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Publication numberUS20080237985 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/729,406
Publication dateOct 2, 2008
Filing dateMar 28, 2007
Priority dateMar 28, 2007
Publication number11729406, 729406, US 2008/0237985 A1, US 2008/237985 A1, US 20080237985 A1, US 20080237985A1, US 2008237985 A1, US 2008237985A1, US-A1-20080237985, US-A1-2008237985, US2008/0237985A1, US2008/237985A1, US20080237985 A1, US20080237985A1, US2008237985 A1, US2008237985A1
InventorsMitchell Adams Cogert, Harmon Ian Cogert
Original AssigneeMitchell Adams Cogert, Harmon Ian Cogert
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Insurance wager in no-limit Texas Hold 'Em poker game
US 20080237985 A1
Abstract
A side bet for the poker card game No Limit Texas Hold'em referred to as PokerSurance™ bet. This method allows players to place PokerSurance™ wagers at respective betting areas. The wager is available only for the player with the statistically favorite hand at a stage of the hand where additional cards are forthcoming. It also may be exercised only when a) one or more players are “all-in” on a hand, and b) when this player's PokerSurance™ wager is determined to be appropriate for the player and accepted by the Dealer. A PokerSurance™ side bet acts like an insurance policy on a given hand of poker as it protects the player with the statistically favorite hand from losing all of his/her money on a “bad beat.”
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Claims(19)
1. A method of playing a casino playing card wagering game in which players compete against players and in which an All-In wager can be made before all cards in a round of play are dealt and viewed comprising:
providing a partial poker hand to each of at least two players;
the at least two players viewing their respective partial poker hands;
at least one player wagering all game wagerable value controlled by the at least one player in that round of play as an all-in wager;
at least one second player calling the all-in wager, and no third player calling the all-in wager such that additional wagers could be placed by the at least one second player and the third player as additional cards are provided towards completing the partial poker hands;
exposing all cards of the partial poker hands of the at least one player and the at least one second player;
determining statistical probability of advantage for the partial poker hand of the at least one player versus the partial poker hand of the at least one second player; and
a player being determined to have the best statistical probability of advantage placing a side bet wager against the casino that at the conclusion of the round of play, the player with the statistical advantage will lose the resolution of the round of play after complete poker hands are formed.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein a first partial poker hand to each of the at least two players comprises exactly two cards face down.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein a first partial poker hand to each of the at least two players comprises exactly four cards face down.
4. The method of claim 2 wherein the all-in wager is made after the at least two players see only their own two cards face down.
5. The method of claim 4 wherein only two players remain in the round of play.
6. The method of claim 2 wherein the complete poker hands are formed with five community cards.
7. The method of claim 6 wherein the five community cards are provided as a first set of three cards, a second set of one card, and a final set of another one card, each set dealt face-up for viewing.
8. The method of claim 7 wherein the all-in wager is placed after the first set of three community cards is provided.
9. The method of claim 7 wherein the all-in wager is placed after the second set of one community card is provided.
10. The method of claim 7 wherein the all-in wager is placed after the final set of one community card is provided.
11. The method of claim 1 wherein the side bet wager is paid at a 1:1 return on the side bet wager.
12. The method of claim 1 wherein the side bet wager is always paid at a 1:1 return on the side bet wager.
13. The method of claim 1 wherein the side bet wager is paid at a 1:1 return on the side bet wager for some ranges of statistical probability of advantage and paid at odds other than 1:1 for other ranges of statistical probability of advantage.
14. The method of claim 1 wherein the statistical probability of advantage is determined by the casino for each round of play.
15. The method of claim 1 wherein the statistical probability of advantage is determined by a processor for each round of play.
16. The method of claim 1 wherein the statistical probability of advantage is displayed to all players after the all-in wager has been made and called.
17. An apparatus for the play of the method of claim 1 comprising a table having wagering positions at multiple player positions for placement of the side bet wager and a display system for displaying the statistical probability of advantage of at least one player.
18. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein the display system can display the statistical probability of advantage for all players remaining in the round of play after the all-in wager has been made and all other players have elected to fold or call the all-in wager.
19. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein a processor is present to determine the statistical probability of advantage and the determination is communicated to the display system.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of card games, particularly wagering card games, particularly poker games in which players play against each other and not against a single dealer or house hand, and most particularly to a variation in the game of No Limit Texas Hold 'Em poker.

2. Background of the Art

The game of Hold 'Em poker or Texas Hold 'Em poker and No Limit Texas Hold 'Em poker has become extremely popular. A Texas Hold 'Em poker game may be described as generally progressing follows.

    • 1) The betting structure can vary. Sometimes antes are used, but most games start with two players to the left of the dealer (going clockwise around the table) placing a predetermined amount of money so there is an initial amount in the pot to get the game started and to assure that players must put some money at risk over the course of a game. The larger wager is referred to as the “big blind” and a smaller (exactly one-half) wager is termed the small blind. This is called posting the blinds.
    • 2) The dealer shuffles up a standard deck of 52 playing cards.
    • 3) Each player is dealt two cards face down. These are called hole or pocket cards.
    • 4) There is a round of betting starting with the player to the left of the two players who posted the blinds. This round is usually referred to by the term pre-flop.
    • 5) The amount a player can bet depends on what kind of game rules have been established.
    • 6) As in most games of poker, players can call, raise, or fold when it is their turn to place a wager.
    • 7) After the first betting round ends, the dealer discards the top card of the deck. This is called a burn card. This is done to prevent cheating or eliminate any appearance of cheating.
    • 8) The dealer then reveals the next three cards from the deck face up onto the table. These cards are called the flop. These cards are communal or community cards that each player can use in combination with their two pocket cards to form a poker hand.
    • 9) After revealing the flop, there is another, second round of betting starting with the remaining player immediately to the left of the dealer.
    • 10) After the second round of betting concludes, the dealer burns another card and reveals one more playing card onto the table. This is called the turn card. Players can use this sixth card, in addition to the previous five cards that were available (the three flop cards and the two hole cards) to form a five card poker hand.
    • 11) The remaining player immediately to the left of the dealer begins another round of betting. In many types of games, this is where the bet size doubles.
    • 12) Finally, the dealer burns a card and places a final card face up on the table. This is called the river. Players can now use any of the five cards on the table or the two cards in their pocket to form a five card poker hand.
    • 13) There is one final round of betting starting with the player to the left of the dealer.
    • 14) After that, all of the players remaining in the game begin to reveal their hands. This begins with the player to the left of the last player to call. It's called the showdown. Players use a combination of their pocket cards and the community cards to form a best five of seven cards (the two hole cards and the five community cards) poker hand.
    • 15) The player who shows the best hand wins. There are cases where players with equal hands share the winnings.
      There can be significant tension and disappointment in the play of the game, especially as the winds of fortune change, not only from hand to hand, but also within the play of a single hand as different community cards are revealed. The occurrence of such vagaries in the play of the game can turn players away from the game and eventually reduce casino profits. It would be advantageous for rules and wagers to be developed that can reduce player stress or anxiety and yet provide additional profits for the house.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

During play of No Limit Hold 'Em, situations arise where at least one player will go “all-in” and this may occur sometimes when there are some community cards to be dealt. At this stage of the game, the hole cards of all players remaining in the game are exposed, and the remaining community cards dealt out, sometimes in dramatic fashion. When the hole cards of the remaining players are revealed, the relative advantage of each player compared to the other players can be and has been exactly analyzed. This mathematical analysis can be determined at any stage and expressed in specific probabilities. Skilled players and sophisticated software can evaluate the relative probabilities of hands winning to exact percentages. In televised poker games, these percentages are often displayed and these displays are sometimes provided for view by players.

When one player has been identified or recognized as the statistical leader in an exposed (all hole cards exposed, but community card(s) yet to be dealt), all-in situation, that player, and only that player (the advantaged player), is allowed to place a special even money wager protecting a portion of the advantaged player's all-in wager. This wager guarantees that at the end of the hand, whatever the outcome, the advantaged player will still have some money, even if a bad beat occurs and the advantaged player loses. The amount of the PokerSurance™ wager must be less than the advantaged player's all-in wager to give an appearance or perception to the player that the wager is beneficial to the player.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 shows a table layout for play of No Limit Hold 'Em with a PokerSurance™ wager.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The underlying play of the game of No Limit Hold 'Em poker does not change in the play of the game. There are specific events that occur in the play of the game where the use of the described PokerSurance™ wager may be used. Those situations will be detailed and explained.

In the game of No Limit Hold'em poker, the card game is played with a conventional deck of fifty-two playing cards. There are a series of steps involving:

a) at least one player places a wager indication of the PokerSurance side bet;

b) two cards are dealt face down to one or more players in a hand;

c) a first round of betting is conducted after the two cards have been dealt; wherein one or more players can wager all money at that player's position and be an “all-in” player;

d) if after the first round of betting there is no more betting possible by any player remaining in the game (it is assumed that if one player has funds remaining and the only other players in the game are All-In, that the funded player will not make spurious wagers, such as betting more when there are no other players remaining with additional funds to wager), then the one or more or usually all players in the hand must or will expose their two face down cards;

e) the player with the statistically favorite hand may then make a PokerSurance™ wager, and the Dealer must decide whether or not to accept the bet. The Dealer continues to deal the five community cards to determine which player has the ultimate winning five card poker hand. If the player with the statistically favorite hand (at the time the PokerSurance™ wager was made and usually a marker placed at that player's position or the PokerSurance™ wager amount in an appropriate location serves as an identifier) losses the hand, the player wins the amount of the PokerSurance™ side bet and is paid by the Dealer.

The payment on the unique insurance wager is made by the house, usually at a rate of 1:1 (even money) on the amount of the wager. The economic advantage to the house can be readily seen. Even if the statistical analysis of cards shows (with two players in the hand) that one player has a 51% likelihood of winning and the other player has a 49% likelihood of winning, the house percentage is about 1-2% on the wager. As the likelihood differentiates or separates a greater amount (e.g., 75% to 25%), the house retention increases significantly, rising to about 50%. Although the simplest format is always requiring a 1:1 payback, the house may impose payback odds at different determined probabilities for events, such as requiring a player to bet 6 units for a payback of 5 units if the percentage likelihood of the advantaged player is between 51-55%, even money for all other probability ranges, or even positive odds (well within the controlled house retention targets) for wagers in other probability ranges. For example, the 1:1 range may begin and end at 52-60% probability, a 6:5 return may be used for PokerSurance™ wagers at 60-67% likelihood of winning and 3:2 returns may be used for Pokersurance™ wagers at 68% likelihood and above. These odds would still provide for significant house retention rates on the wager and increase the overall return to the house for the wager.

If the player with the statistically favorite hand wins the hand, the player losses the PokerSurance™ side bet to the Dealer. The advantage to the player can be viewed as follows. The All-In player can increase the comfort level by assuring himself/herself that no matter what happens, some money may be retained. For example, if a player has $1,000.00 at risk on the final hand and has a 55% likelihood of winning, it must also be recognized that the player has a 45% chance of losing everything. It would provide that player some comfort to place a (for example) $200.00 (from private funding, credit card funding, house credit funding or borrowed funds) PokerSurance™ wager so that if the 45% final event occurs, the player will finish the hand with a minimum of $400.00 in a worst case scenario, and only reduce the total amount of winning by $200.00 if the player wins the hand.

It must be remembered that the PokerSurance™ bet will not necessarily be available every time that a first player goes All-In. If there are two additional players active in the round of play at the time that the All-In bet is made and the first player All-In wager does not bring all but no more than one of the two other players into the round of play in an all-in situation for them, then there can be No PokerSurance™ wager. This is because the PokerSurance™ wager requires an open view of all hole cards at the table to be able to determine probabilities for ultimate events at the table. If there are two players remaining at the table with funds for which additional wagers can be made, then their hands would not be exposed. It is possible to provide a rule that if one player goes All-In and requests a PokerSurance™ wager that, before or after all players have made a call bet with respect to the All-In bet, that all hole cards must be exposed. This is not a preferred method of play as it is unfair to other players with funds remaining to wager, but is a possible alternative.

The PokerSurance™ wager can be designed for availability or play access in many different ways. For example, a player may be required or allowed to make the PokerSurance™ wager before receiving any cards, the wager being returned if that player is not involved in an all-in wager with the advantaged hand. The PokerSurance™ wager may also be limited to after a player has received at least some cards (e.g., the two hole cards) and again the wager will be fully returned if that player is not involved in an all-in wager with the advantaged hand. Additionally, and in a preferred mode, a player may make or offer to make the PokerSurance™ wager when making an all-in wager, and then events will determine if the dealer will accept it (e.g., only one other player remains, no players other than the bettor can make an additional wager, and if the offering player has the advantaged hand.) The use of the probability indicator is useful in this regard as the device can automatically identify a situation when a player is an advantaged hand and the player is then offered an opportunity to make the wager. The processor can determine this by the automatic reading of playing cards delivered to each player position, the community cards, and software enabling analysis of the card patterns and probabilities.

If no All-In wager is made that removes all but two players from the round of play before the flop is displayed and before the flop is wagered on, more betting is possible after the first round of betting. This is done by dealing three community cards face up, wherein each community card is usable by the one or more players in the hand to form a five card poker hand. At this point a second round of betting is continued, and an All-In wager is again possible, with a PokerSurance™ wager possible, also under the same conditions described above. One or more players can wager all his money and be an “all-in” player. If after the second round of betting there is no more betting possible, then the one or more players in the hand must expose their two face down cards. If the player with the statistically favorite hand has made or makes a PokerSurance™ wager, and the Dealer decides to accept the bet, the Dealer continues to deal the last two community cards to determine which player has the winning five card poker hand. If the player with the statistically favorite hand losses the hand, the player wins any PokerSurance™ side bet placed by him/her and is paid by the Dealer. If the player with the statistically favorite hand wins the hand, the player losses the PokerSurance™ side bet to the Dealer. If more betting is possible after the second round of betting, the game continues by dealing one community card face up, wherein each community card is usable by the one or more players in the hand to form a five card poker hand. A third round of betting may be allowed after the fourth community card has been dealt; wherein one or more players can wager all his money and be an “all-in” player and a PokerSurance™ wager again is possible under the conditions described above. If after the third round of betting there is no more betting possible, then the one or more players in the hand must expose their two face down cards. If the player with the statistically favorite hand has a PokerSurance™ wager, and the Dealer decides to accept the bet, the Dealer deals the last community card to determine which player has the winning five card poker hand. If the player with the statistically favorite hand losses the hand, the player wins the PokerSurance™ side bet and is paid by the Dealer. If the player with the statistically favorite hand wins the hand, the player losses the PokerSurance™ side bet to the Dealer. The last community card is dealt, wherein the last round of betting takes place, the players expose their two face down cards to determine which player has a winning hand. No PokerSurance™ wager may be made at this time, as the ultimate event can be finally determined at this point since all cards have been dealt. The above steps are conducted sequentially.

It is important to the play of the game that the house is able to appreciate and understand the probabilities during each round for one hand to succeed against all remaining hands. Most skilled dealers and players know these odds within acceptable percentage ranges, so it is possible that the house Dealer is given the authority to accept a single PokerSurance™ wager from a table after the cards have been revealed. If there is a dispute by one or more players, a Pit Boss or Director may be consulted. Ideally, a processor contains software that calculates the odds and percentages and a screen or printout is available to display the percentages or absolute finding (e.g., Player X has the highest probability of winning) to the players and dealer. Such software and displays are presently used commercially, especially in television broadcasts of games, and so no unique software or hardware technology is required, although systems may be designed for use with this particular bet using the known technology. The house may or may not allow a PokerSurance™ wager when there are more than two players remaining in a game. This is because the most advantaged player may have a likelihood of winning that is less than 50% and the house, without offering a wager with a house percentage, would not want to accept a 1:1 insurance wager on an event with greater than a 50% probability. For example, if there are three players in a game and one player goes All-In, the probabilities of each player winning may be 40%, 35% and 25%. The likelihood of the most advantaged player winning the PokerSurance™ wager (by losing the hand) is 60/40. The house would not want to have to accept a wager on that event unless the payback is less than 40/60. If the house establishes such odds, a PokerSurance™ bet might be accepted. Furthermore, if the probability for losing the wager exceeded 50%, players, could make a large PokerSurance™ wager and fold. It might therefore be a rule that no player may fold once a PokerSurance™ wager has been made by that player. A display may be provided as viewable by the entire field at the same time, individual panel displays may be provided to each player, or a signal (e.g., light or display panel) at each player position may be used to indicate which player has the highest probability of winning and is therefore eligible for the PokerSurance™ wager. Either the advantaged player may have a light lit at his position, or all ineligible players may have their lights light or darkened. The basis of the percentages calculated may be based on various available information, with each set of information being important to the house. For example, the simplest probability determination can be made solely by calculations based on exposed player hands and displayed community cards. These are not necessarily actual probabilities because of the fact that some cards that affect probabilities may have already been used in the round of play. As an extreme example, consider a round where the hand of Player X is K, J, 10, 9 (in suit) and the hand of Player Y is K, Q, 10, 9 out of suit. Player X may appear to have an advantage because of the possibility of a flush. However, if the actual hole cards or other players and Player Y reduces the number of cards in that suit of Player X significantly, and the real probabilities for Player X winning are significantly reduced to where Player Y actually has the advantage. By the use of card reading technology in which all cards dealt to players are known to casino controlled processors, real probabilities can be determined and used in the play of the PokerSuance™ wager to determine a player with an actual advantage based on the true available card probabilities.

It is possible that once a first player has made the PokerSurance™ wager and further community cards are provided, the likelihood of a second player becoming a more advantaged player may occur. Rules can be provided for allowing the first player to surrender part of the first PokerSurance™ wager (e.g., if the player is not reduced to a 0% chance of winning or less than, for example 15% chance of winning), or the second player may be allowed to place a PokerSurance™ wager. The latter would be advantageous to the house, as with equal first and second PokerSurance™ wagers, the house would then be guaranteed a no loss situation, while if the odds had shifted in favor of the first player winning the PokerSurance™ wager, the house was in an unfavorable position for a loss. Limits on the amounts of the PokerSurance™ wager may be placed by the club or casino, as by a fixed limit (e.g., no more than $500.00) or by a percentage limit (e.g., no more than 50% of the last wager made by the player or no more than 25% of the entry amount for the game).

An apparatus for a PokerSurance™ bet when playing the poker card game of No Limit Texas Hold may comprise of a Poker table layout having designated PokerSurance™ bet areas, with or without automatic bet reading, as by cameras, optical readers, scanners, RFID systems and the like. FIG. 1 shows a table layout 2 for play of No Limit Hold 'Em with a PokerSurance™ wager. The table layout 2 is shown with eight player positions 4 demarked by either a button position marker, card receiving target, betting position or the like indicated by the circle 4. An odds indicator, screen or 7-segment display 6 is provided to identify the odds at the various positions or to identify the player position that is the most advantaged according to the output of a processor. A bet position 8 is shown for the placement of the PokerSurance™ wager. This structure is merely an example of the structure that can be used for a table layout and is not to be considered as a limitation of the practice of the invention. For example, it is not necessary to display the percentages to the field or even to the dealer, although this places a burden on the skill of the dealer and can lead to debate at a table over the availability of the wager.

The PokerSurance™ wager is a method of limiting a player's financial loss when playing No Limit Texas Hold'em. The wager enables the player with the statistically favorite hand in an “all-in” situation to buy a form of poker insurance (“bad beat” protection) called PokerSurance™ wager. Application of the invention thereby reduces the potential for catastrophic financial loss to the player holding the favorite hand at the time the wager is made—which can be substantial in “all-in” No Limit Hold'em poker hands.

A PokerSurance™ bet is a “side bet;” meaning it is a bet that does not effect the bets that are in the pot. A PokerSurance™ bet is in play only when one or more players are “all-in” and no more betting is possible; specifically:

a) after dealing the first two cards face down to one or more players in a hand;

b) after dealing the first two cards face down and the three community cards face up, wherein each community card is usable by the one or more players to form a five card poker hand; or

c) after dealing the first two face cards face down, and the first four community cards face up, wherein each community card is usable by the one or more players to form a five-card poker hand.

When one or more players are said to be “all-in,” the players in the hand must expose their two down cards if no two remaining players may still make bets against each other. The player with the statistically favorite hand, who has a PokerSurance™ side bet and whose bet is accepted by the Dealer is protected from losing all his money on a “bad beat.” The dealer may be authorized to refuse a PokerSurance™ wager, although this is unlikely to happen, unless there is uncertainty about the probabilities or the probability of winning does not meet a minimum pre-established amount (e.g., at least 52%, at least 53%, at least 54%, at least 55%, etc.).

If the player with the statistically favorite hand loses, he wins his PokerSurance™ side bet from the Dealer. If the same player has his hand win, he will lose his PokerSurance™ side bet to the Dealer. The player's PokerSurance™ bet does not affect the results of which player holds the winning hand and wins the bets in the pot.

Glossary of Terms Used. These terms shall have the meaning defined below in the practice of the present technology:

“All-In” means a wager by a player all of remaining money or chips that may be exercised or controlled by that player then participating in that hand at any of the several rounds of wagering associated with that hand.

“Side bet” means a bet that does not effect the total bets in the pot between the players in a hand.

“Card” or “Cards” means conventional playing cards, i.e., the individual playing cards in at least a single deck of fifty two cards comprised of four suits (spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds) of thirteen cards each, with each suit including (in descending rank) one ace, one king, one queen, one jack, one ten, one nine, one eight, one seven, one six, one five, one four, one three and one two.

“Community Car(d)s” means cards that are dealt face-up and that may be used by all players then active in any given hand.

“Down Card(s)” mean cards dealt face-down to each player. These are also referred to as “hole card(s).”

“Hand” has multiple meanings in card games and it is often necessary to distinguish the meanings by context or additional specificity. One meaning is for a set of cards controlled by a player or dealer or banker, as in a five-card poker hand. The word may also mean a round of a game, such as a completion of an event in poker in which a final determination of results occurs. In Hold 'Em poker, for example, a hand is a completed event in which only one player remains in the game or in which each player is dealt two down cards and has the use of the five community cards.

“Poker” means a class of card game in which a number of players compete against each other (and/or a paytable) according to hand ranks to win the pot, a prize which consists of the total amount wagered by all players in any given round of play. The winner in each hand is determined based upon a fixed ranking of individual hands, and may be determined by the highest hand rank, the lowest hand rank or split between the highest and lowest hand ranks according to poker rankings.

“Texas Hold 'Em” means the type of poker game in which each player is initially dealt two down cards. There are sequential wagering events before and after receiving additional cards, as explained in detail above. There are sequential rounds of wagering after each event (including after the first two down cards are dealt, after the first three community cards (the flop) are dealt, after the fourth community card is dealt (fourth street), and after the fifth community card (the river) is dealt). These community cards are dealt in sets of three, then one, then a final community card. The winner is based on the highest possible five-card poker hand from the seven cards available to make a hand for that player. Texas Hold 'Em games that incorporate the all-in variants of wagering are referred to as “No Limit Texas Hold 'Em” or just “No Limit Hold 'Em.”

“Bad beat” means an event when a player who has a statistical advantage over an opponent eventually loses after all five community cards are dealt.

The most popular poker game is Texas Hold 'Em, a game which awards a pot to the player having the highest five-card poker hand, ranked in standard poker fashion, i.e., royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pair, one pair, and high card, in descending order. Texas Hold 'Em is played sequentially through about eleven separate steps, as follows:

    • 1) appropriate initial wagers, antes or blinds are placed according to local rules;
    • 2) two cards are dealt, face down, to each player;
    • 3) after players view their cards, a first round of wagering occurs. It should be noted that a player is entitled to check (if there were no blinds placed), rather than wager; however, if a player checks and another player wagers, the player who checked must match the wager, raise the wager or fold.
    • 4) three community cards (the flop) are dealt, face up;
    • 5) a round of wagering occurs after the flop is viewed;
    • 6) the next-to-last “community” card (fourth street) is dealt, face up;
    • 7) a round of wagering occurs after the fourth community card is viewed;
    • 8) the last community card (the river) is dealt, face up;
    • 9) a final round of wagering occurs;
    • 10) each remaining player exposes his/her down cards; and
    • 11) the winner is declared on the basis of highest five-card poker ranks and the pot is distributed.
      Each player is entitled to combine one, two or none of the down cards (hole cards) with any or all of the five community cards to form the highest possible five-card poker hand. Most often a player will combine three of the community cards with both of down cards to form a contesting five-card poker hand.

All wagers made during a hand are held in the pot pending distribution to the eventual winner(s). In any round, any player may elect not to wager (or not match another player's wager), in which case that player folds and is no longer eligible to play in the hand. The exception to this rule is the first round of wagering, in which some players are required to wager a pre-determined amount, and each player must match or call he maximum required predetermined amount.

Generally speaking, a game's sponsor will prescribe the minimum and maximum size of any given wager, including raises, antes and blinds. However, in games of Texas Hold 'Em that incorporates the all-in wagering variant, there is no pre-set limit to the maximum amount a player may wager (or raise); the maximum amount a player may wager (or raise) is limited only by the amount of money or chips a player has available at that moment in time. Games of Texas Hold 'Em that incorporate the all-in wagering variant are known as No Limit Texas Hold 'Em, or just No Limit Hold 'Em. The technology described herein may be generally described as a method of playing a casino playing card wagering game in which players compete against players and in which an All-In wager can be made before all cards in a round of play are dealt and viewed. The method may include, at least:

providing a partial poker hand to each of at least two players;

the at least two players viewing their respective partial poker hands;

at least one player wagering all game wagerable value controlled by the at least one player in that round of play as an all-in wager (that is, any chips remaining on the table for that player);

at least one second player calling the all-in wager, and no third player calling the all-in wager such that additional wagers could be placed by the at least one second player and the third player as additional cards are provided towards completing the partial poker hands;

exposing all cards of the partial poker hands of the at least one player and the at least one second player;

determining statistical probability of advantage for the partial poker hand of the at least one player versus the partial poker hand of the at least one second player; and

a player being determined to have the best statistical probability of advantage placing a side bet wager against the casino that at the conclusion of the round of play, the player with the statistical advantage will lose the resolution of the round of play after complete poker hands are formed.

In the play of No Limit Hold 'Em poker, a first partial poker hand to each of the at least two players comprises exactly two cards face down. In the play of No Limit Omaha poker, a first partial poker hand to each of the at least two players comprises exactly four cards face down. The first time that an all-in wager may be made is after the at least two players see only their own two cards face down. As described elsewhere herein, a preferred time for execution of the PokerSurance™ wager is where only two players remain in the round of play. In No Limit Hold 'Em, the complete poker hands are formed with five community cards. The five community cards are provided as a first set of three cards, a second set of one card, and a final set of another one card, each set dealt face-up for viewing. The all-in wager may be placed after the first set of three community cards is provided, after the second set of one card is provided or after the final set of one card is provided. A preferred method is wherein the side bet wager is paid at a 1:1 return on the side bet wager, or where the side bet wager is always paid at a 1:1 return on the side bet wager. As noted elsewhere, the side bet wager is paid at a 1:1 return on the side bet wager for some ranges of statistical probability of advantage and paid at odds other than 1:1 for other ranges of statistical probability of advantage. The statistical probability of advantage is determined by the casino or by a casino processor for each round of play. The statistical probability of advantage is displayed to all players after the all-in wager has been made and called so that an advantaged player can be identified. An apparatus for the play of this method would contain a table (virtual or real) having wagering positions at multiple player positions for placement of the side bet wager and a display system for displaying the statistical probability of advantage of at least one player. The display system can display the statistical probability of advantage for all players remaining in the round of play after the all-in wager has been made and all other players have elected to fold or call the all-in wager. The processor is present to determine the statistical probability of advantage and the determination is communicated to the display system.

In games of No Limit Hold 'Em, any player may move all-in at any round of wagering once the hole cards have been delivered to all of the players. Once a player has moved all-in, every other player who wishes to remain in the hand must either match the amount wagered by the player who has moved all-in or fold and lose what he/she had bet to that point. After an All-In wager, if there is only one or no remaining player that is not all-in, (i) each remaining player exposes the down cards, (ii) all remaining community cards are dealt, face up and (iii) the winner is declared based on the cards revealed. Note that the nomenclature “all-in” is somewhat of a misnomer: a player who moves all-in does, indeed, place all of his remaining money or chips into the pot, however his potential loss is limited to the maximum amount bet by any other player. Thus, for example, if Player A with 50 chips moves all-in and Player B has only 30 chips but chooses to match the bet and move all-in, Player A's maximum potential loss is 30, rather than 50, chips. It should be noted that when there are more than two players remaining in a game and one player has moved All-In, only one, exactly two, or more players may actually have all their money at risk in the hand. Only in circumstances where there are no or exactly one remaining players that do not have all their money at risk may the PokerSurance™ wager be made. This restriction is placed because if there were more players with available money with which to pressure an opponent, all hole cards would be exposed while additional wagering opportunities are still available. Even if automated reading of hands were available without all hole cards exposed, the advantaged player would have to be identified as only the advantaged player can make the PokerSurance™ wager.

A player who elects to be all-in can no longer make any further decisions about his hand; as a result, a player who may have superior skill or a statistically significant advantage at an intermediate time in the play of a hand (with respect to the other opponent(s)) can still lose through the luck of the draw. Thus, an all-in decision that may be the correct decision for a player to make from the perspective of statistic or skill (i.e., the superior player will often be able to assess with reasonable accuracy the odds of winning or losing a given hand based on his down cards, the community cards and the relative statistical probability of an opponent having a superior hand) can result in a catastrophic monetary loss.

Decades ago at the biggest money games of No Limit Hold 'Em poker, there might be an “insurance man” at the table who made a business of selling insurance to any player who was “all in” on a hand. However, this did not work since the deals he offered the players were never in a player's best interest. The more desperate the player, the worse were the terms exacted by the seller of the insurance. There were no house regulations on the rates or amounts for the independent insurance.

More recently at the biggest money games, players who are all in on a hand may agree to the idea of “Run it twice.” What this means is that the dealer will split the pot into two equal parts. The dealer will deal the rest of the community cards and determine the winning hand the first time. And then repeat the deal a second time. The player who wins the first deal wins the first pot, and the player who wins the second deal will win the second pot. Sometimes one player will win both pots, and sometimes it will be split evenly. Today, players do not have “insurance men” at poker tables and the concept of “Run it twice” has not been widely accepted. It is therefore possible for a player who is all in with the statistically favorite hand, to lose all his/her money on one hand of poker due to a bad beat.

Those of ordinary skill in the art will realize that the following description of the invention is illustrative only and not in any way limiting. Other embodiments of the invention will readily suggest themselves to such skilled persons. As described above, one significant problem with No Limit Hold 'Em is that a player who is “all-in” can suffer significant financial loss even though he/she is holding the statistically favorite hand. Thus, a superior player can lose all of his/her money in an all-in game. A PokerSurance™ bet will:

    • (i) provide an insurance feature of hedging one's potential loss in any given hand and
    • (ii) enable more players to remain in a game after losing a particular hand.
      When all remaining players up to a maximum number of one more player (making two players only in the game) have moved all-in and no more wagering is possible, and all hole cards are exposed, the player with the statistically favorite hand, has an available PokerSurance™ bet, and whose bet is confirmed and accepted by the Dealer, will have his PokerSurance™ bet activated.

While the player with the favorite hand will not be able to avoid “bad beats,” the player will be able to get paid if he places a PokerSurance™ bet that is accepted by the Dealer. There are many different conditions or variations in how to play No Limit Hold'em using a PokerSurance™ side bet. Here are a few examples:

Each player may place a PokerSurance™ bet before a hand is played to buy poker insurance. A PokerSurance™ bet is activated only for the player with the statistically favorite hand, where one or more players are all in, and the bet is accepted by the Dealer. If the bet is not accepted, the bet can stay in the PokerSurance™ designated area for as long as desired by the player without any loss to the player.

Each player may place a PokerSurance™ bet before a hand is played to buy poker insurance. A PokerSurance™ bet is activated only for the player with the statistically favorite hand, where one or more players are all in, and the bet is accepted by the Dealer. If the player wins his PokerSurance™, he will get paid by the Dealer by some multiplier of his bet. The other players who have made a PokerSurance™ bet will lose this side bet to the Dealer.

When players are all in on a hand, the player with the statistically favorite hand has the option to make a PokerSurance™ bet in the designated area. If the player places this side bet, the Dealer has the option to accept or reject this bet, or may have no option under other house rules.

The following example is instructional. For convenience, the referenced game will be described with a “Dealer” and six position players, denoted Players A through F. The Dealer is not a player in either manual (i.e., games dealt in a casino or gaming room) or electronic (either console or on-line) games of No Limit Hold 'Em. A hand of No Limit Hold 'Em is described in which an all-in decision is made after the two down cards have been dealt to each player and where one player wins his/her PokerSurance™ wager. There are six players (Players A through F) and the hand proceeds according to the following steps. Step No. 1: Player E makes a PokerSurance™ bet for 50 chips. Step No. 2: The two down cards are dealt to each player. Each player is permitted to look at his two down cards, but not the down cards of any other player. Step No. 3: A first round of wagering takes place, with the following results: Player A (the small blind) wagers; Player B (the big blind) wagers; Player C folds; Player D folds; Player E moves all-in for 100 chips; Player F moves all-in for 100 chips; Player A folds and Player B folds. At this point in the hand, two players have moved all-in and they reveal their down cards. As only players who have moved all-in are still in the game, the hole cards of each of those players may now be revealed without affecting further play of the game. Player E reveals a pair of Aces. Player F reveals a pair of Kings. Player E has a statistically favorite hand and has placed a PokerSurance™ side bet of 50 chips. The Dealer decides to accept this wager because Player E is clearly the advantaged hand. Step No. 4: The five community cards are dealt, face up (with the traditional cards burned during provision of the remaining community cards) and Player F holds the winning hand with three Kings. Step No. 5: Player F wins the 200 chips in the pot. Player E wins the 50 chips for the PokerSurance™ bet and is paid by the Dealer.

In another hand of No Limit Hold 'Em, an all-in decision is made after the two down cards have been dealt to each player and where one player losses his PokerSurance™ wager. There are six players (Players A through F) and the hand proceeds according to the following steps. Step No. 1: Player E makes a PokerSurance™ bet for 50 chips. Step No. 2: The two down cards are dealt to each player. Each player is permitted to look at his two down cards, but not the down cards of any other player. Step No. 3: A first round of wagering takes place, with the following results: Player A (the small blind) wagers; Player B (the big blind) wagers; Player C folds; Player D folds; Player E moves all-in for 100 chips; Player F moves all-in for 100 chips; Player A folds and Player B folds. At this point in the hand, two players have moved all-in and they reveal their down cards. Player E reveals a pair of Aces. Player F reveals a pair of Kings. Player E has a statistically leading hand and makes a PokerSurance™ side bet of 50 chips. The Dealer decides to accept this wager as Player E clearly has an advantaged hand. Step No. 4: The five community cards are dealt, face up and Player E holds the winning hand with the pair of Aces. Step No. 5: Player E wins the 200 chips in the pot. Player E loses the 50 chips for the PokerSurance™ bet to the Dealer.

The new PokerSurance™ side bet (i.e., a No Limit Hold Em game utilizing the invention) compares favorably with the current game. The invention allows players that have a statistical advantage over their opponents to get paid in case of “bad beats.” Further, the invention allows for a significant revenue enhancement to casinos, on-line poker sites and console poker sponsors. Although Texas Hold 'Em has been emphasized in this description, any other player-versus-player game with or without community cards and in which additional cards are to be provided to players (individually or as community cards or as replacement cards after discarding) in which an All-In wager may be made, such as Omaha poker, seven-card stud, five-card draw and the like.

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification273/292, 463/13
International ClassificationA63F1/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63F1/00, A63F3/00157, A63F2001/005
European ClassificationA63F3/00A32, A63F1/00