US 20060287102 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 computer-based 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. The gaming system has a host console that communicates with each EPIA via the controller for managerial control of the plurality of tables. A software-based administrator tool operates preferably through a user interface for the control of at least one gaming profile type by the deletion, editing and creation of various gaming rules.
1. An electronic gaming system for control of a plurality of games being selectively played by a plurality of players, the system comprising:
at least one game table having a plurality of electronic player interaction areas for player communication and player input, wherein each one of the plurality of players is located adjacent to a respective one of the plurality of electronic player interaction areas; and
a first computer being in communication with the plurality of electronic player interaction areas, the first computer having a user interface for managerial control of the at least one game table; and
a software based administrator tool operated through the user interface for the control of at least one gaming profile type associated with at least gaming rules.
2. The electronic gaming system set forth in
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8. The electronic gaming system set forth in
9. The electronic gaming system set forth in
10. The electronic gaming system set forth in 8 further comprising a delete icon of the administrator tool displayed on the user interface for deleting a selected one of the plurality of sub-options of the timing profile heading.
11. The electronic gaming system set forth in
12. The electronic gaming system set forth in
13. The electronic gaming system set forth in
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18. The electronic gaming system set forth in
19. The electronic gaming system set forth in
the at least one gaming type having a game profile heading displayed on the user interface; and
a create game profile prompt of the game profile heading displayed selectively on the user interface and having a plurality of fields for entering new game data of the gaming rules.
20. The electronic gaming system set forth in
21. The electronic gaming system set forth in
22. The electronic gaming system set forth in
23. The electronic gaming system set forth in
24. The electronic gaming system set forth in
the game profile heading having a tournament profile sub-option displayed selectively on the user interface; and
a table tournament field of the plurality of fields of the create game profile prompt for designating tournament play.
25. The electronic gaming system set forth in
26. The electronic gaming system set forth in
27. The electronic gaming system set forth in
28. The electronic gaming system set forth in
a timing profile of the at least one gaming type associated with events in each respective one of the plurality of games that are timed;
a jackpot profile of the at least one gaming type associated with monetary parameters regarding a jackpot of each respective one of the plurality of games; and
a game profile of the at least one gaming type associated with the creation and storing of a new game of the plurality of games.
29. A method of operating an administrator tool for controlling a plurality of games comprising the steps of:
activating a computer of a gaming system;
displaying the administrator tool on a user interface of the computer;
selecting one of a plurality of gaming profile headings displayed in an options field of the administrator tool;
selecting a unique profile of one of the plurality of profile headings from a plurality of lists selectively displayed in an information field of the administrator tool for editing or deleting.
30. The method of operating the administrator tool set forth in
31. The method of operating the administrator tool set forth in
creating a new timing profile of the plurality of profile headings by selecting a refresh icon displayed in a tool bar field of the administrator tool before selecting the unique profile, wherein the unique profile selected is an event from an events list of the plurality of lists;
filling in data fields including a new file name in a time prompt automatically displayed as a result of selecting the unique event; and
selecting a refresh icon displayed in a tool bar field of the administrator tool.
32. The method of operating the administrator tool set forth in
creating a new unique profile by selecting one of a jackpot profile heading and a game profile heading of the plurality of profile headings without selecting any one of the unique profiles in the plurality of lists;
displaying a respective prompt of the selected one of the jackpot profile heading and the game profile heading by the administrator tool; and
filling in data fields of the respective prompt.
33. The method of operating the administrator tool set forth in
editing the selected unique profile by selecting a refresh icon displayed in a tool bar field of the administrator tool before selecting the unique profile, wherein the unique profile selected is a timing event from a timing events list of the plurality of lists;
filling in data fields, without including a new file name, in a time prompt automatically displayed as a result of selecting the unique event; and
selecting a refresh icon displayed in a tool bar field of the administrator tool.
34. The method of operating the administrator tool set forth in
editing the selected unique profile wherein the selected unique profile is a jackpot profile selected from a jackpot list of the plurality of lists; and
filling in data fields of a jackpot prompt displayed by the administrator tool as a result of selecting the unique profile.
35. The method of operating the administrator tool set forth in
editing the selected unique profile wherein the selected unique profile is a game profile selected from a jackpot list of the plurality of lists;
displaying game parameters of the game profile in the information field;
selecting an update icon in an options field of the user interface; and
filling in data fields of a game prompt displayed by the administrator tool as a result of selecting the update icon.
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 an administrator tool of the system and method of creating and editing gaming profiles 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, known gaming rules can not easily be altered, updated or created by qualified casino employees. For instance, rules related to timing parameters, jackpots and distribution, and other gaming parameters can not be easily changed to meet the changing demands and wants of a player, or to satisfy the interests of the casino.
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 locates oneself in front of a respective EPIA to play a particular game. A computer-based 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. The gaming system has a host console that communicates with each EPIA via the controller for managerial control of the plurality of tables. A software-based administrator tool operates preferably through a user interface for the control of at least one gaming profile type by the deletion, editing and creation of various gaming rules.
The software based administrator tool is displayed on the user interface and includes at least one gaming profile type. Preferably, the gaming profile type has a timing profile heading, a jackpot profile heading and a game profile heading. Each heading is capable of providing a user with the ability to create, edit and delete specific profile attributes of any one of a plurality of games. Generally, the timing profile heading is associated with events in a game that are timed, and thus determines how fast or how slow the game proceeds within the gaming system. The jackpot profiles heading enables adjustment of various amounts of money or awards regarding jackpots, and the game profiles heading allows the creation and saving of games each with unique parameters or gaming rules.
A method of operating the administrator tool for controlling the plurality of games includes selecting one of the plurality of gaming profile headings displayed in an options field of the administrator tool. Once the appropriate heading is selected, a unique profile of any one of the profile headings can be chosen from a plurality of lists selectively displayed in an information field of the administrator tool for editing, deletion, and generally creation.
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 meet the changing needs and daily demands often found on the gaming floor of a casino by handling and processing a wide array of games and related gaming profiles by selected users or casino employees having pre-arranged security clearances.
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
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 wherein the players have a predetermined time period to complete each turn. For example, the players have a set period of one minute to complete each turn. Furthermore, this 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.
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.
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 common 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 common 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 common 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, common 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.
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.
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 26, 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 table component list parameter list 132 preferably includes a:
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 button 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 150 or the stop game button 152 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.
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
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:
Referring generally to
a) Timing Profile:
The timing profiles heading 314 functions to perform the following:
To create new timing, the floor manager then selects an event from the event list 332 for editing. Referring to
From the events list 352, the floor manager then selects the desired event for editing. Referring to
From the options field 308 or from the information field 310, the floor manager, by way of illustrative example, then selects or highlights the ring game timing 344 or 348. Once selected, the floor manager selects the delete icon 362 in the tool bar 312 causing the administrator tool 300 to automatically reveal an overlay window or delete confirmation prompt 364 that requests confirmation of the selected deletion. Once the floor manager confirms the deletion by selecting a “yes” box 366 in the prompt 364 the deletion process is completed.
b) Jackpot Profile:
The jackpot profile heading 316 can be added to any game profile and further functions to perform the following:
Preferably, the jackpot prompt 370 has the following fields for the floor manager to enter data:
The description field 372 assigns a name to the jackpot profile such as for example “Royal Flush” or “Bad Beat.” The minimum pot field 374 determines the minimum amount required in the pot before it is awarded, and assigns that amount in the space provided. If a casino fee is desired, the fee percent field 376 takes a percent of each pot. If a fee percent is desired, the fee increment field 378 is used to enter an incremental fee amount preferably in dollars. Preferably, the fee increment would match a chip value such as fifty cents or one dollar. The maximum fee field 380 sets a cap on the dollar amount taken out of each pot, if so desired. The fixed fee amount field 382 sets a specific cents or dollar amount fee for each pot. Use of field 382 alleviates use of fields 376, 378 and 380. The jackpot account field 384 is the name of the account where the funds established by field 376 or field 380 is deposited. This field preferably has a default name of jackpot. The minimum players field 390 sets the minimum number of players that must be playing for a jackpot to be awarded.
With the jackpot profile heading 316 chosen, each of the fields 372-390 are listed as column headings 392 of the jackpot list 368 in the information field 310. When all applicable fields 372-390 of the prompt 370 are filled in by the floor manager, an “o.k.” box 394 of the prompt 370 is selected and the jackpot profile is then available for selection when updating or creating a game profile.
From the information field 310, the floor manager, by way of illustrative example, then selects or highlights the jackpot profile identified as “ring bad beat” 396. Once selected, the floor manager selects the delete icon 362 in the tool bar 312 causing the administrator tool 300 to automatically reveal an overlay window or delete confirmation prompt 402 that requests confirmation of the selected deletion (see
c) Game Profiles:
The game profiles heading 316 further functions to perform the following:
When the administrator tool 300 is used to create a new game profile, the game profiles heading 318 in the expanded list under profile types 302 is first highlighted by the floor manager preferably without selecting the “+” symbol adjacent to the timing profiles heading 314. The floor manager then selects the new icon 322 in the tool bar 312 that causes a create game profile prompt 406 to appear (see
The description field 408 of prompt 406 enables the floor manager to enter the distinct name of any new game. Game field 410 allows entry of a specific game such as for example Texas Hold'em. Selecting the check box of the wait lists field 412 activates the wait list feature of the system 10 for a particular game. Not selecting the wait lists field 412 will cause the particular game not to appear on the waiting list of the system 10. Provided the waiting list field 412 is selected, the time out field 414 enables entry of a time-out value preferably in minutes, which provides a prospective player that amount of time to log into the game before the waiting list chooses the next available player. Selection of the ring field 416 as a type of game profile allows a game to be continuous in the sense that it enables a revolving set of players. Selection of the single table tournament field 418 as a type of game profile restricts the game to a single table that has a finite set of players. Each player may continue to play until the initial buy-in is depleted and only one player remains in the game (i.e. the tournament winner). Selection of the multi-table tournament field 420 is similar to field 418 but entails multiple tables. The hi field 422 allows the floor manager to choose the option where the highest hand in the game wins the pot. Selection of the hi/low field 424 is an alternative to the hi field 422 wherein the player with the lowest hand preferably has a stake in the pot.
With regards to betting requirements, the ante field 426 of the game prompt 406 prescribes the amount posted by all players at the start of a hand. Preferably, this amount is entered in dollars. The bring-in field 428 sets the minimum amount of money that a player must bring into the game. The small blind field 430 is the minimum amount of money that the player immediately to the left of the dealer button must post at the beginning of a hand. The big blind field 432 as an alternative to the small blind field 430, is the amount of money that the player immediately to the left of the dealer button must post at the beginning of a hand (i.e. no more and no less). The small and big wager fields 434, 436 are the respective minimum and maximum amounts of money for an acceptable raise in betting.
With regards to stakes requirements, the limit field 438 sets a maximum limit to betting in each round of game play. The pot limit field 440 is chosen to allow a betting structure that permits players to bet up to the amount of the pot. The no limit field 442 is preferably an alternative to fields 438, 440 and permits a player to wager any or all of their chips in one bet. The minimum and maximum stakes fields 444, 448 allow entry of respective minimum and maximum amounts of money that a player must bring to the game. Fields 444, 448 are disabled if the tournament field 418 or 420 is selected. The suggested field 446 is optional and suggests the amount of money that a player should bring to a game. Field 446 is disabled if tournament field 418 or 420 is selected. The maximum raises field 450 set the maximum number of raises permitted per round of play. The minimum rebuy field 452 sets the minimum amount of money that a player must bring back into a game after achieving a zero balance in the game and while still being seated and logged into the game. The minimum rejoin field 454 set the minimum amount of money that a player must bring into a game to resume play after the player has previously logged out. Preferably, the rejoin amount is the same as the minimum stakes amount. The rejoin timeout field 456 sets the minimum amount of time that a player must wait in order to rejoin a game for less than what they left the game with. Preferably, field 456 has a default time of about sixty minutes.
With regards to game options, the minimum and maximum players fields 458, 460 set the respective minimum and maximum number of players that must be present before a game can begin. Preferably, the maximum number of players per table 18 for system 10 is about ten but can be decreased by the floor manager. The time limit field 462 sets a time limit, preferably in seconds, within which a player must act before the system 10 completes an action automatically. When selected, the auto deal field 464 causes the system 10 to automatically deal each hand after the prior hand is complete. If not selected, the system will wait for an employee or floor manager to manually select auto deal from the screen 120. Preferably, the auto deal field 464 is selected when creating a game profile because auto deal can be temporarily disabled utilizing the screen 120. When selecting the game timing field 466, a drop down list is provided by the administrator that lists all of the available timing profiles. From this list, the floor manager chooses a timing profile for the game profile. The zero balance timeout field 468 provides a player with a specified amount of time after achieving a zero balance to rebuy into the game. If the player does not rebuy into the game within the time specified, the system 10 will automatically remove the player from the game. This time is preferably entered in seconds and the field 468 generally acts to free up chairs that can otherwise be used by active players.
With regards to tournament play, the number of tables field 470 sets the number of tables for a game profile during tournament play. Preferably, field 470 has a default setting of one table. The buy-in field 472 allows entry of a dollar amount that a player must pay to enter the tournament. The initial stakes field 474 enables entry of an amount of virtual chips that a player receives for a tournament. The stakes are not necessary equal to the buy-in amount. In tournaments, all players will preferably begin with the same amount of stakes or chips. The increment field 476 is dependent upon the unit field 478 and enables setting of the amount of hands or elapsed minutes before the blinds are increased by the system 10. The unit field 478 is associated with the increment field 476 and when selected provides of drop-down list of units (i.e. number of hands, and minutes) for the floor manager to choose from.
With regards to rakes and jackpots, the rake account field 480 allows entry of an account in which the rake is deposited. As illustrated in
When all applicable fields 408-484 of the create game profile prompt 406 are filled in by the floor manager, a “save” box 490 of the prompt 406 is selected and the game profile is saved for future use.
When the floor manager selects an update icon 498 in the tool bar 312, an update game profile prompt 500 appears (see
When the floor manager selects a clone icon 504 in the tool bar 312, the word “CLONE” is appended to the game profile name preferably in both the option field 308 and the information field 310 as part of the data 496 (see
To make changes to the game profile clone, the floor manager then selects the update icon 498 in the tool bar 312 and the update game profile prompt 500 appears (see
d) Tournament Game Profiles
Tournament game profiles are created generally as any other game profile is created and as previously described. As best shown in
Blind structures 510 is a way of increasing blinds associated with the hand or minute increments previously entered in field 476 and field 478 of the create game profile prompt 406 (see
Selection of the blind structure 510 of the selections 516 for a particular tournament game profile 492 causes blind structure information to be listed in the information field 310. The floor manager then selects the new icon 322 in the tool bar 312 that causes a create blind structure prompt 518 to appear (see
Fields 520-532 of the blind structure prompt 518 correspond to column headings 534 in the information field 310 when the blind structure in the options field 308 is highlighted. In prompt 518, the floor manager enters an integer number representing the level being created in the level field 520. Then a money amounts are entered in the small and big blind fields 526, 528. The amount for the smallest acceptable bet is entered into the small wager field 530 and the largest acceptable bet is entered into the big wager field 532 for that particular level in the level field 520. As illustrated in
Selection of the payout structure 512 of the selections 516 for a particular tournament game profile 492 would cause payout structure information to be listed in the information field 310 if any exists at the time (see
Fields 538-542 of the payout structure prompt 536 may correspond to column headings (not shown) in the information field 310 if previous payout records existed when the payout structure in the options field 308 is highlighted. In prompt 536, the floor manager enters an integer number representing the winning placement of the player in the place field 520. For example, if there are only first and second place winners that are awarded money, then the floor manager would not enter a three which would designate a third place winner. As best illustrated in
Alternatively to a percentage of the pot, each placement of winners could win a pre-designated sum of money. This is done by selecting the amount field 542 of the payout structure prompt 536 instead of the percent field 540. Preferably, once either the percent or amount fields 540, 542 are selected for one placement, that field must apply to all winning placements.
Selection of the rake structure 514 of the selections 516 for a particular tournament or ring game profile 492 causes the listing of rake structure information 546 in the information field 310 if any exists at the time (see
The pot size field 550 and the rake amount field 552 of the rake structure prompt 548 preferably corresponds to column headings 554 in the information field 31. For a tournament game profile, the floor manager enter the total buy-in amount for all the players into the pot size field 550. For a ring game profile and as illustrated in
For each rake increment of the ring game profile 492, the floor manager enters the pot size in the pot size field 550 of the rake structure prompt 548, then the amount to be raked is entered into the rake amount field 552. As illustrated in
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.
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.