may be provided by the host console 102. For example, as discussed above, players may be assigned to one of the EPIAs 24. The system 10 may require that the assigned player log-in to the assigned EPIA 24. The system 10, possibly through the host console 102 or the server computer 50 allows the host to define a trigger event based on a particular player. The host console 102 may monitor the players who log on, and produce a signal if a designated player logs on. Thus, an employee, in response to the signal is aware that the designated player is currently located and playing at the respective EPIA 24.
The host console 102 is preferably used to monitor play at any one of the electronic poker tables 18 and establishes a value associated with the rate of play of hands at the associated table 18. This may be done by establishing when a hand of the electronic poker game is dealt and the time a winner is determined and the pot awarded to the winner. If the rate of play of hands is below a predetermined value, then the employee via the host console 102 can be signaled via a message or alert (audio and/or visual) on the host console 102. In response, the host may wish to observe play at the electronic poker table 18.
Additionally, the host console 102 allows the casino host to pause play at one of the electronic poker tables 18, for example, to allow the host to discuss any issues any of the players have with regard to the electronic poker game and/or one of the other players. The employee may re-start the electronic poker game when finished. In another aspect of the present invention, the host console 102 may allow the host to restart the electronic poker table 18 after a fault or fault condition. For example, the host console 102 may allow the host to restart the EPIA's 24 and/or the CDA 26. Additionally if the EPIA's 24 include a separate computer or a separate computer is provided to drive the central display area 36, the host console 102 may be adapted to restart or reboot these computers.
Preferably, a player may create an alert to the host console 102 through their EPIA 24. The alert may be anonymous, and is a request for the host to come and observe a table 18. The alert appears on the host console 102. If the alert is anonymous, there will be no indication of which player created the alert on the host console 102. Preferably, the host console 102 enables the host to “hibernate” a game. This may be used for example, to pause a game until the next day. A hibernated game may be re-started at the same or any other table.
With particular reference to
The table component list 130 includes a list of all components of the selected table 18, each personal computer 50 (i.e., the “Table Client”) and each module 34 (i.e., the individual seats). Table Client 2 is a backup to Table Client 1 and is optional. Selection of one of the components of the table 18 in the table component list 130 displays information regarding the selected component in the component parameter list 132.
The able component list parameter list 132 preferably includes a:
1. Description Field (e.g., “Table 13, Seat 4”);
2. Client Type Field (e.g., Player or Table);
3. Client Status: (Active or Inactive);
4. Connection Status: (Connected or Disconnected);
5. Seat Number (where appropriate);
6. Seat Status (e.g., Open, Reserved, Active);
7. Player Name (when available); and,
8. Player Status (e.g., Active or In-Active).
The reset connection button 134 is active when the connection between the server computer 50 and the component selected in the component list 130 is disconnected. Selection of the reset connection 134 may be used to “ping” the selected component and attempt to restart the connection therebetween. The restart software button 136 may be used to restart the software on the selected component if the component is inactive. For example, either the client software or the operating software may be restarted, i.e., a soft reboot. The reboot hardware button 138 may be used to restart the selected component, i.e., turn off the selected component and turn the selected component back on.
Because the player interface 54 of the EPIA 24 is preferably a touch-screen display, it requires running of a calibration routine for first time use and periodic calibration routine re-runs thereafter. The selection of the calibrate screen button 140 will run the calibration routine for the selected EPIA 24. Selection of the back button 142 will return the screen 120 to a previous state or view. Selection of the refresh button 144 will refresh all of the information contained on the current screen.
The table page 126 also includes a stop/pause parameter selection area 146, a move game button 148, a pause game button 150, a stop game button 152, an auto deal check button 154, a closed seating check button 156, a use wait list check button 158, an information/status area, a pair of navigation buttons, and a clear alert button 164. The stop/pause parameter selection area 146, located toward the lower left hand corner of the screen, is used with either of the pause game button 156 or the stop game button 158 if the host wants to pause a game or electronic table 18 to make a change or perform some other function. The stop/pause parameter selection area 146 includes the three options of “No Delay,” “Minutes,” and “Hands.” The game or table will be resumed when the host is finished. A stopped game ends the play at the table typically at the end of the day.
In the lower right hand corner of the screen illustrated in
Each graphical table representation 180A-180G may also include the status of each EPIA 24, for example inactive (indicated by a red “X” or marked as “No Game”), active, reserved or out. A reserved EPIA 24 or seat, means that it has been assigned to a player and can only be used by that player. The player must log in to the reserved or assigned EPIA 24 to begin playing. Typically, the player has a predetermined amount of time to log-in to the assigned EPIA 24 or the seat 40 becomes available again.
When the host desires to move a game in mid-play from one table to another, the host first selects the active table 18 where the game shall be moved from. As illustrated in
As best illustrated in
The reserve button 194 allows the host via utilization of the host console 102 to reserve a seat 40 for a specific player. In order to use this button, the use wait list check box has to be off and the restricted seating check box has to checked. This allows the host to place the specific player ahead of those players on the wait list, while not opening the seat 40 to anyone who may attempt to log-in or use the unoccupied seat. When the reserve button 194 is selected, an account number dialog 210 is displayed (see
Typically, a player who has left the table to take or break or for any reason may return as long as they pay any missed blinds. However, the other players may want another player to sit in. The unseat button 206 allows the host to remove a player from the table after the player has left their seat for an amount of time or a number of hands (without logging out).
With particular reference to
With particular reference to
1. the number of tables playing the game;
2. the number of players sat in a given interval; and,
3. the number of players in the queue (i.e., the wait list).
The information section 216 may also include a queue active check box and an allow entry check box, which allow the employee to turn the wait list on/off for given game and to allow/disallow additional players to be added to the wait list for a given game, respectively.
With particular reference to
Additional features of the host console 102 are described in the following concurrently filed U.S. Patent Applications all of which are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety:
US patent application Ser. No. N/A (Atty. Docket No. 60,667-062);
US patent application Ser. No. N/A (Atty. Docket No. 60,667-063);
US patent application Ser. No. N/A (Atty. Docket No. 60,667-064);
US patent application Ser. No. N/A (Atty. Docket No. 60,667-065);
US patent application Ser. No. N/A (Atty. Docket No. 60,667-066); and,
US patent application Ser. No. N/A (Atty. Docket No. 60,667-068).
VIII. General Process and Software
With particular reference to
In operation, the gaming system 10 will implement a player-account based cash in/cash out system. The system 10 will create a user account for each player. Once an account is established for the player, the player is issued a Player Card having an associated personal identification number or PIN. Once the player has been issued a Player Card, their account may be funded. The Player Card is used to identify the player at the tables 18. The player may fund their account by bringing cash to a cage, where the cash is accepted and credited to the player's account. Printed receipts are given to the player and maintained by the casino 12. To bring electronic chips to the table 18, the player sits down at a seat 40, swipes their Player Card and enters their PIN. The system 10 informs the player of their account balance and allows them to convert all or a portion of the account balance to electronic chips to bring to the game.
From a software perspective, the gaming system 10 may be implemented using six program groups: a table server, a game engine, a table client, a player client, a table manager, and a cage manager. The table server implements the network communication, control and authentication as well as inter-table functions (seat reservations, multi-table tournaments). The game engine is responsible for all game functions, e.g., electronic playing card deck generation, dealing, betting, determining winners and awarding pots. The table client is the graphical control for the CDA 26. The player client implements the user interface for the EPIA 24 and the logic for capturing player input and communication the player input to the table client server. The table manager contains the host interface for setting user, network, and game parameters, for starting, pausing, and stopping games, and for monitoring game activity and responding to system or user generated alerts. The cage manager provides the ability to create and fund player accounts and to create the Player Cards.
If there are no seats 40 available, the player is placed in a queue, until a seat opens up. In one embodiment, players are taken off of the queue and assigned a seat on a first come, first served basis. However, the system 10 may allow the casino 12 to implement special rules for players to bypass the queue or list. For example, the casino may present vouchers to players under certain conditions, such as a win in a tournament, to be placed at the head of a queue.
In one aspect of the present invention and as stated above, the system 10 tracks each transaction, wager, card dealt in a database. The system 10 also tracks the players which are playing at each table 18. This information is stored in the database, summarized, and may be presented in any numerous forms of reporting formats. Any information regarding the player's, the games, and how each hand is played may be tracked. This available data may also be analyzed for purposes of determining the frequency of poker hands (per hour) for a table or all games in which a particular player or players played or detecting, e.g., collusion between players.
The system 10 allows jackpots, i.e., progressive jackpots, to be generated by and won across multiple hands and/or multiple tables. A progressive jackpot may increase based on the amounts wagered and/or won at the included tables. The progressive jackpot may continue to increase until won under a set of predetermined conditions. Alternatively, it may be active until only for a predetermined time period. The conditions for winning the jackpot that it is won by one or more players at the end of the time period.
The system 10 allows a progressive jackpot to be funded in multiple ways. The way in which a progressive jackpot is funded may be funded through a computer program application on the server 50 or other device. For example, the progressive jackpot may be funded by taking a set percentage from every jackpot, every other jackpot, or every nth jackpot. The amount of the progressive jackpot may be displayed on the CDA 26 and/or a remote display.
The progressive jackpot may be initiated randomly, under certain definable conditions, and/or for a specific event, i.e., a marketing event. The progressive jackpot may be a single hand, a predetermined number of hands at one table or across multiple hands, for a predetermined time period, and the like.
Preferably, after a jackpot is won by a player, one or more government reporting forms may be presented to the player on their EPIA 24. The form may accept the player's electronic signature (if permissible) or may notify the player of the requirements and direct them to a location where they can fill out the form. The device may be a personal, notebook, or tablet computer, handheld computer, PDA, or other suitable device.
IX. Tournament Play
The system 10 facilitates tournament play. In a tournament, a predetermined number of tables 18 having a predetermined number of players are involved. A buy-in, e.g., $100 is required. Typically, after a player loses all of their money, they are eliminated from the tournament.
Under predetermined rules, players may register for a tournament and be assigned to seats at a table. During play, under predetermined rules, tables may be broken down and the players distributed to other tables. The system 10 facilitates the tournament by providing one or more of the following features:
In one aspect of the present invention, remote or virtual games may be provided by the system 10. The remote or virtual games may be provided on wireless devices and may be played at predetermined locations.
Virtual games may also be provided through the EPIAs 24. For example, the virtual or remote games may be played by the poker players when it is not their turn. The virtual or remote games may be another poker hand, played against other players, at the table or at other tables, or played against virtual players. Alternatively, the remote or virtual games may be other types of games, including, but not limited to blackjack, keno, slot machines, and the like.
In addition to running other casino games on EPIA 24 or other terminals, system can be run on other gaming devices throughout the casino. For example, a virtual poker game can be run on an existing electronic bingo terminal or an electronic race book terminal.
While the forms of the invention herein disclosed constitute presently preferred embodiments, many others are possible. It is not intended to mention all the possible equivalent forms or ramifications of the invention. It is understood that the terms used herein are merely descriptive rather than limiting, and that various changes can be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.