Title:
Folding gaming tabletop
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gaming tabletop facilitates home play of casino-type games. The tabletop is divided into two sections. In a first position, when located on an elevated support surface such as a table, the first and second sections cooperate to define first and second generally planar playing surfaces. The playing surfaces are covered with material, such as felt. One or more of the playing surfaces includes game play symbols, such as betting lines. The tabletop includes chip and drink trays. The trays are removable can be mounted for use with either surface of the tabletop. In a second position, the first and second sections can be stacked upon one another so that the tabletop can be stowed or stored in a configuration of minimal dimension.



Inventors:
Danelius, Darrell (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Application Number:
10/831086
Publication Date:
10/27/2005
Filing Date:
04/23/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/00; A63F9/00; A63F3/02; (IPC1-7): A63F9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COLLINS, DOLORES R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEIDE & MILLER, LTD. (7251 W. LAKE MEAD BLVD., SUITE 530, LAS VEGAS, NV, 89128, US)
Claims:
1. A gaming tabletop comprising: a tabletop defining a generally planar top playing surface and a generally planar bottom playing surface, said surfaces of said tabletop covered with a playing surface material, said material covering at least one of said surface including game play markings, said tabletop including a plurality of openings therein from said first surface to said second surface; and a tray for location in each of said openings, each tray including at least one depression for accepting a plurality of chips therein and at least one generally circular depression for accepting the base of a drink container therein, each tray configured to be located in an opening of said tabletop so that said depression face upwardly towards said first surface and to be removed and located in an opening of said tabletop so that said depressions face upwardly towards said second surface.

2. The gaming tabletop in accordance with claim 1 wherein said gaming tabletop is generally rectangular in shape, having two sides, two ends and four corners, and wherein said gaming tabletop includes eight player stations, each station having at least one opening and a tray associated therewith.

3. The gaming tabletop in accordance with claim 2 wherein four of said player stations are located along said sides and four of said player stations are located at said corners of said tabletop.

4. The gaming tabletop in accordance with claim 3 wherein said trays at said player stations along said sides are generally rectangular in shape and said trays at said player station at said corners are non-linear in shape.

5. The gaming tabletop in accordance with claim 1 wherein said trays are selectively connectable to said tabletop.

6. The gaming tabletop in accordance with claim 5 wherein each tray includes at least one pin which is movable between an extended position for engaging the tabletop and a retracted position in which said tray may be removed from said tabletop.

7. The gaming tabletop in accordance with claim 1 wherein said material comprises felt.

8. A gaming tabletop comprising: a tabletop configured to be positioned on an elevated support surface, said tabletop comprising a first section and a second section, said sections in a first position forming a first generally planar playing surface and a second generally planar playing surface, said first and second sections having generally the same shape and dimensions, said first and second sections connected to one another and movable to a second position in which said sections are stacked upon one another, reducing the size of said tabletop when stowed or stored, said first generally planar playing surface and said second generally planar playing surface covered by a playing surface material, at least the material of one of said surfaces including game markings thereon, and including a plurality of trays located in said tabletop.

9. The gaming tabletop in accordance with claim 8 wherein said tabletop is generally rectangular in shape when said first and second sections are in said first position, said tabletop having a first end and a second end, said first and second sections comprising half of said tabletop between said first and second ends.

10. The gaming tabletop in accordance with claim 8 wherein said first and second sections are joined by at least one hinge.

11. The gaming tabletop in accordance with claim 8 wherein said material comprises felt.

12. The gaming tabletop in accordance with claim 8 wherein said trays are removable from said tabletop.

13. The gaming tabletop in accordance with claim 12 wherein one or more of said trays are removable from said tabletop.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to game surfaces.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Casino gaming continues to grow and become more popular. Poker tournaments are very popular, with many of the tournaments being televised.

As the interest in casino gaming grows, so does the popularity of the play of casino-style games in the home. Of course, poker and other games are commonly played in the home. Other casino games are being adapted for play in the home. For example, slot machine play may now be simulated on a home computer using computer software.

Players of casino style games in the home desire that the games have the look and feel of the actual casino games. The present invention is a game tabletop particularly configured to present card, dice and similar games in the home.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A gaming tabletop facilitates home play of casino-type games. The tabletop is configured to be used on a support surface, such as a table or desk. The tabletop can be folded to a configuration of minimal dimension for stowing and storage.

In one embodiment, the tabletop is divided into at least two sections. In a first position, when located on a support surface, the first and second sections cooperate to define first and second generally planar playing surfaces. The tabletop may be positioned on the support surface so that either the first or second surface faces upwardly.

The playing surfaces are preferably covered with material, such as felt. One or more of the playing surfaces includes game play symbols, such as betting lines. In one embodiment, the first surface is a plain playing surface and the other includes betting lines.

The tabletop includes chip and drink trays. In one embodiment, the trays include semi-circular depressions for accepting a plurality of chips. The trays include a generally circular depression for accepting the bottom of a drink container such a glass or bottle.

A tray is preferably located at each of a plurality of player stations. In one embodiment, the tabletop is generally rectangular. Two player stations are located at either side of the tabletop. A player station is located at each of the four corners of the tabletop.

In one embodiment, the trays at the player stations along the sides of the tabletop are generally rectangular in shape. The trays located at the corner player stations are angled, having a generally “C” or “V” shape.

The trays are removable can be mounted for use with either surface of the tabletop. In one embodiment, the trays include one or more pins which may be moved into and out of engagement with the tabletop. In one embodiment, each pin is biased by at least one spring into a position where it engages the tabletop.

In a second position, the first and second sections can be stacked upon one another so that the tabletop can be stowed or stored in a configuration of minimal dimension. In one embodiment, the first and second sections divide the table along a mid-line thereof, with the first and second sections being of the same shape and size. The first and second sections are connected by a tape or ribbon hinge. The hinge connects the first and second sections, but permits them to be moved between their first and second positions.

Further objects, features, and advantages of the present invention over the prior art will become apparent from the detailed description of the drawings which follows, when considered with the attached figures.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a gaming tabletop in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, the tabletop placed on a support surface with a first side facing up;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a gaming tabletop in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, the tabletop placed on a support surface with a second side facing up;

FIG. 3(a) illustrates a chip tray of the gaming tabletop being removed from a first side of a gaming tabletop;

FIG. 3(b) illustrates a chip tray of the gaming tabletop being inserted into a second side of a gaming tabletop;

FIG. 4 illustrates a gaming tabletop of the invention being folded into a closed position; and

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of a portion of the tabletop with a covering felt removed to illustrate a hinge connection of portions of the tabletop;

FIG. 6 is a bottom view of a first chip tray in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 7 is a bottom view of a second chip tray in accordance with the invention; and

FIG. 8 is a bottom view of a portion of a tabletop of the invention illustrating a chip tray positioned in an opening therein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention is a gaming tabletop. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough description of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.

In general, the invention is a gaming tabletop. The tabletop is configured to be supported on a table or other elevated support surface. The tabletop preferably has a first side and a second side. One or both sides are configured for use in playing games, and especially card, dice and similar casino-style games. The tabletop includes chip holders associated with player stations or locations. Preferably, the tabletop is configured so that its dimension can be reduced for storage and transport.

One embodiment of a gaming tabletop 20 in accordance with the invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. As illustrated, the tabletop 20 has a first surface 22 and an opposing second surface 24. In FIG. 1, the first surface 22 is facing up and may be referred to as the top surface. Likewise, in the position illustrated, the second surface 24 is facing down and may be referred to as the bottom surface.

The first and second surfaces 22,24 are preferably generally planar. In one embodiment, the tabletop 20 is generally rectangular in shape. In this configuration, the top surface 22 and the bottom surface 24 are bounded at a first end 26 and an opposing second end 28, and a first side 30 and an opposing second side 32. A perimeter of the tabletop 20 is defined by these ends and sides. The tabletop 20 may have other shapes, such as round, oval or square.

The tabletop 20 has a thickness. In one embodiment, the tabletop 20 is constructed of plywood or other durable and fairly lightweight material.

In a preferred embodiment, the tabletop 20 is constructed of at least a first section 34 and 36, those sections movable with respect to one another. As illustrated, the first and second sections 34,36 generally divide the tabletop 22 into two portions of equal size. The tabletop 20 could be divided into a greater number of sections, and the sections could have sizes and shapes other than as illustrated. The particular configuration illustrated has several advantages, however, as described below.

In a preferred embodiment, the first and second surfaces 22,24 are particularly configured for use in playing games. More preferably, the first and second surfaces 22,24 are particularly configured for use in presenting or playing casino-type or style games such as card and dice games. The tabletop 20 is particularly useful for the play of card games such as poker and Blackjack.

In one embodiment, the first surface 22 is covered with felt or a similar durable material having sufficient friction to prevent cards from readily sliding across the surface. When the first surface 22 is covered with felt, the felt may be adhered to the surface, such as with glue, or otherwise affixed (such as with staples or other fasteners). Similarly, when the second surface 24 is also configured as a playing surface, the second surface 24 is preferably also covered with felt or a similar material. Of course, the surfaces 22,24 could have different characteristics for presenting/playing different types of games (e.g. the first surface could be covered with felt and the second surface could be a hard surface).

In one embodiment, the configuration of the first and second surfaces 22,24 differs. Preferably, one side or surface of the tabletop 20 presents an open field for playing games of various types. Those games may include card, dice or other games. In the embodiment illustrated, the second surface 24 is configured as the “open field” surface.

Preferably, the other surface is configured for playing casino or wagering type games. In the embodiment illustrated, the first surface 22 is the surface so configured. As illustrated, the first surface 22 includes a pair of betting lines 38. In one embodiment, the betting lines 38 are a pair of lines dividing the first surface 22 into an interior area and an exterior area. The interior area is located inside the lines 38, while the exterior area is located outside of the lines. The particular shape of the lines, including their thickness and the shape of the interior area they define, may vary. As illustrated, the lines 38 have the same shape as the perimeter of the tabletop.

In one embodiment, the betting lines 38 are defined by an area of different color as compared to the remainder of the surface. For example, if the first surface 22 is covered with green colored felt, the betting lines 38 may be black, white, red, yellow or another color other than that comprising the felt. Of course, the lines may be made in various manners well known to those of ordinary skill in manufacturing such felts, such as by printing.

In a preferred embodiment, the tabletop 20 includes a number of player stations. In one embodiment, the player stations are defined at least in part by a tray 40. The tray 40 is preferably configured to hold chips and, in one embodiment, a drink container.

Referring to FIG. 3(a), in one embodiment the tray 40 comprises a molded element. For example, the trays 40 may comprise molded black or other colored plastic. Each tray 40 preferably includes a base 42 and an outwardly extending lip or ledge 44. One or more depressions are formed in the tray 40. In one embodiment, four generally semi-circular depressions 46a,b,c,d are formed in the tray 40 for accepting poker or similar chips. The size and shape of the depressions may vary depending upon the size and number of chips which are to be held.

In a preferred embodiment, the tray 40 also includes a generally circular depression 44e. This depression 44e is preferably configured to accept the bottom portion of a drink container, such as a bottle, glass or the like.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the shape of the trays 40 may vary. As illustrated, the tabletop 20 has player stations located along the sides 30,32. Preferably, in these locations, the trays 40 preferably extend generally parallel to the sides 30,32 of the tabletop 20 and are generally rectangular in shape. In this configuration, the sides of the trays 40 extend parallel to the sides 30,32 of the tabletop 20.

In a preferred embodiment, player stations are also located at the corners of the tabletop 20. As illustrated, the trays 40 at these locations also follow the shape of the tabletop 20 at those locations. As such, the trays 40 are angle or bent (i.e. are non-linear from end to end), such as by generally being “C” or “V”-shaped. As illustrated, in the bent or non-linear configuration, the chip depressions 46a,b,c,d of the tray 40 are preferably located on either side of the drink depression 46e. In the linear or rectangular configuration, the drink depression 46e is preferably located to the right side of the chip depressions 46a,b,c,d (since this is the normal position for a drink at a table setting).

As illustrated, the trays 40 may be associated with the tabletop 20. In particular, the trays 40 are configured to be inserted into the tabletop 20. As illustrated in FIG. 3(a), the tabletop 20 preferably includes an opening 48 at each player station. The opening 48 is sized and shaped to accommodate a mating tray 40.

As illustrated, the ledge 44 of each tray 40 engages or rests upon the first or second surface 22,24 of the tabletop 20. In this embodiment, the ledge 44 aids in supporting the container 40 in the tabletop 20. The depressions of the tray 40 then extend downwardly into the opening 48 in the tabletop 20.

In one embodiment of the invention, the trays 40 are removable. Referring to FIGS. 3(a) and 3(b), each container 40 can preferably be removed so that it is configured for use with the first or second surface 22,24 of the tabletop 20. For example, referring to FIG. 3(a), a tray 40 may be removed from the tabletop 20 from a position where it is facing upwardly for use with the first surface 22. Referring to FIG. 3(b), the tray 40 may then be located in the same opening 48 at the other surface, so that it faces upwardly for use with the second surface 24.

In one embodiment, means are providing for selectively retaining each tray 40 in position in the tabletop 20. Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, the In a preferred embodiment, each tray 40 includes means or selectively engaging the tabletop 20. In one embodiment, the means comprises one or more pins 50.

As illustrated, the pin 50 has a first end 52 which extends outwardly for engaging the tabletop 20. In one embodiment, means are provided for biasing the pin 50 outwardly. As illustrated, this means comprises at least one spring 54.

The pin 50 may be connected to the tray 40 in a variety of ways, and the spring(s) 54 may be configured to work with the pin 50 in variety of ways. As illustrated, in one embodiment, a pair of mounts 56a,b are provided between two of the chip depressions at a bottom portion of the tray 40. In this embodiment, the mounts 56a,b are molded walls.

The pin 50 passes through holes formed in the walls 56a,b. In one embodiment, a stop 58 is located on the pin 50 between the walls 56a,b. The spring 54 is mounted on the pin 50 between the walls 56a,b as well, with one end of the spring 54 engaging the stop 58 and the other engaging one of the walls 56b. In this manner, the spring 54 biases the stop 58 towards the first wall 56a, and thus biases the pin 50 outwardly. Of course, the pin 50 may be moved inwardly by pressing upon the pin, thus compressing the spring.

As indicated, the pin may be mounted in a variety of ways, and the pin or other means may be configured in a variety of ways. For example, the pin may have other shapes, as may the mounts to which the pin is movably connected. As illustrated in FIG. 7, in one embodiment the pin 50 is mounted to a bracket 57 which is formed on the bottom of the tray 42, rather than on walls which extend between the depressions.

In this embodiment, the pins 50 are located below the ledge or lip 44 of the tray. As illustrated in FIG. 7, when the tray 40 is located in the tabletop 20, the pin 50 extends outwardly into engagement with the tabletop 40. In one embodiment, a slot or other depression 60 may be formed in a peripheral portion of the tabletop 20 surrounding the opening 48 in which the tray 40 is located. The slot 60 is preferably sized and located to accept the first end 52 of the pin 50 when the pin 50 is biased outwardly. In this manner, the pin 50 locks to the slot 60, thus securing the tray 40 the tabletop 20. Of course, the tray 40 may be removed by biasing the pin 50 out of engagement with the tabletop 20.

The containers 40 might be retained in the openings 48 in the tabletop 20 in other manners. For example, the container 40 could force or friction fit in to the opening 48. The container 40 might include clips, such as bendable plastic fingers or metal tabs which may be biased. Those finger or tabs may be press fit into the opening 48 to retain the container, or the may engage additional slots or openings. For example, each container 40 might include a number of elongate tabs which pass through the opening 48 to the opposing surface and engage that surface. The container 40 might then be removed by biasing the tabs inwardly out of engagement with the surface.

In use, the tabletop 20 is preferably placed on a support surface. The support surface is preferably elevated. The tabletop 20 may comprise, for example, the top of a table, desk, or other piece of furniture. The tabletop 20 is preferably located so that one of the surface 22,24 faces upwardly. The particular surface which faces upwardly may depend upon what game or games the users which to play. The trays 40 are preferably oriented so that they face upwardly as well. As indicated above, this may necessitate that the trays 40 be moved from the bottom to the top of the tabletop for use.

In one embodiment, the tabletop 20 is configured so that it can be stored or stowed in a configuration having a lesser dimension than when it is in use. As described, the tabletop 20 includes first and second sections 26,28. When the tabletop 20 is not being used, the first and second sections 26,28 may be placed upon one another, effectively reducing the total size or surface of the tabletop by 50%.

In a preferred embodiment, the first and second sections 26,28 are hingedly connected. As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the first and second sections 26,28 are connected by one or more hinge elements. In a preferred embodiment, the first and second sections 26,28 are connected by a tape or ribbon hinge 62. Such hinges 62 generally comprise a strip of durable, flexible material. A first portion of the hinge 62 is connected to the first section 26 and a second portion of the hinge 62 is connected to the second section 28. The hinge 62 maintains the first and second sections 26,28 of the tabletop 20 connected to one another, but allows them to be folded onto one another as illustrated in FIG. 4, and folded flat, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2.

Of course, the tabletop sections could be movably connected in other fashions, such as with metal or plastic hinges or the like. In addition, the tabletop sections could simply include means for selectively connecting and disconnecting the sections. For example, one section could include outwardly extending pins for engaging mating openings in the other section.

A variety of other embodiments of the invention are contemplated. For example, in one embodiment, some but not all of the trays may be removable. In another embodiment, a single tray may be provided for more than one player location, such as by having the tray including a plurality of chip containing depressions. For example, those depressions might be separated by a pair of drink container accepting depressions.

As indicated, the tabletop could have more than one section. For example, the tabletop could have three sections with adjacent sections connected by a hinge, and whereby the tabletop could be “tri”-folded into a configuration in which the three sections are stacked upon one another.

There may be a greater or lesser number of player stations, and thus trays. The particular number may depend, for example, upon the size of the table. In one embodiment, the tabletop is approximately 32 inches wide and 66 inches long. In such an embodiment, each portion of the tabletop is about 33 inches long, such that the tabletop in its stowed configuration is about 32 inches wide by 33 inches long.

The gaming tabletop 20 of the invention has numerous advantages. First, the tabletop 20 presents a game playing surface which is particular suited to the presentation and play of casino type game in a casino format, in locations such as the home or office.

Advantageously, the tabletop 20 is configured so that it may be stowed and stored in a configuration of reduced dimension. This is particular advantageous for home use, where the tabletop 20 may be stored between uses. The tabletop 20 can be stored in a configuration of substantially reduced dimension, such as in a closet or similar location. However, the tabletop 20 can be extended into the position illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 to a large playing surface similar to that of casino poker and Blackjack tables.

The tabletop 20 also has an advantage two-sided configuration. As described above, the two-sided configuration provides for different play configurations on the two sides of the tabletop 20. For example, in the embodiment illustrated, the user may use the first surface 22 for the play of wagering type games such as poker and Blackjack. The user may utilize the second surface 24 for the play of other games such as dice games.

The tabletop 20 includes chip trays. These trays may conveniently be removed and switched from the top to the bottom or bottom to the top of the tabletop 20, depending upon which surface the user wishes to use. This allows the tabletop 20 to be complete regardless of which surface is used, without duplication of components, keeping the tabletop 20 configuration simple.

It will be understood that the above described arrangements of apparatus and the method there from are merely illustrative of applications of the principles of this invention and many other embodiments and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the claims.