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Publication numberUS20090121429 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/983,463
Publication dateMay 14, 2009
Filing dateNov 9, 2007
Priority dateNov 9, 2007
Publication number11983463, 983463, US 2009/0121429 A1, US 2009/121429 A1, US 20090121429 A1, US 20090121429A1, US 2009121429 A1, US 2009121429A1, US-A1-20090121429, US-A1-2009121429, US2009/0121429A1, US2009/121429A1, US20090121429 A1, US20090121429A1, US2009121429 A1, US2009121429A1
InventorsSion D. Walsh
Original AssigneeShuffle Master, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Card delivery shoe and methods of fabricating the card delivery shoe
US 20090121429 A1
Abstract
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.
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Claims(25)
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.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the card-reading sensor is positioned within the base plate for scanning a card as the card is slid through the output slot.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the barrier plate is adjustably secured to the container with at least one fastener.
4. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the card-reading sensor is configured to identify the suit and rank of cards removed from the container.
5. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the at least one fastener secures the barrier plate to the container by engaging the container through a respective slot in the barrier plate and engaging the barrier plate at an area at the slot.
6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the at least one fastener is a screw.
7. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the barrier plate is adjustable relative to the container to change the size of the gap of the output slot.
8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the position of the at least one fastener relative to the respective slot of the barrier plate determines the size of the output slot gap.
9. The apparatus of claim 3, further comprising a protective cover which is detachably secured adjacent to said barrier.
10. The apparatus of claim 9, where in the protective cover is detachably secured to the barrier by one or more magnets.
11. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the protective cover covers the card-reading sensor.
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.
13. The card shoe of claim 12, wherein the card feed limiter can be moved with respect to the body and held in place by said fasteners to define the size of the gap.
14. The card shoe of claim 13, wherein the card feed limiter can be securely affixed to the body by the fasteners.
15. The card shoe of claim 12, further comprising a protective cover plate detachably secured over the card feed limiter plate.
16. The card shoe of claim 15, wherein the protective cover plate is secured by at least one magnet.
17. The card shoe of claim 15, wherein the protective cover plate is secured by a hook and loop fastener.
18. The card shoe of claim 15, wherein the at least one sensor comprises an optical sensor and the protective cover plate covers the optical sensor when secured to the card feed limiter plate.
19. The card shoe of claim 18, wherein the optical sensor is a contact image sensor.
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.
21. The method of claim 20, further comprising attaching the barrier plate to the container by securing fasteners through elongated slots in said barrier plate.
22. The method of claim 20, further comprising forming an opening in the barrier plate so as to provide the access to an optical sensor.
23. The method of claim 20, further comprising removably attaching a cover plate over the barrier plate, said cover plate shielding the sensor.
24. The method of claim 20, wherein the optical sensor is a contact image sensor.
25. The card shoe of claim 15, wherein at least one of the card feed limiter plate and protective cover plate comprises a card shielding device for shielding a back side of a card from observation and through which a card can be contacted and moved through the opening.
Description
BACKGROUND

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.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the front end of a playing card dealing shoe with a card feed limiter, with the protective cover removed.

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the front end of a playing card dealing shoe with a card feed limiter, with the protective cover removed.

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of an example of a front end of a playing card dealing shoe of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of an example of a front end of a playing card dealing shoe, exposing a bottom surface of a card feed limiter and a protective cover.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a loaded playing card dealing shoe with a card feed limiter, with a protective cover removed.

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of a card feed limiter and protective cover for a card shoe.

FIG. 7 shows an alternative embodiment of a card feeder limiter and protective cover for a card dealing shoe.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

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 FIGS. 1-4. A view of an entire exemplary playing card dealing shoe 100 is shown in FIG. 5. The card shoe 100 can be fabricated by assembling components as discussed below. The dealing shoe 100 has a generally rectangular shaped body 101 as shown in FIG. 7, suitable for holding standard playing cards and can be sloped from a rear end 102 (shown in FIG. 5) to a front end 105 where stored cards are removed. Cards are loaded from above by removing upper cover 103 (See FIG. 5). The shoe 100 can hold one or multiple card decks, such as a group of eight standard 52 card decks used for many casino games. The body 101 can be constructed of a rigid plastic, metal, wood, or other durable material. FIG. 5 also shows cards 501 loaded into shoe 100, ready to be dispensed manually.

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.

As shown in FIG. 1 and more clearly in FIGS. 4 and 5, one side of the shoe 100 can have a control panel 125, which can outwardly protrude from the shoe body 101 and can contain a plurality of buttons 104 and a display 106. Such a control panel 125 is useful for a dealer who would use the shoe 100 to deliver cards to a casino card game. In one embodiment of the invention, the control panel 125 display is an LED display and is configured to provide a variety of information to a dealer, such as banker and player hand composition, game outcome, jam detection, cut card presence, the presence of a card from an unauthorized deck, the presence of a card from an unauthorized casino, a marked card and the like.

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.

As shown in FIG. 1, the front end 105 of the dealing shoe 100 comprises a plate-like card feed limiter 110 bearing an inverted U-shaped opening 115. The card feed limiter 110 is preferably made from rigid material like the shoe 100, such as a rigid plastic or a metallic material, but may be any suitable material. The card feed limiter 110 slopes downwardly at an upper portion and is substantially parallel with a base plate 135 portion of the shoe 100 at a lower portion of the limiter 110, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The card feed limiter 110 prevents more than one card from exiting the shoe 100 at one time, and additionally provides structure to retain cards within the shoe. Furthermore, the card feed limiter 110 functions to bring the cards into close proximity to one or more sensors 150 at the base plate 135 such that the cards can be accurately identified using the sensor(s) 150. A preferred sensor is a CIS line sensor, disclosed in the '894 application. A suitable distance range between the sensor and the card face is approximately 0.01-0.04 inches for this type of sensor.

As shown in FIG. 2, the base plate 135 connects with a sloped front end 105 of the shoe 100 so that cards can easily slide out of the shoe 100 onto a card playing surface, such as a gaming table. The card feed limiter 110 is detachably fixed to the shoe 100 body in a single position, but is adjustable in position relative to the base plate 135 alone line 145. The card feed limiter 110 can be coupled to the shoe 100 in a manner which allows the height of limiter 110 above base plate 135 to be adjusted relative to the body 101 and base plate 135, or separated entirely from the shoe 100, and can be repositioned relative to the shoe 100 and base plate 135 along direction line 145 to change the size of a gap 140 between the card feed limiter 110 and the base plate 135. The size of the gap 140 can be tailored to the thickness of individual cards held in the shoe 100, providing the advantage of requiring less force to remove cards, thereby extending the life of the playing cards and shoe 100, improving the flow of cards onto the table game, and ensuring that cards are accurately identified by the sensor(s) 150 as desired.

In the embodiment of the invention as shown in FIGS. 1-5, the card feed limiter 110 is adjustably and detachably affixed to the shoe 100 via fasteners 160, which can, for example, connect the limiter 110 to the body 101 of shoe 100 through elongated slots 120 provided in the limiter 110. The elongated slots 120 of limiter 110 respectively align with a plurality of holes 130 in the front end 105 of dealing shoe 100. The elongation of the slots 120 is in a direction along line 145, which allows the limiter 110 to be positioned along this line 145. The fasteners 160 can be screws, as shown in FIG. 3, but can be other fastening devices as well, such as bolts, toggle fasteners, and other devices. Once the card feed limiter 110 is positioned such that gap 140 between the limiter 110 and the base plate 135 accommodates a playing card of a desired thickness, as well as to ensure desired proximity between exiting cards and the sensor(s) 150, fasteners 160 may be secured through slots 120 into holes 130, thereby attaching the limiter 110 to the shoe 100 for use.

Although the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-5 provides for adjustability of limiter 110 relative to the shoe body 101 and fastening of the limiter 110 using elongated slots 120 in the limiter 110 and associated fasteners 160, other structures can also be provided which permit such adjustability and secure fastening. For example, hook and loop fasteners 160 respectively attached to the body 101 and underside of the limiter 110 can be used to allow separation of the two, adjustability of the gap 140 and secure fastening of the limiter 110 to the shoe 100.

As discussed above, in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-5, the shoe 100 can be equipped with one or more sensors 150. For example, a card-reading line sensor can be positioned within the base plate 135 and can be perpendicular to a direction of travel of a card exiting the shoe 100. A contact image sensor (CIS) is a preferred card-reading sensor, which can operate in cooperation with one or more optical position sensors. With the removal of the fasteners 160 holding the limiter 110 to the shoe 100, access to the exposed parts of the sensors 150 is easily achieved. Additionally, the card feed limiter 110 can further comprise a plurality of openings 112 (see FIG. 1) positioned over the one or more sensors 150 to allow access for cleaning the surface of the sensors 150 without removal of the limiter 110. This feature provides the advantage of providing maintenance access to the sensors 150 for cleaning without the use of tools or removal from the casino table or floor and without the need of any specialized training.

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 FIGS. 3 and 4. The protective cover 200 can have an inverted U-shaped opening 225, which aligns with and generally conforms in shape and size to the U-shaped opening 115 of the card feed limiter 110. The protective cover 200 provides added protection to the underlying limiter 110, the fasteners attaching the limiter 110 to the shoe 100, and the sensors 150, which, but for the protective cover 200 would be at least partially exposed. The protective cover 200 provides a barrier to prevent debris from collecting on the sensors aligned with apertures 112. The protective cover 200 is preferably removably attached to the limiter 110 by means of magnets, but any type of attachment means that allows the removal of the plate 200 without requiring hand tools is preferred. For example, a number of threaded bolts affixed to the limiter 110 that extend through apertures in plate 200 and secured by a threaded wing nut would also suffice.

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 FIG. 6. This would prevent a game player or the dealer from unfairly recognizing the card value and suit before it is dealt on the occasion that, for example, the card is marked. The shielding device 250, 252 can be brush-like material as shown in FIG. 6, a slidable cover, or other device, which enables the dealer to access and contact the underlying card to be dealt, but hide the card's back surface from view prior to being dealt.

Referring again to FIG. 4, a back surface 205 of protective cover 200 can have a plurality of recesses 230 to receive a top end of fasteners 160, shown as screws, when mounted to adjustable card feed limiter 110, if the top ends of the fasteners 160 are not flush with the limiter 110. The back surface 205 can also have a plurality of larger recesses 220 to accommodate magnets 210 secured therein. Once the card feed limiter 110 has been adjusted to the desired position and secured to dealing shoe 100 with fasteners 160, the protective cover 200 can be mounted over the card feed limiter 110. Magnets 210 can secure the protective cover 200 to the card feed limiter 110 if it is metal or has metal or magnetic attachment points so that both inverted U-shaped openings 115, 225 are aligned allowing the dealer to draw playing cards. Other attachment means for the protective cover 200 can also be used, such as, for example, clips, detachable adhesive, snaps, screws, hook and loop fasteners, and other devices suitable to detachably secure protective cover 200 in place.

An alternative embodiment is shown in FIG. 7, where the card feed limiter 110 a is configured so as not to extend over the sensor(s) 150, 152 and 154. This provides even greater access to the sensor(s) 150, 152 and 154 for cleaning or repair. The protective cover 200 provides shielding for the sensor(s) 150, 152 and 154, which protects the sensor(s) from damage and contaminants.

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 FIGS. 1 and 2. The card feed limiter 110 is positioned so that the gap 140 is correct for the cards to be used in the shoe 100. Once the card feed limiter 110 is correctly positioned in this way, the fasteners 160 are tightened, thereby affixing the card feed limiter 110 to the shoe 100 in a semi-permanent way so that the shoe 100 can be used for a card playing game. The protective cover 200 is then reattached.

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.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8727350 *Mar 2, 2012May 20, 2014Gaming Shoe Company LLCCard shoe
US20130228971 *Mar 2, 2012Sep 5, 2013Daryl FlynnCard shoe
WO2012167004A2 *Jun 1, 2012Dec 6, 2012The United States Playing Card CompanyDevice to secure the mouth of a playing card shoe
Classifications
U.S. Classification273/149.00R, 29/525.01, 221/45
International ClassificationA63F1/14
Cooperative ClassificationA63F2009/2419, A63F1/14
European ClassificationA63F1/14
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 18, 2014ASAssignment
Owner name: BALLY GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Effective date: 20140616
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:SHFL ENTERTAINMENT, INC.;REEL/FRAME:033766/0378
Aug 27, 2014ASAssignment
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:SHUFFLE MASTER, INC.;REEL/FRAME:033645/0440
Effective date: 20120927
Owner name: SHFL ENTERTAINMENT, INC., NEVADA
Mar 11, 2011ASAssignment
Effective date: 20110302
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY AMERICAS, AS COLLATERAL AGENT;REEL/FRAME:025941/0313
Owner name: SHUFFLE MASTER, INC., NEVADA
Sep 12, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY AMERICAS, AS COLLATERA
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:SHUFFLE MASTER, INC.;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100216;REEL/FRAME:21511/785
Effective date: 20080825
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:SHUFFLE MASTER, INC.;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100329;REEL/FRAME:21511/785
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:SHUFFLE MASTER, INC.;REEL/FRAME:021511/0785
Nov 9, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: SHUFFLE MASTER, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WALSH, SION D.;REEL/FRAME:020150/0594
Effective date: 20071109