US 20090121429 A1
A playing card delivery shoe for a casino table card game and method of fabricating such shoe. The shoe has an adjustable limiter and removable protective cover. The position of the card feed limiter sets a gap size of an opening though which cards pass. The card feed limiter may have openings therein through which a card reading sensor can be accessed. The card reading sensor can be accessed without substantial disassembly of the shoe. The removable protective cover provides a protective shield for the card reading sensor.
1. An apparatus for dispensing playing cards, comprising:
a container configured to store cards for delivery for a card game;
a barrier plate, said barrier plate providing access to a card-reading sensor without removal of the barrier plate and being adjustable with respect to a base plate; and
a base plate, wherein the base plate and barrier plate define an output slot providing a gap through which cards can be slidably removed from the container, the output slot gap being selectively adjustable to accommodate cards of different thicknesses.
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12. A card shoe, comprising:
a body, configured to hold a plurality of playing cards; the body having a lower surface for supporting cards and an exit end; at least one sensor in the lower surface proximate an end of the body;
a card feed limiter plate proximate the end of the body, said card feed limiter plate comprising a plurality of elongated slots and being adjustably attached to the body by a plurality of fasteners respectively passing through said slots for adjustably fixing said limiter to said body, the card feed limiter plate further comprising an access opening providing access to the at least one sensor; and
an opening between the body and card feed limiter plate providing a gap through which a card can be slid, said opening having a gap dimension defined by the positioning of the card feed limiter relative to said body.
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20. A method of fabricating an adjustable a card dealing shoe, comprising:
forming a container comprising a base plate and configured to store cards for delivery for a card game;
providing at least one sensor within the base plate; and
attaching a barrier plate to the container so that said barrier plate provides access to the at least one sensor without removal of the barrier plate, wherein the base plate and barrier plate define an output slot providing a gap proximate the at least one sensor and through which cards can be slidably removed from the container, the output slot gap being selectively adjustable to accommodate cards of different thicknesses.
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1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to equipment for the delivery of playing cards.
2. Background of the Art
Playing cards are ordinarily provided to players in casino table card games either directly from a deck held in a dealer's hands or with cards removed by the dealer from a dealing shoe. The original dealing devices were little more than trays that supported the deck(s) of cards and allowed the dealer to remove the front card (with its back facing the table to hide the rank of the card) and deliver it to a player. Over the years, both stylistic and functional changes have been made to dealing shoes, which have been used for blackjack, poker, baccarat and other casino table card games.
Recently, card recognition technology has been incorporated into card shoes in order to recognize cards as they are dealt for various purposes, including for game play and for security reasons. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/417,894 (“the '894 application”), assigned to Shuffle Master, Inc. and published as US 2006/0279040 A1, discloses such technology and a card shoe including such technology, which is incorporated herein by reference.
In the card shoe disclosed in the '894 application, the use of a physical device or component on an interior surface of the card exit port of the shoe has been used to limit the number of cards that can be pulled from the shoe at one time. A declining card support surface and two opposing side walls are used for retaining a group of pre-shuffled cards. The card dealing shoe has an exit end with an opening for the manual removal of individual cards. Located proximate the exit end of the shoe can be a card recognition sensor and an associated card position sensor. A card feed limiter is provided to assure that only a single card exits the shoe at one time, and that the printed material on the card comes into close proximity to or contact with the sensors, facilitating the scanning of the card markings.
The fixed card feed limiter, such as that disclosed in the '894 application, could be improved. Its configuration can require the exertion of greater force by a dealer to extract a playing card from the shoe, depending on the thickness of the cards stored therein. Related to this, the fixed card feeder limiter may not be compatible with some playing cards, again, depending on card thickness and size. Furthermore, residue from the playing cards, which may accumulate after even limited use of the cards, can build up on the sensors for the card reading system. This residue buildup can cause the system to malfunction, e.g., card misreading, and require service. A card dealing shoe that can accommodate varied card thickness and allow easy access to the card reading sensors for cleaning or repair would be advantageous.
In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific embodiments that may be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those of ordinary skill in the art to make and use them, and it is to be understood that structural, logical, or procedural changes may be made to the specific embodiments disclosed.
The present invention relates to a card shoe for storing and delivering cards for a card game and to methods of fabricating such a shoe. Although the card shoe can be a component of a card handling device useful for shuffling, card verification, card delivery and/or card storage, in an embodiment described herein, the exemplary shoe stores and functions as a card dispenser. Additionally, the shoe incorporates card reading systems, a detachable and adjustable card feed limiter and a detachable protective cover. Of note, the card reading systems of the present invention can be used with any conventional casino-style playing card of any brand. No special adaptation for the cards, such as imprinting with a bar code, is necessary for the reading systems to identify the suit and rank of such cards.
Embodiments of the invention are discussed below with reference to the figures, wherein like reference numbers denote like features. The front end of an exemplary embodiment of playing card dealing shoe 100 is shown in
Cards can be shuffled prior to insertion into the shoe 100, or, shoe 100 can be an integral part of a card shuffler, so that shuffled cards can be automatically delivered into the shoe 100 by the shuffler. An example of a shuffler with an integral shoe is fully disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,254,096, assigned to Shuffle Master, Inc., the content which is hereby incorporated by reference. Cards may be manually inserted into the exemplary shoe 100 and are manually removed by pressing downwardly on an outer surface of a card through an inverted U-shaped opening 115 in the front end 105 of the shoe 100.
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The details of the control system contained within the shoe that provides game data and game outcome information to a game of Baccarat is disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 11/417,894, filed May 3, 2006.
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Furthermore, since the preferred contact image sensor 150 typically functions best when the surface being scanned, here the playing card, is in contact with the scanner 150, the card feed limiter 110 adjustability ensures that the gap 140 between the card feed limiter 110 and base plate 135 is ideal for such contact or close proximity. The sensors 150 can be those disclosed in the '894 application and the dealing shoe 100 can be connected to a network via an I/O port or wirelessly, if desired. Information about the game being played and/or cards dealt can be transmitted over such a network.
An embodiment of the dealing shoe 100 can further comprise a detachable protective cover 200 to cover the limiter 110, as shown in
If desired, one or both of the limiter 110 and the protective cover 200 can further comprise a shielding device 250 and 252 to hide the underlying card in the shoe 100, as shown in
Referring again to
An alternative embodiment is shown in
The above-described card shoe 100 having the card feed limiter 110 and protective cover 200 can be used by a casino or dealer during the playing of a card game and may be tailored for cards of various sizes. Because not all cards used in casino games are the same, some are thicker or thinner than others. When an occasion arises for the card shoe 100 to be used with a set of cards of a different thickness, the shoe 100 may be tailored for such use by changing the gap 140 dimension so that such cards are easily removed from the shoe 100 with an appropriate force.
The method of tailoring the shoe 100 includes removing the detachable protective cover 200 (preferably by hand and without the use of tools) and exposing the card feed limiter 110 and the fasteners 160, e.g., screws, attaching the limiter 110 to the shoe 100. Then, the fasteners 160 attaching the card feed limiter 110 to the shoe are loosened or removed, preferably loosened. Once the fasteners 160 are loosened, the card feed limiter 110 is moved relative to the shoe 100 along line 145, as shown in
The above-described card shoe 100 having the card feed limiter 110 and protective cover 200 can be used with the shoe 100 so that the sensors 150 can be easily accessed for repair or cleaning through openings or apertures 112 in the limiter 110. Such access is achieved by first manually removing the protective cover 200. Once the protective cover is removed, sensors 150 can be accessed through the openings 112 in the card feed limiter 110. If greater access to the sensors 150 is required, the fasteners 160 attaching the card feed limiter 110 can be removed and the card feed limiter 110 removed from the shoe 100 so that the sensors 150 can be fully accessed for cleaning or repair.
The above description and drawings should be considered illustrative of example embodiments that achieve the features and advantages described herein. Modification and substitutions to specific conditions and structures can be made. Accordingly, the invention is not to be considered as being limited by the foregoing description and drawings, but is only limited by the scope of the appended claims.