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Publication numberUS20080026827 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/788,601
Publication dateJan 31, 2008
Filing dateApr 20, 2007
Priority dateApr 21, 2006
Publication number11788601, 788601, US 2008/0026827 A1, US 2008/026827 A1, US 20080026827 A1, US 20080026827A1, US 2008026827 A1, US 2008026827A1, US-A1-20080026827, US-A1-2008026827, US2008/0026827A1, US2008/026827A1, US20080026827 A1, US20080026827A1, US2008026827 A1, US2008026827A1
InventorsRonald Skotarczak, Seth Berger, Brian Haveson
Original AssigneePokermatic, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Amusement gaming system
US 20080026827 A1
Abstract
Method and apparatus employed by an amusement gaming system for setting up a game for one or a plurality of players including controlling a numbers of factors such as regulating rate of play, betting limits, providing advertising matter, creating a tournament, to name just a few. The system typically includes a plurality of player stations each having a display and user interface controls communicating with a central controller for storing and accumulating data such as the aforementioned factors as well as player profiles and players history of prior individual and tournament play. Table and/or community displays are provided for entertainment and ease of viewing by both players and spectators. Players' displays are limited to displaying only items specific to the player at that player station. Formulas are stored by the controller for determining player awards. The regulation of play is automatic with the option of adjusting factors affecting play under control of a system manager.
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Claims(59)
1. An amusement gaming system for regulating play of at least one player, comprising:
a rules database for moderating rules of a game being played the at least one player, said database including rules related to possible locations at which the at least one player may be situated during play of said game; and
a control device responsive to a rule associated with the location occupied by the at least one player for controlling an aspect of the game peculiar to said location.
2. The system of claim 1 wherein the control device limits the at least one player to playing for amusement only responsive to a rule that said location prohibits gambling for money.
3. The system of claim 2 wherein the control device enables the at least one player to playing for amusement only to be eligible for a non-monetary prize responsive to a rule that said location prohibits gambling for money, while permitting awarding a non-monetary prize.
4. The system of claim 1 wherein the control device enable the at least one player to play for a monetary prize responsive to a rule that said location permits gambling for money.
5. The system of claim 1 wherein there are a plurality of players each in remote locations, each player being provided with a device interacting with said system by one of a wired and wireless connection.
6. The system of claim 5 wherein the database comprises rules for each of said locations, the rules of at least some of the locations being different from the rules of the remaining locations, said rules being selected based upon the location of each player, wherein at least some of the players are regulated by rules different from the rules regulating the remaining players, even though all of the players are playing the same game.
7. The system of claim 1 wherein the control device limits bets permitted by the at least one player responsive to a rule that said location permits gambling for money and sets betting limits.
8. The system of claim 5 wherein the players devices are connected with the system through one of an intranet and the Internet.
9. An amusement gaming system comprising:
a table having a plurality of player locations substantially equi-spaced about said table;
a controller for regulating play at said table;
each location being provided with an individual player display configured for displaying graphics and indicia specific to the player using the player display, and a user interface for communicating player choices and responses relating to the game to said controller; and
one of a public display and a community display, each being configured to displaying the graphics and indicia of all players playing at said table responsive to said controller.
10. The system of claim 9 wherein each individual display is oriented and configured to substantially limit viewing of a player display to the player at the display location.
11. The system of claim 9 wherein the community display is substantially centrally positioned on said table to enable easy viewing by players at said table.
12. The system of claim 9 wherein the public display is positioned to enable easy viewing by spectators as well as players at said table.
13. The system of claim 9 wherein each individual display is configured to display an image of other players at the table responsive to the user interface.
14. The system of claim 9 wherein at least one of the community display and public display is configured to display an image of other players at the table responsive to said controller.
15. The system of claim 9 wherein each individual display is configured to display an advertising banner responsive to the controller.
16. The system of claim 9 wherein each individual display is configured to display an invitation to order selected items responsive to the controller.
17. The system of claim 16 wherein the invitations relate to food and beverages.
18. The system of claim 9 wherein the controller controls a rate at which players at the table must play in order to continue playing at the table.
19. The system of claim 9 wherein each player interface is configured to provide a first group of manually operable controls to make fixed, specific selections and at least one variable control which is manually operable to make a variable selection with a permissible range.
20. The system of claim 19 wherein the variable control comprises a keypad interface.
21. A method employed by an amusement gaming system for controlling a plurality of players participating in a given game, comprising:
providing a plurality of player stations communicating with a central controller;
operating said central controller for controlling rate of play of a game based on criteria stored at said controller, said criteria including at least one of: betting level, time to bet, time between games, round of betting, round of tournament and modify based on round, wherein the rate of play is regulated according to at least one of said criteria.
22. The method of claim 21 comprising:
reducing time allotted a player to bet or fold at an early round of a game and increasing time allotted a player to bet or fold during subsequent rounds, based on the betting level criteria.
23. The method of claim 21 comprising:
reducing time allotted players between rounds of a game at early rounds and increasing time allotted players between rounds during subsequent rounds, based on the time between games criteria.
24. The method of claim 21 comprising:
the controller being configured to adjust the criteria responsive to a game manager's input; and
modifying the rate of play based on a modify based on round adjustment entered by the game manager.
25. The method of claim 21 further comprising:
modifying the rate of play responsive to at least one of a food item and a beverage ordered by a player responsive to an invitation from the gaming system.
26. The method of claim 21 further comprising:
changing the rake percentage of a pot to affect rate of play.
27. The method of claim 21 further comprising:
changing the entrance fee to affect rate of play.
28. The method of claim 21 further comprising:
changing at least one of the blind amount and ante to affect rate of play.
29. The method of claim 21 further comprising:
changing at least one of the minimum permitted raise and maximum permitted raise to affect rate of play.
30. The method of claim 21 further comprising:
regulating an amount collected by the system based upon bets made and number of players participating to maintain a desired collection rate per a given interval of time.
31. The method of claim 21 further comprising:
regulating an amount collected by the system based upon bets made and number of players participating to maintain a desired collection rate per a given interval of time.
32. The method of claim 26 further comprising:
reducing rate of play during a higher rake and increasing rate of play during a higher rake.
33. The method of claim 21 further comprising:
compiling a waiting list of players waiting to play; and
increasing rate of play based on an increasing number of players waiting to play.
34. The method of claim 21 further comprising:
selecting a game to be played based on at least one of betting rate, time to bet, rake percentage and amount of desired to be collected per a given period of time.
35. A method employed by an amusement gaming system for setting up and regulating a tournament in which a plurality of players participate in a given game, comprising:
providing a plurality of player stations communicating with a central controller;
operating said central controller, comprising:
selecting a sponsor;
selecting a game; and
selecting players according to at least one of the criteria of: betting history, ranking of player, geographical location, game preferences of player.
36. The method of claim 35 wherein player rankings are determined by:
storing tournament points awarded to players based on their finishes in previous tournaments;
prioritizing players according to their total tournament points; and
selecting the players so that players having greater total points are selected prior to players having fewer total points.
37. The method of claim 35 further comprising:
awarding tournament points based on a number of players in a tournament and the player's finishing position.
38. The method of claim 35 further comprising:
awarding tournament points based on the expression, P=[√n/p] where n=number of players in a tournament; p=finishing position of a player; and P=points awarded.
39. The method of claim 35 further comprising:
awarding tournament points based on the expression, P=[√n/p]*[1+log(b+0.25)] where n=number of players in a tournament; p=finishing position of a player; b=the buy in when gambling for money is permitted; and P=points awarded.
40. The method of claim 35 further comprising:
regulating at least one of an amount and a frequency of ads presented on a player's display to increase total revenue earned in a tournament.
41. The method of claim 35 further comprising:
awarding tournament points by determining ranks comprising: averaging and normalizing player finishes in prior tournaments, normalization being determined by z=(x−u)/s where z=the normalized vector, x=the original vector, u=the mean of vector x, and s is the standard deviation, vector x=the number of players in the tournament+1 less every player's finish, divided by the number of players in a tournament.
42. The method of claim 35, further comprising:
providing ads during tournament play.
43. The method of claim 42 further comprising:
presenting the ads on a players display.
44. The method of claim 42 further comprising:
storing data representing a player's profile, provided by the player; and
targeting the ads on a players' display based on the stored profile data.
45. The method of claim 43, further comprising:
selecting ads based on a players' level of success in the current tournament by displaying more expensive items when a player is successful and displaying less expensive items when a player is not successful.
46. The method of claim 43, further comprising:
selecting ads based on a players' level of success in the current tournament by displaying expensive items when a player is successful and inviting the player to other games when a player is not successful.
47. A method employed by an amusement gaming system for setting up and regulating a game in which a plurality of players participate in said game, comprising:
providing a plurality of player stations communicating with a central controller;
operating said central controller, comprising:
accumulating and storing player data including: when they play, how long they play, skill level, stakes they play for, and history of games results;
associating the accumulated data with a unique identifier representing the player;
accessing the accumulated data responsive to entry of a player's identifier; and
providing tips on how to improve play based on the accumulated data.
48. The method of claim 47, further comprising:
providing invitations to other games based on the accumulated data.
49. The method of claim 47, further comprising:
a player:
inputting the players' unique identifier and profile information for storage with data accumulated by the controller; and
the controller:
inviting players having common profile features to a given game.
50. The method of claim 47, further comprising:
a player:
inputting the players' unique identifier and profile information for storage with data accumulated by the controller; and
the controller:
inviting players having common profile features to a given game, and recommending the given game based on the stored data of the invited players.
51. A method employed by an amusement gaming system for setting up and regulating a game in which a plurality of players participate in said game, comprising:
providing a plurality of player stations communicating with a central controller;
operating said central controller, comprising:
communicating invitations to potential sponsors;
receiving and storing acceptance in the order they are received; and
declining further acceptances received after accumulating a given number of acceptances.
52. A method employed by an amusement gaming system for setting up and regulating a tournament in which a plurality of players participate in said game, comprising:
providing a plurality of tables;
providing a plurality of player stations at each table communicating with a central controller;
operating said central controller, comprising:
regulating the games played during the tournament at all, of said tables;
assigning players remaining in the tournament from their original table to a different table as players are eliminated; and
eliminating a table from the tournament when it no longer has players to consolidate play.
53. A method employed by an amusement gaming system for setting up and regulating games available to a plurality of players, comprising:
providing a plurality of player stations communicating with a central controller;
providing each player station with a display and interactive user controls;
operating said central controller, comprising:
providing a message on the displays inviting players to insert one of a unique identifier, money, a token or indicia bearing card and a game selection:
at least one of said player stations, operated by a player:
entering one of a unique identifier, money, a token or indicia bearing card and a game selection;
said controller regulating the selected game; and
being provided with operator controls for providing at least one of:
type of ads presented on the payers' displays, and rate of play settings.
54. The method of claim 53 wherein the rate of play settings further include:
providing adjustments for:
cost of play, type of blind, ante, upper and lower betting limits, length of betting period, and length of time between games.
55. A method for setting up a tournament for participation of a plurality of players, comprising:
providing a plurality of tables;
providing each table with a plurality of player stations communicating with a central controller;
providing each player station with a display and interactive user controls;
operating said central controller, comprising:
accumulating and storing data represent players desiring to participate;
notifying a player waiting to participate through that players' display;
accumulating and storing data of winners and losers in the tournament; and
advancing table winners to play other table winners.
56. The method of claim 55, further comprising:
the controller:
instructing winning players to move to a given one of said tables and thereby eliminating those tables which are no longer needed.
57. The method of claim 55, further comprising:
the controller:
storing data representing rules and restrictions relating to different geographical regions; and
regulating players participating in the tournament according to the rules and restrictions of the geographical region in which the player is located.
58. A method employed by an amusement gaming system for setting up and regulating games available to a plurality of players, comprising:
providing a plurality of player stations communicating with a central controller;
providing each player station with a display and interactive user controls for betting, folding, calling, requesting sequential display of previous hands;
the central controller:
providing images on the players' display responsive to the user controls operated by the player at that display.
59. The method of claim 58, further comprising:
the controller:
displaying a list of table action for a previous hand, together with the last hand responsive to a players' request.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

This application is a claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application No. 60/793,851 filed on Apr. 21, 2006, which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to electronic gaming methods and systems and more particularly relates to method and apparatus for controlling, modifying and presenting multiple games, players and tournaments automatically or under control of operator and/or player inputs or a combination thereof.

BACKGROUND

Computer-based electronic games have existed for many years and have typically appeared as single user terminals with the computer acting as the “house.” More recently, electronic gaming tables have also been developed, including electronic poker tables in which a computer is used to manage a game between the participants at the table. Internet gambling systems have also been developed in which users from anywhere in the world can join in a virtual poker table and participate in a game for points or money, as dictated by appropriate local, state and international laws and regulations.

As interest in electronic forms of card games has grown, a need for a amusement gaming system that allows players to play various games (which may or may not involve cards) and interact without the need for cards, chips, or other gaming implements, wherein players operate the gaming table much like standard arcade games, has developed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING(S)

The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawings embodiments which are presently preferred. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.

In the Drawings:

FIG. 1 is diagram of an amusement gaming system in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a use case diagram of the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a class diagram for player, game, rules, and tournament classes for the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a class and subclass diagram for determining the rate of play for the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an activity diagram for the set rate use case for the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is an activity diagram for the debit award points use case for the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is an activity diagram for a select sponsor use case for the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is an activity diagram for an establish inter-establishment tournament use case for the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is an example of a Graphical User Interface (GUI) showing a title/opening screen for use with the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is an example of a GUI showing a keypad interface screen for use with the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 11 is an example of a GUI showing a user interface/game screen for use with the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 12 is an example of a GUI showing an alternative embodiment of a keypad interface screen for use with the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 13 is an example of a GUI showing a last hand review screen for use with the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 14 is an example of a GUI showing a player option menu screen implemented in the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 15 is an example of a GUI showing an operator's options menu screen for use with the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 16 is an example of an electronic card table for use with the amusement gaming system of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Certain terminology is used herein for convenience only and is not to be taken as a limitation on the multiple embodiments of the present invention. In the drawings, the same reference letters are employed for designating the same elements throughout the several figures.

The words “right”, “left”, “lower” and “upper” designate directions in the drawings to which reference is made. The terminology includes the words above specifically mentioned, derivatives thereof and words of similar import.

The following description focuses on poker playing games largely for amusement purposes; however any of the principles described herein are not intended to be limited solely to amusement purposes and may be applied to gambling systems generally, including those where actual money is wagered. Further, although the description generally describes multiple embodiments of the present invention as being used in conjunction with electronic poker tables, the embodiments described herein are also applicable to online gaming generally. Additionally, although examples are typically given in relation to the specific poker game of Texas Hold'em, the principles described herein may be applied to many types of poker including but not limited to, Omaha Style, Three Card Stud, Five Card Draw, and any other type of poker generally known in the art. Further, the multiple embodiments of the present method and system may be extended to other card games and other games generally.

FIG. 1 depicts an amusement gaming system 10 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Referring to FIG. 1, the amusement gaming system 10 is implemented at and between multiple establishments 14, 16, 18, including but not limited to restaurants, bars, social clubs, arcades, activity centers, casinos, residences, businesses and any other place people meet or gather. Although the amusement gaming system 10 in FIG. 1 is shown as being implemented in multiple establishments, in one embodiment, it is implemented within or around a single establishment or multiple establishments.

In FIG. 1 establishment 14 and establishment 18 are shown located in the same political or legal jurisdiction, whereas establishment 16 is located across a jurisdictional border 28. Because different jurisdictions may have different rules concerning gambling and the rewards that may be given to players, the amusement gaming system 10 includes a rules database for moderating the rules of the game in particular locations (that may be in different jurisdictions) and/or moderating the interaction between different locations (the establishments 14, 16, 18). The rules database and the features related thereto are described below with reference to FIG. 3. For example, establishment 14 might be in a jurisdiction where gambling is illegal and therefore the amusement gaming system 10 would function as an amusement device, whereas Establishment 16, located across jurisdictional border 28, may be in a jurisdiction where gambling is legal. Thus, the amusement gaming system 10 allows players at establishment 16 to gamble with money, whereas players at establishment 14 will only be allowed to play for amusement. The amusement gaming system 10 regulates the game played at both of these establishments 14 and 16 and allows them to compete against each other in one larger tournament.

Each establishment 14, 16, 18 has a table 12 or multiple tables 12 and a public display 21 associated with the establishment. The tables 12 and the public display 21 work in conjunction to display aspects of the game being played on the amusement gaming system 10. The public display 21 is oriented to display information and/or images related to the game to people in the vicinity of the table 12. In one embodiment the public display 21 is mounted on the wall. Alternatively, the public display 21 hangs from the ceiling. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the public display 21 may be positioned in many possible ways. A table 12 includes player locations 11 for players to sit at and play. Referring to FIG. 16, player locations 11 each have an individual display 15 that is built into the table. Alternatively, the individual displays 15 may be removable, movable, or independent of the table 12. Also, in the center of the table 12 is a community display 17 for displaying community information, which is information concerning aspects of the game that must be displayed to all players. For example, in the game of Texas Hold'em poker, community information includes, but is not limited to, the flop, the turn, the river, the amount of money in the pot. The tabletop 13 allows players to rest drinks or food at the table. In one embodiment, the area of the tabletop 13 is larger than that shown in FIG. 16 so that players have additional room for food and beverages.

The individual displays 15 need not all be the same type and/or size. Preferably, the individual displays 15 are embedded within the table 12, such that all or a significant portion of the individual displays 15 are below the tabletop 13 of the table 12. As shown in FIG. 16, the individual displays 15 are preferably angled, such that the upper surfaces thereof slope downwardly and outwardly toward the outer edge of the table 12. Such a configuration helps to ensure that only the player at that particular seat is able to view the content displayed on the corresponding individual display 15. In another embodiment, the upper surface of the individual displays 15 is even or flush with the tabletop 13 of the table 12. In yet another embodiment, the upper surface of the individual displays 15 resides completely below the tabletop 13 of the table 12. A player uses the individual display 15 at his designated seat to view, follow, participate and otherwise interact with game play at the table 12.

The three types of displays, the public display 21, the community display 17, and the individual displays 15, each have Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) associated therewith. The setup of the GUIs for these screens is controlled by establishment owners, at least so that advertising opportunities are maximized. Alternatively, the amusement gaming system 10 allows users to customize their individual displays 15, but not the community display 17, or the public display 21. Associated with each of the individual displays 15 at table 12 is an input device 19, such as a touch screen mechanism. In another embodiment the input device 19 is a keyboard, mouse or rollerball (not shown). Those skilled in the art will recognize that there are many possible input devices that are suitable for use with the amusement gaming system 10.

FIGS. 9-14 depict various GUIs with which allows the user to interact with the amusement gaming system 10. The features of the GUIs associated with the individual displays 15 are described in greater detail below. Although the amusement gaming system 10 is described in terms of a tabletop 13 that contains multiple screens, a single continuous display could be utilized as could a variety of other displays known to those skilled in the art. That is, the tabletop 13, the community display 17, and the individual displays 15 could all be replaced by a continuous display that displays the appropriate aspects of the game to the corresponding players. One advantage that a single continuous display offers is that the animation of the movement of chips and cards is continuous. As such, there are no breaks in the animated travel of a chip due to the end of one screen and the beginning of another.

The public display 21 displays images of individual players so that remote players may attempt to “read” their opponent's expressions. Alternatively, the individual displays 15 or the community display displays images of individual players. In one embodiment, players control the player that is displayed on their individual display 15. For example, in the game of poker or other card games, it may be desirable to analyze or observe a player's facial expressions, mannerisms, or other indirect indications to establish a guess as to what cards that players holds. Alternatively, the public display 21 is also used to display the current game to others individuals in the establishment. When displaying a game, the public display 21 offers a form of entertainment to establishments 14, 16, and 18. Alternatively, the public display 21 displays information concerning seats available in particular games. Additionally, it may display directions to participants of a tournament concerning what seat at what table a particular participate should go to continue their participation in a tournament.

As shown in FIG. 1, establishment 14 and establishment 18 contain more than one table 12. The tables within each establishment 14, 18 are connected via an intranet 20 or other local network or electronic exchange mechanism. In order to facilitate multi-establishment gaming, the establishments 14, 16, 18 are connected to the Internet 26 or other network or electronic exchange mechanism. In establishments 14 and 18 the tables 12 are connected via the intranet 20 to a server 22. The server 22 is connected to the Internet 26. In one embodiment it is not necessary to include the server 22 and the intranet 20; tables 12 are independently connected to the Internet 26 and communicate with each other through that medium. Although tables 12 are shown as being hardwired to the intranet 20 and Internet 26, respectively, in one embodiment the tables 12 use a wireless or Bluetooth connection to communicate with each other and/or connect to the Internet 26 or intranet 20. Those skilled in the are will appreciate that the amusement gaming system 10 may use a multitude of other methods of communication among and between tables 12.

By connecting multiple tables 12 via the intranet 20 and/or the Internet 26, tournaments can be organized between different tables within the same establishment or in multiple establishments. Further, players are not limited to playing with those players at their table; a game may be formed to include players seated at many different tables. Since a game need not only include players seated at a particular table, when limited players are available at one establishment, players from another establishment may be networked in to form a game. For instance, if during a slow period there are only five players at establishment 14 and there are five players at establishment 18, all the players may all participate in the same game, forming a ten-person table. The Internet 26 or other electronic exchange mechanism allows for large tournaments to be played, bringing players together from many different locals. As shown in FIG. 1, the amusement gaming system 10 allows for different establishments 14, 16, 18 to compete against each other in an integrated tournament.

The amusement gaming system 10 has at least four modes of operation in respect to the organization of games. An example of the first mode of operation of the amusement gaming system 10 is a single game where all players in the game are playing at the same table: single game, single table mode. Another mode of operation is a single game, multiple table mode. In this mode a single game is played, however, not all players are at the same table; the games are either at different tables in the same establishment or at different tables in different establishments. Another mode of operation is a tournament, single establishment mode. In this mode of operation a tournament is organized in a single establishment. The tournament involves multiple tables and a certain number of players from each table advance depending on the setup of the tournament. Alternatively, the tournament only involves one table in an establishment and players take turns using the table. An additional mode of operation is a tournament, multiple establishment mode. In this mode, players play and advance at the establishment at which they are located until there are no longer enough players remaining at that establishment to fill an entire table. Players from multiple establishments play in the same games until a winner (or winners) is (are) determined. Alternatively, it is not necessary for players to only play against players located at their establishment in the early rounds; games may be organized to include people from multiple establishments at every stage of the tournament.

FIG. 2 illustrates a Unified Modeling Language (“UML”) use-case diagram for the amusement gaming system 10 and associated systems and actors in accordance with the present method and system. UML can be used to model and/or describe methods and systems and provide the basis for better understanding their functionality and internal operation as well as describing interfaces with external components, systems and people using standardized notation. When used herein, UML diagrams including, but not limited to, use case diagrams, class diagrams and activity diagrams, are meant to serve as an aid in describing the present method and system, but do not constrain its implementation to any particular hardware or software embodiments. Unless otherwise noted, the notation used with respect to the UML diagrams contained herein is consistent with the UML 2.0 specification or variants thereof and is understood by those skilled in the art.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the amusement gaming system 10 allows for the play of multiple players 40, 42, 44, 46. Those skilled in the art will understand that the number of players is only limited by the number of players available.

The amusement gaming system 10 includes an activate game use case 48 that allows players 40, 42, 44, 46 to activate a game on the amusement gaming system 10. The activate game use case 48 includes a select game type use case 50. The select game type use case 50 allows players 40, 42, 44, 46 to select the particular type of game they want to play. For example, players may choose to participate in a game organized under one of the multiple modes of operation of the amusement gaming system 10, or may choose a particular card game, including but not limited to, Texas Hold'em, Five Card Stud, Omaha Hold'em, seven card stud, seven card high-low stud, razz, etc. An example of a Graphical User Interface (GUI) employed by the select game use case 50 is a title/opening screen 500 depicted in FIG. 9. The activate game use case 48 may utilize a keypad interface screen 540 such as that shown in FIG. 10 to obtain the number of players desired in a player formed game, player names, and loyalty card numbers, discussed in greater detail below.

Further, the select game type use case 50 includes a pay fee use case 52. Settings related to the pay fee use case are stored in a cost of pay class 174, shown in FIG. 4. The pay fee use case 52 collects money from players 40, 42, 44, 46 and the amusement gaming system 10 issues the players 40, 42, 44, 46 virtual chips (that have no cash value). Alternatively, if used for gambling, the amusement gaming system 10 issues virtual chips equal to the value of the money deposited into the amusement gaming system 10 or debited from the player's account (minus any possible fees). Games are preferably paid for using a recharge or debit card specific to the amusement gaming system 10. The amusement gaming system 10 allows players to recharge the card with cash and also contains the player loyalty number. Those skilled in the art will realize that other forms of currency may be used for payment, including but not limited to credit cards, cash, or other forms of payment.

Depending on the type of game the players 40, 42, 44, 46 have selected to play through the select game type use case 50, fees are collected in different ways. The pay fee use case 52 represents many alternative fee schemes. One fee scheme which the pay fee use case 52 utilizes is a buy-in fee. In either tournament, single establishment mode or tournament, multiple establishment mode, a buy-in is set to enter the tournament. For the buy-in, players receive a certain number of virtual chips. The amusement gaming system 10 automatically calculates the cost of the buy-in depending on the minimum rate of play and the number of players in the tournament so that the establishment owner may take the desired profit margin from the play of the game. Alternatively, other factors in addition to the minimum rate of play and the number of players is used to determine the buy-in, including but not limited to the value of prizes rewarded for winners, the tournament advancement scheme, the number of virtual chips given for a buy-in, and the experience level of the players involved (may be obtained from loyalty card information, discussed below). Depending on the business strategy of the establishment owner, the profit margin may be set to a negative value. This type of strategy focuses on attracting customers at a small loss by offering poker with a low “rake” (discussed in greater detail below) and compensating for that loss with a increase in the sale of beverages, food, items, or play at other games. The amusement gaming system 10 also allows the establishment owner to override the automatically calculated buy-in and set the buy-in at whatever level desired. The amusement gaming system 10 has data on preset average game lengths depending on the type of game played.

In single game, single table mode and single game, multiple table mode, games are similarly organized using a buy-in scheme. The buy-in is also set according to the desired profit margin or alternatively the establishment owner can set the buy-in. Alternatively, no set buy-in is established, and players are given virtual chips according to how much money they deposit. In this embodiment the number of virtual chips a player is given is determined according to the profit margin desired, based on the minimum rate of play, the number of players, and other factors as described above or alternatively the establishment owner can set the buy-in.

In order to increase the rate at which players lose their chips a “rake” scheme is employed by the pay fee use case 52. As it is generally understood in the art, a “rake” is when the house takes a percentage of any pot as a fee for hosting the game. Alternatively, a “time pot” fee scheme is used. As it is generally understood in the art, in a “time pot” fee scheme, a player must pay a certain amount of money after a set or variable interval in order to continue playing. This fee scheme may be used in games played for amusement (for example, it could cost fifty cents for 5 minutes of play) or in the case of actual gambling (for example, $50 for a half an hour of play). Alternatively, in the amusement style game play, players are given a bonus amount of time if they are more successful in their play. Alternatively, in a “time pot” scheme, the pay fee use case 52 takes a percentage of a player's stack (the amount of virtual chips a player has) on a set interval.

A debit rewards points use case 100 is used with the pay fee use case 52. The debit rewards points use case 100 debits reward points from a player's loyalty card account in lieu of money. Rewards points are issued to a player based on their loyalty (how often, for how long, and for how much a player plays in terms of wager, time period, and number of hands or rounds). The rewards points are related to the player's loyalty number. Preferably, this number is stored on a loyalty card.

FIG. 6 depicts an activity diagram for a debiting rewards points activity 300. In a receive loyalty number step 301, the loyalty number of the player is received. The loyalty number is read from a debit card designed to work with the amusement gaming system 10 or from a loyalty card. In another embodiment, the loyalty number is manually entered by the player (e.g., keypad). In yet another embodiment, the player enters his phone number or other identifying information and a database looks up his loyalty number based on the information entered. In an access loyalty card database step 302, a database storing the number of points accumulated for players is accessed and the number of points a player has accumulated is retrieved. In a present game redemption menu step 304 the amusement gaming system 10 asks the player whether they want to redeem loyalty/rewards points. The selection is received by a receive redemption selection step 306, and then the points are redeemed in a redeem points step 308. Additional features of loyalty card numbers are discussed below.

The amusement gaming system 10 includes a rebuy use case 98 through which establishment owners 56, 58, 60 may allow players to buy back into a game after they have run out of chips, whether they are chips with monetary value or chips without monetary value. The rebuy use case 98 is applicable to games where there is an initial buy-in pay scheme. The rebuy use case 98 allows the establishment owners 56, 58, 60 to enable rebuy depending on what type of game or tournament is being held. In tournament mode games it is advantageous for the establishment owners 56, 58, 60 to limit rebuy, because the point of a tournament is to eliminate players until only the best player remains (and is declared the winner). In contrast, in non-tournament mode, it is desirable for establishment owners 56, 58, 60 to allow players to rebuy into the game with no restrictions, because a single best player is not being determined. Additionally, the pay fee use case 52 may extend the rebuy use case 98 and allow players 40, 42, 44, 46 to buy back into a game if they have been eliminated. Further, debit rewards points use case 100 may extend the rebuy use case 98 by allowing reward points to be used in place of money to rebuy a place in a game.

The speed of play of the amusement gaming system 10 is determined at least in part through a set rate use case 54. The set rate use case 54 automatically sets the rate of play depending on the settings of the amusement gaming system 10. The set rate use case 54 also allows establishment owners to override automatic settings and to set the rate of play. The set rate use case 54 also controls the amount of time players 40, 42, 44, 46 have to complete various actions, such as betting, folding, calling, and checking. The set rate use case 54 also controls the amount of time between hands. In one embodiment the rate of play is not controlled. Situations where rate of play may not be controlled include at the end of a high stakes tournament or a tournament where a large field has been narrowed down significantly. If a table implementing the amusement gaming system 10 is used in an individual's home, the rate control feature may not be included. Aspects concerning the rate of play in reference to the set rate use case 54 are stored in a game rate class 172 (see FIG. 4).

The pay fee use case 52 is related to the set rate use case 54 in that the set rate use case 54 allows establishment owners 56, 58, 60 to set the rate at which players 40, 42, 44, 46 play, either in terms of time or money. Therefore, the pay fee use case 52 may extend to the set rate use case 54, in that, depending on the parameters of the game, players have to pay a higher rate to play.

The amusement gaming system 10 establishes games with different rates of play so that players that desire to play quickly can find a game that fits their need, while there are slower paced games for other players. Preferably, this preference may be indicated upon selecting a game. Alternatively, the information concerning the desired speed of play is stored in relation to a player's loyalty card number, and may be used to match a player with a game that functions at the desired rate. In one embodiment, players waiting to play are organized into a queue and the matching up of player is carried out while the players wait for an open position. The queue is an organized list of players, identified by their loyalty number, name, or any other identifying information.

Referring to FIG. 4, the game rate class 172 contains the attributes: time to bet, time between games, round of betting, round of tournament, and modify in respect to round. By controlling the maximum time players have to make a decision, the maximum length of time for a game is controlled. It is noted that the actual rate of the game may differ from the maximum rate of the game because players may take action in a shorter time period than they are allowed.

The time to bet attribute contains the maximum length of time that players have to take action when it is their turn to raise, fold, call, or check. The round of betting attribute holds the round of betting a particular hand is in. The round of tournament attribute holds the round of the tournament the players are playing in. The modify in respect to round attribute holds information concerning whether the tournament manager (establishment owner) desires the amount of time players have to bet to change in respect to the round. For instance, in the early rounds of a particular game, it is desirable to set the time to bet attribute to 15 seconds. Once the pot is larger and a number of players have folded, it is desirable to increase the amount of time players have to bet, perhaps to a minute. Similarly, in the early rounds of a tournament it is desirable to have the games move faster so that the weaker players are quickly eliminated. The set rate use case 54 allows a tournament manager to set the modify in respect to round attribute, such that the attribute indicates the time to bet attribute is to be at its initial setting early in a tournament and also indicates that in later rounds the time to bet attribute should be set to double its initial setting. The time between games attribute may be similarly (and automatically) modified in respect to the round of betting and the round of the tournament.

As previously mentioned, the time to bet attribute of the game rate class 172 sets an amount of time for a player 40, 42, 44, 46 to bet, check, call, or fold. After the time to bet is up, the amusement gaming system 10 automatically causes players to fold. A bet use case 72 causes this fold in response to input from a time actor 70 that provides the time elapsed. In another embodiment, after the time period for decision expires, the amusement gaming system 10 will automatically cause players to call or check. Players have the option to override defaults and configure the amusement gaming system 10 to automatically fold, check, call, or bet for them if time expires. This option is available to players in a player option menu 650, shown in FIG. 14. The player's preference in relation to automatically folding, checking, calling, or betting is stored in relation to his loyalty card number. Alternatively, player's preference in relation to automatically folding, checking, calling, or betting is stored in relation to any other unique identifier.

In another embodiment of the present invention, each player is individually given an amount of time to complete all bets, checks, calls, or folds for a particular hand. Preferably, if the betting continues for many rounds, players are granted additional time. In another embodiment, if players are close to running out of time and they continue to take action quickly, after a number of quick actions they are granted an additional period of time to play.

Further, the set rate use case 54 allows the establishment owner to set the rate of play to slow down when individuals order food or drinks. This allows players to enjoy their food and drinks and order additional food and/or drinks without feeling time pressure. In one embodiment, an additional attribute (e.g., slow for drinks) is added to game rate class 172. This attribute stores the indication that the establishment owner desires the time players have to bet to increase if food or drinks are served. This procedure is accomplished by associating each player's loyalty card number with the seat that player is sitting in and the order associated with it. Since the player option menu 650 allows players to select an order food button 670, the amusement gaming system 10 associates a particular order with a particular loyalty card number at a particular game. The amusement gaming system 10 allows additional time to every player at the table when food or drink is being consumed.

Further, a number of subclasses relate to the game rate class 172. As previously noted, the set rate use case 54 allows the game manager to modify the attributes of the game rate class 172. Additionally, the values stored in the attributes of the subclasses 174, 176, 177, 178, automatically change the attributes of the game rate class 172 depending on a preset relationship programmed into the amusement gaming system 10. For example, the time to bet attribute of the game rate class 172 may be directly related to the rake percentage attribute of the cost of play subclass 174, in that when the time to bet attribute decreases, the rake percentage attribute decreases by a proportional amount. One example of a proportion for the relationship between the rake percentage attribute and the time to bet attribute is one half of a percentage point for every minute of time to bet. Another example is, as the time to bet attribute increases, the blind amount attribute of the blind/ante subclass 176 increases a proportional amount. Yet another example is, as the time to bet attribute increases, the minimum raise attribute of the bet structure subclass 177 increases a proportional amount. Those skilled in the art will realize that the amusement gaming system 10 is not limited to the relationships described and encompasses many possible relationships between the classes and subclasses and proportions for those relationships.

The set rate use case 54 not only allows establishment owners to directly change the rate of play, but also to change the relationship between the subclasses and the game rate class 172. Preferably, the preset relationships of the classes and subclasses include a tournament setting, a high volume time setting, a low volume time setting, and many other possible presets. Alternatively, there are additional presets covering other scenarios of play known to those skilled in the art.

The amusement gaming system 10 allows the establishment owner to preset the minimum amount of money collected per hour. For example, the amusement gaming system 10 calculates the settings of various attributes of the classes and subclasses to attain that minimum. The amusement gaming system 10 periodically recalculates the attributes needed in order to stay on track. This system is advantageous to establishments because establishment owners only need to bring in the proper number of people to play and do not need to be concerned with whether the fee structure is being properly managed. The amusement gaming system 10 automatically calculates the correct charge per virtual chip. Further, the amusement gaming system rounds costs to the nearest reasonable unit of money in the case of a game played for amusement. This unit is preferably either a quarter dollar or a dollar, in the case of amusement play.

The cost of play subclass 174, stores the cost of play. This subclass is related to the pay fee use case 52 and stores values that determine the amount that the use case debits for. In a game played for amusement, the cost of play is the amount of money it takes to buy a number of virtual chips. For a game played for real money (gambling), an amount of money buys the corresponding number of chips. The rake percentage attribute stores the rake percentage. The entrance fee attribute stores the buy-in fee for a particular tournament or game. If the cost of play is low, then the attributes of the game rate class 172 are set so that players have a shorter period of time to make decisions. The amusement gaming system 10 is preset with a relationship between the cost of play subclass and the game rate class 172. The amusement gaming system 10, through the set rate use case 54 allows establishment owners to modify this relationship. If a “rake” payment system is used, having a faster rate of play compensates for the low “rake” because more hands may be played in a shorter period of time.

A blind/ante subclass 176 relates to the game rate class 172 in a similar manner to the cost of play subclass 174; the higher the blind amount attribute, the slower the required rate of play. An establish blind use case 64 allows establishment owners to set the attributes of the blind/ante subclass 176. The blind amount attribute stores the amount of the first blind. The blind for new players attribute stores whether a blind must be paid by new entrants.

A bet structure subclass 177 contains the attributes: minimum raise, maximum raise, and all in. The minimum raise stores the minimum raise bet a player may make, just as the maximum raise stores the maximum amount a player may raise. The “all in” attribute stores whether players may go all in or not. Again, these attributes are related to the game rate and preferably controlling these attributes modifies the game rate class 172 by a set ratio or relationship. In alternative embodiments, the bet structure subclass may have additional attributes, know to those skilled in the art, that store values to control betting operations. The amusement gaming system 10 allows the establishment owner to override defaults and change the attributes of the bet structure subclass 177.

A wait list subclass 178 stores the queue of individuals waiting. The attributes player loyalty number and name store the player loyalty number and the name of the player waiting. The wait list subclass 178 is related to the game rate class 172 attributes, such that, when the waiting list is long, the game will be set to move faster. Further, although not included in the embodiment depicted in FIG. 4, the waiting list subclass 178 is interrelated to the cost of play subclass 174, the blind/ante subclass 176 and the bet structure subclass 177. In one embodiment, when the waiting list is long, the cost of play, the blinds, and the bet structure all increase, so that it is more expensive to play.

The cost of play subclass 174, the blind/ante subclass 176, and bet structure subclass 177 independently affect the actual rate of play. Players tend to play slowly if there is a large amount of money at stake, and when they are betting smaller amounts they tend to play more quickly. Also, high blinds and betting rules that require players to bet large amounts tend to increase the speed at which players run out of chips and are thus eliminated. Therefore, the overall length of time a player plays is shortened if blinds and minimum bets are set at a high level.

The amusement gaming system 10 allows the game rate of play class 172 and the subclasses 174, 176, 177, 178 to relate to a number of additional factors including, but not limited to, the game selected for play and the number of players playing in that game. For instance, in respect to the game selected for play, there are differences in the typical length of a game of Texas Hold'em as compared to Seven Card Stud. Since these differences in the length of game exist, the amusement gaming system 10 adjusts the cost of play subclass 174 in relation to the game selected. In other embodiments the amusement gaming system 10 adjusts the game rate class 172, the blind/ante subclass 176, and/or the bet structure subclass 177, in relation to the game selected. If Seven Card Stud typically takes longer to play than Texas Hold'em, then the amusement gaming system 10 increases the cost of play for Seven Card Stud. This increase in cost is realized through a variety of different methods, including but not limited to, issuing less virtual chips for money deposited, increasing the rate that players use their stack by modifying the betting structure and/or antes and blinds, and limiting time for betting, and changing the “rake” percentage. In one embodiment, for amusement gaming, the increase in cost is realized by requiring more money to be entered for the same amount of virtual chips. In an alternative embodiment, for gambling, the increase in cost is realized through an increase in the “rake” percentage.

The amusement gaming system 10 reduces the cost of play if more individuals participate in a game. Alternatively, other attributes of the rate of play class 172 and the subclasses 174, 176, 177, 178 are modified individually or in combination to reduce the cost of play (or allow for more time) if more individuals participate in a game. For instance, if the amusement gaming system 10 starts a game for amusement between 2-5 players, the cost will be $1.00 per player, whereas, if the game is for 6-10 players, the cost will be $0.75 per player. The amusement gaming system 10 reduces the cost as an incentive for having a game with more players. Adding players to a game generally only marginally increases the time of play, therefore, the cost of play for the players is decreased. The above illustration is not intended to limit reductions in the cost of play to any particular method or to games played for amusement. The number of players at a table and the type of game played may be a factor in calculating the cost of play and/or the rate of play as it applies to all aspects of the amusement gaming system 10, including, but not limited to, the game rate of play class 172 and the subclasses 174, 176, 177, 178.

The bet use case 72 allows players 40, 42,44, 46 to complete a bet, check, call, or fold. The bet use case 72 interfaces with the keypad interface screen 580 (see FIG. 12) and the user interface screen 550 (see FIG. 11). The keypad interface screen 580, allows players 40, 42, 44, 46 to enter a bet amount with the keypad 582 or touch one of the common bet buttons 584, which has commonly bet amounts set as defaults in order to place a bet. In one embodiment of the present invention the common bet buttons 584 change to reflect the common bets of individual users. If a user commonly bets a certain amount not shown, after a number of occurrences of betting that amount, the bet will be substituted as one of the common bet buttons 584.

An ante/blinds use case 62 is included in the amusement gaming system 10. The ante/blinds use case allows players 40, 42, 44, 46 to place a blind or ante. When the ante/blinds use case 62 requires a player to offer a blind or ante, the player must do so or he or she will be required to leave the game. In order to improve the speed of the game, the ante/blind use case 62 allows the time actor 70 to automatically cause the placement of a blind or the player to leave the game if a player 40, 42, 44, 46 does not respond within some period of time. The game of poker is structured such that forced bets are imposed on players at certain times in the game. Traditionally, the small blind is paid by the person immediately to the left of the dealer and the big blind is paid by the person two seats to the left of the dealer. Preferably, the ante/blinds use case 62 automatically deducts the blind from a player's stack. Alternatively, the ante/blind use case 62 requires the player to indicate that the blind should be deducted. The amusement gaming system 10 requires a blind to be paid when a person enters any game. Alternatively, the amusement gaming system 10 does not require a blind to be paid.

The ante/blinds use case 62 may be extended by the establish blind use case 64 by establishing different amounts for the blinds depending on many different factors, including but not limited to the time and day that the game is being played, the number of players, the stage of the game, a special event status, etc., as discussed previously in relation to the set rate use case 54. Preferably, the establish blind use case 64 allows the establishment owners 56, 58, 60 interact to establish different blind levels for different play situations. For instance, during a very popular time at the amusement gaming system 10 (e.g., Friday night), the blind levels are set much higher than a much less popular time (Tuesday at 3:00 pm). The blind level may affect the length of time it takes players to use up their chips; the higher the blind level, generally the faster players burn through chips. Preferably, during levels of high demand the costs of continuing to play are set higher. The settings related to the ante/blinds use case 62 are stored in the blinds/ante sub class 176.

FIG. 5 depicts an activity diagram for the set rate activity 200. The set rate activity 200 monitors the rate of play in a monitor rate of play step 201. The decision to change the rate of play is made according to presets. The amusement gaming system 10 enables the establishment owner to control these presets through the set rate use case 54, which utilizes the GUI operator's option menu 700, depicted in FIG. 15. For instance, a preset could state that if the actual rate of play drops below a certain rate then certain parameters should be changed by a corresponding amount to increase the rate of play. As previously stated, changeable parameters include, but are not limited to: changing the time allowed to check, call, fold, or bet; changing the time between hands; changing the blind amount; changing the bet structure; and changing the cost of play.

The amusement gaming system 10 through the set rate use case 54 allows the establishment owner to set a minimum rate of play and modifies parameters in response to the rate of play dropping below that minimum. In one embodiment, the amusement gaming system 10 has limits establishing how much any parameter may be changed to ensure that the parameters controlling play are not unreasonable. For example, an establishment owner might think that it is unreasonable to set the amount of time to bet to less than 30 seconds and therefore the amusement gaming system 10 would be prevented from setting it below this level. Preferably, this process is realized according to the previously discussed FIG. 4. The rate of play is output to the establishment owner, including the average rate of play and the median. If during the monitoring of the rate of play the establishment owner decides the rate of play is too low, the set rate use case 54 allows the establishment owner to increase the minimum rate of play at a rate change request step 202. In one embodiment, the decision of the establishment owner to change the rate is based on actual observation of the change in rate. The effect of changing any parameter upon the speed of game play is predicted according to a cumulative probability distribution or a Poisson's distribution. The predicted change in rate of play is displayed to the establishment owner so that he may evaluate whether changing an attribute to increase the rate of play is worthwhile, considering the effect on player enjoyment. In one embodiment, the prediction is further based on the recorded history of the betting speeds of the players participating in a game and therefore may combine Poisson's analysis with historical analysis of betting times.

In response to a rate change request step 202 the amusement gaming system 10 receives new parameters at a receive new parameters step 204, either as defined through the set rate use case 54 in an automated fashion or alternatively as input by the establishment owner. The adjust rates step 206 adjusts the parameters in response to the rate change request. Parameters include, but are not limited to, the attributes of the game rate class 172, the cost of play class 174, the blind/ante class 176, and the bet class 177.

The amusement gaming system 10 includes a deal down cards use case 80, a deal flop use case 82, a deal turn use case 84, and a deal river use case 86. These use cases perform the functions of dealing virtual cards to players. The deal down cards use case 80 deals cards to each player. The deal flop use case 82 deals the three cards that compose the flop into the community. The deal turn use case 84 causes the turn card to be dealt into the community. The deal river use case 86 causes the river card to be dealt into the community.

Further, the amusement gaming system 10 includes an establish intra-establishment tournament use case 90 and an establish inter-establishment tournament use case 92 that allows establishment owners 56, 58, 60 to create multi-table tournaments. Preferably, these features maintain lists of the players waiting to participate, notify players when a seat has become available, keep track of winners and losers, advance table winners to play other table winners, and perform other actions related to organizing a tournament. When amusement gaming system 10 combines players to form new games, the amusement gaming system 10 automatically notifies the players as to which table they should move to. An operator options menu 700, shown in FIG. 15, depicts an example of a GUI that either or both the establish intra-establishment tournament use case 90 and the establish inter-establishment tournament use case 92 may utilize to allow the establishment owners 56, 58, 60 to decide what type of tournament they want to have by setting advance rules and other features of the tournament. The establish intra-establishment tournament use case 90 and the establish inter-establishment tournament use case 92 may be extended by check rules database use case 94 which provides jurisdictional rules that may limit what type of rewards are given for the winners of a tournament, including, but not limited to, whether money may be wagered (i.e. gambling).

FIG. 8 is an activity diagram for the establish inter-establishment activity 450. In one embodiment, the first establishment 14 establishes a tournament at an establish tournament step 451. The first establishment 14 decides on what type of tournament it is going to be, the rate the game should be played at, and/or any other important defining features of the tournament. The amusement gaming system 10 allows for the first establishment 14 to seek or set a sponsor for the tournament. Invitations are extended to other establishments in an extend invitations step 452. A second establishment 16 and any number of additional establishments 18 receive the invitation at a receive invitation step 454. At a decision step 456 the establishment either accepts or rejects the invitation. In one embodiment, this decision is automatically made by the amusement gaming system 10, according to preferences entered by the establishment. In a propose acceptance step 458 the establishment proposes that it be accepted into the tournament. A decision step 460 decides whether there is room for the establishment to join the tournament. If there is room to join the tournament then the establishment is allowed to enter. An enroll establishment step 464 enrolls a particular establishment in the tournament. Alternatively, if there is not enough room, an acceptance declined step 462 does not allow entrance into the tournament.

The establish intra-establishment tournament use case 90 and the establish inter-establishment tournament use case 92 may create many different types of tournament structures. One such tournament is characterized as a traditional Texas Hold'em tournament. The amusement gaming system 10 implements this type of gaming structure in relation to tournaments run under the tournament single establishment mode and the tournament multiple establishment mode. In this type of tournament, players start with a fixed number of chips and play until one player has all the chips. Blinds and antes increase as the tournament progresses, and as players are eliminated, tables are consolidated together. The number of tables is eventually reduced to one final table which is composed of the top table winners of the field. The total sum of all the entry fees is divided up and awarded to the top players in accordance to the total amount of entries for the tournament. This type of tournament utilizes tables that seat either ten players or six players. If a ten person table is utilized, tables are combined when there are either five, two, or one players left at table. If a six person table is utilized, tables are combined when there are either three, two, or one players left at a table. Alternative embodiments in respect to the number of players that should remain at a table before consolidation include all possible numbers of players known to those skilled in the art. A tournament where tables are not combined until there is one player remaining at a table is often referred to as a “shootout.”

Other possible tournaments include, but are not limited to, “Freeroll” tournaments or “Satellite” tournaments. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the amusement gaming system 10 is capable of organizing many different types of tournaments.

The amusement gaming system 10 determines ranks for players according to their performance in tournaments. The ranking a player receives depends, for example, on the number of points collected. Points are awarded based on the number of people in a tournament and the place a player finished. In one embodiment, only players who finish in the top ten percent of a tournament receive points towards their ranking. Alternatively, the amusement gaming system 10 can be designed to award points to a percentage of players. Points (P) are awarded based on the square root of the number of players in a tournament (n) divided by the place of the player (p), i.e. (P=[√n/p]). Alternatively, in a game where money is gambled, the number of points awarded, may depend on the stakes of the game (the previous points method is multiplied by the logarithm of the buy-in plus 1, i.e., (P=[√n/p]*[1+log(b+0.25)]), where n is the number of people, p is the place, and b is the buy in). The amusement gaming system 10 automatically records the number of points a player has received in association with the player loyalty card number. The amusement gaming system 10 orders players by the number of points earned in respect to other players in a tournament, an establishment, players in multiple establishments, or all players who have played in the system. Other methods of rewarding points are generally known to those skilled in the art. For example, points may be awarded based on the size of the pot won or for beating out other players when the odds are against a player.

An alternative scheme for determining ranks is based on the average of player finishes in a tournament, after it has been normalized. This method employs the standard statistical normalization equation z=(x−u)/s where z is the normalized vector, x is the original vector, u is the mean of vector x, and s is the standard deviation. The vector x may be determined by taking the number of players in the tournament plus one minus every player's finish and dividing it by the number of players in a tournament. The standard statistical normalization vector is applied to the vector x. Over many tournaments a player's normalized rank value are averaged. Based on these values players are rank ordered from lowest value to highest value for normalized and averaged rank with the lowest values being given the rankings closest to number one. Other methods of ranking players will be known to those skilled in the art, including but not limited to ranking players based on the ranking of players they defeat in a particular tournament.

The amusement gaming system 10 allows tournaments and games to be organized according to player ranking. The amusement gaming system 10 through the establish intra-establishment tournament use case 90 allows an establishment owner to organize a tournament comprising the establishment's best regular players. Further, the amusement gaming system 10 through the establish intra-establishment tournament use case 90 allows an establishment owner to organize a tournament with his establishment's best players against another establishment's best players.

In order to create additional revenue, the amusement gaming system 10 includes a manage ads use case 96, which enables establishment owners 56, 58, 60 to control the type of and the manner in which ads are displayed. The manage ads use case 96 moderates what ads are displayed on various screen displays during the play of the game. In one embodiment, these ads are related to the type of tournament which is taking place. The ads advertise the sponsor of the tournament or the refreshments available at the tournament. In another embodiment the ads are targeted to a particular user, related to the information gathered or provided by a player concerning his or her profile related to a loyalty card number. Since establishments which are not permitted to have gambling do not have that additional revenue source, they must seek revenue elsewhere in the form of ad sales, product sales, and food and beverage sales. In one embodiment, the ads shown are related to the success of a player. If a player is very successful, then ads relate to luxury items or items that a player might splurge on, including but not limited to, jewelry, watches, cars, vacations, clothing, and art work. If a player is about to lose, ads might relate to comfort items, for example various alcoholic beverages, spa treatments, massages, or any other type of product or service known to be relaxing or comforting. There are many possible ways of targeting advertising known to those skilled in the art. These methods of targeting ads may be used individually or in combination.

FIG. 3 depicts a class diagram for objects related to the amusement gaming system 10. A player class 150 contains the attributes: name and loyalty card number. In one embodiment, additional attributes not shown, include but are not limited to, profile information about a particular player related to the display of advertisements; favorite drink or food, consumption history (e.g., how often a player tends to need a new drink), and playing history, including but not limited to, whether a player tends to play with the same players all of the time. Preferably, the establishment utilizes this information to deliver selective marketing in the form of targeted ads and the suggestion of services by wait staff or the amusement gaming system 10 during the play of the game. The amusement gaming system 10 keeps track of the players playing at any one time, based on tracking their loyalty card number attribute. If a player tends to play with the same individuals repeatedly, the amusement gaming system 10 offers to organize a game, upon reading a loyalty card number, with the player's typical opponents if the players are currently in the system. Alternatively the amusement gaming system 10 offers to set up special monthly tournaments for players that frequently play together.

The amusement gaming system 10 keeps a database of when particular players play, for how long they play, what type of stakes they play for, their skill level, and their winning percentage. In the amusement gaming system 10, this information is tracked according to the player's loyalty card number, although in alternative embodiments it may be tracked according to other identifying information, such as social security number, telephone number, name, or any other sufficiently unique identifier. The amusement gaming system 10 links together profile information stored in relation to loyalty card number to other available profiles that will occur to one skilled in the art. In one embodiment the profile a player uses for online play is linked with the profile a player uses for electronic table play. Utilizing this linked information, the amusement gaming system 10 makes suggestions as to how players may improve their play. For instance if a player performs much better online than at an electronic table, the player is likely revealing his chances for winning by his facial expressions or other actions. The amusement gaming system 10 also analyzes this linked information to better target advertisements to players.

Further, the amusement gaming system 10 analyzes player attributes stored related to loyalty number or any other identifying information to match up players that previously have no relation to each other. The amusement gaming system 10 offers to players whose attributes match up the chance to play with each other. The amusement gaming system 10 compares when the players typically play. A player that plays at approximately the same time and same day as another player is offered the chance to play at a table or in a game with that other player. By matching up players that keep similar playing schedules they are able to play with each other repeatedly. This increases the chance that a personal relationship will develop between the parties. This personal relationship related to playing the amusement gaming system 10 makes it likely that players will build friendships and enjoy playing more.

If the time a player typically plays matches up with many possible players, the amusement gaming system 10 looks to other attributes such as skill level, stakes typically played for, typical time of play, or any other player attribute. The amusement gaming system 10 also matches players based on their recorded likes, dislikes, and other preferences. By matching players that share interests, there is a greater likelihood that friendships will form. Further, the amusement gaming system 10 matches players based on their actual physical location, either inputted by the user or determined according to their IP address. This method of matching players offers the opportunity for individuals who typically play remotely to meet face to face and play at a single location. Players who typically play remotely include, but are not limited to, those who play on the internet and those who play at different establishments. Further, the amusement gaming system 10 extends invitations (in one embodiment via email) to players that typically play together to compete in an electronic card table tournament. In one embodiment, players are targeted based on demographic similarities or features.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the amusement gaming system 10 does not inform players that they are being matched up with player with similar profiles. The amusement gaming system 10, matches up players who are queued (waiting for an open slot to play), based on available preference information, without informing the players of this matching. This is preferable to both the players because they want to have a good time and to the host because if players have a good time they are likely play for longer and spend more money. In the case of games played at establishments that serve food and beverages, longer and repeated play is likely to lead to higher sales of food and beverages.

The above described procedure of matching players based on profile information is not intended to be limited to electronic table gaming and may be extended to online games in general, where players connect to games remotely, via a personal computer or other individual electronic device (e.g., cell phone, PDA, etc.). The amusement gaming system 10 matches players playing online based on actual physical location derived from a player's profile or IP address. This is advantageous for online gaming because players may form connections (friendships) online and meet those individuals who they have met online face to face. Alternatively, the amusement gaming system 10 matches players according to other profile information as discussed previously. It is more likely that an individual is able to meet another individual if they reside in the same geographical vicinity. For example, the above described principle of matching players without their knowledge is applicable to online gaming: when a player enters a command to be placed at a table, the amusement gaming system 10 automatically places them at a table based on the player's profile and profiles of individuals at various tables. The amusement gaming system 10 extends invitations to players who typically meet and play in an online environment to play in a face to face game at an electronic gaming table. This offers cross-promotional opportunities between online gaming and gaming in establishments with electronic gaming tables.

During the loyalty card signup process, players are asked about likes, dislikes, and other preferences so that demographic data concerning players may be obtained. Alternatively, a loyalty point bonus is awarded for filling out a survey either online or on paper. If the player approves profile linking, the amusement gaming system 10 obtains additional profile information by linking any online player profile information available.

In addition to attributes, the player class 150 has various operations associated therewith. The register operation registers the information of a new player. Alternatively, register operation registers a player to play in a particular game or tournament. A pay operation, utilized by the pay fee use case 48, instructs the user to pay an amount to participate in a game. As previously discussed, depending on what sort of fee scheme the system is running on, the pay operation requests that the user pay a certain amount of money every set time period to continue playing (“time pot”). In one embodiment, the pay operation does not request that the user pay particular fees associated with the cost of playing, but instead automatically deducts costs from the player's stake.

A bet operation functions in conjunction with the bet use case 72, and requests that the player either check, call, raise, or fold. A quit operation, may allow for a player to leave a game. Each player has the opportunity to be involved in one or many games depending on the set up of the amusement gaming system 10. Many players desire to be involved in more than one game at once and in one embodiment the amusement gaming system 10 allows for these side games. Preferably side games include, but are not limited to, blackjack, poker, other card games, arcade games, logic games, etc. In one embodiment, side games are on a split screen with the poker game. In another embodiment, side games automatically pause when it is a player's turn to bet. In another embodiment, the amusement gaming system 10 automatically switches to the poker game when it is a player's turn to bid. In another embodiment, multiplayer games are available as side games. In one embodiment a multiplayer side game is poker.

A game class 170 has attributes of location, table, game type, and game rate, and many other possible attributes. The location attribute contains the location of the table. Preferably, the location attribute includes where in the establishment the table is located as well as the geographical location of players. In one embodiment, the location attribute includes information concerning the location of all players in a particular game. The players may be located all at the same table, at different tables in the same establishment, or in different establishments. The geographical location is an important sub-category within the location attribute, because of jurisdictional laws. Preferably, the amusement gaming system 10 receives the location of a game and decides which rules are applied to the game based on the information in a rules class 180. Games may be located in different territories, which have different rules concerning gambling. The amusement gaming system 10 moderates the interaction between the players, the games, and the entire tournament, so that they all comply with the gambling laws of every jurisdiction depending on the information contained in the rules class 180.

For instance, if the tournament occurs within the state of Illinois, then the rules contained in rules class 180 carry instructions that the amusement gaming system 10 gives out rewards in the form of the right to replay the device for free, in this case the amusement gaming system. In application, the amusement gaming system 10 may give players a loyalty point bonus for winning a tournament that may be redeemed for a replay. In New York however, this type of reward may not be legal, so no reward will be allowed. The rules database allows for interactions between establishments in these two states and regulates that in New York no reward may be given.

In some jurisdictions, prizes of certain levels may be available for winning a tournament. For example in Colorado, if there is no cost to play, then prizes may be given to winners. Using information stored in the rules database, the amusement gaming system 10 suggests to establishment owners to establish tournaments with other establishments in jurisdictions with similar rules. If in hypothetical jurisdiction X, noncash prizes of up to $500 may be awarded and if similarly in hypothetical jurisdiction Y, the same rule concerning awarding of prizes is true, then the amusement gaming system 10 suggests to an establishment owner in jurisdiction X to form a tournament with potential establishments in jurisdiction Y. This preceding is not intended to be construed as a legal opinion of the gambling laws of any jurisdiction, state, or country and is only any example of how the amusement gaming system 10 moderates interactions between jurisdictions.

In one embodiment, the amusement gaming system allows for incremental rewards for players. Games played at an establishment level have certain levels of prizes, while games played between multiple establishments have higher value prizes.

The game rate attribute of the game class 170 preferably contains information concerning the speed of play, the cost of play, the minimum bet, the blind amount, or other information which may control the rate of play. The game rate attribute is related to the game rate class 172, depicted in FIG. 4.

Referring again to FIG. 3, a tournament class 190 is composed of many games, and each game class 170 may be associated with one tournament. Preferably, the tournament class 190, has the attributes: namely, for storing the official name of a tournament, sponsor, for storing the sponsor of a tournament, ads, for storing what advertisements run during the tournament, and the tournament type, for storing the rules for elimination and progression in the tournament. As previously discussed, preferably, advertisements are targeted according to a number of factors. In one embodiment, advertisements are related to the sponsor of the tournament or are related to the type of player who is playing in the tournament.

The tournament class 190 has operations: add game, remove game, and change game rate. Games are added to the tournament according to the established rules for the tournament and the game class 170 and the rules class 180. The change game rate operation changes the rate of the game according to the methodology previously discussed, in relation to FIG. 4. In one embodiment, games are sped up or slowed down based on minimum game rates so that they all preferably finish at similar times.

FIG. 7 is an activity diagram for a select sponsor procedure 400 for a tournament. In a transmit tournament notification step 410, the amusement gaming system 10 sends out notifications to potential sponsors. The sponsors automatically receive these notifications and automatically respond. The sponsors bid for spots (multiple sponsors bid to sponsor the Friday night tournament) and the highest bid for a tournament spot is automatically granted sponsorship. In one embodiment sponsorship is determined based on a previous contractual arrangement with the establishment (e.g. one sponsor for all Friday night tournaments). Alternatively, sponsors are selected based on the players' demographics as determined by use of their loyalty cards or by obtaining demographic or behavioral data through other means including online profile information associated with loyalty card numbers. The sponsors may be given access to the demographic data and/or other information collected in relation to loyalty cards. This helps sponsors determine whether their ads will reach likely consumers of their product.

The amusement gaming system 10 enables establishment owners to form tournaments based on demographic data; players are invited to participate from hard to reach market segments. By analyzing information collected in relation to player loyalty card numbers, the amusement gaming system 10 can predict the demographics of participants who will compete in an up coming tournament and can forward that information to tournament sponsors to use in their bidding process. In another embodiment, demographics of potential participants are based on the average or cumulative distribution of players at an establishment.

In reference again to FIG. 7, a receive sponsorship offers step 412 automatically receives offers. A remove unauthorized sponsors step 414 removes offers that are not appropriate. Reasons a particular sponsor is not appropriate include, but are not limited to: the sponsor may conflict with products currently carried by the establishment (Coors® as a sponsor for a bar that only carries Budweiser® products). A determine optimal offer step 416 determines the best offer. In one embodiment the amusement gaming system automatically determines the optimal offer. In another embodiment, it is determined by establishment owner review. Preferably, the offer that is best depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to: the monetary sponsorship provided, the advertising opportunity, collateral benefits, etc. After the best offer is determined, the sponsorship is accepted in an accept sponsorship step 418. In one embodiment this acceptance is automatic. At least one benefit of tournament sponsorship is that the amusement gaming system 10 allows tournament sponsors to display ads between hands or games.

FIG. 9 depicts a start screen display 500 GUI that the user interacts with during the activate game use case 48, the select game type use case 50, and the pay fee use case 52. Preferably, a title 510 is located on the page. The title 510 states the title given to the amusement gaming system 10 so that players will remember it and seek it out again. In one embodiment the title 510 offers simple instructions to the user. Further, instructions 512 instruct the user how to begin a game. Game buttons 514, 516, 518, 520, allow players access to commonly played games. Game buttons 514, 516, 518, 520 are examples of games that the amusement gaming system 10 allows to be selected and those skilled in the art know that any applicable game may be substituted for the ones shown in FIG. 9. Other games buttons 522 allows the user to access other games. Game options button 524 allows the user to change the settings of the game. Changeable options include but are not limited to, automatically posting blinds, activating possible gaming hints, enabling the play of side games, or many other potential options.

FIG. 10 is an example of a keypad interface screen 540 that allows the player to perform a number of tasks including but not limited to, setting the number of players which may play in a game, adding a payment to acquire either chips that represent actual money or credit to play, and entering the names of a player. The instructions 512 prompt the user to enter the necessary information. The necessary information includes but is not limited to: the player's name, the payment the player desires to enter, and the number of players the user desires to play with. Preferably, the information may be entered on a virtual telephonic keypad 542. Alternatively, any other keypad known to those skilled in the art, including, but not limited to an alpha numeric keypad replaces the virtual telephonic keypad 542.

In FIG. 11, a user interface/game screen 550 is depicted. An options button 552, allows the user to change game options and perform actions like ordering food or drinks. Actuating the options button 552 causes a player option menu 650, depicted in FIG. 14, to display. The player option menu 650 contains a back button 612 that returns the user to the game user interface/game screen 550 when actuated. Preferably, the player option menu 650 has one or many ads 654 displayed. Preferably, these ads 654 will be targeted ads. In one embodiment, ads 654 are related to the tournament sponsor. Alternatively, ads are related to the establishment hosting the tournament. In yet another embodiment, ads are based on user profile information collected in a database organized by the user's loyalty number.

Referring to FIG. 14, preferably a number of game related options are available to the user, including but not limited to an auto post blinds button 656, an auto muck button 658, a sit out hand button 660, and a leave table button 662. The user controls the display in the user interface/game screen 550 using a deck style button 664 and a chip style button 666. All of these buttons 656, 658, 660, 662, 664, 666 cause other screens to display or are toggle type buttons.

The user can order services using buttons 668, 670, 672, 674. Actuating the service buttons 668, 670, 672, 674 causes a corresponding screen to be displayed. The screens offer details and additional buttons for the selection of particular menu items. Alternatively, these buttons alert a server that service is needed at a particular table to take an order. In one embodiment, the menus or lists of selections displayed on screens corresponding to each button 668, 670, 672, 674 are customized. The menus are customized according to player buying history (obtained from looking up information stored in relation to the loyalty number) frequently ordered items will appear at the top of the menu or in a place of prominence. The layout of the screens also positions items that the player has not ordered, but are similar to items that the player has historically ordered. Further, in one embodiment, the screen displayed by actuating the Food/Drink Specials button 668, is customized to offer specials on items that are similar to those items historically ordered by a particular user.

In one embodiment, information collected concerning player food, beverage, and other service habits that has been collected in the database related to the user's reward number is used to inform service staff of the player's preferences. The service staff is instructed by the amusement gaming system, through point of sale terminals, to offer items of preference to the player. Alternatively, service staff is notified over a headset or an electronic device that displays text. Alternatively, service staff offers items that the player has never ordered but that are similar to the items the player typically orders.

Player image button 676 and view player history button 678 allow the player to access and change profile information related to him or her. Alternatively, the player image button 676 and view player history button 678 allows the player to access information about other players. Preferably, the player image button 676 allows the player to change his or her listed name, nickname, virtual avatar, or other profile information. Alternatively, players are given access to recorded preferences, so that he or she may modify selected preferences. The view player history button 678 when actuated, displays to the player his history of wins and losses and the total amount of money won or lost. Alternatively, limited or more complicated statistical analysis of player history is available. Alternatively, access to win and loss records are available to players over the Internet, according to their loyalty number.

The events button 670, special offers button 672, and on screen promos button 674, allow the player to access special promotions. The promotions may include but are not limited to upcoming tournaments, less expensive times to play, events targeted to users of a particular profile (and the user fits this profile based on loyalty card information), suggestions of other players who typically play at the same time as the user, or other offers.

Referring again to FIG. 11, a fold button 554, a call/check button 556, and a bet button 558 allow the user to perform the appropriate game action. If the bet button 558 is actuated then a keypad interface screen 580 will be displayed (see FIG. 12). A last hand button 560 preferably allows the user to see a record of the last hand played. A next screen button 564 and the previous screen button 562 allow the player to switch between the screens of multiple games, or between the last hand review screen 600 depicted in FIG. 13. Preferably, a table display icon 566, FIG. 11, displays ten positions for players, although the numbers of positions may vary depending on the rules of the game or tournament. In each player position 567, a chip count (not shown) for each player is displayed. An individual player position 567 is highlighted when it is that player's turn to play. Further, names and nicknames of players are displayed. In one embodiment, avatars for each player may be displayed in each player position 567. In one embodiment these avatars are customizable. In one embodiment these avatars are animated. Card display positions 568 and 570, display the cards that a player has been dealt.

Referring to FIG. 12, the keypad interface screen 580 allows players to enter their bet amount using a keypad 582. Using the common bet buttons 584, the user can quickly place a typical bet by clicking on a button. The common bet buttons 584 are preset. In one embodiment, they are preset depending on the type of game being played. In another embodiment, the common bet buttons 584 are established based on player history, (which is recorded in a database associated with player loyalty number) to include the amounts most commonly bet by a particular player.

Referring now to FIG. 13, a last hand review screen 600 is preferably accessed from the player option menu 650, FIG. 14, but in one embodiment it is accessed from the user interface/game screen 550, FIG. 11, or other display screen. The last hand review screen 600 contains a back button 612, which returns the user to the last viewed screen. Displayed in the last hand community cards area 602 are the community cards from the previous hand that is being reviewed. Displayed in the player hand area 604 are the cards that the player held during the previous hand. Although the embodiment shown depicts review for a Texas hold'em game, in other embodiments, the 600 review screen is designed to display the proper cards and analysis for other game variations. A hand detail area 606 displays a review of the betting and other actions that took place in relation to the history of the hand that was played. A scroll bar 608 allows the player to selectively scroll up and down the list of events. The change hand area 610 allows the user to select the desired previous hand.

Referring to FIG. 15, an operator's option menu screen 700 gives the establishment owner or other amusement gaming system operator the ability to control the various features of the game. From this exemplary embodiment of an operator's option menu, the establishment owner controls many different table settings. A deck style button 701 and a chip style button 702, activate another display that contains options for changing the deck style and chip style. In one embodiment, sound effects are added to simulate the sounds of chips and dealing. In another embodiment the chips and deck are animated in a cartoon fashion, such that when bets are made, chips grow animated legs and walk themselves to the pot and the face cards contain animated characters. Any possible animation and sound effect schemes known to those skilled in the art are incorporated here. Preferably, a community screen logo/image button 704, when actuated, displays options for changing the title screen logo and image. The establishment owner may desire to change the title screen logo and image for particular tournaments with different sponsors. A user terminal logo/image button 706 and title screen logo/image button 708 change features of the terminal logo and image and the title screen logo and image. The advertising/promotions button 710 accesses advertising options. Preferably, the establishment owner is able to change various advertising options, as previously discussed. The allow user customization button 712, allows the establishment owner to set the amusement gaming system to allow players to customize their display. Various aspects of the rate of play are controlled from this screen by a cost of play button 714, a blind/ante button 716, a betting structure button 718, a tournament set up button 720, and a waiting list button 722. A table location button 724 and a networking button 726 control whether tables in an establishment can be linked to tables in other establishments. The table location includes information concerning the geographic location of a table. The buttons 701-726 each cause screens such as are shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, for example, to select the desired change.

The embodiments of the present invention may be implemented with any combination of hardware and software. If implemented as a computer-implemented apparatus, the present invention is implemented using means for performing all of the steps and functions described above.

The embodiments of the present invention can be included in an article of manufacture (e.g., one or more computer program products) having, for instance, computer useable media. The media has embodied therein, for instance, computer readable program code means for providing and facilitating the mechanisms of the present invention. The article of manufacture can be included as part of a computer system or sold separately.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes could be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad inventive concept thereof. It is understood, therefore, that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but it is intended to cover modifications within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/25
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 23, 2010ASAssignment
Owner name: THE CO-INVESTMENT FUND II, L.P.,PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:LIGHTNING POKER, INC.;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100223;REEL/FRAME:23973/76
Effective date: 20100222
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:LIGHTNING POKER, INC.;REEL/FRAME:023973/0076
Jul 3, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: THE CO-INVESTMENT FUND II, L.P., PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:LIGHTNING POKER, INC.;REEL/FRAME:021185/0738
Effective date: 20080630
Jul 30, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: THE CO-INVESTMENT FUND II, L.P., PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:LIGHTNING POKER, INC.;REEL/FRAME:019605/0340
Effective date: 20070627