|Publication number||USRE43114 E1|
|Application number||US 11/084,872|
|Publication date||Jan 17, 2012|
|Priority date||Jan 9, 1998|
|Also published as||US6176781, US6533658|
|Publication number||084872, 11084872, US RE43114 E1, US RE43114E1, US-E1-RE43114, USRE43114 E1, USRE43114E1|
|Inventors||Jay S. Walker, James A. Jorasch, Robert R. Lech|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (42), Non-Patent Citations (2), Classifications (9), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/004,885, filed Jan. 9, 1998 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,176,781 for “ELECTRONIC AMUSEMENT DEVICE AND METHOD FOR OPERATING SAME.”
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to an electronic amusement device and more particularly to an electronic amusement device such as a slot machine having the ability to display game symbols which change or expire during a game.
2. Description of the Related Art
Slot machines generate greater than ten billion dollars per year in revenue for US casinos, with individual machines typically earning between fifty and one hundred and fifty dollars per day. One of the fastest growing segments of slot machine play is video poker, a game in which various elements of draw poker are represented on a video display. Players draw and hold cards in an effort to attain a hand high enough to qualify for a prize or payment. Starting with “Jacks or Better,” video poker quickly expanded into “Deuces Wild” and “Joker Poker” as well as countless variations of the above with different payout schedules. Players are attracted to the relatively high payouts possible for top hands such as a royal flush, as well as the frequent lower-end payouts for hands as low as a pair of jacks. Additionally, many players find that the interactive nature of the game, choosing which cards to draw, provides a more exciting game than the traditional reel-based slot machine, in which the player simply passively watches the outcome.
Although popular with players, video poker has a number of disadvantages from the casino's perspective. First, game speed can be significantly slower than conventional reel machines. Players sometimes agonize over a particular play, taking their time in deciding what the correct play is. With no incentive to accelerate play, players sometimes languish over their decisions. Casinos prefer a faster-paced game since profits rise in direct proportion to the number of hands completed per hour. Additionally, the house edge associated with video poker has consistently deteriorated as casinos have begun to compete more for players. Because full payout tables are provided on the face of the machine, players can easily distinguish between high payout machines and low payout machines. Competition for video poker players has resulted in some video poker machines which pay out in excess of 100% with perfect playing strategy. Although most players are not playing perfectly, the growing availability of books and computer software is resulting in more and more sophisticated players. The slow play and declining house advantage, when combined with the significant cost of player complimentaries, such as free meals and drinks, has resulted in shrinking casino profits for video poker. Consequently, there is a need to increase the house advantage without appearing to disadvantage the player.
Thus, it would be very desirable to provide a slot machine which offers to players the involvement and excitement of video poker while offering the casino the speed of play and high house advantage currently associated with traditional reel slot machines. Such a machine could result in significantly enhanced revenues for casino operators and provide more enjoyable play for casino patrons.
An object of the present invention is to provide a gaming device utilizing game symbols that expire throughout a game.
In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, an electronic amusement device and method is disclosed for conducting a game of chance. The method includes the steps of generating a subject game element having a first class, and displaying the subject game element, thereby displaying an indicia of the first class. The method also includes the step of assigning a second class to the subject game element. The method further includes the step of displaying the subject game element, thereby displaying an indicia of the second class. The disclosed electronic amusement device implements the steps of the described method.
In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention, an electronic amusement device and method is disclosed for conducting a game of chance. The method includes the steps of receiving a game element request signal and generating a game element having a first class. The method also includes the step of displaying the game element, thereby displaying an indicia of the first class. The method further includes the steps of receiving a placement signal and displaying the game element at a location in accordance with the received placement signal. A second class is assigned to the game element, and the game element is redisplayed, thereby displaying an indicia of the second class.
These and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be understood from a consideration of the following description of the invention, in which:
F1G. 2 is a table showing components of the payout database of
In accordance with the present invention there is provided herein a gaming method and apparatus, illustrated by way of a video poker gaming device.
Referring now to
Gaining device 100 comprises conventional components, with the exception of card database 300. For purposes of better illustrating the invention, standard components, well known to those skilled in the art, are described only briefly. Although the present embodiment of the invention is described as implemented with physical components, the invention applies equally well to and includes software embodiments such as would be implemented on the Internet and other computer data networks.
Referring again to CPU 102, the device 100 comprises one of many well known processing units, for example a Pentium class CPU manufactured by Intel Corp. Data storage device 104 comprises an appropriate combination of magnetic and optical memory, such as disk drive memory, and semiconductor memory such as random access memory (RAM) and read only memory (ROM). In addition to payout database 200 and card database 300, data storage device 104 stores appropriate operating system and control software (not shown), functional to operate gaming device 100 in the manner described below. Random number generator 112 comprises one of many well known random or pseudo-random number generators suitable for use in a gaming device.
Coin/Bill acceptor 124 is operative to receive one or more coins or bills, and to transmit an appropriate value signal to CPU 102. Hopper controller 122, and hopper 130 connected thereto, are operative under the control of CPU 102 to dispense and output coins to a player. Video display 500 preferably comprises a touch sensitive screen capable of processing player selections through tactile interaction. Alternatively, video display 500 may comprise any conventional video display apparatus, for example, a cathode ray tube or a liquid crystal display screen.
Starting controller 150 comprises a player-operated device such as a handle or button for initiating the play of a game.
Player card tracking device 114 comprises a player tracking interface including a card reader 138 for receiving a player tracking card, a display 142 for communicating alpha/numeric messages to the player, and a keypad 140 for receiving player input such as a player identifier.
Gaming device 100 may include a conventional network interface (not shown) for communicating with a centrally controlled network server, allowing for the remote monitoring and audit of gaming device 100.
Payout database 200 comprises a conventional payout database such as those found in most video poker machines. The database serves to associate a particular outcome or hand value, such as a full house, with a particular coin payout based on the number of coins wagered. Payout database 200 is shown to include ten records 232 through 250, each of which includes two fields: an outcome field 210 and a payout field 220. The final poker hands represented in outcome 210 illustrate conventional poker rankings typical of a video draw poker game. Record 238, for example, indicates an outcome of “FULL HOUSE” which includes all hands with both three of a kind and two of a kind. Other hand rankings, such as those incorporating jokers, wild cards, or specific card bonuses are, of course, also within the scope of the present invention.
The profitability of the game for the casino is directly related to the values stored in payout field 220, although player skill levels will also have an impact. Payouts 220 might be set so that the casino retains some advantage, even in the face of expert play. Record 238, for example, indicates a payout of five dollars associated with an outcome of “FULL HOUSE.” Although the payouts of payout field 220 represent the wager of a single coin for each card purchased, additional fields could be added to allow multiple coin wagers as illustrated in
Referring now to
Although the present embodiment identifies the use of a standard fifty-two card deck with one card of each rank and suit, it should be noted that some card values may be over or underrepresented. Thus, for example, there may be fewer royal cards (ten, jack, queen, king, and ace) and a correspondingly larger number of low value cards. Such an arrangement has the advantage of decreasing the probability that a player attains a royal flush, allowing the machine to offer a higher payout for such a final hand configuration.
The status of each card is stored in status 316, with values indicating where the particular card is within the game cycle as described more fully with reference to
Each card has a corresponding location 318 in order to facilitate tracking of cards throughout the operation of the present invention, identifying either where the card is in the queue prior to being dealt, where the card is in the discard pile, or where the card has been placed by the player. Record 340, for example, indicates that the card is currently scheduled to be the fifth card dealt.
In order to manage the timing requirements of the present invention, card database 300 includes the fields time dealt 320 and duration 322. As each card is dealt to the player, CPU 102 retrieves the current time from clock 106 and updates the time dealt field to indicate the current time. This allows CPU 102 to calculate how long the card has been exposed to the player so that future alterations may be made. Duration 322 indicates the amount of time that is to elapse before the next card alteration. Record 348, for example, shows a time dealt of 09:03:22 (hours/minutes/seconds) with a 120 second window before the card changes.
Referring now to
In order to more fully describe the display area 500 of the present invention, reference is made to
Players may choose to discard a dealt card by touching the discard button 535 labeled “DISCARD A CARD,” transmitting a signal to CPU 102 to initiate further processing of the card as described more fully in
In the example illustrated in
After requesting another card by touching deal button 510, the player receives a ten of clubs as shown in
After receiving appropriate credit, all of the locations in game set 540 are cleared so that new cards 525 can be placed into them, as illustrated in
Referring now to
Card display 640 enables players to view the rank and suit that the card is scheduled to change into. In the example illustrated, the ace of hearts will turn into the king of clubs, the queen of hearts, the three of clubs, and finally into the four of spades. Such advance warning would allow players to more appropriately place their cards, although it would require relatively skillful play to coordinate the timing of the changes. In order to improve the player's timing efforts, a countdown display 650 could be located on each card 525 to show the number of seconds before the next scheduled card change.
Although the embodiment described above receives player input via touch screen capability, those of ordinary skill will appreciate that such player requests may be made via physical buttons as well. In particular, each location 560 through 568 and 570 through 578 could be identified with the numerals 1 through 5 and 6 through 10, corresponding to ten like numbered buttons of gaming device 100. A player who wanted to place a card 525 in location 576 would thus depress the physical button labeled nine. Such buttons could also be associated with a particular row, such as by labeling the button “FIRST ROW SECOND POSITION,” for example. Similar physical representations could be made for deal button 510, discard button 535, cash-out button 580, and cash-out button 590.
Having thus described the architecture of the gaming apparatus and components of the present embodiment, the operation of the apparatus will now be described in greater detail with reference to
Referring now to
CPU 102 processes routines 900, 1000, 1100, 1200 and 1300 in an iterative fashion throughout the game. Deal card routine 900 deals a new card to the player upon request. Place card routine 1000 allows a player to place a dealt card in a location within display area 500. Place card routine 1000 also processes a player request to discard a card. Monitor/update card status routine 1100 instructs CPU 102 to maintain the cards that have been placed by or dealt to the player. The instructions of monitor/update card status routine 1100 determine when and how to alter the cards on the playing field.
Shuffle discards routine 1200 instructs CPU 102 when and how to shuffle the cards that have been discarded either explicitly by the player or automatically through the alteration of placed cards. Calculate payout routine 1300 instructs CPU 102 how to evaluate a hand upon the player's request. Calculate payout routine 1300 includes instructions for evaluating an identified hand, determining a corresponding payout amount and delivering the payout amount to the player.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
If a card discard signal is not received, CPU 102 determines whether a card placement signal has been received at step 1018. If a card placement signal has not been received, decision block 1020 directs CPU 102 to end card placement process 1000. Otherwise, CPU 102 processes step 1022, 1024 and 1026 to complete a card placement At step 1022, CPU 102 receives the location selection of the player identifying the location to which the dealt card is to be placed. At step 1024, the contents of location field 318 of the record representing the dealt card is updated to reflect the placement of the card. Card placement routine concludes with step 1026 which instructs CPU 102 to display the card at the selected location. Although step 1026 may simply entail erasing the card from the dealt location and redisplaying it at the selected location, step 1026 may be performed using animation.
The card status monitor/update routine 1100 will now be described with reference to
If no warning is required, step 1112 directs CPU 102 to determine whether the display duration of the card has elapsed, as shown by step 1118. If the display duration has not elapsed, decision block 1120 terminates routine 1100. Otherwise, it determines whether the card is expiring or changing its value at step 1122. If the card is not changing its value, decision step 1124 instructs CPU 102 to continue processing at step 1130. If the card is expiring, CPU 102 processes step 1126 and updates status field 316 of the record with data indicating that the card is “DISCARDED.” At step 1128, CPU 102 removes the card from the field of play on video display 500.
Process steps 1130–1138 describe the steps required to change the attributes of a card. At step 1130, CPU 102 identifies a replacement record in card database 300. The replacement record may be selected in any number of manners including randomly selecting the replacement record from all records representing the cards in the deck or selecting the record representing the next available card from the deck. At step 1132, CPU 102 updates status field 316, location field 318, time dealt field 320 and duration field 322 of the replacement card record. Step 1132 initializes the replacement record to take the place of the displayed record. Status field 316 of the replacement record is changed to “DEALT.” Location field 318 of the replacement record is set equal to location field 318 of the displayed record. Time dealt field 320 is populated with the system time. Duration field 322 may be populated with a fixed time or a randomly generated time from within a range of possible durations.
At step 1134, CPU 102 updates status field 316 of the record representing the displayed card to indicate that the card has been “DISCARDED.” At step 1136, CPU 102 removes the displayed card from the field of play on video display 500. At step 1138, CPU 102 displays the card represented by the replacement record.
Referring now to
At step 1214, CPU 102 randomly reassigns all of the card identifiers to the records having a status of “DISCARDED.” Step 1214 essentially shuffles the card identifiers of the records representing discarded cards. At step 1216, CPU 102 changes the contents of status field 316 to “IN DECK” for all records having status field 316 containing “DISCARDED.” At step 1218, CPU 102 populates location field 318 of the shuffled records with the corresponding card identifier to indicate the position within the deck. Although the preferred embodiment envisions placing the shuffled cards at the end of the deck, other variations are possible. Note that for embodiments in which an infinite deck is used, there is no need to shuffle the discards as there is an inexhaustible supply of new cards to be dealt.
Referring now to
Referring now to
As shown, gaming device 1400 includes a conventional three reel slot machine mechanism on the lower portion of the device. After placing a wager, a player begins a slot machine game by pulling the traditional slot handle or by pressing start button 1420. Beginning a game initiates the rotation of the three slot reels, reel 1432, reel 1434 and reel 1436. At least one slot reel includes a reel stop 1430 bearing a new card symbol representing a new card.
Unlike gaming device 100, a player may not simply purchase a new card to play the video poker game displayed on the upper portion of gaming device 1400. A new card is provided to a player only upon spinning the slot reels and achieving a result including new card symbol 1430. Upon achieving a result including new card symbol 1430, a game element request signal is generated based on the slot result and the player is provided a new card for the video poker game, the player proceeding with the video poker game as previously described with reference to
Gaming device 1400 allows a player to participate in two games simultaneously, thereby enhancing the gaming experience. Gaming device 1400 further encourages a player to initiate more plays per hour in order to achieve as many new card symbols 1430 as possible to complete or improve poker hand 1440 or 1410, displayed in the upper display area of the device.
While the best mode for carrying out the invention has been described in detail, those familiar with the art to which the invention relates will recognize various alternative designs and embodiments for practicing the invention. These alternative embodiments are within the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention embodies the scope of the claims appended hereto.
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|1||Welcome to Merit's Home Page49 Merit Industries, Inc., (http www meritind com), Copyright date 1997, download date: Apr. 16, 1998.|
|2||Welcome to Merit's Home Page49 Merit Industries, Inc., (http www meritind com), Copyright date 1997, download date: Apr. 16, 1998.|
|U.S. Classification||463/13, 463/12, 463/11|
|International Classification||A63F1/00, A63F9/24, A63F13/00|
|Cooperative Classification||G07F17/3293, G07F17/3269|
|Nov 4, 2009||AS||Assignment|
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WALKER DIGITAL, LLC;REEL/FRAME:023456/0940
Effective date: 20090810
Owner name: IGT, NEVADA
|Jul 10, 2012||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Sep 18, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12