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Publication numberUS20080093800 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/806,860
Publication dateApr 24, 2008
Filing dateJun 5, 2007
Priority dateOct 20, 2006
Also published asCA2565017A1, CA2666813A1, CN101553288A, EP2089124A1, EP2089124A4
Publication number11806860, 806860, US 2008/0093800 A1, US 2008/093800 A1, US 20080093800 A1, US 20080093800A1, US 2008093800 A1, US 2008093800A1, US-A1-20080093800, US-A1-2008093800, US2008/0093800A1, US2008/093800A1, US20080093800 A1, US20080093800A1, US2008093800 A1, US2008093800A1
InventorsPaul A. Mailing, Konstantinos Trichas, Jean Tsiambouris
Original AssigneeMatheos Corp.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Handheld card dealer
US 20080093800 A1
Abstract
A card dealing structure that is preferably handheld and allows a user to manually advance a top card from a supply of cards provided in a recess of the structure. The user advances the top card to a card dispensing slot. A rotatable drive member in the card dispensing slot is activated to eject the card through the dispensing slot. Preferably the rotatable drive member is a foam wheel that allows some slippage of a card if the user exerts a drag force. Preferably, the user, by exerting a drag force, can control the speed of the ejected card. In addition, by being handheld, the angle of ejection can be used to aim the ejected card and indirectly control speed, as well as the orientation of the ejected card when it comes to rest.
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Claims(20)
1. A card dealing structure comprising a card supply recess sized to receive a deck of cards therein, card guide surface for guiding an advanced card of the deck of cards to a card dispensing slot when the advanced card is manually advanced by a user, a rotatable drive member located in said card dispensing slot for engaging said advanced card and ejecting the advanced card out of said card slot; said card dispensing slot cooperating with said card guide surface to separate only the advanced card from the deck of cards as the advanced card is manually advanced to said card dispensing slot, and a motor for driving said rotatable drive member.
2. A card dealing structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein said structure is handheld to dispense cards individually with a single hand.
3. A card dealing structure as claimed in claim 2 wherein said rotatable drive member is a foam wheel.
4. A card dealing structure as claimed in claim 3 wherein said foam wheel is resiliently compressed as a card is dispensed through said slot.
5. A card dealing structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein said rotatable drive member allows slippage of a card being dispensed in accordance with a drag force exerted by a user on the card during the dispensing thereof to vary the dispensing speed of the card as it leaves the dispensing slot.
6. A card dealing structure as claimed in claim 5 wherein said card supply recess is primarily open on at a top surface thereof and is closed on two sides and one end, with an opposite end of said card supply recess being limited by said card guide surface.
7. A card dealing structure as claimed in claim 6 including a card restraint member position to extend across said top surface of said card supply recess.
8. A card dealing structure as claimed in claim 5 including a card bias arrangement that cooperates with said card supply recess to adjust the level of said deck of cards consistently within a height of said card supply recess.
9. A card dealing structure as claimed in claim 8 wherein said bias arrangement is a scissor structure.
10. A card dealing structure as claimed in claim 9 wherein said scissor structure extends in the length of said card supply recess and supports cards retained in said recess along the length of said cards.
11. A card dealing arrangement as claimed in claim 4 wherein said foam drive member has a periphery immediately adjacent an opposed fixed member with a dispensed card passing therebetween, said foam drive member compressing to accommodate and engage a card as it is passing between said fixed member and said foam drive member.
12. A card dealing arrangement as claimed in claim 11 wherein said fixed member is part of the housing of said card dealing arrangement.
13. A card dealing arrangement as claimed in claim 12 including a battery supply for said motor.
14. A card dealing arrangement as claimed in claim 13 including a card sensing arrangement positioned to sense a card being manually advanced by a user to said dispensing slot, said card sensing arrangement being connected to said motor for initiating said motor when a card is sensed.
15. A card dealing arrangement as claimed in claim 14 including a timing circuit for maintaining the operation of said motor for a predetermined time period after a card has been sensed.
16. A card dealing arrangement as claimed in claim 15 wherein said card sensing arrangement is a microswitch that is activated by a card being manually moved to said dispensing slot.
17. A card dealing arrangement as claimed in claim 1 including a battery supply providing power to said motor and said dealing arrangement is handheld in one hand for dealing cards.
18. A card dealing arrangement as claimed in claim 17 wherein the top card is manually advanced by a user's thumb of the hand supporting the card dealing arrangement.
19. A card dealing device comprising a card receiving cavity for receiving a supply of cards; a card drive arrangement located at one of said card receiving cavity positioned to receive a card advanced thereto from said supply of cards; said card drive arrangement including a rotatable drive member associated with a card dispensing slot through which advanced cards are ejected; said drive arrangement including an electric drive for rotating said drive member; and wherein said card receiving cavity includes a card guide surface forming a transition between said card receiving cavity and said card drive arrangement; said card guide surface causing a card being advanced from said card supply cavity to separate from said card supply and enter said drive arrangement and be ejected through said card dispensing slot.
20. A card dealing device as claimed in claim 19 wherein said drive arrangement includes a microswitch for sensing a card entering said drive arrangement; said microswitch activating an electric motor that rotates said rotatable drive arrangement.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present application is directed to a handheld card dealing arrangement that includes a motor for receiving a card from a card supply and accelerating the card through a card slot of the card dealing arrangement.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Card games have always been popular and many of these card games are based on the standard 52 card deck. There have been numerous arrangements that shuffle a deck of cards that include a mechanism for dealing of the cards to the various players. Typically, these shuffling and card dealing arrangements are relatively large and are designed to receive one or more card decks, shuffle the cards and subsequently deal the cards using a card delivery mechanism. These units are relatively large and heavy, and are supported on a table surface. Some of these units have been designed for non commercial use, however, they tend to be relatively large, bulky, and expensive.

In recent times, various games of poker have become extremely popular and there are a host of websites or computer simulations available for players to play. Much of the entertainment and excitement associated with poker is playing against other players, however, there is always the potential issue of cheating with respect to the dealing of the cards. Some poker players are extremely skilled with respect to the shuffling and dealing of the cards, and it is most difficult for players to recognize when a card has not been fairly dealt. As this ability to improperly deals cards is an acquired skill, and one which is extremely difficult to prove, mechanical shufflers and dealing arrangements have some merit. Most of the cheating associated with cards occurs during the dealing of the cards.

There remains a need for a simple card dealing arrangement that is handheld and easy to use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A card dealing structure according to the present invention comprises a card supply recess sized to receive a deck of cards therein, a card dispensing slot adjacent a predispensing position for engaging a user manually advanced card from the card supply recess to the predispensing position with the advanced card being engaged by a rotatable drive member of the card dispensing slot. The card dispensing slot includes a card limiting structure that separates the advanced card from the deck of cards as the advanced card is manually advanced for engagement with the rotatable drive and ejecting of the advanced card through the dispensing slot. A motor drives the rotatable drive member.

In a preferred aspect of the invention, the card dealing structure is handheld to dispense cards.

In a further aspect of the invention, the rotatable drive member is a foam wheel.

In a preferred aspect of the invention, the foam wheel is resiliently compressed as a card is dispensed through said slot.

In a further aspect of the invention, the rotatable drive member allows slippage of a card being dispensed in accordance with a drag force exerted by a user on the card during the dispensing thereof to vary the dispensing speed of the card as it leaves the dispensing slot.

In a different aspect of the invention, the card supply recess is primarily open on a top surface thereof and is closed on two sides and one end with an opposite end of said supply recess including a transition surface for guiding a manually advanced card for engagement with said rotatable drive member.

According to an aspect of the invention, the card bias arrangement dealing structure includes a card that cooperates with the card supply recess to adjust the level of the deck of cards consistently within a height of the card supply recess. Preferably the bias arrangement is a scissor structure.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the scissor structure extends in the length of the card supply recess and supports cards retained in the recess along the length of the cards.

In a different aspect of the invention, the foam drive member has a periphery immediately adjacent an opposed fixed member with a dispensed card passing therebetween. The foam drive member compresses to accommodate, engage and accelerate a card as it is passing between the fixed member and the foam drive member. Preferably, the fixed member is part of the housing of the card dealing arrangement.

In a further aspect of the invention, the motor includes a low voltage battery supply.

In a preferred aspect of the invention, the arrangement includes a card sensing arrangement positioned to sense a card being manually advanced by a user to the rotatable drive member. The card sensing arrangement is connected to the motor for initiating the motor when a card is sensed.

In a further aspect of the invention, the arrangement includes a timing circuit for maintaining the operation of the motor for a predetermined time period after a card has been sensed.

In a further aspect of the invention, the card sensing arrangement is a microswitch that is activated by a card being manually moved to the dispensing slot.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred embodiments of the invention are shown in the drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the handheld card dealing arrangement;

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the handheld card dealing arrangement;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the card dealing arrangement with certain portions of the casing of the card dealing arrangement shown in phantom lines;

FIG. 4 is a partial sectional view showing a card being advanced through the drive arrangement of the card dealing arrangement;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 4 with a card being engaged by the drive arrangement and being dispensed from the card dealing arrangement;

FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view through an alternate embodiment;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the alternate embodiment with a deck of cards received in the device; and

FIG. 8 is a partial perspective view of the alternate embodiment showing details of the card dispensing mechanism.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The card dealing arrangement 2 as shown in the Figures, receives a deck of cards generally shown as 4 with this deck of cards retained between a card biasing mechanism 6 and a card stopper 8 that extends across the open portion of the casing 5. A deck of shuffled cards is inserted underneath the retaining bar 8 and the card biasing mechanism 6 moves downwardly to accommodate the cards. This mechanism exerts an upward bias force on the deck of cards and raises the level of the cards as cards are dispensed. The biasing mechanism preferably maintains a lower surface of the deck of cards a consistent spacing from the base of the recess to avoid angling of the cards in the recess.

At one end of the deck of retained cards 4, is the card drive arrangement generally shown as 20. The top card of the supply of returned cards is advanced by the movement of the user's thumb such that the top card strikes the card separators 22 which are provided on opposite sides of the casing as shown in FIG. 3. The purpose of these members is to basically allow the top card to pass over the top curve surface of the separator 22 and be engaged by the compressible drive wheel 32. This compressible drive wheel is preferably of a foam type material and is driven by the motor 30.

As evident in the sectional view of FIGS. 2, 4 and 5, the foam drive wheel 32 lightly contacts the top plate 24 of the casing 5 or is in close proximity thereto. The top card of the deck of cards passes by the separators 22 and is advanced towards the foam drive wheel 32 by the user's thumb or fingers. The top plate 24 in combination with the foam drive wheel 32 defines a single card gap 26 through which the top card is moved. As soon as the foam wheel 32 engages the card, it is moved towards the dispensing slot 40. By changing the angle of the handheld card dealing arrangement 2, the final velocity of the card as it approaches the position of a player can be controlled.

In addition, the user can partially retain the card in the unit until a desired position is reached. For example, the person can basically hold the card with his thumb exerting downward pressure on the card such that the card is not dispensed from the card dealing arrangement. Thus, the card can be engaged by the drive wheel until the user releases his thumb. This ability to increase the drag on the card or to temporarily stop the card or retard the card movement due to forces exerted by the user, allows for control of the speed of the card as it leaves the card dealing arrangement and the travel distance. This is helpful in controlling the cards as they are directed to the different players. Similarly, the player can vary the angle of the card dealing arrangement to control a contact angle of the card with the table surface.

The user can vary this contact angle to also control card speed and card distance.

The electric motor 30 is powered by the batteries 46 and the motor can be turned ON or OFF by the micro switch 60 shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. As the user advances the top card towards the drive arrangement, the micro switch 60 is deflected and turns on the motor 30. The sponge drive wheel 32 accelerates quickly to speed and is essentially at speed when the card engages the wheel. It is possible to include a timing circuit associated with the micro switch 60 such that when a card is advanced and the micro switch 60 activates the motor, the motor stays on for a certain period of time. In this way, when dealing a hand, the first card effectively turns on the motor and the motor remains on until a certain time delay occurs between the last time the micro switch is turned on and the present time. In this way, the motor is not constantly turning on and off which may be annoying during the dealing of a hand. If the motor and drive arrangement is sufficiently quiet, the ON/OFF operates and the micro switch maybe sufficient. Furthermore, a manual ON/OFF user controlled switch may be used.

The spring bias scissor arrangement lifts the cards in a parallel or consistent manner such that the top card has a generally fixed orientation relative to the card separators 22. This maintains the angle of the top card as it is pushed by a user towards the foam drive wheel 32. With this arrangement, variations of the angle of a card being dispensed, relative to the card dealing arrangement is reduced. Greater control of the dispensed card is possible. This arrangement also reduces the possibility of a card jamming during dispensing.

The biasing arrangement 6 is basically a scissor arrangement with one end of the scissor arrangement basically secured within the casing at 62 and the opposite end of the scissor arrangement, shown as 64, free to slide within the casing. The elastic members 50 provide the upward spring bias and the number of elastic members provided between the arms of the scissor arrangement can control this upward bias force. This provides a simple elevating mechanism that effectively raises the cards in a manner to position the top card at the desired level while also accommodating the full thickness of the deck of cards. Other biasing arrangements for elevating of the cards can be used.

In some card games, certain cards are dealt face down to the individual players and certain cards are dealt face up to the players or to a common area. The handheld card dealing arrangement 2 allows the dealer to change the angle of the arrangement 2 relative to the table surface. By angling the handheld card dealing arrangement slightly upwardly, it is possible to cause the card to rotate 180 degrees in the air as it is traveling between the handheld card dealing arrangement and its landing on the table surface. This allows the dealer to deal cards face down or face up in a simple manner. The dealer can control the dispensing of the top card while altering the thumb pressure and the release point of the card. In some games, the fair dealing of cards may not be critical. The handheld card dealing arrangement also allows a player to dispense a card relatively rapidly towards the player and may also add to the excitement or the surprise of a game.

The present card dealing arrangement is extremely effective and allows a dealer to precisely control the dispensing of a top card. The casing 5 surrounds the cards on the sides thereof and prevents the dealer from dealing from a position other than the top card. The card dealing arrangement is relatively light, compact, cost effective and easy to use.

The card retaining bar 8 is shown fixed on the upper edge of the casing 5, however, this bar member can also be movable towards the end of the casing to allow convenient insertion of the deck of cards. This bar member could also be biased to the operating position shown in FIG. 3, and movable against the bias to a clear position at one end of the casing. This could also include a simple latch arrangement or hold arrangement for the bar at one of the casing. This structure simplifies the user inserting the cards and the bar when released would travel on its own to the retaining position in FIG. 3. It is also possible to have a small slidable portion of the casing at one end of the casing which is closed on the top. This partial top closure of the slidable potion could form the card retaining arrangement. To insert a deck of cards, this slidable portion would move outwardly position allowing the card supply to be freely forced against the biasing mechanism and the slidable portion would then move to the retaining position.

The card dealing arrangement is easily held in one hand of a user while allowing cards to be dispensed by the thumb of the one hand. The device is lightweight and of a small size to be easily held by a user. The actual size is less than about twice the size of a deck of cards and weighs less than five pounds.

The invention has also been described with receiving a single deck of cards. As can be appreciated, in some games it is desirable to use several decks of cards and the present card dealing arrangement is not restricted to a single deck of cards. It is immaterial how many cards are part of the card supply.

An alternate card dealing arrangement 102 is shown in FIGS. 6 through 8.

The card dealing arrangement 102 includes a card deck receiving recess 106 that generally has an open top 107 for receiving the deck of cards shown as 104. This alternate structure does not include a bias arrangement for moving the deck of cards upwardly as the cards are dispensed. In the alternate structure, the card deck receiving recess 106 includes an angled card guiding cam surface 108 at the end of the card deck receiving recess 106 adjacent the card drive arrangement 120. The user manually advances the top card of the deck with his thumb until it strikes the angled card guide camming surface 108. The card, due to its flexibility and the angle of cam surface 108, will bend and allow the end of the card to enter the card gap 126.

As shown in FIG. 6, the card has bowed slightly upwardly and has entered the card slot 106, and is now engaged by the drive wheel 132. The card has passed the actuation lever 136 of the microswitch 134 and this has caused the motor 130 to be activated and drive the drive wheel 132. The drive wheel 132 preferably has a slotted center portion that accommodates the actuation lever 136 as shown in FIG. 8. The card is now driven by the drive wheel 132 and is ejected out of the dispensing slot 140. This dispensing slot has an upwardly sloped surface 142 that serves to maintain engagement of the card with the drive wheel 132.

FIGS. 6 and 7 show a card 141 as it is being dispensed out of the dispensing slot 140.

The card dealing arrangement 102 includes a bottom opening recess 150 that receives the batteries 152 for powering of the motor 130. A snap-on cover 154 closes this recess. The recess 150 is located beneath the card deck receiving recess 106 and cooperates with the front support edge 158 for supporting of the card dealing arrangement on a flat surface. These components cooperate to provide a slight downward tilt towards the drive wheel and result in the dispensing slot 140 being generally horizontal when the device is supported on a surface. Therefore, if a user prefers, he can merely engage the device when supported on a surface and advance a card by manually advancing the top card and appropriately directing the card dealing arrangement.

The alternate arrangement of FIGS. 6 through 8 is of a reduced size and has fewer moving components relative to the embodiments of FIGS. 1 through 5. This alternate structure is small in size and lightweight, making it particularly advantageous as a hand held card dealing arrangement.

The drive wheel 132 is particularly advantageous if it is made of a foam material. This material provides some compression of the drive wheel while also providing positive engagement on the lower surface of the card about to be dispensed. Other drive wheels can be used, including rubber surface drive wheels but the ability to resiliently compress at low forces and provide the appropriate drive and slippage of the card as it is being dispensed, requires a selection of appropriate materials.

In the embodiment of FIG. 8, the microswitch 134 is shown in its position relative to the drive wheel 132. This microswitch 134 is supported and maintained in the snap on lid 160 and would separate with the lid 160 when the lid is removed. The microswitch is shown in FIG. 8, even though the lid is removed, to more easily appreciate the operation of the microswitch and its cooperation with the drive wheel 132.

Although various preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described herein in detail, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, that variations may be made thereto without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the appended claims.

Classifications
U.S. Classification273/149.00R
International ClassificationA63F1/14
Cooperative ClassificationA63F1/14, A63F2250/183
European ClassificationA63F1/14
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 5, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: MATHEOS CORP., CANADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MAILING, PAUL A.;TRICHAS, KONSTANTINOS;TSIAMBOURIS, JEAN;REEL/FRAME:019427/0542
Effective date: 20070529