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Publication numberUS20080268935 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/112,324
Publication dateOct 30, 2008
Filing dateApr 30, 2008
Priority dateApr 30, 2007
Also published asUS8632400, US20080268953, US20140135125, WO2008134676A1, WO2008134711A1
Publication number112324, 12112324, US 2008/0268935 A1, US 2008/268935 A1, US 20080268935 A1, US 20080268935A1, US 2008268935 A1, US 2008268935A1, US-A1-20080268935, US-A1-2008268935, US2008/0268935A1, US2008/268935A1, US20080268935 A1, US20080268935A1, US2008268935 A1, US2008268935A1
InventorsJohn F. Acres
Original AssigneeAcres-Fiore, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming device and method utilizing at least two rng outcomes
US 20080268935 A1
Abstract
Embodiments of the present invention are directed to electronic gaming devices utilizing at least two randomly generated outcomes along with methods of implementing the multiple randomly generated outcomes during game play. In one embodiment, a gaming device includes a display, a first game initiating button associated with a first random outcome, and a second game initiating button associated with a second random outcome.
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Claims(42)
1. A gaming device comprising:
a display;
a first game initiating button associated with a first random outcome; and
a second game initiating button associated with a second random outcome.
2. The gaming device of claim 1, further comprising:
a first random number generator to generate the first random outcome; and
a second random number generator to generate the second random outcome.
3. The gaming device of claim 1, further comprising a random number generator to generate the first random outcome and the second random outcome.
4. The gaming device of claim 1, further comprising a side bet device to automatically select one of the first random outcome and the second random outcome based on respective award amounts associated with the first and second random outcomes.
5. The gaming device of claim 1, further comprising a side bet device to award amounts associated with each of the first random outcome and second random outcome.
6. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the display is configured to show past outcomes associated with the first game initiating button and the second game initiating button.
7. The gaming device of claim 6, wherein the display is configured to show at least five past outcomes associated with each of the first and second game initiating buttons.
8. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the display is configured to show multiple possible outcomes associated with each of the first and second game initiating buttons.
9. The gaming device of claim 9, wherein the display is further configured to scroll the multiple possible outcomes associated with each of the first and second game initiating buttons.
10. A method of operating a gaming device comprising:
receiving a wager from a player on the gaming device;
activating a first game initiating button and a second game initiating button;
determining if the first or second game initiating button is selected by the player;
thereafter, determining a first random outcome associated with the first game initiating button;
determining a second random outcome associated with the second game initiating button;
displaying the first and second outcomes; and
awarding a prize associated with the selected one of the first or second game initiating buttons.
11. The method of claim 10, further comprising:
determining if an outcome guaranteeing side bet is made by the player; and
awarding a larger one of the prizes associated with the first and second outcomes when an outcome guaranteeing side bet is made by the player.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein awarding a larger one of the prizes associated with the first and second outcomes when an outcome guaranteeing side bet is made by the player further comprises:
determining if an award amount of the outcome associated with the selected one of the first or second game initiating buttons is greater than or equal to an award amount of the outcome associated with a non-selected one of the first or second game initiating buttons when an outcome guaranteeing side bet is made by the player;
switching the outcome associated with the selected one of the first or second game initiating buttons with the outcome associated with the non-selected one of the first or second game initiating buttons when the award amount of the outcome associated with the selected one of the first or second game initiating buttons is less than the award amount of the outcome associated with a non-selected one of the first or second game initiating buttons and an outcome guaranteeing side bet is made by the player.
13. The method of claim 10, further comprising associating the first random outcome with the first game initiating button and associating the second random outcome with the second game initiating button.
14. The method of claim 10, further comprising displaying past outcomes associated with the first game initiating button and the second game initiating button on the game display prior to activating the first and second game initiating buttons.
15. The method of claim 14, further comprising highlighting the larger of each pair of past outcomes.
16. The method of claim 10, further comprising:
scrolling multiple possible outcomes associated with each game initiating button; and
stopping the scrolling of the multiple possible outcomes in response to a player input to determine the first random outcome and the second random outcome.
17. The method of claim 10 further comprising locking in a game initiating button selection over a plurality of gaming events.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the game initiating button selection is locked for a predetermined amount of time.
19. The method of claim 17, wherein the game initiating button selection is locked for a predetermined number of games.
20. The method of claim 17, further comprising unlocking a locked game initiating button selection upon request from the player.
21. The method of claim 20, wherein unlocking the locked game initiating button selection requires an additional wager.
22. A gaming device comprising:
a display configured to show a gaming event output in response to a wager placed on the gaming device by a player;
a first random number generator;
a second random number generator;
at least one game initiating button configured to initiate a gaming event on the gaming device;
a first outcome display configured to show a first random outcome generated by the first random generator in response to initiation of a gaming event; and
a second outcome display configured to show a second random outcome generated by the second random generator in response to initiation of the gaming event.
23. The gaming device of claim 22, wherein the at least one game initiating button comprises:
a first game initiating button to initiate a gaming event, the first game initiating button associated with the first random outcome; and
a second game initiating button to initiate a gaming event, the second game initiating button associated with the second random outcome.
24. The gaming device of claim 22, further comprising:
a first bonus initiating button to generate a first bonus outcome for a bonus event; and
a second bonus initiating button to generate a second bonus outcome for the bonus event.
25. The gaming device of claim 24, wherein the first bonus outcome is generated by the first random number generator, and the second bonus outcome is generated by the second random number generator.
26. The gaming device of claim 24, further comprising a bonus indicator configured to output at least one of the first bonus outcome and the second bonus outcome.
27. The gaming device of claim 26, further comprising a top box portion housing the first bonus initiating button, the second bonus initiating button, and the bonus indicator.
28. The gaming device of claim 27, wherein the bonus indicator is a rotatable indicator including a plurality of output values displayed on the indicator.
29. The gaming device of claim 22, further comprising a gaming display to show the display configured to show a gaming event output, the first outcome display, and the second outcome display.
30. The gaming device of claim 22, wherein the display configured to show a gaming event output includes a plurality of physical spinning reels.
31. The gaming device of claim 30, further comprising a secondary gaming display to show the first outcome display and second outcome display.
32. The gaming device of claim 30, further comprising a first number meter and a second number meter to respectively show the first outcome display and second outcome display.
33. A method of operating a gaming device comprising:
receiving a wager placed by a player on a gaming event controlled by the gaming device;
receiving a player input to initiate the gaming event;
generating a first random outcome for the gaming event; and
generating a second random outcome for the gaming event;
displaying the first random outcome on a first outcome display; and
displaying the second random outcome on a second outcome display.
34. The method of claim 33, wherein the first random outcome is generated by a first random number generator and the second random outcome is generated by a second random number generator.
35. The method of claim 33, wherein the first random outcome and the second random outcome are generated by a single random number generator.
36. The method of claim 33, further comprising activating a first game initiating button and a second game initiating button in response to receiving a wager placed by the player on the gaming device.
37. The method of claim 36, wherein receiving a player input to initiate the gaming event includes receiving a player input on either the first game initiating button or the second game initiating button.
38. The method of claim 37 further comprising:
displaying the first random outcome on a first outcome display; and
displaying the second random outcome on a second outcome display.
39. The method of claim 38, further comprising awarding the first random outcome to the player when a player input on the first game initiating button is received and awarding the second random outcome to the player when a player input on the second game initiating button is received.
40. The method of claim 38, further comprising awarding the larger of the first random outcome and the second random outcome to the player.
41. The method of claim 38, further comprising awarding the sum of the first random outcome and the second random outcome to the player.
42. The method of claim 37, further comprising:
displaying the first random outcome on the first outcome display if a player input on the first game initiating button is received or displaying the second random outcome on the second outcome display if a player input on the second game initiating button is received;
allowing the player a choice to keep the displayed random outcome or give up the displayed random outcome for the non-displayed random outcome;
receiving a selection from the player; and
awarding the displayed random outcome to the player when the player chooses to keep the displayed random outcome or awarding the non-displayed random outcome to the player when the player chooses to give up the displayed random outcome for the non-displayed random outcome.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/926,870 filed Apr. 30, 2007, entitled “IMPROVEMENTS ON GAMBLING MACHINES,” the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference. In addition, commonly assigned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/______, to John Acres, is filed concurrently herewith, for MULTIPLE OUTCOME DISPLAY FOR GAMING DEVICE (Attorney Docket No. 1351-0053), the disclosure of which is also incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This disclosure relates generally to electronic gaming devices, and more particularly to electronic gaming devices utilizing at least two randomly generated outcomes along with methods of implementing the multiple randomly generated outcomes during game play.

BACKGROUND

Most modern gaming devices are electronically controlled by a computer or processer rather than by mechanical or other means. Even on slot machines that have physical reels that spin upon a pull of a gaming handle (“arm”) or pressing of a game initiation (“spin”) button, the outcome of the game is electronically controlled by processor circuitry within the gaming device or a remote computer connected to the gaming device over a network. Typically, an outcome for the game is determined almost immediately after the arm has been pulled or the spin button has been pressed. However, to build player anticipation, the reels each remain spinning for certain periods of time, where they are generally stopped from left to right to slowly show the outcome of the game. Generally, the reels are controlled by stepper motors or other mechanical motors controlled by the processor of the gaming device. As such, these motors are controlled to stop the reel at particular locations such that the “reel stop” or symbol corresponding to the determined outcome is shown on a payline.

To ensure that the outcomes of the games cannot be predicted, a random number generator (RNG) is typically implemented with the processor or remote computer to determine the outcomes of the games. More specifically, the RNG is utilized to randomly choose an outcome from the game's paytable. Since jackpot wins typically award far more money than was wagered, the game's paytable is typically weighted such that large value awards do not occur often. By weighting outcomes on the paytable or using virtual reels with a large number of reel stops, game designers can manipulate the payback percentage while maintaining the random nature of the game.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a functional block diagram that illustrates a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 1B is an isometric view of the gaming device illustrated in FIG. 1A.

FIGS. 2A, 2B, and 2C are detail diagrams of exemplary types of gaming devices according to embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a functional block diagram of networked gaming devices according to embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 4 is a functional block diagram that illustrates a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

FIGS. 5A and 5B are detail diagrams of exemplary gaming devices according to embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 6 is a detail diagram of another exemplary gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a detail diagram of yet another exemplary gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 8 is a flow diagram of a method of operating a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 9 is a flow diagram of another method of operating a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of yet another method of operating a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate example gaming devices according to embodiments of the invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1A and 1B, a gaming device 10 is an electronic gaming machine. Although an electronic gaming machine or “slot” machine is illustrated, various other types of devices may be used to wager monetarily based credits on a game of chance in accordance with principles of the invention. The term “electronic gaming device” is meant to include various devices such as electromechanical spinning-reel type slot machines, video slot machines, and video poker machines, for instance. Other gaming devices may include computer-based gaming machines, wireless gaming devices, multi-player gaming stations, modified personal electronic gaming devices (such as cell phones), personal computers, server-based gaming terminals, and other similar devices. Although embodiments of the invention will work with all of the gaming types mentioned, for ease of illustration the present embodiments will be described in reference to the electronic gaming machine 10 shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B.

The gaming device 10 includes a cabinet 15 housing components to operate the gaming device 10. The cabinet 15 may include a gaming display 20, a base portion 13, a top box 18, and a player interface panel 30. The gaming display 20 may include mechanical spinning reels (FIG. 2A), a video display (FIGS. 2B and 2C), or a combination of both spinning reels and a video display (not shown). The gaming cabinet 15 may also include a credit meter 27 and a coin-in or bet meter 28. The credit meter 27 may indicate the total number of credits remaining on the gaming device 10 that are eligible to be wagered. In some embodiments, the credit meter 27 may reflect a monetary unit, such as dollars. However, it is often preferable to have the credit meter 27 reflect a number of ‘credits,’ rather than a monetary unit, so that the player partially disassociates credit losses with particular amounts of money loss. The bet meter 28 may indicate the amount of credits to be wagered on a particular game. Thus, for each game, the player transfers the amount that he or she wants to wager from the credit meter 27 to the bet meter 28. In some embodiments, various other meters may be present, such as meters reflecting amounts won, amounts paid, or the like. In embodiments where the gaming display 20 is a video monitor, the information indicated on the credit meters may be shown on the gaming display itself 20 (FIG. 2B).

The base portion 13 may include a lighted panel 14, a coin return (not shown), and a gaming handle 12 operable on a partially rotating pivot joint 11. The game handle 12 is traditionally included on mechanical spinning-reel games, where the handle may be pulled toward a player to initiate the spinning of reels 22 after placement of a wager. The top box 18 may include a lighted panel 17, a video display (such as an LCD monitor), a mechanical bonus device (not shown), and a candle light indicator 19. The player interface panel 30 may include various devices so that a player can interact with the gaming device 10.

The player interface panel 30 may include one or more game buttons 32 that can be actuated by the player to cause the gaming device 10 to perform a specific action. For example, some of the game buttons 32 may cause the gaming device 10 to bet a credit to be wagered during the next game, change the number of lines being played on a multi-line game, cash out the credits remaining on the gaming device (as indicated on the credit meter 27), or request assistance from casino personnel, such as by lighting the candle 19. In addition, the player interface panel 30 may include one or more game actuating buttons 33. The game actuating buttons 33 may initiate a game with a pre-specified amount of credits. On some gaming devices 10 a “Max Bet” game actuating button 33 may be included that places the maximum credit wager on a game and initiates the game. The player interface panel 30 may further include a bill acceptor 37 and a ticket printer 38. The bill acceptor 37 may accept and validate paper money or previously printed tickets with a credit balance. The ticket printer 38 may print out tickets reflecting the balance of the credits that remain on the gaming device 10 when a player cashes out by pressing one of the game buttons 32 programmed to cause a ‘cashout.’ These tickets may be inserted into other gaming machines or redeemed at a cashier station or kiosk for cash.

The gaming device 10 may also include one or more speakers 26 to transmit auditory information or sounds to the player. The auditory information may include specific sounds associated with particular events that occur during game play on the gaming device 10. For example, a particularly festive sound may be played during a large win or when a bonus is triggered. The speakers 26 may also transmit “attract” sounds to entice nearby players when the game is not currently being played.

The gaming device 10 may further include a secondary display 25. This secondary display 25 may be a vacuum fluorescent display (VFD), a liquid crystal display (LCD), a cathode ray tube (CRT), a plasma screen, or the like. The secondary display 25 may show ancillary information to the player. For example, the secondary display 25 may show player tracking information, secondary bonus information, advertisements, or player selectable game options. 5 The gaming device 10 includes a microprocessor 40 that controls operation of the gaming device 10. If the gaming device 10 is a standalone gaming device, the microprocessor 40 may control virtually all of the operations of the gaming devices and attached equipment, such as operating game logic stored in memory (not shown) as firmware, controlling the display 20 to represent the outcome of a game, communicate with the other peripheral devices (such as the bill acceptor 37), and orchestrating the lighting and sound emanating from the gaming device 10. In other embodiments where the gaming device 10 is coupled to a network 50, as described below, the microprocessor 40 may have different tasks depending on the setup and function of the gaming device. For example, the microprocessor 40 may be responsible for running the base game of the gaming device and executing instructions received over the network 50 from a bonus server or player tracking server. In a server-based gaming setup, the microprocessor 40 may act as a terminal to execute instructions from a remote server that is running game play on the gaming device.

The microprocessor 40 may be coupled to a machine communication interface (MCI) 42 that connects the gaming device 10 to a gaming network 50. The MCI 42 may be coupled to the microprocessor 40 through a serial connection, a parallel connection, an optical connection, or in some cases a wireless connection. The gaming device 10 may include memory 41 (MEM), such as a random access memory (RAM), coupled to the microprocessor 40 and which can be used to store gaming information, such as storing total coin-in statistics about a present or past gaming session, which can be communicated to a remote server or database through the MCI 42. The MCI 42 may also facilitate communication between the network 50 and the secondary display 25 or a player tracking unit 45 housed in the gaming cabinet 15.

The player tracking unit 45 may include an identification device 46 and one or more buttons 47 associated with the player tracking unit 45. The identification device 46 serves to identify a player, by, for example, reading a player-tracking device, such as a player tracking card that is issued by the casino to individual players who choose to have such a card. The identification device 46 may instead, or additionally, identify players through other methods. Player tracking systems using player tracking cards and card readers 46 are known in the art. Briefly summarizing such a system, a player registers with the casino prior to commencing gaming. The casino issues a unique player-tracking card to the player and opens a corresponding player account that is stored on a server or host computer, described below with reference to FIG. 3. The player account may include the player's name and mailing address and other information of interest to the casino in connection with marketing efforts. Prior to playing one of the gaming devices in the casino, the player inserts the player tracking card into the identification device 46 thus permitting the casino to track player activity, such as amounts wagered, credits won, and rate of play.

To induce the player to use the card and be an identified player, the casino may award each player points proportional to the money or credits wagered by the player. Players typically accrue points at a rate related to the amount wagered, although other factors may cause the casino to award the player various amounts. The points may be displayed on the secondary display 25 or using other methods. In conventional player tracking systems, the player may take his or her card to a special desk in the casino where a casino employee scans the card to determine how many accrued points are in the player's account. The player may redeem points for selected merchandise, meals in casino restaurants, or the like, which each have assigned point values. In some player tracking systems, the player may use the secondary display 25 to access their player tracking account, such as to check a total number of points, redeem points for various services, make changes to their account, or download promotional credits to the gaming device 10. In other embodiments, the identification device 46 may read other identifying cards (such as driver licenses, credit cards, etc.) to identify a player and match them to a corresponding player tracking account. Although FIG. 1A shows the player tracking unit 45 with a card reader as the identification device 46, other embodiments may include a player tracking unit 45 with a biometric scanner, PIN code acceptor, or other methods of identifying a player to pair the player with their player tracking account.

During typical play on a gaming device 10, a player plays a game by placing a wager and then initiating a gaming session. The player may initially insert monetary bills or previously printed tickets with a credit value into the bill acceptor 37. The player may also put coins into a coin acceptor (not shown) or a credit card into a card reader/authorizer (not shown). The credit meter 27 displays the numeric credit value of the money inserted dependent on the denomination of the gaming device 10. That is, if the gaming device 10 is a nickel slot machine and a $20 bill inserted into the bill acceptor 37, the credit meter will reflect 400 credits or one credit for each nickel of the inserted twenty dollars. For gaming devices 10 that support multiple denominations, the credit meter 27 will reflect the amount of credits relative to the denomination selected. Thus, in the above example, if a penny denomination is selected after the $20 is inserted the credit meter will change from 400 credits to 2000 credits.

A wager may be placed by pushing one or more of the game buttons 32, which may be reflected on the bet meter 28. That is, the player can generally depress a “bet one” button (one of the buttons on the player interface panel 30, such as 32), which transfers one credit from the credit meter 27 to the bet meter 28. Each time the button 32 is depressed an additional single credit transfers to the bet meter 28 up to a maximum bet that can be placed on a single play of the electronic gaming device 10. The gaming session may be initiated by pulling the gaming handle 12 or depressing the spin button 33. On some gaming devices 10, a “max bet” button (another one of the buttons 32 on the player interface panel 30) may be depressed to wager the maximum number of credits supported by the gaming device 10 and initiate a gaming session.

If the gaming session does not result in any winning combination, the process of placing a wager may be repeated by the player. Alternatively, the player may cash out any remaining credits on the credit meter 27 by depressing the “cash-out” button (another button 32 on the player interface panel 30), which causes the credits on the credit meter 27 to be paid out in the form of a ticket through the ticket printer 38, or may be paid out in the form of returning coins from a coin hopper (not shown) to a coin return tray.

If instead a winning combination (win) appears on the display 20, the award corresponding to the winning combination is immediately applied to the credit meter 27. For example, if the gaming device 10 is a slot machine, a winning combination of symbols 23 may land on a played payline on reels 22. If any bonus games are initiated, the gaming device 10 may enter into a bonus mode or simply award the player with a bonus amount of credits that are applied to the credit meter 27.

FIGS. 2A to 2C illustrate exemplary types of gaming devices according to embodiments of the invention. FIG. 2A illustrates an example spinning-reel gaming machine 10A, FIG. 2B illustrates an example video slot machine 10B, and FIG. 2C illustrates an example video poker machine 10C.

Referring to FIG. 2A, a spinning-reel gaming machine 10A includes a gaming display 20A having a plurality of mechanical spinning reels 22A. Typically, spinning-reel gaming machines 10A have three to five spinning reels 22A. Each of the spinning reels 22A has multiple symbols 23A that may be separated by blank areas on the spinning reels 22A, although the presence of blank areas typically depends on the number of reels 22A present in the gaming device 10A and the number of different symbols 23A that may appear on the spinning reels 22A. Each of the symbols 22A or blank areas makes up a “stop” on the spinning reel 22A where the reel 22A comes to rest after a spin. Although the spinning reels 22A of various games 10A may have various numbers of stops, many conventional spinning-reel gaming devices 10A have reels 22A with twenty two stops.

During game play, the spinning reels 22A may be controlled by stepper motors (not shown) under the direction of the microprocessor 40 (FIG. 1A). Thus, although the spinning-reel gaming device 10A has mechanical based spinning reels 22A, the movement of the reels themselves is electronically controlled to spin and stop. This electronic control is advantageous because it allows a virtual reel strip to be stored in the memory 41 of the gaming device 10A, where various “virtual stops” are mapped to each physical stop on the physical reel 22A. This mapping allows the gaming device 10A to establish greater awards and bonuses available to the player because of the increased number of possible combinations afforded by the virtual reel strips.

A gaming session on a spinning reel slot machine 10A typically includes the player pressing the “bet-one” button (one of the game buttons 32A) to wager a desired number of credits followed by pulling the gaming handle 12 (FIGS. 1A, 1B) or pressing the spin button 33A to spin the reels 22A. Alternatively, the player may simply press the “max-bet” button (another one of the game buttons 32A) to both wager the maximum number of credits permitted and initiate the spinning of the reels 22A. The spinning reels 22A may all stop at the same time or may individually stop one after another (typically from left to right) to build player anticipation. Because the display 20A usually cannot be physically modified, some spinning reel slot machines 10A include an electronic display screen in the top box 18 (FIG. 1B), a mechanical bonus mechanism in the top box 18, or a secondary display 25 (FIG. 1A) to execute a bonus.

Referring to FIG. 2B, a video gaming machine 10B may include a video display 20B to display virtual spinning reels 22B and various other gaming information 21B. The video display 20B may be a CRT, LCD, plasma screen, or the like. It is usually preferable that the video display 20B be a touchscreen to accept player input. A number of symbols 23A appear on each of the virtual spinning reels 22B. Although FIG. 2B shows five virtual spinning reels 22B, the flexibility of the video display 20B allows for various reel 22B and game configurations. For example, some video slot games 10B spin reels for each individual symbol position (or stop) that appears on the video display 20B. That is, each symbol position on the screen is independent of every other position during the gaming sessions. In these types of games, very large numbers of pay lines or multiple super scatter pays can be utilized since similar symbols could appear at every symbol position on the video display 20B. On the other hand, other video slot games 10B more closely resemble the mechanical spinning reel games where symbols that are vertically adjacent to each other are part of the same continuous virtual spinning reel 22B.

Because the virtual spinning reels 22B, by virtue of being computer implemented, can have almost any number of stops on a reel strip, it is much easier to have a greater variety of displayed outcomes as compared to spinning-reel slot machines 10A (FIG. 2A) that have a fixed number of physical stops on each spinning reel 22A.

With the possible increases in reel 22B numbers and configurations over the mechanical gaming device 10A, video gaming devices 10B often have multiple paylines 24 that may be played. By having more paylines 24 available to play, the player may be more likely to have a winning combination when the reels 22B stop and the gaming session ends. However, since the player typically must wager at least a minimum number of credits to enable each payline 24 to be eligible for winning, the overall odds of winning are not much different, if at all, than if the player is wagering only on a single payline. For example, in a five line game, the player may bet one credit per payline 24 and be eligible for winning symbol combinations that appear on any of the five played paylines 24. This gives a total of five credits wagered and five possible winning paylines 24. If, on the other hand, the player only wagers one credit on one payline 24, but plays five gaming sessions, the odds of winning would be identical as above: five credits wagered and five possible winning paylines 24.

Because the video display 20B can easily modify the image output by the video display 20B, bonuses, such as second screen bonuses are relatively easy to award on the video slot game 10B. That is, if a bonus is triggered during game play, the video display 20B may simply store the resulting screen shot in memory and display a bonus sequence on the video display 20B. After the bonus sequence is completed, the video display 20B may then retrieve the previous screen shot and information from memory, and re-display that image.

Also, as mentioned above, the video display 20B may allow various other game information 21B to be displayed. For example, as shown in FIG. 2B, banner information may be displayed above the spinning reels 22B to inform the player, perhaps, which symbol combination is needed to trigger a bonus. Also, instead of providing a separate credit meter 27 (FIG. 1A) and bet meter 28, the same information can instead be displayed on the video display 20B. In addition, “soft buttons” 29B such as a “spin” button or “help/see pays” button may be built using the touch screen video display 20B. Such customization and ease of changing the image shown on the display 20B adds to the flexibility of the game 10B.

Even with the improved flexibility afforded by the video display 20B, several physical buttons 32B and 33B are usually provided on video slot machines 10B. These buttons may include game buttons 32B that allow a player to choose the number of paylines 24 he or she would like to play and the number of credits wagered on each payline 24. In addition, a max bet button (one of the game buttons 32B) allows a player to place a maximum credit wager on the maximum number of available paylines 24 and initiate a gaming session. A repeat bet or spin button 33B may also be used to initiate each gaming session when the max bet button is not used.

Referring to FIG. 2C, a video poker gaming device 10C may include a video display 20C that is physically similar to the video display 20B shown in FIG. 2B. The video display 20C may show a poker hand of five cards 23C and various other player information 21C including a paytable for various winning hands, as well as a plurality of player selectable soft buttons 29C. The video display 20C may present a poker hand of five cards 23C and various other player information 21C including a number of player selectable soft (touch-screen) buttons 29C and a paytable for various winning hands. Although the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3C shows only one hand of poker on the video display 20C, various other video poker machines 10C may show several poker hands (multi-hand poker). Typically, video poker machines 10C play “draw” poker in which a player is dealt a hand of five cards, has the opportunity to hold any combination of those five cards, and then draws new cards to replace the discarded ones. All pays are usually given for winning combinations resulting from the final hand, although some video poker games 10C may give bonus credits for certain combinations received on the first hand before the draw. In the example shown in FIG. 2C a player has been dealt two aces, a three, a six, and a nine. The video poker game 10C may provide a bonus or payout for the player having been dealt the pair of aces, even before the player decides what to discard in the draw. Since pairs, three of a kind, etc. are typically needed for wins, a player would likely hold the two aces that have been dealt and draw three cards to replace the three, six, and nine in the hope of receiving additional aces or other cards leading to a winning combination with a higher award amount. After the draw and revealing of the final hand, the video poker game 10C typically awards any credits won to the credit meter.

The player selectable soft buttons 29C appearing on the screen respectively correspond to each card on the video display 20C. These soft buttons 29C allow players to select specific cards on the video display 20C such that the card corresponding to the selected soft button is “held” before the draw. Typically, video poker machines 10C also include physical game buttons 32C that correspond to the cards in the hand and may be selected to hold a corresponding card. A deal/draw button 33C may also be included to initiate a gaming session after credits have been wagered (with a bet button 32C, for example) and to draw any cards not held after the first hand is displayed.

Although examples of a spinning reel slot machine 10A, a video slot machine 10B, and a video poker machine 10C have been illustrated in FIGS. 2A-2C, gaming machines various other types of gaming devices known in the art are contemplated and are within the scope of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating networked gaming devices according to embodiments of the invention. Referring to FIG. 3, multiple electronic gaming devices (EGMs) 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, and 75 may be coupled to one another and coupled to a remote server 80 through a network 50. For ease of understanding, gaming devices or EGMs 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, and 75 are generically referred to as EGMs 70-75. The term EGMs 70-75, however, may refer to any combination of one or more of EGMs 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, and 75. Additionally, the gaming server 80 may be coupled to one or more gaming databases 90. These gaming network 50 connections may allow multiple gaming devices 70-75 to remain in communication with one another during particular gaming modes such as tournament play or remote head-to-head play. Although some of the gaming devices 70-75 coupled on the gaming network 50 may resemble the gaming devices 10, 10A, 10B, and 10C shown in FIGS. 1A-1B and 2A-2C, other coupled gaming devices 70-75 may include differently configured gaming devices. For example, the gaming devices 70-75 may include traditional slot machines 75 directly coupled to the network 50, banks of gaming devices 70 coupled to the network 50, banks of gaming devices 70 coupled to the network through a bank controller 60, wireless handheld gaming machines 72 and cell phones 73 coupled to the gaming network 50 through one or more wireless routers or antennas 61, personal computers 74 coupled to the network 50 through the internet 62, and banks of gaming devices 71 coupled to the network through one or more optical connection lines 64. Additionally, some of the traditional gaming devices 70, 71, and 75 may include electronic gaming tables, multi-station gaming devices, or electronic components operating in conjunction with non-gaming components, such as automatic card readers, chip readers, and chip counters, for example.

Gaming devices 71 coupled over an optical line 64 may be remote gaming devices in a different location or casino. The optical line 64 may be coupled to the gaming network 50 through an electronic to optical signal converter 63 and may be coupled to the gaming devices 71 through an optical to electronic signal converter 65. The banks of gaming devices 70 coupled to the network 50 may be coupled through a bank controller 60 for compatibility purposes, for local organization and control, or for signal buffering purposes. The network 50 may include serial or parallel signal transmission lines and carry data in accordance with data transfer protocols such as Ethernet transmission lines, firewire lines, USB lines, or other communication protocols. Although not shown in FIG. 3, substantially the entire network 50 may be made of optical lines 64 or may be a wireless network.

As mentioned above, each gaming device 70-75 may have an individual processor 40 (FIG. 1A) and memory 41 to run and control game play on the gaming device 70-75, or some of the gaming devices 70-75 may be terminals that are run by a remote server 80 in a server based gaming environment. Server based gaming environments may be advantageous to casinos by allowing fast downloading of particular game types or themes based on casino preference or player selection. Additionally, tournament based games, linked games, and certain game types, such as BINGO or keno may benefit from at least some server 80 based control.

Thus, in some embodiments, the network 50, server 80, and database 90 may be dedicated to communications regarding specific game or tournament play. In other embodiments, however, the network 50, server 80, and database 90 may be part of a player tracking network. For player tracking capabilities, when a player inserts a player tracking card in the card reader 46 (FIG. 1A), the player tracking unit 45 sends player identification information obtained on the card reader 46 through the MCI 42 over the network 50 to the player tracking server 80, where the player identification information is compared to player information records on in the player database 90 to provide the player with information regarding their player accounts or other features at the gaming device 10 where the player is wagering. Additionally, multiple databases 90 and/or servers 80 may be present and coupled to one or more networks 50 to provide a variety of gaming services, such as both game/tournament data and player tracking data.

The various systems described with reference to FIGS. 1-3 can be used in a number of ways. For instance, the systems can be used to track data about various players. The tracked data can be used by the casino to provide additional benefits to players, such as extra bonuses or extra benefits such as bonus games and other benefits as described above. These added benefits further entice the players to play at the casino that provides the benefits.

FIG. 4 is a functional block diagram that illustrates a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 4, a gaming device 100 includes a gaming cabinet 115 having a top box 118, a game output display 120, a player interface panel 130, a secondary display 125, a processor 140, and a player identifying unit 145. Similar to the gaming device 10 shown in FIG. 1, the gaming device 100 may include speakers 126, credit meters 127/128, a gaming handle 112, a memory 141 connected to the processor 140, and an MCI 142 connected to a network 147. However, the processor 140 may include only a first random number generator (RNG) 155A, or may include a first RNG 155A and a second RNG 155B. In addition, the player interface panel 130 may include a first game initiating button 133A and a second game initiating button 133B.

The first and second game initiating buttons 133A, 133B may each function in a similar manner to the game initiating button 33 described with reference to FIG. 1. That is, each of the first and second game initiating buttons 133A, 133B may initiate a gaming event or gaming session on the gaming device 100 where a wager placed by a player on a gaming device is risked in connection with the gaming event initiated by the game initiating buttons 133A, 133B. For example, each of the first and second game initiating buttons 133A, 133B may be a “SPIN” button, a “REPEAT BET” button, or a “DEAL/DRAW” button. Although only two game initiating buttons are shown in FIG. 4, any number of game initiating buttons may be implemented in other embodiments of the present invention, where a separate random outcome is associated with each of the game initiating buttons. Additionally, the multiple game initiating buttons 133A, 133B may be used in bonus events. That is, different random outcomes in bonus events, such as second screen bonuses, top box bonuses, networked bonuses, mystery bonuses, etc. may be associated with each of the game initiating buttons 233A, 233B such that the bonus events have different outcomes depending on which of the buttons is selected by a player.

The first game initiating button 133A may be associated with a first random outcome and the second game initiating button 133B may be associated with a second random outcome. In some embodiments, the first and second random outcome may be generated by a single RNG 155A, or may be respectively generated by a first RNG 155A and a second RNG 155B. In gaming devices, random number generators are typically computer controlled pseudo-random number generators operated from a seed value. These random number generators generally are generating random numbers at a relatively fast rate, often in the order of thousands of numbers per second. The present invention may, however, be realized using any type of random number generating system from these computerized random number generators to more elaborate random number generating systems utilizing physical phenomena, such as thermal noise in Zener diodes or even nuclear decay.

In embodiments utilizing only a single RNG 155A, a first random outcome may be generated by the single RNG 155A a short time before a second random outcome is generated by the RNG 155A. These outcomes may be generated nearly simultaneously because of the generating speed of the RNG 155A. On the other hand, in embodiments utilizing multiple RNGs, such as a first RNG 155A and a second RNG 155B, the first and second random outcomes may be generated substantially simultaneously. Since it is preferable to have the first random outcome be different than the second random outcome as a general matter, the first and second RNGs 155A and 155B may be preferably seeded differently or initialized at different times so that identical output results are not generated.

The operation of the gaming devices will be discussed in further detail with reference to the exemplary gaming devices shown in FIGS. 5, 6, and 7, as well as in the operational flow charts shown in FIGS. 8, 9, and 10. However, it should be noted that while the following exemplary gaming devices (shown in FIGS. 5, 6, and 7) are video based spinning reel games, the concepts of this invention may be implemented on any type of gaming device, such as a spinning reel slot, video poker machine, computerized table game, etc.

FIGS. 5A and 5B are detail diagrams of exemplary gaming devices according to embodiments of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 5A, a gaming device 200 includes a gaming display 220 and a player interface panel having one or more game buttons 232, a first game initiating button 233A, and a second game initiating button 233B. The gaming display 220 may include a portion to show a game output 222 such as video reels, a banner area 221 to display game information, one or more soft buttons 229 to access See Pays or Help screens, a first outcome portion 250A, and a second outcome portion 250B. The first outcome portion 250A may be on the same side of the gaming display 220 as the corresponding first game initiating button 233A is on the gaming device 200 for ease of playability and player understanding.

The first outcome portion 250A may include a soft button for initiating a game and a first outcome indicator 255A. The second outcome portion 250B may include a soft button for initiating a game and a second outcome indicator 255B. In embodiments where a video monitor is not used in displaying a game result (such as with a physical spinning reel slot machine), the results of the first and second outcome may be displayed on the secondary display 125 (FIG. 4), on meters similar to credit meters 127/128, on a top box display 118, or on other display devices.

In operation, after the player has placed a wager or added credits to the game device 200, the player may choose to initiate the gaming event with either first game initiating button 233A (or corresponding soft button in the first outcome potion 250A) or the second game initiating button 233B (or corresponding soft button in the second outcome portion 250B). Regardless of which game initiating button 233A, 233B is selected by the player, a first random outcome is generated for the first outcome portion 250A and may be shown at the first outcome indicator 255A. A second random outcome is also generated for the second outcome portion 250B and may be shown at the second outcome indicator 255B. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5A, the outcome for the first outcome portion (the RED side) is 5 credits while the outcome for the second outcome portion (the BLUE side) is 85 credits. Thus, if the player had selected the first game initiating button 233A, he or she would have won 5 credits. On the other hand, if the player had selected the second game initiating button 233B, he or she would have won 85 credits.

By showing the player what they could have won had they chosen the other game initiating button, the gaming device 200 may make a player feel “lucky” for making the right choice, or “close” to winning a larger prize. In other embodiments, however, the player may be awarded the sum of the two outcomes or may be able to select another outcome that has not yet been revealed. For example, in an embodiment utilizing four game initiating buttons that each have a separate random outcome associated with the button, a player may only be shown the outcome for the button he or she selected. However, the player may be given the choice to give up his or her present outcome for a chance to pick one of the other buttons that does not have its associated outcome yet revealed. This switching chance may require an additional wager in some embodiments, or may be part of a player club promotion or bonus event in other embodiments.

The game result shown on the game output portion 222 may reflect the random outcome associated with the selected one of the game initiating buttons 233A, 233B. For example, the video reels 222 may still stop in a left to right fashion before the first and second random outcomes are respectively displayed at the first and second outcome indicator 255A, 255B. In some embodiments, the outcome indicator 255A, 255B associated with the selected game initiating button 233A, 233B may be highlighted to emphasize the amount won by the player. In other embodiments, the larger of the amounts shown on the outcome indicators 255A, 255B may be highlighted. The other player information 221 such as the player banner or credit meter may also reflect the results of the random outcomes. For example, the player banner may announce which “side” had the better result or may display how much the player won with the selection they made.

Referring to FIG. 5B, the gaming device 200 may include a top box 218 having a bonus indicator 299 and a plurality of bonus initiating buttons 231. Although the embodiment shown in FIG. 5B shows a rotating type of bonus indicator 299, any style of bonus indicator may be implemented in other embodiments. Additionally, although a plurality of bonus initiating buttons 231 are shown in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5B, game buttons 232 or game initiating buttons 233A, 233B may be used to initiate a bonus.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5B, each of the bonus initiating buttons 231 may generate a separate random outcome associated with a position on the bonus indicator 299. That is, once a bonus has been triggered, a player may select among the plurality of bonus initiating buttons 231 where each of the bonus initiating buttons 231 generate individual random outcomes associated with the bonus indicator 299. A single RNG 155A (FIG. 4) or multiple RNGs 155A, 155B, etc. may be used to generate these separate random outcomes associated with each of the bonus initiating buttons 231. In some embodiments, the outcome of each bonus initiating button 231 may be shown on the gaming display 220. In other embodiments, each bonus initiating button 231 may include a small display capable of showing the outcome associated with that button. However, these outcomes may not be displayed until the bonus indicator is activated (in this case spun) such that the outcome appears on the bonus indicator 299. For example, the a player may choose the GREEN SPIN button and the rotating bonus indicator 299 may spin until a 50 credit award is shown as won on the rotating bonus indicator 299. Afterwards, the random outcomes of the other bonus initiating buttons 231 may be displayed so that the player sees how lucky he is she was in picking a bonus initiating button 231.

In various bonus events, a player may be able to select more than one of the bonus initiating buttons 231 are receive the sum of random outcomes associated with each of the bonus initiating buttons 231. In other bonus events, a player may only see the outcome associated with the bonus initiating button 231 he or she selected, and may be given the opportunity to keep that outcome or trade that pick for one of the still-yet-to-be-revealed outcomes associated with one of the other non-selected buttons. Various other bonus arrangements may be used in conjunction with the bonus initiating buttons 231 and bonus indicator 299.

FIG. 6 is a detail diagram of another exemplary gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 6, a gaming device 300 includes a gaming display 320 and a player interface panel having one or more game buttons 332, a first game initiating button 333A, and a second game initiating button 333B. The gaming display 320 may include a portion to show a game output 322 such as video reels, a banner area 321 to display game information, a first outcome portion 350A, a second outcome portion 350B, a first outcome history portion 370A, and a second outcome history portion 370B.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 6 may be similar in operation to the embodiment shown in FIG. 5A except that the embodiment shown in FIG. 6 includes a first outcome history portion 370A of the display 320 and a second outcome history portion 370B of the display 320. The first and second outcome history portions 370A, 370B may display a list of recent random results for each game initiating button 333A, 333B. For example, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 6, each outcome history portions 370A, 370B shows the past ten outcomes for each “side.” With this feature, a player may look over the recent outcome history to determine if one side is “hot” or is “due” for a big win. Outcomes that were larger for one side may be highlighted to distinguish them over the awards from the other side. For example, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 6, the “BLUE” side has had a larger outcome in six of the last 10 games, the “RED” side has had a larger outcome in three of the last 10 games, and neither side had a better award in one of the last 10 games. Hence, a player may decide to initiate the next gaming event using the second game initiating button 333B corresponding to the “BLUE” side because the “BLUE” side appears to be doing better. However, another player may decide to initiate the next gaming event using the first game initiating button 333A corresponding to the “RED” side because the “RED” side appears to be due for a better outcome.

After a gaming outcome has been displayed on the first and second outcome indicators 355A and 355B respectively included in the first and second outcome portions 350A, 350B, the outcomes may move to the top (or bottom) of the lists shown in the outcome history portions 370A, 370B. As more recent outcomes are added to the first and second outcome portions 350A, 350B, the more distant outcomes may be removed from the respective lists. Although ten outcomes for each of the first and second outcome portions 350A, 350B are shown in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6, more or fewer outcomes may be listed. Additionally, in other embodiments, all of the outcomes of a gaming session may be downloaded to a player club account and reviewed by a player at a later time. The first and second outcome portions 350A, 350B may also be hidden during the actual game event to maximize the space on the game display 320.

Although not shown, the gaming device 300 may make a visual or auditory indication when one of the “sides” has hit a particularly good streak of outcomes. For example, if one of the “sides” receives five straight outcomes that return more credits than were wagered, an auditory or visual indicator may draw attention to that “side” of the gaming device 300 or to the gaming device itself 300.

FIG. 7 is a detail diagram of yet another exemplary gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 7, a gaming device 400 includes a gaming display 420 and a player interface panel having one or more game buttons 432, a first game initiating button 433A, a second game initiating button 433B, and a side bet button 434. The gaming display 420 may include a portion to show a game output 422 such as video reels, a banner area 421 to display game information, a first outcome portion 450A, a second outcome portion 450B, a first multiple outcome portion 480A, and a second multiple outcome portion 480B.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 6 may be similar in operation to the embodiment shown in FIG. 5A except that the embodiment shown in FIG. 6 includes a first multiple outcome portion 480A and a second multiple outcome portion 480B. Multiple outcome portions are thoroughly discussed in copending application Ser. No. 12/______ entitled MULTIPLE OUTCOME DISPLAY FOR GAMING DEVICE, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference. The quickly reiterate one of the functions of the multiple outcome portions 480A, 480B, once a wager is received and/or a game initiating button is selected multiple possible outcomes are displayed in each of the multiple outcome portions 480A, 480B. These displayed outcomes may be actual possible outcomes or arbitrary outcomes as described in the “MULTIPLE OUTCOME DISPLAY FOR GAMING DEVICE” application. As the outcomes scroll, a player may press the corresponding game initiating button, the soft button in the outcome display portion, or the multiple outcome portion itself to stop the scrolling of the multiple outcomes so as to reach an outcome awarded to the player. In some embodiments, a received outcome window 490A, 490B may be present in each of the multiple outcome portions 480A, 480B to indicate received outcomes. The outcome values reflected in these received outcome windows 490A, 490B may also be displayed at the outcome indicators 455A, 455B. The multiple outcome portions 480A, 480B may be advantageous in showing a player how close they were to a large prize. To further emphasize this point, higher value outcomes may be highlighted to draw the player's attention to them. In addition, a player may see a large value appear on the multiple outcome portions 480A, 480B and try to stop the scrolling outcomes such that they receive that value. In some embodiments, the player cannot stop the scrolling outcomes to reach a specific value as this may take away some of the randomness of the gamine device 400.

The side bet button 434 may allow a player to place an additional wager such that they receive the higher of the two random outcomes displayed on the outcome indicators 455A, 455B. That is, the player may be able to place an additional wager such that the selection of the first game initiating button 433A or the second game initiating button 433B does not affect the ultimate outcome awarded to the player. In some instances, this feature may be beneficial to the player because they may have selected a “side” with a lower value. In other instances, the player may have selected the “side” with the larger award; rendering the additional wager unnecessary.

In other embodiments, the ability of the player to get the better of the two outcomes may be tied to a bonus or player criterion without an additional wager. For example, a casino may wish to reward a player playing high stakes gaming devices 400, or a casino may wish to tie the best spin feature to a player tracking benchmark. In bonus scenarios, the best spin feature may only be enabled for a predetermined number of gaming events or a predetermined amount of time. This limited duration may give the player a favorable perk while not affecting the long term payback of the gaming device 400.

FIG. 8 is a flow diagram of a method of operating a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 8, the method of operating the gaming device includes receiving a wager 505 from a player playing the gaming device. After a wager is received, a first game initiating button and a second game initiating button are activated 510 such that the player may press either button to initiate a gaming event on the gaming device. In some embodiments, the first and second game initiating buttons may be activated if a there are credits on the gaming device that are available for wagering. For example, each of the first or second game initiating buttons may be activated with a predetermined amount to be wagered if pressed by the player without an alteration of the wager prior to pressing either of the buttons.

Once the first and second game initiating buttons have been activated, the gaming device determines if either of the first or second game initiating buttons have been pressed 515. In other embodiments utilizing other game initiating means (such as a game handle), the gaming device would determine if a game initiating device had been manipulated in order to initiate a gaming event. If neither game initiating button has been pressed, the gaming device may periodically check to see if either of the game initiating buttons is pressed or the gaming device may simply wait for a signal indicative of one of the game initiating buttons being pressed.

When either of the first or second game initiating buttons has been pressed, the gaming device determines a first random outcome and a second random outcome 520. As described above with reference to FIG. 4, the first and second random outcomes may be generated by a single RNG or may be respectively generated by a first RNG and a second RNG. The first random outcome is then associated with the first game initiating button and the second random outcome is associated with the second game initiating button 525.

The gaming device may then display the appropriate outcome associated with the game initiating button selected by the player 530 and may display the outcome associated with the non-selected game initiating button 535. As discussed above, the game device may highlight the outcome associated with the game initiating button selected by the player. Credits or other prizes from the outcome associated with the game initiating button selected by the player may then be awarded to the player on the gaming device 550.

FIG. 9 is a flow diagram of another method of operating a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 9, the method shown in FIG. 9 includes some processes that are similar to the processes discussed above with respect to FIG. 8. For example, the method of operating the gaming device shown in FIG. 9 may include receiving a wager from a player playing the gaming device 605, activating first and second game initiating buttons 610, and determining if the either of the game initiating buttons is pressed by the player 615. In addition, the method shown in FIG. 9 may include determining first and second random outcomes 620, respectively associating the first and second random outcomes with the first and second game initiating buttons 625, and displaying each of the random outcomes 630, 635.

Thereafter, the gaming device may determine if an outcome guaranteeing side bet (or buy-a-pay) was made by the player 640 to secure the higher valued outcome regardless of which game initiating button was selected. As discussed above, this side bet may ensure that the player receives the higher valued outcome of the first and second random outcomes. In some embodiments, the side bet may require an additional wager be made by the player prior to either game activating button being pressed. In other embodiments, the side bet may be automatically made for the player based on a bonus or a player criterion, as discussed above.

If a side bet has not been made, the method may proceed to awarding prizes from the outcome associated with the selected game initiating button 650 as described above with reference to FIG. 8. However, if a side bet has been made, the gaming device may determine if the random outcome associated with the selected game initiating button is less than the random outcome associated with the non-selected game initiating button 645. Alternatively, the gaming device may determine if the random outcome associated with the selected game initiating button is greater than or equal to the random outcome associated with the non-selected game initiating button. In either case, if the random outcome associated with the selected game initiating button is at least as large as the random outcome associated with the non-selected game initiating button, the game device may simply award any prizes from the outcome associated with the selected game initiating button 650 as described above. On the other hand, if the random outcome associated with the non-selected game initiating button is larger than the random outcome associated with the selected game initiating button, the gaming device may award prizes from the outcome associated with the non-selected game initiating button.

FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of yet another method of operating a gaming device according to embodiments of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 10, the method shown in FIG. 10 includes some processes that are similar to the processes discussed above with respect to FIG. 8. For example, the method of operating the gaming device shown in FIG. 10 may include receiving a wager from a player playing the gaming device 705, activating first and second game initiating buttons 710, and determining if the either of the game initiating buttons is pressed by the player 715. When it is determined that one of the game initiating buttons has been pressed, however, the method shown in FIG. 10 includes locking in the button selection for a predetermined number of games or for a predetermined time period 717. The method shown in FIG. 10 may then include similar processes as the embodiments shown in FIG. 8 in determining first and second random outcomes 720, respectively associating the first and second random outcomes with the first and second game initiating buttons 725, displaying each of the random outcomes 730, 735, and awarding prizes from the random outcome associated with the selected game initiating button 750. In other embodiments, the method may include determining if a side bet has been made and the processes associated with awarding a higher one of the selected or non-selected outcomes as described above with reference to FIG. 8.

After any prizes have been awarded, the gaming device may determine if the button selection is still locked in 770. As mentioned above, the button selection may be locked in for a predetermined number of games or for a predetermined amount of time. If the button selection lock has ended, the gaming device may wait for additional wagers from the player 780 or prompt the player to place additional wagers. If the button selection lock has not ended, the gaming device may again determine first and second random outcomes 720 and continue through the processes of displaying the random outcomes 730, 735 and awarding prizes 750.

In some embodiments, the initial wager received in process 705 may include a sufficient amount to cover multiple gaming events. In these embodiments, the game may automatically transition from one gaming event to another gaming event without the need for additional player input. This may resemble a conventional free-spin format. Because the selection of the game initiating button is “locked,” the player receives any awards during the multiple game events associated with the game initiating button that was initially selected.

In other embodiments, however, additional wagers may be required by the player to play additional games. In these embodiments, when it is determined that the game button selection lock has not ended, the gaming device may wait for additional wagers or the player may be prompted to place additional wagers 785. In some of these embodiments, the player may be given the option to “break” the button selection lock with a newly placed wager.

Providing a selection button lock may be advantageous in speeding up game play, giving players a larger sampling of outcomes to compare against outcomes associated with a non-selected game initiating button, and enabling bonus features such as free-spins.

Some embodiments of the invention have been described above, and in addition, some specific details are shown for purposes of illustrating the inventive principles. However, numerous other arrangements may be devised in accordance with the inventive principles of this patent disclosure. Further, well known processes have not been described in detail in order not to obscure the invention. Thus, while the invention is described in conjunction with the specific embodiments illustrated in the drawings, it is not limited to these embodiments or drawings. Rather, the invention is intended to cover alternatives, modifications, and equivalents that come within the scope and spirit of the inventive principles set out in the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8182326Mar 5, 2009May 22, 2012Vcat, LlcOutcome based display of gaming results
US8740685 *Dec 14, 2010Jun 3, 2014Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty LimitedGaming system and a method of gaming
US8784183Sep 27, 2011Jul 22, 2014IgtGaming system, gaming device, and method for displaying indications of awards that could have been won
US20110143831 *Dec 14, 2010Jun 16, 2011Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty LimitedGaming system and a method of gaming
US20110183743 *Apr 6, 2011Jul 28, 2011Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty LimitedGaming system and a method of gaming
EP2403616A2 *Feb 11, 2010Jan 11, 2012Vcat, LlcOutcome based display of gaming results
WO2010056806A1 *Nov 12, 2009May 20, 2010Gtech CorporationSecure random number generation
WO2010101706A2 *Feb 11, 2010Sep 10, 2010Vcat, LlcOutcome based display of gaming results
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16
International ClassificationA63F13/00
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3211, G07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32
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