TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application is a continuation in part under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) of International Application No. PCT/US2005/015412 filed on May 4, 2005 and published on Nov. 24, 2005 as WO 2005/110563 A2, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/569,274 filed May 7, 2004. These applications are incorporated herein by reference.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The subject matter of the inventions described herein relates generally to gaming, and more particularly to gaming machines.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
Slot machines are a popular mainstay of casino gambling. Maintaining and growing this popularity depends on continuously offering players new games or features. Progressive jackpots are one such way to increase interest in slot machines and add another element of excitement to slot play. Another approach is to allow slot players to enter tournaments in which the players can enter and compete in the tournament played on each player's respective slot machine. Slot tournaments thus add an exciting option for players and potentially the house cut of tournament fees may result in additional revenue for casino owners.
FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a gaming machine employed in the system of the invention described herein.
FIG. 2A illustrates a sequence embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 2B illustrates a sequence embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 2C illustrates a sequence embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 2D illustrates a sequence embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 2E illustrates a sequence embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 2F illustrates a sequence embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 3 illustrates a schematic view of one tournament embodiment of the invention described herein.
FIG. 4 illustrates a class diagram of one tournament embodiment of the invention described herein.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTIVE SUBJECT MATTER
FIG. 5 illustrates a sequence diagram of one tournament embodiment of the invention described herein.
In the following description of some embodiments of the present invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and in which are shown, by way of illustration, specific embodiments of the present invention which may be practiced. In the drawings, like numerals describe substantially similar components throughout the several views. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the present invention. Other embodiments may be utilized and structural, logical, and electrical changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. The following detailed description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is defined only by the appended claims, along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.
One example embodiment of a method according to the inventive subject matter herein provides a tournament played on video poker slot machines. For example, the tournament may be offered to two or more video slot players in a casino. The video slot machines offering the tournament may, in one example configuration, communicate with a tournament server system that coordinates and runs the tournament. In another configuration, the video slot machines may be configured so as to operate in a peer to peer mode wherein a server is not required to run the tournament.
Any video poker or other slot machine may be adapted for use in tournament play in accordance with the principles of the inventive subject matter disclosed herein. One example of a video poker machine readily suitable for tournament play in accordance with certain principles of the subject matter herein is a five card draw video poker game. As illustrated in FIG. 1, this video casino game 100 entails dealing a player five cards that are displayed on the game video display 110. Using touch screen discard buttons 112 a, 112 b, 112 c, 112 d or 112 e, the player can discard one or more of these cards and “draw” new ones off the deck.
According to one embodiment of the inventive subject matter disclosed herein, the following rules of play are used to conduct a tournament on a video poker casino game such as, but not limited to, a five card draw poker game:
- The tournament lasts for ten (10) poker hands.
- Each hand is played at max bet of a specified amount, such as five coins.
- Each hand must be played within a specified period of time, such as 15 seconds. In this example the total tournament would last for approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
- Each player keeps all winnings from his or her hands.
- At the end of the ten poker hands, the player with the highest amount won during the ten hands wins the tournament and the tournament prize.
According to one example embodiment, a general sequence of operation for the tournament may proceed as illustrated in FIGS. 2A-2F. Other sequences accomplishing the same general effect are also possible for alternate embodiments. The sequence may begin with a player playing the “normal” game 200 on a video poker game, such as five card draw. As illustrated in FIG. 2A, a message 202 may appear on the screen while the player plays the normal game. The message may be, for example: “Tournament starts in 2 minutes. Press JOIN or CANCEL to continue playing.” If the player does not press either button the message will remain on the screen until the tournament starts. If the player presses CANCEL the message is removed from the display. If the player presses JOIN, a message 204 window appears. “Tournament fee $xx. Press JOIN button or CANCEL to return to game,” as illustrated in FIG. 2B. Where xx is equal to ten hands at max bet for the tournament denomination. If the player presses JOIN, one of the two things will occur: If the player has sufficient funds in the credit meter, then the tournament fee is subtracted from the credit meter and escrowed by the tournament server (described below). If not, then a message appears instructing the player to insert additional money to Join or press CANCEL to return to game.
Once the tournament fee is paid a message window 206 appears that informs the player of their player number/ID, as illustrated in FIG. 2C. One minute prior to the tournament a reminder message appears. As shown in FIG. 2D, when the tournament starts the escrowed tournament fee is returned to the player's credit meter 208 and a scoreboard 210 appears on the screen that shows the player's score followed by a ranking of the top eight players in the tournament. As each hand is dealt, the number of remaining hands is displayed in a message bar 212. The same cards are dealt to all participants. Referring now to FIG. 2E, when the deal is complete, the ‘Hold’ buttons behind the cards are enabled and the ‘Ready’ button 214 is enabled. Players play the normal poker game by selecting cards to hold, such as card 216. When a player is satisfied with their selection they can press READY to allow the game to proceed. When all players have pressed READY the game continues. If the time remaining for the hand runs out, then the game proceeds without the player pressing the READY button. At the end of each hand, the scores are tallied and the player rankings on the scoreboard are updated. At the end of 10 hands, the player with the highest total is awarded the prize, and a message 218 is displayed announcing the win, as shown in FIG. 2F. According to still another example embodiment, instead of each player receiving all the same cards, each player may randomly receive a different wild card dealt to their hand, adding an additional level of excitement and chance to the game. According to another example embodiment, the rules may allow a player to discard all cards in their hand, and request five new cards.
According to yet another example embodiment, in the event of a tie between players in the tournament, the tie may be broken by a randomly generated event, such as the draw of a card to each player tied, with high card breaking the tie, or there may be a simulated spinning of dice on the display, with the player with the highest total on the dice winning the tie.
In still another example embodiment, the payout table on each of the games participating in the tournament may be same, that is, each player wins the same amount for the same hand. Alternatively, however, one or more of the games may have a different payout table from the others for each hand. Different players may thus win different amounts with the same hands. In such embodiments, the winner of the tournament may be determined not based on which player wins the most, but rather on a scoring system based on which player achieves the best collection of poker hands based on all the rounds. According to still another example embodiment, a different pay table may be used for each player in the tournament to set the prize for the tournament. Thus, each player in a given tournament could potentially win a different prize amount depending on which machine they are playing, or one or more other factors.
As illustrated in FIG. 3, one embodiment 300 of the poker tournament game provides for an independent application 302 that runs on a central server 304 and interacts with a number of gaming terminals 306. The number of terminals is not fixed and may vary from one tournament to the next. According to one embodiment, the poker tournament communicates only with the gaming terminal coordinator 308 (e.g. CGamingTerminal described below) and has no direct interaction with or knowledge of the internal components that comprise the gaming terminal application. Coordinator 308 interacts with the gaming terminal bank 310 and presentation services 312.
One embodiment of a software design for the above described game is illustrated in the class diagram of FIG. 4. As shown in FIG. 4, the poker tournament (CPokerTournament 402) is derived from CService 404. Therefore, it has a thread of execution 404 a, a socket 404 b and a timer 404 c. The rules require that the same cards are dealt to all participants. To accomplish this, CPokerTournament 402 performs in the role of centralized dealer and contains a StandardDeck 403 of 52 cards. The deck is shuffled before each hand is dealt. CPokerTournament 402 also tracks player rankings with CRankMap 411. According to one example embodiment, a random draw may be performed, and displayed to the players, in order to generate the common deck for use in the hand. CTournamentTerminal 406 is responsible for conducting an instance of the tournament with an individual Gaming Terminal through CGamingTerminal 409. It is responsible for the behavior of the game and for interface with the player. CTournamentTerminal 406 contains the PokerHand 407 for an individual terminal and tracks the score for that terminal. CTournamentTerminal 406 contains a Bank API 408 and a Presentation API 410, which are proxy classes for the Bank and the display, respectively.
Note that CTournamentTerminal 406 is NOT a service and does not have a separate thread of execution. Tournament terminals are contained by the poker tournament and run within its thread. Also note that there may be an arbitrary number of participants in each tournament. CPokerTournament 402 instantiates a CTournamentTerminal 406 object for each gaming terminal that is online when the tournament invitations are issued. These objects exist for the life of the tournament and are destroyed when the tournament is complete. CPokerTournament 402 receives ISC messages through its socket. Most messages are routed to the individual tournament terminal objects for processing. The poker tournament service (embodied in CPokerTournament 402) is intended to be a persistent application that runs continuously on a central server such as a site controller. The service initiates tournaments at periodic intervals or at specific times.
Referring now to the sequence diagram of FIG. 5, the start-up will be described. Although only one gaming terminal is shown in the figure, the sequence of operation will apply to any number of terminals. Two minutes and 30 seconds prior to the start of the tournament, CPokerTournament 402 broadcasts a Request Service message 502 to all Gaming Terminals. Each Gaming Terminal that is online when the broadcast is sent will respond with a Request Service Response message 504. This message conveys the Gaming Terminal's network address back to the Tournament Server. For each Gaming Terminal that responds, CPokerTournament 402 constructs a corresponding CTournamentTerminal 406 object. Two minutes prior to the start of the tournament, CPokerTournament calls the SendInvitation( ) method 506 of each Tournament terminal. Tournament Terminal 406 performs some internal initialization and commands the Gaming Terminal to load the invitation dialog by calling the Load( ) method 508 in the Presentation API.
CPresentationAPI 410 constructs and sends a Load command message 510 to the Gaming Terminal. CGamingTerminal 409 routes the message 512 to the Presentation Service (CNxt_PS 514). The Presentation Service loads the specified script and displays the invitation. Sometime later, the player presses the JOIN button. The Presentation Service constructs and sends a PO Response message 516 to the Gaming Terminal. The message indicates that the JOIN button has been pressed. The Gaming Terminal routes the message 518 to CPokerTournament 402.
According to still another example embodiment, instead of a client-server architecture, a peer-to-peer architecture may be employed. In such an embodiment, one or more machines may periodically issue an invitation to other peers to join a tournament. The tournament may be operated by one of the peers, or by sharing the responsibility and functions required to operate the tournament among the peers entered into the tournament.
Thus, there has been described above various example embodiments of a tournament game for gaming terminals such as, but not limited to, video poker games.