|Publication number||US20070060333 A1|
|Application number||US 11/504,499|
|Publication date||Mar 15, 2007|
|Filing date||Aug 15, 2006|
|Priority date||Aug 17, 2005|
|Publication number||11504499, 504499, US 2007/0060333 A1, US 2007/060333 A1, US 20070060333 A1, US 20070060333A1, US 2007060333 A1, US 2007060333A1, US-A1-20070060333, US-A1-2007060333, US2007/0060333A1, US2007/060333A1, US20070060333 A1, US20070060333A1, US2007060333 A1, US2007060333A1|
|Inventors||Allon Englman, Peter Anderson, Paul McInerny, Matthew Ward|
|Original Assignee||Wms Gaming Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (68), Referenced by (2), Classifications (6), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/708,870, filed Aug. 17, 2005, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
The present invention relates generally to gaming machines, and methods for playing wagering games, and more particularly, to a gaming machine having a card-accumulation feature.
Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing machines and the expectation of winning at each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting machines. Shrewd operators consequently strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines, features, and enhancements available because such machines attract frequent play and hence increase profitability to the operator. Therefore, there is a continuing need for gaming machine manufacturers to continuously develop new games and improved gaming enhancements that will attract frequent play through enhanced entertainment value to the player.
One concept that has been successfully employed to enhance the entertainment value of a game is the concept of a “secondary” or “bonus” game that may be played in conjunction with a “basic” game. The bonus game may comprise any type of game, either similar to or completely different from the basic game, which is entered upon the occurrence of a selected event or outcome in the basic game. Generally, bonus games provide a greater expectation of winning than the basic game and may also be accompanied with more attractive or unusual video displays and/or audio. Bonus games may additionally award players with “progressive jackpot” awards that are funded, at least in part, by a percentage of coin-in from the gaming machine or a plurality of participating gaming machines. Because the bonus game concept offers tremendous advantages in player appeal and excitement relative to other known games, and because such games are attractive to both players and operators, there is a continuing need to develop gaming machines with new types of bonus games to satisfy the demands of players and operators.
However, bonus games often comprise a comparatively short period in the overall player's wagering game play. The bulk of a player's time is spent playing the basic game. Therefore, predictability or staleness of the basic wagering game are serious impediments to long-duration wagering sessions and repeat wagering game play, no matter how enticing the bonus game. The present invention is directed to improving game play in the basic wagering game and, in combination or alternatively, in the bonus game.
According to one aspect of the present invention, a method of conducting a video poker game on a gaming machine is disclosed. The method comprises receiving a wager from a player to play a block of hands and displaying a plurality of cards from a deck of cards to form a final user-playable hand for each hand in the block of hands. The method further comprises collecting a feature of at least one of the final user-playable hands in a card accumulation area. The method further comprises providing an award based on the card accumulation area meeting a predetermined criterion during the block of hands.
According to another aspect of the present invention, a method of conducting a video poker game on a gaming machine is disclosed. The method comprises receiving a wager from a player to play a block of hands and displaying a plurality of cards from a deck of cards to form a final user-playable hand for each hand in the block of hands. The method further comprises determining whether each card within the final user-playable hands meets a predefined card-accumulation triggering criteria. The method further comprises recording a card in a card accumulation area for each card meeting the predefined card-accumulation triggering criteria. An award is provided in response to the recorded cards in the card accumulation area meeting a predetermined criteria during the block of hands.
According to yet another aspect of the invention, a computer readable storage medium is encoded with instructions for directing a gaming device to perform the above methods.
According to yet another aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine for playing a video-poker wagering game is disclosed. The gaming machine comprises at least one display, a controller, and a collection feature. The at least one display is configured to display the video-poker wagering game. The video-poker wagering game includes a plurality of randomly generated cards that form at least one final user-playable hand. The controller is operatively associated with the gaming machine. The controller is configured to, following an initial wager on a block of hands, randomly generate a predetermined number of cards for each of the hands in the block of hands. The collection feature collects a feature of at least one of the final user-playable hands in a card accumulation area displayed on the at least one display. The controller is configured to determine if any combination of the collected features results in a winning outcome and grant an award if a winning outcome is achieved.
Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below.
While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
The gaming machine 10 comprises a housing 12 and includes input devices, including a value input device 18 and a player input device 24. For output the gaming machine 10 includes a primary display 14 for displaying information about the basic wagering game. The primary display 14 can also display information about a bonus wagering game and a progressive wagering game. The gaming machine 10 may also include a secondary display 16 for displaying game events, game outcomes, and/or signage information. While these typical components found in the gaming machine 10 are described below, it should be understood that numerous other elements may exist and may be used in any number of combinations to create various forms of a gaming machine 10.
The value input device 18 may be provided in many forms, individually or in combination, and is preferably located on the front of the housing 12. The value input device 18 receives currency and/or credits that are inserted by a player. The value input device 18 may include a coin acceptor 20 for receiving coin currency (see
The player input device 24 comprises a plurality of push buttons 26 on a button panel for operating the gaming machine 10. In addition, or alternatively, the player input device 24 may comprise a touch screen 28 mounted by adhesive, tape, or the like over the primary display 14 and/or secondary display 16. The touch screen 28 contains soft touch keys 30 denoted by graphics on the underlying primary display 14 and used to operate the gaming machine 10. The touch screen 28 provides players with an alternative method of input. A player enables a desired function either by touching the touch screen 28 at an appropriate touch key 30 or by pressing an appropriate push button 26 on the button panel. The touch keys 30 may be used to implement the same functions as push buttons 26. Alternatively, the push buttons 26 may provide inputs for one aspect of the operating the game, while the touch keys 30 may allow for input needed for another aspect of the game.
The various components of the gaming machine 10 may be connected directly to, or contained within, the housing 12, as seen in
The operation of the basic wagering game is displayed to the player on the primary display 14. The primary display 14 can also display the bonus game associated with the basic wagering game. The primary display 14 may take the form of a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high resolution liquid crystal display (LCD), a plasma display, an LED, or any other type of display suitable for use in the gaming machine 10. As shown, the primary display 14 includes the touch screen 28 overlaying the entire monitor (or a portion thereof to allow players to make game-related selections. Alternatively, the primary display 14 of the gaming machine 10 may include a number of playing cards that are used to visually display a particular game outcome. In the illustrated embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is an “upright” version in which the primary display 14 is oriented vertically relative to the player. Alternatively, the gaming machine may be a “slant-top” version in which the primary display 14 is slanted at about a thirty-degree angle toward the player of the gaming machine 10.
A player begins play of the basic wagering game by making a wager via the value input device 18 of the gaming machine 10. A player can select play by using the player input device 24, via the buttons 26 or the touch screen keys 30. The basic game consists of a plurality of playing cards arranged to form poker hands that indicate one or more outcomes of the basic game. Such outcomes are randomly selected in response to the wagering input by the player. At least one of the plurality of randomly-selected outcomes may be a start-bonus outcome, which can include any variations of symbols or symbol combinations triggering a bonus game.
In some embodiments, the gaming machine 10 may also include a player information reader 52 that allows for identification of a player by reading a card with information indicating his or her true identity. The player information reader 52 is shown in
Turning now to
The controller 34 is also coupled to the system memory 36 and a money/credit detector 38. The system memory 36 may comprise a volatile memory (e.g., a random-access memory (RAM)) and a non-volatile memory (e.g., an EEPROM). The system memory 36 may include multiple RAM and multiple program memories. The money/credit detector 38 signals the processor that money and/or credits have been input via the value input device 18. Preferably, these components are located within the housing 12 of the gaming machine 10. However, as explained above, these components may be located outboard of the housing 12 and connected to the remainder of the components of the gaming machine 10 via a variety of different wired or wireless connection methods.
As seen in
Communications between the controller 34 and both the peripheral components of the gaming machine 10 and external systems 50 occur through input/output (I/O) circuits 46, 48. More specifically, the controller 34 controls and receives inputs from the peripheral components of the gaming machine 10 through the input/output circuits 46. Further, the controller 34 communicates with the external systems 50 via the I/O circuits 48 and a communication path (e.g., serial, parallel, IR, RC, 10 bT, etc.). The external systems 50 may include a gaming network, other gaming machines, a gaming server, communications hardware, or a variety of other interfaced systems or components. Although the I/O circuits 46, 48 may be shown as a single block, it should be appreciated that each of the I/O circuits 46, 48 may include a number of different types of I/O circuits.
Controller 34, as used herein, comprises any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware that may be disposed or resident inside and/or outside of the gaming machine 10 that may communicate with and/or control the transfer of data between the gaming machine 10 and a bus, another computer, processor, or device and/or a service and/or a network. The controller 34 may comprise one or more controllers or processors. In
Turning now to
According to one embodiment, a video poker game is played with a single, standard 52-card deck (i.e., Ace through King of four different suits). The standard 52-card deck may be supplemented with additional bonus cards such as value cards, wild card, etc. However, the video poker game may be played with any number of decks and/or with a variety of different card compositions.
According to one embodiment, during a particular poker hand, all of the cards are dealt from the same deck. After a card is dealt from the deck into the poker hand, the card is “used up” and cannot appear again until the next poker hand. The deck may be replenished and randomly shuffled prior to every poker hand. The memory 36 includes a data structure for storing data representing each card of the deck. The CPU 34 randomly selects cards for each poker hand from the data structure and controls the primary display 14 to display the cards.
An image of a main video-poker game screen can be seen in
The game session meters include: a “credits” meter 70 for displaying a number of credits available for play on the machine; a “bet” meter 72 for displaying a number of credits wagered (e.g., from 1 to 5 credits); a “paid” meter 74 for displaying an amount to be awarded based on the results of the particular rounds outcome; a “hands” meter 76 for displaying the number of hands remaining to be played during the wagering game; and a “total wager” meter 78 for displaying the total amount of the wager (i.e., credits wagered times hands to play) for the wagering game. The player-selectable buttons include a “cash out” button 80 to collect the credits remaining in the credits meter 70; a “help” button 82 for viewing instructions on how to play the video poker game; a “speed” button 84 for allowing a player to adjust the speed that the cards are dealt, the hands are formed, the length of time the winning hand is displayed, the length of time the winnings are displayed, the overall speed of the game, etc.; a “see pays” button 86 for displaying a larger pay table to the player (or displaying the pay table in embodiments where the pay table is not constantly displayed); a “max hands” button 88 for selecting the maximum number of hands to play; a “max bet” button 90 for wagering a maximum number of credits (e.g., 5 credits); a “deal” button 92 for causing the game to initially deal cards from a deck into the user-playable hand 64 face-up; and a “draw” button 94 for causing the game to replace any non-held card in the user-playable hand 64 with another card from the deck.
A pay table, that can be displayed on the primary display 14, may also or alternatively be displayed on the secondary display 16. The pay table includes a list of winning poker-hand rankings and a plurality of payout columns with payouts associated with each ranking. According to one embodiment, the number of credits won is linearly proportional to the number of credits wagered, except that a royal flush typically yields a bonus when achieved on a maximum wager. The list of winning poker hand rankings, in one embodiment, includes standard poker-hand rankings beginning at a pair of jacks or better and includes hands through a royal flush.
To begin the wagering game, a player wagers one or more credits on the gaming machine 10. In one embodiment, a maximum wager for a single hand in the wagering game is five credits, though the maximum wager may be any number of credits. A player also selects a block of hands (i.e., the number of hands) to play during the upcoming game session. To select the wager and number of hands a player may utilize the max-bet button 90 and max-hands button 88, or may utilize additional touch keys 30 and/or push buttons 26 that can be provided for the purpose of initiating, raising, and/or lowering a wager or number of hands. Once a player wagers one or more credits on a block of hands, the controller 34 initiates the wagering game for the player. In the illustrated example, the player has decided to wager five credits on 10 hands.
In the illustrated example, the main game screen 60 includes a card accumulation area 100 displayed thereon. In alternative embodiments, however, the card accumulation area 100 may be displayed on the secondary display 16 instead or additionally. The card accumulation area 100 is adapted to display a plurality of collected cards to a player as the player collects cards while playing the plurality of hands wagered on during play of the wagering game. According to some embodiments of the present invention, a plurality of cards are displayed in the card accumulation area 100 even though the plurality of cards are also reinserted into the deck of cards and may be available in the future hands within the block of hands. In some of these embodiments, the same card may be collected multiple times.
Over the course of the block of hands, a player attempts to collect a plurality of cards or hands to meet a predetermined card collection criteria. The card collection criteria determines whether a particular card or hand will be accumulated by the player at the end of a particular hand. As will be detailed further below, with respect to
Referring now to
In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the player has collected three 10s, two Queens, and a 5, 4, 3, 2, and Ace in the three prior hands. According to one embodiment of the present invention, the player accumulated only the cards that are used to form a winning hand as specified within the pay table. In this example, the player may have formed three winning hands such as a set (3) of 10s, a pair of Queens, and a 5-high straight (i.e., 5-4-3-2-Ace) in the prior hands. The player continues to play the remaining hands that were purchased at the start of the wagering game and can collect additional cards that will be added to the collected-cards columns 106 a-e accordingly.
According to one embodiment of the present invention, all of the cards used to form a winning hand (as specified by the pay table) are collected within the card-accumulation area 100. According to other embodiments, all of the cards that have been displayed to the player are collected. In still other embodiments, only the losing cards (i.e., those not contained within a winning hand as specified by the pay table) are accumulated while in yet other embodiments, only the cards that have been discarded by the player during the course of the game are collected. According to still other embodiments, the cards are collected when a random identifier (such as a star) designates one or more of the cards, these cards are then collected within the card-accumulation area 100.
In some embodiments of the present invention the quantity of cards to be collected varies for the different ones of the plurality of cards. For example, while a player may be required to collect five Aces to collect an award, the player may only be required to collect three 5s to collect an award. According to some embodiments, the quantity/quantities of cards or card combinations to be collected is/are predetermined while in other embodiments, the quantity/quantities of cards is/are randomly selected from a predetermined range (e.g., one through five).
According to some embodiments of the present invention, a player is awarded a payout for both any winning user-playable hands 64 during the ten hands the player has chosen to play as well as an additional prize for accumulating the threshold quantity for at least one of the cards over the block of hands. According to other embodiments, a payout is provided to the player only when the player has accumulated the threshold quantity for at least one of the cards. According to some embodiments of the present invention, the award values for achieving the threshold quantities for each of the cards are identical, while in other embodiments the award values vary depending on which of the cards the threshold quantity was accumulated (e.g., an award may be 50 credits for collecting five Aces but only 10 credits for collecting five 2s).
Referring now to
A card-identification column 204 is provided to indicate to the player which of the plurality of cards they should attempt to collect. A plurality of collected-card columns 206 a-e are provided to display the particular cards that the player has accumulated through this point during the wagering game. In the illustrated example, the collected-card columns 206 a-e indicate to a player which of the cards within a royal flush have been collected in each of the different suits.
In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the player has collected three 10s, two Queens, and an Ace in the three prior hands. According to one embodiment of the present invention, a player accumulates only the cards that are used to form a winning hand as specified within the pay table. In this example, the player may have formed three winning hands such as a set of 10s, a pair of Queens, and a 5-high straight (i.e., 5-4-3-2-Ace) in the prior hands. However, because the 5, 4, 3, and 2 do not form a part of any of the royal flushes, these cards are not collected by the player. The player continues to play the remaining hands that were purchased at the start of the wagering game and can collect additional cards that will be added to the collected-cards columns 206 a-e accordingly.
According to one embodiment, a player receives an award for each royal flush they achieve during the course of the wagering game. In some embodiments, an additional award is given if, or only if, a player collects all of the cards in every one of the secondary winning hands.
Referring now to
According to some embodiments of the present invention, the quantity-collection scheme, the hand-collection scheme, and/or the winning-hand-collection scheme can be incorporated into a gaming machine 10 that is part of a Wide Area Progressive (WAP) gaming system. In a WAP network, a portion of the wager entered by a player to play the wagering game is used to fund a progressive jackpot. The gaming machines 10 linked to the WAP network are generally distributed across a plurality of casinos that fund a single jackpot that can be earned by a player at any of the various gaming machines 10. The player may earn the jackpot by, for example, collecting all four of the royal flushes in the hand-collection scheme or all of the winning hands included in the winning-hand-collection scheme.
The WAP network typically includes components within a casino and components at a remote location. Within the casino, a plurality of gaming machines 10 are connected through a multi-drop serial line to a WAP carousel controller. The multi-drop serial line may be, for example, an RS-485 serial data line, which is compatible with and linked to the I/O circuitry 48 (
To link the WAP site controller to the remote location, the casino includes one or more switches and routers. The router within the casino is connected through a phone line (or other communication means) to a corresponding router at the remote location. A WAP central site server at the remote location is coupled to the router through a switch and an ethernet connection. The WAP central site server is connected to a player identification server to allow for the exchange of player data and wagering game data stored within the player identification server.
According to one embodiment, the poker game is five-card draw poker, while in other embodiments other types of poker games may be implemented (e.g., seven-card stud, texas hold 'em, five-card stud, omaha, etc.). In a five-card draw poker game, five cards 64 a-e are displayed face-up to a player to form a user-playable hand 64. The player is able to select none, one, or a plurality of the cards 64 a-e in the user-playable hand 64 to discard. Once the player has selected which of the plurality of cards 64 a-e they desire to hold, the player selects the draw button 94. In alternative embodiments, the player has a predetermined time to select the cards they desire to hold, after which time, the gaming machine 10 automatically initiates the draw. In these embodiments, the player may initiate a draw sooner by selecting the draw button 94 or may extend their time to decide by selecting an appropriate touch key 30 on the touch screen 28 or a designated push button 26. Once a card has been selected to be discarded, any selected card is then replaced to form a final user-playable hand.
It should be apparent from the above description that the wagering game disclosed herein provides additional excitement to the player during the course of the standard video-poker wagering game. In addition, the present invention increases the incentive for a player to purchase a large block of hands up-front for a particular gaming session. A large block of hands allows the player to accumulate additional cards or hands during the standard game play that may allow the player to earn secondary awards during the gaming session.
Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.
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|Cooperative Classification||G07F17/32, G07F17/3267|
|European Classification||G07F17/32M4, G07F17/32|
|Aug 15, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ENGLMAN, ALLON G.;ANDERSON, PETER R.;MCINERNY, PAUL A.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:018205/0671;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060727 TO 20060807
|Jul 29, 2015||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BALLY GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:036225/0201
Effective date: 20150629