Title:
Mirror image poker
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Embodiments of a poker-type game are disclosed which is played in a manner somewhat similar to traditional five card draw poker, but in which a player is given the opportunity to play either a single hand, double hand, or bonus double hand poker-type game similar to five card draw poker, and make a wager which must be greater for the double hand game than for the single hand game, and greater for the bonus double hand game than for the double hand game and in which payouts are provided for winning hands from a first payout table for the single hand game, from a second payout table for the double hand game, from the second payout table for the bonus double hand game and with a bonus payout from a third payout table if the two hands played in the bonus double hand game are of the same rank.



Inventors:
Matthiesen, Neil (Sioux Falls, SD, US)
Carrico, Travis (Laughlin, NV, US)
Application Number:
09/766329
Publication Date:
09/19/2002
Filing Date:
01/18/2001
Assignee:
MATTHIESEN NEIL
CARRICO TRAVIS
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F1/00; (IPC1-7): A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
CAPRON, AARON J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gene, Woodle R. (3516 Woodle Drive, Rapid City, SD, 57702, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A method of playing a poker-like game in which a winning hand generates a payout to a player using a computer and video screen which comprises: (1) providing a first payout table defining a predetermined set of winning hands of different ranks and payout values selected from a single deck of cards, each card having a different face value and suit, and with the remaining hands from said deck not included within the predetermined set of winning hands not having any payout value; (2) providing a second payout table defining a predetermined set of winning hands of different ranks and payout values selected from a single deck of cards, each card having a different face value and suit, with the second payout table having at least one payout value different from and greater than the payout value established in the first payout table, and with the remaining hands from said deck not included within said predetermined set of winning hands not having any payout value; (3) providing a third payout table defining a predetermined set of winning hands of different ranks and payout values selected from a single deck of cards, each card having a different face value and suit, with the third payout table having at least one payout value different from and greater than the payout value established in said second payout table, and with the remaining hands from said deck not included within said predetermined set of winning hands not having any payout value; (4) enabling a player to designate which of three poker-like games said player elects to play, which three games include a single hand game relating to said first payout table, a double hand game relating to said second payout table, and a bonus double hand game relating to the third payout table; (5) registering a wager with the computer in which said player is required to wager more to play the double hand game than to play the single hand game and more to play the bonus double hand game than to play said double hand game; (6) if said player elects to play said single hand game, generating and displaying on the video screen a visual representation of a hand of five cards randomly selected from the single deck of cards; determining the rank of the hand with respect to said first payout table from the face value and suit of each represented card; enabling said player to terminate the game and, if the hand is a winning hand according to said first payout table providing a payout to said player according to said first payout table, or enabling said player to designate at least one of said represented cards for replacement; if the designation is registered, in response thereto replacing at least one designated card in the hand with a corresponding number of other represented cards randomly generated from the remaining cards in said single deck and displayed on said video screen, the unreplaced cards from the hand and said replacement cards forming a second hand of five cards, with said second hand replacing the first hand; determining the rank of the second hand with respect to said first payout table from the face value and suit of each represented card; and, if said second hand is a winning hand according to said first payout table providing a payout to said player according to said first payout table; (7) if said player elects to play said double hand game, generating and displaying on the video screen a visual representation of two hands of five cards each randomly selected from two respective decks of cards; determining the rank of the two hands with respect to said second payout table from the face value and suit of each represented card; enabling said player to terminate the game independently for each of the two hands and, if the hand or hands terminated is a winning hand according to said second payout table providing a payout to said player according to said second payout table for either or both hands if winning hands, or enabling said player to designate at least one of said represented cards for replacement in any hand which is not terminated; if the designation is registered, in response thereto replacing at least one designated card in the hand with a corresponding number of other represented cards randomly generated from the remaining cards in said respective single deck and displayed on said video screen for any hand not terminated, the unreplaced cards from the hand and said replacement cards forming a second hand of five cards for any hand not terminated, with said second hand replacing the first hand for any hand not terminated; determining the rank of any second hand with respect to said second payout table from the face value and suit of each represented card; and, if any of said second hands is a winning hand according to said second payout table providing a payout to said player according to said second payout table; (8) if said player elects to play said bonus double hand game, generating and displaying on the video screen a visual representation of two hands of five cards each randomly selected from two respective decks of cards; determining the rank of the two hands with respect to said second payout table from the face value and suit of each represented card; enabling said player to terminate the game independently for each of the two hands and, if the hand or hands terminated is a winning hand according to said second payout table providing a payout to said player according to said second payout table for either or both hands if winning hands, or enabling said player to designate at least one of said represented cards for replacement in any hand which is not terminated; if the designation is registered, in response thereto replacing at least one designated card in the hand with a corresponding number of other represented cards randomly generated from the remaining cards in said respective single deck and displayed on said video screen for any hand not terminated, the unreplaced cards from the hand and said replacement cards forming a second hand of five cards for any hand not terminated, with said second hand replacing the first hand for any hand not terminated; determining the rank of any second hand with respect to said second payout table from the face value and suit of each represented card; and, if any of said second hands is a winning hand according to said second payout table providing a payout to said player according to said second payout table for any winning hand; and further comparing the two second hands to each other and, if each is a winning hand, and, if the two final hands are of the same rank according to the third payout table, providing a bonus payout to said player according to said third payout table; whereby a player may elect to play either a single hand, double hand, or bonus double hand poker-type game similar to five card draw poker, and make a wager which must be greater for the double hand game than for the single hand game, and greater for the bonus double hand game than for the double hand game and in which payouts are provided for winning hands from a first payout table for the single hand game, from a second payout table for the double hand game, from the second payout table for the bonus double hand game and with a bonus payout from a third payout table if the two hands played in the bonus double hand game are of the same rank.

2. The poker-type game of claim 1 in which a number of cards other than five are dealt.

3. The poker-type game of claim 1 in which a stock of cards other than a traditional 52 card deck is used.

4. A method of playing a poker-like game using a standard deck of playing cards which comprises: (1) providing a first payout table defining a predetermined set of winning hands of different ranks and payout values selected from a single deck of cards, each card having a different face value and suit, and with the remaining hands from said deck not included within the predetermined set of winning hands not having any payout value; (2) providing a second payout table defining a predetermined set of winning hands of different ranks and payout values selected from a single deck of cards, each card having a different face value and suit, with the second payout table having at least one payout value different from and greater than the payout value established in the first payout table, and with the remaining hands from said deck not included within said predetermined set of winning hands not having any payout value; (3) providing a third payout table defining a predetermined set of winning hands of different ranks and payout values selected from a single deck of cards, each card having a different face value and suit, with the third payout table having at least one payout value different from and greater than the payout value established in said second payout table, and with the remaining hands from said deck not included within said predetermined set of winning hands not having any payout value; (4) enabling a player to designate which of three poker-like games said player elects to play, which three games include a single hand game relating to said first payout table, a double hand game relating to said second payout table, and a bonus double hand game relating to the third payout table; (5) making a wager by said player in which said player is required to wager more to play the double hand game than to play the single hand game and more to play the bonus double hand game than to play said double hand game; (6) if said player elects to play said single hand game, dealing of a hand of five cards randomly selected from the single deck of cards; determining the rank of the hand with respect to said first payout table from the face value and suit of each card; enabling said player to terminate the game and, if the hand is a winning hand according to said first payout table providing a payout to said player according to said first payout table, or enabling said player to designate at least one of said cards for replacement; if the designation is made, in response thereto replacing at least one designated card in the hand with a corresponding number of other cards randomly dealt from the remaining cards in said single deck, the unreplaced cards from the hand and said replacement cards forming a second hand of five cards, with said second hand replacing the first hand; determining the rank of the second hand with respect to said first payout table from the face value and suit of each card; and, if said second hand is a winning hand according to said first payout table providing a payout to said player according to said first payout table; (7) if said player elects to play said double hand game, dealing two hands of five cards each randomly selected from two respective decks of cards; determining the rank of the two hands with respect to said second payout table from the face value and suit of each represented card; enabling said player to terminate the game independently for each of the two hands and, if the hand or hands terminated is a winning hand according to said second payout table providing a payout to said player according to said second payout table for either or both hands if winning hands, or enabling said player to designate at least one of said cards for replacement in any hand which is not terminated; if the designation is made, in response thereto replacing at least one designated card in the hand with a corresponding number of other cards randomly dealt from the remaining cards in said respective single deck for any hand not terminated, the unreplaced cards from the hand and said replacement cards forming a second hand of five cards for any hand not terminated, with said second hand replacing the first hand for any hand not terminated; determining the rank of any second hand with respect to said second payout table from the face value and suit of each card; and, if any of said second hands is a winning hand according to said second payout table providing a payout to said player according to said second payout table; (8) if said player elects to play said bonus double hand game, dealing two hands of five cards each randomly selected from two respective decks of cards; determining the rank of the two hands with respect to said second payout table from the face value and suit of each card; enabling said player to terminate the game independently for each of the two hands and, if the hand or hands terminated is a winning hand according to said second payout table providing a payout to said player according to said second payout table for either or both hands if winning hands, or enabling said player to designate at least one of said cards for replacement in any hand which is not terminated; if the designation is made, in response thereto replacing by dealing at least one designated card in the hand with a corresponding number of other cards from the remaining cards in said respective single deck for any hand not terminated, the unreplaced cards from the hand and said replacement cards forming a second hand of five cards for any hand not terminated, with said second hand replacing the first hand for any hand not terminated; determining the rank of any second hand with respect to said second payout table from the face value and suit of each card; and, if any of said second hands is a winning hand according to said second payout table providing a payout to said player according to said second payout table for any winning hand; and further comparing the two second hands to each other and, if each is a winning hand, and, if the two final hands are of the same rank according to the third payout table, providing a bonus payout to said player according to said third payout table; whereby a player may elect to play either a single hand, double hand, or bonus double hand poker-type game similar to five card draw poker, and make a wager which must be greater for the double hand game than for the single hand game, and greater for the bonus double hand game than for the double hand game and in which payouts are provided for winning hands from a first payout table for the single hand game, from a second payout table for the double hand game, from the second payout table for the bonus double hand game and with a bonus payout from a third payout table if the two hands played in the bonus double hand game are of the same rank.

5. The poker-type game of claim 5 in which a number of cards other than five are dealt.

6. The poker-type game of claim 5 in which a stock of cards other than a traditional 52 card deck is used.

7. A method of playing a poker-like game in which a winning hand generates a payout to a player using a computer and video screen which comprises: (1) providing a first payout table defining a predetermined set of winning hands of different ranks and payout values selected from a single deck of cards, each card having a different face value and suit, and with the remaining hands from said deck not included within the predetermined set of winning hands not having any payout value; (2) providing a second payout table defining a predetermined set of winning hands of different ranks and payout values selected from a single deck of cards, each card having a different face value and suit, with the second payout table having at least one payout value different from and greater than the payout value established in the first payout table, and with the remaining hands from said deck not included within said predetermined set of winning hands not having any payout value; (3) enabling a player to designate which of two poker-like games said player elects to play, which two games include a poker-like game relating to said first payout table and a bonus poker-like game relating to the second payout table; (4) registering a wager with the computer in which said player is required to wager more to play the bonus poker-like game than to play the poker-like game; (5) if said player elects to play said poker-like game, generating and displaying on the video screen a visual representation of a hand of cards randomly selected from the single deck of cards; determining the rank of the hand with respect to said first payout table from the face value and suit of each represented card; enabling said player to terminate the game and, if the hand is a winning hand according to said first payout table providing a payout to said player according to said first payout table, or enabling said player to designate at least one of said represented cards for replacement; if the designation is registered, in response thereto replacing at least one designated card in the hand with a corresponding number of other represented cards randomly generated from the remaining cards in said single deck and displayed on said video screen, the unreplaced cards from the hand and said replacement cards forming a second hand of cards, with said second hand replacing the first hand; determining the rank of the second hand with respect to said first payout table from the face value and suit of each represented card; and, if said second hand is a winning hand according to said first payout table providing a payout to said player according to said first payout table; (6) if said player elects to play said bonus poker-like game, generating and displaying on the video screen a visual representation of a hand of cards randomly selected from the single deck of cards; determining the rank of the hand with respect to said second payout table from the face value and suit of each represented card; enabling said player to terminate the game and, if the hand is a winning hand according to said second payout table providing a payout to said player according to said second payout table, or enabling said player to designate at least one of said represented cards for replacement; if the designation is registered, in response thereto replacing at least one designated card in the hand with a corresponding number of other represented cards randomly generated from the remaining cards in said single deck and displayed on said video screen, the unreplaced cards from the hand and said replacement cards forming a second hand of cards, with said second hand replacing the first hand; determining the rank of the second hand with respect to said second payout table from the face value and suit of each represented card; and, if said second hand is a winning hand according to said second payout table providing a payout to said player according to said second payout table; whereby a player may elect to play either a poker-like game, or a bonus poker-like game, and make a wager which must be greater for the bonus poker-like game than for the poker-like game, and in which payouts are provided for winning hands from a first payout table for the poker-like game, and with a bonus payout from the second payout table if the hand played in the bonus poker-like game is a winning hand according to the second payout table.

8. The poker-type game of claim 7 in which the player must hold the cards originally dealt and does not make a designation for replacement cards.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates generally to a method for playing a casino card game, and more particularly to a poker-type game that may be played either as a table game or a computer video game.

[0003] 2. Background Information

[0004] For hundreds of years a variety of card games have been played throughout the world for entertainment as well as wagering. In many countries, particularly the United States, legalized gambling has lead to a proliferation of casinos in which players may wager upon a number of card games. In most cases, the casino acts like the “banker” and the players bet against the casino rather than betting against each other. Casino games employing traditional cards and dealers are often referred to as table games. In recent years video or computer card games have become very popular. In these games, electronic circuits and computer chips take the place of dealers; and images of cards upon video screens replace traditional cards.

[0005] The most popular of casino table and video games include traditional five card stud poker and five card draw poker and variations of those games. In most poker-type games, hands which may be achieved are ranked according to the difficulty of achieving the hands with higher payouts being made for the hands more difficult to achieve. In most cases hands are ranked as follows: one pair, two pairs, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, and royal flush. In most casino games one pair receives the smallest return or payout and a royal flush receives the highest return or payout based upon a predetermined payout table.

[0006] Although there are a number of variations; in five card draw poker, a player makes a wager and is dealt five cards. The player then has the option of discarding from 0 to 5 cards and being dealt an equal number of replacement cards in an attempt to improve his hand. If the player elects to draw 0 cards or “stand pat” he receives a payout based upon the rank of the hand and the payout table. If the player draws cards and receives a winning hand based upon the cards held from the original hand and the replacement cards, he receives a payout based upon the rank of the hand and the payout table. If the player does not achieve a winning hand (often a hand having a rank of less than one pair of jacks), the player receives no payout and loses his original wager.

[0007] In traditional stud poker, a player is dealt five cards and the rank of hands is the same as the rank in draw poker; but the player is not entitled to discard or draw additional cards in an attempt to improve his hand.

[0008] Because of the nature of gambling, casinos and others are constantly searching for poker games which are interesting, exciting, and fun and easy to play. In addition, games which encourage higher wagers or more wagers are also considered desirable.

[0009] A number of casino games including both table and video games have been patented or introduced which are believed to be more interesting and fun to play than traditional stud or draw poker.

[0010] A stud poker game in which an element of drawing is introduced is disclosed in the patent to Fulton (U.S. Pat. No. 5,437,451; Aug. 1, 1995). The rank of hands, cards, etc. are the same as in conventional stud poker; but the card drawing method is different. Four cards are dealt and the player has the option of accepting the fourth card dealt or refusing it. If the card is refused, a random card is dealt to the player. A fifth card is dealt and the player also has the option of accepting or refusing that card. If the card is refused a random fifth card is dealt. Depending upon the rank of the hand achieved, a payout is made if a winning hand is achieved based upon a predetermined payout table.

[0011] In some cases, a player has the ability to play more than a single hand. The patent to Dabrowski et al. (U.S. Pat. No. 5,531,440; Jul. 2, 1996) discloses a game in which a player makes a wager and is dealt two distinct poker hands which may be of several types including draw or stud. The player receives a payout if any cards from the first hand match any cards from the second hand. Higher payouts are provided if cards are not only identical, but in the same position. The player then picks which hand to play and finishes the game in a conventional manner.

[0012] The instant invention is a mirror image poker game which is unique, original, and fills the need for new and improved methods of playing casino table or video games. The mirror image poker game of the instant invention provides for excitement, entertainment, and wagering which is unknown in the prior art.

[0013] The ideal casino table or video poker game is interesting, exciting, and fun to play. The ideal casino table or video poker game should also be easy to understand and learn to play. The ideal casino table or video poker game should also be unique and original to stimulate play. The ideal casino table or video poker game should also provide for multiple wagers or higher wagers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0014] The mirror image poker game of the instant invention is a variation of draw poker which may be played either as a casino table game or as a video or computer game. The game is played with a single, conventional 52 card deck or with a computer simulation of such a deck. Basic rules are similar to traditional five card draw poker and hands are ranked traditionally as described above. The player may play either a single hand, two hands, or two hands employing the mirror image feature.

[0015] Prior to beginning play, the player must make a decision to play a single hand, to play two hands, or to play two hands employing the mirror image feature. The player must than make a wager the size of which depends upon the decision of which game to play. If the player determined to play a single hand, he would, for example make a wager of five betting units. (A betting unit is a coin, chip, or other means of indicating the value of a wager.) If the player chooses to play two hands, the wager would, typically, be twice the amount for playing a single hand game or ten betting units. If the player chooses to play two hands employing the mirror image feature, the wager would, ordinarily, be three times the amount for playing a single hand game or fifteen betting units.

[0016] If the player chooses to play a single hand, he is dealt five cards. The player then makes a decision to hold from 0 to 5 cards. If the player determines to hold all 5 cards (to stand pat), the resulting poker hand is compared to a predetermined payout table. If the hand is a winning hand, the player is paid based upon the payout table. If the hand is not a winning hand, the player is notified that a winning hand has not been achieved and directed to discard from 1 to 5 cards.

[0017] If the player holds from 0 to 4 cards, the discarded cards are replaced with an equal number of new cards and a new five card hand is created. The new hand is then compared to the predetermined payout table. If the new hand is not a winning hand, the player loses his wager and the game is halted. If the new hand is a winning hand, the player is paid based upon the payout table.

[0018] If the player elects to play two hands or the double hand version, two separate hands are dealt and played separately which each hand being dealt from its own fifty-two card deck. The two hands are played as described above with the player losing his wager for non winning hands and being paid as indicated by a second payout table (payout table II) for winning hands. Players are induced to play the double hand game rather than the single hand game by offering somewhat higher payouts for certain winning hands with the double hand game.

[0019] If the player elects to play two hands with the mirror image feature, play proceeds as described above for the two handed game with the player being paid for winning hands of different ranks according to payout table II. However, if the player achieves winning hands of the same rank, the mirror image payout table (payout table III) provides for a payout significantly larger than the payout for the double hand game. For example, if a player achieved three 4's in one hand and three aces in the other (the hands have the same rank, three of a kind) the payout would be significantly higher if the player had elected to play the mirror image game than if he had elected to play the double hand game and achieved the same result. Hands are considered to be of the same rank if they have the same general nomenclature: i.e., one pair, two pairs, three of a kind, straight, flush, fill house, four of a kind, straight flush, and royal flush. In the mirror image version of the game, a player with winning hands of the same rank receives the equivalent of two payouts from payout table II for each of the two winning hands and a bonus payout from the mirror image payout table (payout table III).

[0020] Although the game is described above as being played with five cards, it could also be played with varying numbers of cards, using different payout tables, and with a stock of cards other than a traditional 52 card deck. The game is described above as being played as a draw poker game, but it could also be played as a stud poker game or other poker type game.

[0021] One of the major objects of the present invention is to provide a mirror image poker game which is interesting, exciting, and fun to play.

[0022] Another objective of the present invention is to provide a mirror image poker game which is easy to understand and learn to play.

[0023] Another objective of the present invention is to provide a mirror image poker game which is unique and original to stimulate play.

[0024] Another objective of the present invention is to create a mirror image poker game which also provides for multiple wagers and higher wagers.

[0025] These and other features of the invention will become apparent when taken in consideration with the following detailed description and the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0026] FIG. 1 is a flow chart schematically illustrating the steps in the operation of a single round of the mirror image poker game of the instant invention, and

[0027] FIG. 2 shows a video gaming machine of the type upon which the video gaming embodiment of the mirror image poker game of the instant invention may be played.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0028] Referring to the drawing FIG. 1, there is shown a schematic illustration of a preferred form of mirror image poker embodying the present invention.

[0029] Mirror image poker of the present invention is a variation of traditional draw poker with many unique and original variations and modifications of the traditional game. Mirror image poker is played with a conventional 52 card deck of cards either manipulated by a dealer or by a computer driven video gaming machine. No wild cards or jokers are employed and winning hands are those traditionally recognized in poker ranked from lowest to highest as: one pair (jacks or better), two pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, royal flush. For purposes of this game, a royal flush is considered to be the ten, jack, queen, king, and ace of a particular suit.

[0030] In either of its major embodiments, the computer video game version or the dealer generated version, the play of the mirror image poker game of the instant invention may be readily understood from the flow chart of the drawing.

[0031] In the computer video game version of the mirror image poker game of the instant invention, the flow chart represents the actions of a computer program embodying the game procedure and its interaction with the player. At 2 the player starts the game, either by making a wager, by pushing a button, by touching an on-screen touch sensor, or by otherwise electronically or mechanically signaling to the computer to initiate the program. The player makes a wager by the deposit of a coin or coins, or token or tokens, or currency, or by signaling the use of previously accumulated credits from prior winnings. The computer at 4 determines whether or not a wager has been registered by the player. If no wager has been made, the computer by way of 6 will halt the game at 8. Preferably, however, the program will provide an on-screen prompt to the player reminding the player that a wager is required. If a wager is not forthcoming within a predetermined time period, the program then proceeds to halt the game at 8.

[0032] Once a wager has been recorded by way of 10, the player at 11 indicates which game she intends to play, either a single hand game, a double hand game, or a game employing the mirror image feature. The computer at 12 determines whether the player has elected to play the single band game, the double hand game, or the double hand game employing the mirror image feature. Typically, when playing at the same level of wagering, the player must wager twice as much to play the double hand game as to play the single hand game and three times as much to play employing the mirror image feature. At 14 the computer determines whether the player has made the wager appropriate for the type of game selected. For example, five coins or credits for the single hand game, ten coins or credits for the double hand game, and fifteen coins or credits for the double hand game employing the mirror image feature. If the wager is not appropriate for the game selected, as indicated at 16, the player is notified at 18 to make the appropriate wager. If the appropriate wager for the selected game has been indicated at 20 or the appropriate wager was incorporated at 18, the flow of the game is determined at 22 depending upon which of the three types of games were selected. If the single hand game had been selected as indicated at 24, the program deals five cards at 26 to the player in the form of representations of card faces appearing on the video screen. The method of determining the cards to be dealt is normally by means of random number generation within the computer program, where each card in a single conventional fifty-two card deck is assigned a unique numerical designation within the program. The output of the random number function within the program is then compared with the table of card designations within the program, the card having that specific numerical designation identified, and the card representation of that card displayed on the screen. Once the random number function has selected the representation of a particular card, a blocking function prevents that same card from being selected a second time in the same hand. That is, when the random number function generates a number which is not identified with any card in the card identification table or when it generates a number for a card which has already been represented on the screen during that hand, the random number function is automatically reset and continues to generate numbers through repeated iteration until a number representing an unused card is generated and that card is then represented on the screen at 26. Because of the speed of the system, the entire five card hand appears to the player at 26 to have been dealt simultaneously or in rapid succession.

[0033] Once the five card hand has been dealt at 26 the player is given the opportunity at 28 to examine the hand and determined whether or not to play the hand as is or to discard from 1 to 5 cards. If the player has a winning hand in the first five cards dealt, the player has the option of standing pat and playing the winning five card hand or discarding 1 or more cards in an attempt to obtain a higher ranking hand. If the player is satisfied with the value of the first hand and elects to play that first hand as shown (by standing pat), he or she signals the computer that all five cards are to be held at 30 either by pushing a designated button, on-screen touch sensor, or by another appropriate method. The program then compares the hand to the first predetermined payout table (a typical payout table is displayed below) at 32. The program determines at 34 whether the hand is a winning hand. If the hand is not a winning hand at 34 (condition 36) the game is halted at 8. In a second embodiment, if the hand is not a winning hand at 34, the program generates an on-screen notice that a winning hand was not obtained and the player is directed to hold 0 to 4 cards at 40. If a winning hand was obtained at 42, the appropriate payout is determined from the payout table and the player either receives the payout or is credited with the payout amount at 44. The game is then halted at 46.

[0034] If the player elects not to hold all five cards at 28, at 40 the player indicates either by pushing a designated button, on-screen touch sensor, or by another appropriate method which of 0 to 4 cards of the original five card hand are to be held. The computer causes the cards not held to disappear from the screen and be “discarded.” At 50 the computer replaces cards discarded at 40 with an equal number of replacement cards. The replacement cards are generated as described above at 26. The program then compares the hand to the first predetermined payout table (a typical payout table is displayed below) at 52. The program determines at 54 whether the hand is a winning hand. If the hand is not a winning hand at 54 (condition 56) the game is halted at 58. If a winning hand was obtained at 54 (condition 57), the appropriate payout is determined from the payout table and the player either receives the payout or is credited with the payout amount at 44. The game is then halted at 46.

[0035] If the player had selected the double hand game 60 at 22, the computer deals two hands at 62. The hands are designated as the first hand 64 and the second hand 66. Both the first hand 64 and the second hand 66 are played out in the same manner as for the single hand game 24 with five cards being dealt and the player either standing pat or discarding cards. Each double hand game hand begins with dealing five cards for each hand at 26 and ending with the games halted at either 8, 46, or 58. Referring again to FIG. 1, the stream of both double hand games is the same as for the single hand game starting at point A and ending at point B. However, instead of using the payout table indicated at 32 and 52, payout table II is used to determine the amount paid out or credited for winning hands. That is, at 44 the payout or credit is determined from payout table II rather than from the payout table. A typical payout table II is shown below. Payouts for certain hands given in payout table II are greater than for equal hands achieved playing the single hand game. For example, although it costs the same amount per hand to play the double hand game as the single hand game; the payout from payout table II for four kings is 350 units, whereas, the payout for the same hand from the single hand payout table for four kings is 250 units.

[0036] If the player had selected the mirror image feature 70 at 22, the computer deals two hands at 72. The hands are designated as the mirror first hand 74 and the mirror second hand 76. As with the double hand game 60 the two hands of the mirror image feature are played in the same general manner as the hand in said single hand game 24 with the player being dealt five cards and either standing pat or discarding cards. Each double hand game hand begins with dealing five cards for each hand at 26. If winning hands are not achieved at 34 or 54, the two games are halted at either 8 or 58. Referring again to FIG. 1, the stream of play for the mirror image feature is the same for each hand as for the single hand game from A to C, with the player obtaining a five card hand for each of the two hands. If the player is playing using the mirror image feature, additional steps are needed beyond C and they are indicated on FIG. 1 beginning at C1 and continuing with a determination of whether both the mirror first hand 74 and the mirror second hand 76 are winning hands at 80. If neither of said mirror first hand 74 or said mirror second hand 76 were winning hands, the game would have been halted previously at either 8 or 58. If only one of said mirror first hand 74 or said mirror second hand 76 is a winning hand at 82, the appropriate amount from said payout table II is paid out or credited at 84 and the game is halted at 86. If both hands are determined to be winning hands (condition 90), the hands are compared at 92 to determine whether they are of the same rank. That is, are both hands three of a kind, two pair, etc. If the hands are not of the same rank at 94, the amount from payout table II is paid out or credited at 84 for both said mirror first hand 74 and said mirror second hand 76 and the game is halted at 86. If the two hands are of the same rank (condition 98), the hands are compared to a third payout table (see typical payout table III below) designated as payout table III at 100. The amount due for achieving hands of the same rank (mirror image hands, typical payout table III) as well as the amount due for each of the two hands from payout table II is then paid out or credited at 102 and the game is halted at 104. Typically the amount received for achieving mirror image hands of the same rank under payout table III is significantly higher than the amount received for each of the two hands under payout table II. For example, if the player achieved four kings in said mirror first hand 74 hand and four jacks in said mirror second hand 76 where the mirror image feature was employed, the player would receive 350 units for each of the two hands or 700 units plus 25,000 units for achieving mirror image hands of that rank.

[0037] The predetermined payout tables are initially constructed in the computer's memory before the apparatus is put into use. The tables remain unchanged throughout the life of the apparatus, unless the owner of the apparatus decides to alter the payouts or a regulatory agency sets different requirements for payouts. The players cannot alter the payout tables by their method of play. The payout tables will identify all possible winning combinations or hands and the appropriate payout amount for each hand, based primarily on the probability of that combination occurring. Payout tables are commonly displayed on the screen or on a glass or panel of the game apparatus, so that the player is aware of the reward he or she is playing for. A typical predetermined payout table, payout table II, and payout table III are shown below. 1

Typical Payout Table
1st Coin2nd Coin3rd Coin4th Coin5th Coin
Royal Flush2505007501,0004,000
Straight Flush50100150200250
4 aces75150200300800
4 2's, 3's or 4's255075100400
4 5-kings10255075250
Full House510152045
Flush48131530
Straight48121625
3 of a Kind3691215
2 Pair246810
Jacks or better12345

[0038] 2

Typical Payout Table II
1st Coin2nd Coins3rd Coin4th Coin5th Coin
Royal Flush2505007501,0004,000
Straight Flush50100150200250
4 aces751002002501,000
4 2's, 3's, or100200300400500
4's
4 5-kings75150175225350
Full House1020304050
Flush815253035
Straight510152030
3 of a kind47101215
2 pair356810
Jacks or better12345

[0039] 3

Typical Payout Table III (Mirror Image Bonus)
1st hand/2nd hand1st Coin2nd Coins3rd Coin4th Coin5th Coin
Royal Flush/Royal Flush750,0001 million2 million2.5 million10 million
Strat. Flush/Strat. Flush5,00010,00020,00025,000100,000
4 of a kind/4 of a kind2,0005,00015,00020,00025,000
Full House/Full House1503005001,0002,500
Flush/Flush1002004008002,000
Straight/Straight751503006001,500
3 of a kind/3 of a kind1015204060
2 pair/2 pair58102030
Pr J Q K A/Pr J Q K A3491215

[0040] The three predetermined payout tables are geared to common gambling procedures which typically allow a player to make wagers of a single coin or betting unit or multiples of the betting unit up to a set maximum. In the case of the three typical predetermined payout tables the maximum bet is set at 5 betting units. In the preferred, described embodiment, the maximum bet is set at 5 betting units; however, in other embodiments, the maximum wager could be any number of betting units. Players are typically given an incentive to make larger bets by sometimes increasing the relative payout for a maximum bet. For example, in Payout Table above, the player receives a significantly higher return on a bet of five coins over a bet of four coins for obtaining a royal flush. As is shown in Payout Table II above, a player receives a higher reward for obtaining four twos than for obtaining four tens. This fosters excitement as well as a belief in the player that the strategy of the player is important. In the above tables the rows labeled “4 5-kings” means four of a kind having five's, sixes, sevens, eight's, nines, tens, jacks, queens, or kings. In the above tables the rows labeled “4 2's, 3's, or 4's” means four of a kind having twos, threes, or fours.

[0041] The predetermined payout tables shown above are only intended to portray possible typical payout tables and other payout tables with different payouts and different winning hands could be employed.

[0042] The first major embodiment of mirror image poker of the instant invention is described above as being played using a computer operated video gambling apparatus. In a second major embodiment, the mirror image poker game of the instant invention could be played with a human dealer rather than the computer operated video gambling apparatus. In the game with the dealer, the computer generated card representations would be replaced with actual cards from a conventional 52 card deck shuffled and dealt by the dealer. The game would be played in the manner described above, but the dealer would make decisions, notifications, and comparisons described above as being made by the computer program. In another embodiment of this dealer operated game, the mirror image poker game of the instant invention could be played with a stock of cards based upon a conventional 52 card deck; but having more than 52 cards or having different numbers of various cards from the 52 card deck.

[0043] Although the embodiments described above indicate that players make monetary wagers and are rewarded monetarily, the mirror image poker game of the instant invention could also be played for entertainment purposes only. In such cases the payout would be in the form of points accumulated, prizes, or other awards. In such games the computer program may retain and add up points scored for a particular playing session and to display the points achieved as well as to retain and display the highest previously achieved scores.

[0044] In actual play conditions, credits represent points achieved or money won and it is desirable to let such credits accumulate and be displayed on the screen, and to have means by which the player can designate wagers of either points of money won from such accumulated credits. This often allows the player to measurably increase the number of games played in a given period of time, because the player need not stop to insert additional coins, tokens, or currency between each play. If points achieved or money won is tracked in this manner, the actual monetary payout would not come until the player indicates, through pushing a designated button or touching a designated touch panel or signaling in some other manner, that he or she is finished with the present play sequence and wishes to be paid the accumulated credited winnings.

[0045] In locations where gambling is permitted, the payout will be in the form of coins or tokens or other means representing the value returned for each equivalent token or coin initially played at the time of the wager. The apparatus of the game will also include appropriate conventional mechanical means to accumulate and dispense some or all of the coins or tokens awarded for each winning hand, either at the time the winning hand is obtained or at the time that the player indicates a desire for payment of the accumulated winnings.

[0046] If, as described above, the mirror image game of the instant invention is played with a dealer rather than a computer video gaming apparatus, all betting and payouts would be handled by the dealer. Because a traditional 52 card deck would not include sufficient cards for a dealer operated game to be played with multiple players, a deck based upon a 52 card deck, but having more cards, multiple decks, different cards (including jokers, wild cards etc.), or having different numbers of various cards could be used.

[0047] Now referring to FIG. 2, a video gaming machine 110 of the type upon which the video gaming embodiment of the mirror image draw poker game of the instant invention is shown. Video gaming machines of this type are well known in the prior art and the various computer chips, circuits, sensors, and displays necessary to implementation of the mirror image poker game of the instant invention are within the capability of a person reasonably well versed in the prior art. A video display screen 112 shows the various visual displays necessary to play mirror image poker. A player's first hand 114 is displayed as representations of the cards which make up the hand. If the player is playing either the double hand game or the mirror image feature, a second hand 116 is also displayed as representations of the cards which make up the hand. A payout table 120 is displayed at the top left of the video display screen 112. Payout table II 122 is displayed at the top right of said video display screen 112. Payout table III 124 is displayed below the payout table 120 and payout table II 122 centered above the player's first hand 114. A hold control button 126 is provided for each of the cards in said player's first hand 114 and in said players second hand 116. A coin entry 128 is provided to accept coins or tokens from the player.

[0048] Still referring to FIG. 2, a credits indicator 130 is provided which indicates the number of credits the player has from coins or tokens inserted or previous winning hands. A bet display 132 displays the total amount the player has bet per round of play. In a second embodiment, bet displays could also be provided to indicate the amount of the total wager which is allocated to said first hand 114 and to said second hand 116 where appropriate. In addition to the hold control buttons 126, other control buttons including a cashout button 134, a bet one button 136, a bet max button 138, a deal button 140, and a draw button 142 are also provided. The cashout button 134 is used by the player to cashout any credits which may have accumulated. The bet one button 136 allows the player to bet one betting unit and multiples of one betting unit by pushing said bet one button multiple times. The max bet button 138 allows the player to bet the maximum bet, five units in the preferred embodiment. The deal button 140 is used by the player to indicate that a new hand should be dealt. The draw button 142 is used by the player to indicate that all of the desired cards have been marked by said hold control buttons 126 and that replacement cards should be dealt. In the preferred embodiment, the credits indicator 130 and the bet display 132 are LED displays, but other display methods could be used. In the preferred embodiment the control buttons are touch sensors, but other methods including mechanical buttons could be used.

[0049] A first hand message bar 150 is also provided on said video display screen 112. The first hand message bar 150 is not displayed continuously, but is superimposed over said player's first hand 114 when needed. Said first hand message bar 150 is used to display a variety of messages to the player when necessary to give directions or instructions or to provide other desired messages. A second hand message bar 152 is also provided on said video display screen 112. The second hand message bar 152 is not displayed continuously, but is superimposed over said player's second hand 116 when necessary to give directions or instructions or to provide other desired messages. A coin tray 154 is provided at the base of the electronic video gaming machine 110 to collect and dispense coins or tokens when a payout is made to the player. In addition to the above buttons, a single hand button 156, a double hand button 158, and a mirror image feature button 160 are also provided so that the player may select which of the three forms of the game she chooses to play.

[0050] Said electronic video gaming machine 110 is activated by the player placing one or more coins or tokens into the coin entry 128 or by the player making a bet using said bet one button 136 or said bet max button 138. After the game has been initiated, the player indicates which of the three game types he wishes to play. If the correct wager has not been made as indicated at 14 in FIG. 1 (for example, if more coins etc. needed to be inserted to play the mirror image feature) either said message bar 150 or said message bar 152 would indicate that the appropriate number of coins etc. needed to be inserted or bet. The player would then either make the appropriate wager or select a different type of game. In another embodiment, a play same game indicator could be provided and, in repeated play situation, a player would automatically make the same bet and play the same type of game as previously played.

[0051] If the player selects the single hand game, in the preferred embodiment, the player's first hand 114 is dealt automatically upon pressing of said single hand button 156, but the player must press said deal button 140 to initiate the first deal if coins or tokens are placed in said coin entry 128 or if the player uses said bet one button 136. The player indicates which cards are to be held using said hold buttons 126 and any cards not so held are replaced with new cards in the display of said player's first hand 114. (Said player's second hand 116 would not be displayed.) The play continues as previously described with necessary instructions being displayed in said first hand message bar 150 and with the player indicating decisions and instructions for said electronic video gaming machine 110 using the various control buttons.

[0052] If the player selects either the double hand game or the mirror image feature, the player's first hand 114 and second hand 116 are dealt automatically upon pressing either the double hand button 158 or the mirror image feature button 160 (provided the proper wager has been made). However, the player must press said deal button 140 to initiate the first deal if coins or tokens are placed in said coin entry 128 or if the player uses said bet one button 136. The player indicates which cards are to be held in both said first hand 114 and said second hand 116 using said hold buttons 126 and any cards not so held are replaced with new cards in the display of said first hand 114 and said second hand 116. The play continues as previously described with necessary instructions being displayed in said first hand message bar 150 and in said second hand message bar 152 and with the player indicating decisions and instructions for said electronic video gaming machine 110 using the various control buttons.

[0053] In another embodiment of this invention, only the first typical payout table and the third typical payout table (bonus payout table) are available. In this embodiment, only a single hand is played and the bonus payout table does not include value for comparing two hands, but has various greatly increased payouts for some type of “special” hand. For example, the player might receive five coins for a full house under the first typical payout table, but receive 20 coins for a full house which include a pair of threes. Essentially, the player can make an additional wager in order to bring the bonus payout table into play and have the opportunity to play a game with the possibility of a bonus payout.

[0054] While preferred embodiments of this invention have been shown and described above, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications may be made in these embodiments without departing from the spirit of the present invention. For that reason, the scope of the invention is set forth in the following claims: