US 20070052170 A1
A method of paying on blackjack and blackjack derivative games using a paytable, but permitting retention of traditional rules of play. Additionally, a means of paying out greater than 100% in expected value on blackjack and blackjack derivative games by involving a required qualification process.
1. An improved blackjack game, wherein the improvement comprises:
a pay table;
the pay table having at least three different outcomes, each outcome being based upon the number of points of the cards in the player's hand and not based upon the number of cards in the player's hand;
at least three different payouts, each payout associated with a different one of the at least three outcomes;
each payout a different ratio based upon the amount bet by the player.
2. The improved blackjack game of
3. The improved blackjack game of
4. The improved blackjack game of
5. The improved blackjack game of
6. The improved blackjack game of
7. The improved blackjack game of
8. A blackjack gaming device comprising:
a cabinet having a display, a plurality of player input devices, and a monetary acceptance device;
the gaming device offering to the player at least a blackjack game in which the player is dealt on the display a hand of cards having a player point total and a fictitious dealer is dealt on the display a hand cards having a dealer point total, and the higher point total hand winning the amount bet at a ratio of 1:1, provided that the higher point total does not exceed 21, and further providing that if the player hand is 21 on the first two cards dealt then the player wins automatically at a ratio of 1:1, 3:2 or 2:1; and the gaming device displaying to the player a paytable;
the paytable having at least three different outcomes, each outcome being based only upon the number of points of the cards in the player's hand;
at least three different payouts, each payout associated with a different one of the at least three outcomes;
each payout a different ratio based upon the amount bet by the player.
9. The improved blackjack game of
10. The improved blackjack game of
11. The improved blackjack game of
12. The improved blackjack game of
13. The improved blackjack game of
14. The improved blackjack game of
15. An improved method of playing a blackjack game comprising the steps of:
a) playing a normal hand of blackjack according to normal rules and determining whether the player or dealer has won;
b) if the player has beaten the dealer by having a higher point total than the dealer then carrying out step c), otherwise returning to step a).
c) comparing the player's point total to a paytable and paying the player according to the paytable, the paytable having at least three different outcomes each having a different payout associated therewith, each outcome being based upon the number of points of the cards in the player's hand, each payout a different ratio based upon the amount bet by the player.
The application claims priority and benefit of U.S. Utility application Ser. No. 10/045,250 having filing date Nov. 7, 2001 in the name of the same inventor and having the same title, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference, and therethrough, this application claims priority and benefit of Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/246,855 having a filing date of Nov. 9, 2000 and also being incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to gambling games, and in particular to methods of play and pays for blackjack card games and blackjack derivative games.
2. Discussion of Prior Art
“Blackjack” or “twenty-one” (both names are used interchangeably herein) is a popular casino game played with a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. It is easy to play, and it is offered as both a live table game with human dealer or as an electronic game typically using a video display. The basic rules are the player bets and both player and dealer receive 2 cards each. Face cards count as 10 points, aces count as 1 or 11 and numbered cards as their face value. If the dealer points total 21 in the first 2 cards (a “blackjack”), the dealer (house) wins and the player loses, unless the player also has a blackjack, in which case the tie constitutes a draw or “push”. If the dealer has no blackjack, the player may “stand” (decline another card) or “hit” (receive another card). The player may take hits until deciding to stand or “busts” (exceeds 21 points). If a player busts, the bet is lost. When the player stands, the dealer must hit if the dealer point total is 16 or less, else he stands. If the dealer and player point totals tie, it is declared a push and no one wins or loses. If the player has not busted and the player point total is greater than the dealer or the dealer busts, the player wins and is paid 1-for-1 in addition to receiving the bet back. Another common rule offers “splitting” where a player initially dealt a pair may also split the cards and play them as 2 hands by placing another bet. Yet another offers “doubling down” where a player may double their bet and receive 1 additional card only.
In standard blackjack, the house advantage is small. There must be some advantage, or the house would not offer the game. The rules of blackjack limit the player returns to even money or very small multiples of the bet (such as 3-for-2 on a player blackjack) to ensure the house retains an advantage. These small paybacks can make the game slow and boring.
To circumvent this inherent limitation, many blackjack variations have been introduced through the years to enhance player interest. Since the house advantage is small, there is little room to offer better paybacks to the player unless the rules are changed. In U.S. Pat. No. 5,615,888 for example, ten point cards are removed from the deck, increasing the house odds and permitting special payouts for various card combinations.
Since players are often reluctant to see their rules changed, many recent blackjack derivations offer an optional side bet. For example, in a game known as “21 Madness” you might bet an additional $1 that the dealer gets a blackjack. If they do, then you will receive an award of between $1 and $1000. While conditioned on a blackjack game being played, these side bets comprise separate and distinct games that play by rules different from the standard game of blackjack
Video gambling devices typically consist of a cabinet built primarily of metal, plastic and glass that houses many different internal components. The basic functions are coin acceptance, game play and coin dispensing, although it is becoming increasingly common for slot machines to accept and pay back in currency or coupons instead of, or in addition to coins.
Coin acceptance is most often done by means of a coin head where coins are inserted into the game. A coin chute directs the coin into an internal coin hopper, if equipped, or into a removable drop bucket beneath the machine when the hopper is full. Winners may be paid back to players from the coin hopper through a small chute where coins land in a special tray where they are available to the player. Again, bill acceptors common today may accept and payout in currency, coupons or script in addition to or instead of coins.
Internally, game play is managed by a central processor on a printed circuit board similar to that of a standard personal computer. CD-Roms and proms (programmable read-only memory computer chips) are often used, too. A power supply provides the current, and the game is displayed back to the player on a video monitor. Buttons on the outside of the cabinet provide for player input, although sometimes touchscreen panels are affixed to the monitor and used in addition to, or instead of buttons. Other printed circuit boards perform auxiliary functions, and there are usually mechanical meters counting, at a minimum, coins in and out. Too, there is internal lighting to make the game clearly noticeable, and external glass usually shows the rules of the game. Finally, games may be networked to each other and report game and player statistics to the accounting office, or to play special games that are somehow linked to each other in a variety of different configurations.
Video forms of draw poker, unlike blackjack, pay according to a “paytable”, which is a schedule of pays for various card combinations (“hands”). The paytable defines player objectives in terms of a monetary award or payback (also called payout or return). A common video poker paytable is illustrated in
Unfortunately, these larger paybacks cannot be offered in traditional blackjack, since they either reduce the house advantage to an unacceptable level or eliminate it entirely.
Like video poker, reel slot machines also pay according to a paytable, which denotes various paying symbol combinations or other paying events. Slot machines today may be mechanical, electronic, video or combination. Video versions of traditional mechanical slot machines are now quite common and often offer second-screen feature games quite unrelated to the spinning reels. For example, one might select from one of five video treasure chests, whereupon an award is revealed. Getting to play these feature games is an event in-and-of-itself, and is often a primary play objective. Similarly, the use of a paytable adds a great deal of interest to the gaming experience, since it offers a wide spectrum of paybacks to players, as well as the potential for much larger awards. This volatility makes these games more fun and exciting.
Unfortunately, traditional blackjack, as well as newer variations thereof, is necessarily constrained to simple paybacks of 1-for-1, or in the case of a 2-card blackjack, 3-for-2, since the paying hands are relatively easy to obtain and players cannot have a mathematical advantage over the dealer or house. Therefore, blackjack does not generate the same excitement of video poker or reel slot machines, which offer much larger returns relative to the bet. Being much less volatile than most other casino games, blackjack is boring to many players.
Accordingly, several objects and advantages of this invention are as follows:
1. This invention employs a true paytable with blackjack, which offers variety in paybacks to players.
2. This invention adds excitement to blackjack by offering the possibility for much larger paybacks. Volatility is a key component to player satisfaction.
3. This invention enhances player interest and intrigue by altering player strategy, making the game much more involving and rewarding.
4. Employing blackjack with a paytable per this invention allows the game's expected value to be infinitely adjusted, thereby allowing greater flexibility in game development and permitting its use in many more applications.
5. This invention may be used as a bonus feature on traditional gambling games to encourage additional play. The right to play for an expected value exceeding 100% payback is very desirable and a motivator to players.
6. This invention contributes all of the aforementioned advantages while allowing the traditional rules of playing blackjack to remain unchanged.
Further objects and advantages of my invention will become apparent from a consideration of the drawings and ensuing description.
This invention offers a unique method of paying blackjack players. This invention offers an enhanced paytable that pays blackjack hands differently for achieving different winning player point totals. This is in stark contrast to traditional twenty-one, where beating the dealer only pays 1-for-1 regardless of the player point score and the only deviating return is for a 2-card blackjack. (A blackjack is just a special type of, or subset of, the player point score 21.) This invention alters traditional blackjack strategy greatly, bringing a whole new dimension to the game.
A conventional electronic video poker or video slot machine is typically used to practice the method of the present invention. Said video poker or video slot machine (the “gambling device”) usually has electronic computer controls, a coin or note hopper, coin-in handling equipment, currency-in handing equipment (such as a bill acceptor), a video display and other optional equipment such as player tracking apparatus as is conventional. The computer controls are programmed to display and operate the method of the present invention. The paytable is shown on the video display or affixed to the exterior of the gambling device so that it is convenient and conspicuously available to the player.
In the present embodiment entitled “Bonus Blackjack”, this invention is bundled with a 5-reel video slot machine game and offered as the second-screen video bonus feature. The base slot machine game returns approximately 85% of all monies bet back to the player according to the slot machine paytable. Approximately once each fifty slot games, required symbols appear on the slot machine triggering the second screen event. The player then plays this invention as a second-screen feature game, whereby they are paid (or not) according to a paytable yielding, in this example, an average return of approximately 300% to the player. Since only 1 slot game in 50 offers the 300% Bonus Blackjack feature, the contribution to the overall game is 1/50 times 300%, or 6%. The overall game returns, then, 91% to the player on average made up of 85% from slot machine wins and 6% from Bonus Blackjack wins. This 91% player return yields 9% to the house (100% less 91% in payouts), which is an acceptable house advantage! (Please note the figures used herein are for demonstration purposes only and may vary considerably from those shown.)
This invention adds a whole new dimension to the game, since it is not just beating the dealer that matters anymore, but with what score! While in the traditional game there are instances where the correct player strategy is to stand on 13, in this case, depending on the paytable, the correct strategy for the same situation is clearly to hit!
Note that once in this feature game, the player has the advantage. This embodiment and its 300% payback is made possible by bundling the new blackjack game with a required qualification process. To play this new game, players must first qualify. Said qualification can occur by a variety of means such as paying cash, by achieving VIP status through the house player's club, by first reaching pre-determined events in another game, or by any other acceptable means. In the preferred embodiment, said qualification is achieved by first earning the right to play under the rules of the traditionally-styled video slot machine base game.
A typical blackjack paytable incorporating this invention might appear as shown in
In alternative embodiment number 1, a paytable might be inverted. It may be equally or more difficult to beat the dealer with a lower point score! A new bonus blackjack paytable featuring an inverted payout might appear as shown in
Regardless of whether it is more difficult statistically to beat the dealer with any point score of 4 through 16 than beating the dealer with a 17, this new inverted paytable greatly affects the optimal player strategy adding yet another dimension to the game and yielding greater player interest.
In alternative embodiment number 2, a paytable might reward a specific winning hand (or hands) with a greater payback. For example, a game featuring this invention might be entitled “Double Bonus Blackjack—Sweet Sixteen” and pay an inordinate return for beating the dealer with a player point score of 16. An example of such a paytable is illustrated in
In alternative embodiment number 3, the paytable envisioned under this invention might pay differently for hard or soft player point scores. (A “soft” score includes an ace in the hand that may be counted as a 1 or 11. A “hard” score is any hand that does not include an ace, or where the ace must be counted as 1 to avoid a bust.)
In alternative embodiment number 4, this invention might yield a paytable that pays differently for a point score achieved with 3 or more cards than for a point total achieved with only 2 cards. For example, an 18 achieved cumulatively (with 3 or more cards) might pay differently than for a 18 achieved with only 2 cards. (This method is commonly used on a 2-card blackjack score of 21, but has not been offered for any other player point scores as suggested herein.) Similarly, a 2-card score of 20 might yield a new paytable category referred to as a “redjack” in addition to, or instead of the traditional 2-card “blackjack” point score of 21.
In alternative embodiment number 5 this invention might be offered exclusive of a video slot machine or any electronic gaming platform and played on a traditional gaming table served by a live dealer.
Note that if a qualification process is employed, this invention makes it possible to even pay a prize on losing hands.
In the case of any of the above or other embodiments, if this invention is offered without the aforementioned qualification process, irrespective of whether played in a “live” or video version, it is likely that the paytable would be markedly reduced in expected value to yield a payback of less than 100%. To ensure a house advantage, or to fine tune any game's expected value, fractional pays such as 3 for 2, or 9 for 5 may be employed.
Accordingly, the reader will see that the paytables envisioned under this invention are versatile and can be used as powerful enhancements to most any blackjack game. This invention offers a means to play “twenty one” by standard or non-standard rules while rewarding players for different point totals. Further, in certain embodiments and when viewed independently, this new game can yield the player better than a 100% return. Considered by itself, a game using this invention can eliminate the house advantage and increase volatility by offering more and/or greater payouts, making them more fun and exciting to play. Playing these generous new games are events to be looked forward to and sought after. The right to play a game truly in the player's favor (having an expected value or payback greater than 100%) is a goal in-and-of itself. Even embodiments returning less than 100% yield more varied paytable returns making games with this invention more fun and interesting to play.
The examples and discussion herein should not be viewed as limiting this invention to this, or any particular embodiment. A creative person can envision many different forms of this invention yielding great utility in a variety of blackjack, blackjack-related and potentially similar, non-blackjack applications.
This invention improves certain gambling games by offering greater returns. Traditional “blackjack” or “twenty one” games can be boring because there is no potential for large winners. A blackjack, a 2-card hand totaling a point score of 21, which is the player's best hand of all, usually only pays the player 3-for-2. In traditional “twenty one” all other hands that beat the dealer pay the same 1-for-1 regardless of the player point score.
This invention adds volatility to the game by rewarding players differently for different point scores achieved. Increased volatility adds excitement to the game by providing for greater winners. In our sample Bonus Blackjack game shown in
Bundling this invention with a required qualification process also permits payouts not otherwise possible. For example, in the preferred embodiment that uses our new enhanced paytable as the second-screen feature on a video slot machine, we can offer a game played by traditional rules that pays much better. Clearly this is a benefit to players. In fact, this invention can yield average player returns on a specific game(s) greater than 100% while still preserving an overall house advantage. These alternative play and pay methods are also good for the house, since they now may offer more interesting, volatile and exciting alternative games to their players.