Title:
Bounty poker game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of playing a draw poker game includes the steps of placing a bet on at least one hand; receiving a deal of five playing cards from a standard 52-card deck; choosing which cards to hold and which cards to discard; drawing replacement cards; and receiving a payout. The amount of the payout is based on the poker hand ranking of each resulting hand. Unlike conventional draw poker, the discarded cards are placed back into the deck prior to the draw. The amount of the payout may also be based on whether any of the discarded cards is drawn as a replacement card. The game may be implemented as video poker on a computer network, wherein a server acts as the “house” and a player plays by using a client network terminal. The video poker game may enable a player to play multiple hands simultaneously.



Inventors:
Fitzgerald, John Kennedy (Toronto, CA)
Bourenkov, Serge (Toronto, CA)
Dunaevsky, Vladimir (Toronto, CA)
Rozkin, Sergiy (Toronto, CA)
Application Number:
10/985995
Publication Date:
05/18/2006
Filing Date:
11/12/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MOSSER, ROBERT E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KATTEN MUCHIN ROSENMAN LLP (525 WEST MONROE STREET, CHICAGO, IL, 60661-3693, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for playing a poker game, comprising the steps of: placing a bet on at least a first hand; receiving a deal of five cards, the five cards being contained in a standard 52-card deck; choosing which cards to hold and which cards to discard; drawing replacement cards from the deck, wherein the number of replacement cards is equal to the number of discarded cards; and receiving a payout, wherein an amount of the payout is based on an amount of the bet and a poker hand ranking of a combination of the cards that were held and the cards that were drawn as replacement cards, wherein the discarded cards are placed back into the deck prior to the step of drawing replacement cards.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the amount of the payout is also based on whether any of the discarded cards is drawn as a replacement card.

3. The method of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the at least first hand is displayed on a monitor of a computer, and wherein the poker game is played by using a mouse and a keyboard that are operatively coupled to the computer, and wherein the computer is configured to be in communication with a server that acts as a dealer for the poker game.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the computer and the server are in communication via a computer network.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein the computer network comprises the Internet.

6. A method for playing a poker game, comprising the steps of: placing a bet on at least a first hand, a second hand, and a third hand; receiving a deal of five cards for each of the at least three hands, the five cards being contained in a standard 52-card deck corresponding to the respective hand, wherein the same five cards are dealt to each of the at least three hands; choosing which cards to hold and which cards to discard, wherein the same cards are held in each of the at least three hands and the same cards are discarded in each of the at least three hands; drawing replacement cards for each of the at least three hands from the deck corresponding to the respective hand, wherein the number of replacement cards is equal to the number of discarded cards; and receiving a payout for each of the at least three hands, wherein an amount of each payout is based on an amount of the bet and a poker hand ranking of a combination of the cards that were held and the cards that were drawn as replacement cards, wherein the discarded cards from each of the at least three hands are placed back into each respective deck prior to the step of drawing replacement cards.

7. The method of claim 6, further comprising the step of determining an additional payout, wherein an amount of the additional payout is based on a cumulative number of the discarded cards that are drawn as replacement cards.

8. The method of claim 6 or claim 7, wherein the at least three hands are displayed on a monitor of a computer, and wherein the poker game is played by using a mouse and a keyboard that are operatively coupled to the computer, and wherein the computer is configured to be in communication with a server that acts as a dealer for the poker game.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the computer and the server are in communication via a computer network.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein the computer network comprises the Internet.

11. A method for playing a poker game, comprising the steps of: placing a bet on at least ten separate hands; receiving a deal of five cards for each of the at least ten hands, the five cards being contained in a standard 52-card deck corresponding to the respective hand, wherein the same five cards are dealt to each of the at least ten hands; choosing which cards to hold and which cards to discard, wherein the same cards are held in each of the at least ten hands and the same cards are discarded in each of the at least ten hands; drawing replacement cards for each of the at least ten hands from the deck corresponding to the respective hand, wherein the number of replacement cards is equal to the number of discarded cards; and receiving a payout for each of the at least ten hands, wherein an amount of each payout is based on an amount of the bet and a poker hand ranking of a combination of the cards that were held and the cards that were drawn as replacement cards, wherein the discarded cards from each of the at least ten hands are placed back into each respective deck prior to the step of drawing replacement cards.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising the step of determining an additional payout, wherein an amount of the additional payout is based on a cumulative number of the discarded cards that are drawn as replacement cards.

13. The method of claim 11 or claim 12, wherein the at least ten hands are displayed on a monitor of a computer, and wherein the poker game is played by using a mouse and a keyboard that are operatively coupled to the computer, and wherein the computer is configured to be in communication with a server that acts as a dealer for the poker game.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the computer and the server are in communication via a computer network.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the computer network comprises the Internet.

16. A method of conducting a poker game over a computer network, the network including a server computer and at least one client computer that is in communication with the server computer, and the method comprising configuring the server computer to execute the steps of: causing the at least one client computer to display at least ten undealt hands of five-card draw poker; prompting a user to indicate an amount of a bet using the at least one client computer; dealing five cards from a standard 52-card deck to a first hand of the at least ten hands; dealing the same five cards from respective standard 52-card decks to each of the other at least nine hands; causing the at least one client computer to display the five dealt cards in each of the at least ten hands; prompting the user to indicate which of the five dealt cards will be held and which of the five dealt cards will be discarded, wherein the held cards are held in each of the at least ten hands, and wherein the discarded cards are discarded in each of the at least ten hands; drawing replacement cards for each of the at least ten hands from the respective decks, wherein the replacement cards for a given hand are independent of the replacement cards for the other hands; determining a payout for each of the at least ten hands, wherein an amount of each payout is based on the amount of the bet and a poker hand ranking of a combination of the cards that were held and the cards that were drawn as replacement cards; and causing the at least one client computer to display the respective payouts; wherein the discarded cards from each of the at least ten hands are placed back into each respective deck prior to the step of drawing replacement cards.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising the step of determining an additional payout, wherein an amount of the additional payout is based on a cumulative number of the discarded cards that are drawn as replacement cards.

18. The method of claim 16 or claim 17, wherein the computer network comprises the Internet.

19. A system for conducting a poker game, comprising: a server computer; and at least one client computer, the at least one client computer being in communication with the server computer, wherein the server computer is configured to: cause the at least one client computer to display at least ten undealt hands of five-card draw poker; prompt a user to indicate an amount of a bet using the at least one client computer; deal five cards from a standard 52-card deck to a first hand of the at least ten hands; deal the same five cards from respective standard 52-card decks to each of the other at least nine hands; cause the at least one client computer to display the five dealt cards in each of the at least ten hands; prompt the user to indicate which of the five dealt cards will be held and which of the five dealt cards will be discarded, wherein the held cards are held in each of the at least ten hands, and wherein the discarded cards are discarded in each of the at least ten hands; draw replacement cards for each of the at least ten hands from the respective decks, wherein the replacement cards for a given hand are independent of the replacement cards for the other hands; determine a payout for each of the at least ten hands, wherein an amount of each payout is based on the amount of the bet and a poker hand ranking of a combination of the cards that were held and the cards that were drawn as replacement cards; and cause the at least one client computer to display the respective payouts, wherein the discarded cards from each of the at least ten hands are placed back into each respective deck prior to the draw of replacement cards.

20. The system of claim 19, wherein the server computer is further configured to determine an additional payout, wherein an amount of the additional payout is based on a cumulative number of the discarded cards that are drawn as replacement cards.

21. The system of claim 19 or claim 20, wherein the server computer is in communication with the at least one client computer via a computer network.

22. The system of claim 21, wherein the computer network comprises the Internet.

23. A storage medium for storing software for conducting a poker game over a computer network, the network including a server computer and at least one client computer that is in communication with the server computer, the software being computer-readable, and the software including instructions for causing the server computer to: cause the at least one client computer to display at least ten undealt hands of five-card draw poker; prompt a user to indicate an amount of a bet using the at least one client computer; deal five cards from a standard 52-card deck to a first hand of the at least ten hands: deal the same five cards from respective standard 52-card decks to each of the other at least nine hands; cause the at least one client computer to display the five dealt cards in each of the at least ten hands; prompt the user to indicate which of the five dealt cards will be held and which of the five dealt cards will be discarded, wherein the held cards are held in each of the at least ten hands, and wherein the discarded cards are discarded in each of the at least ten hands; draw replacement cards for each of the at least ten hands from the respective decks, wherein the replacement cards for a given hand are independent of the replacement cards for the other hands; determine a payout for each of the at least ten hands, wherein an amount of each payout is based on the amount of the bet and a poker hand ranking of a combination of the cards that were held and the cards that were drawn as replacement cards; and cause the at least one client computer to display the respective payouts; wherein the discarded cards from each of the at least ten hands are placed back into each respective deck prior to the step of drawing replacement cards.

24. The storage medium of claim 23, wherein the software further includes instructions for causing the computer to determine an additional payout, wherein an amount of the additional payout is based on a cumulative number of the discarded cards that are drawn as replacement cards.

25. The storage medium of claim 23 or claim 24, wherein the computer network comprises the Internet.

26. A method of conducting a draw poker game over a computer network comprising a host server and an electronic client device, the method comprising the steps of: causing the client device to display at least one draw poker hand comprising a plurality of card symbols; causing the client device to prompt a player to indicate a discarding of a plurality of the displayed cards symbols; and causing the client device to display a plurality of drawn card symbols corresponding to the plurality of discarded card symbols, at least one of the drawn card symbols being identical to one of the discarded card symbols.

27. The method of claim 26, the method further comprising the steps of: causing the client device to prompt the player to indicate an amount of a bet to be placed on the draw poker hand; and causing the client device to display an amount of a payout, the amount of the payout being based on a poker hand ranking of the draw poker hand being displayed after the drawn card symbols have been displayed.

28. The method of claim 27, wherein the amount of the payout is further based on a number of drawn card symbols that are identical to any of the discarded card symbols.

29. The method of claim 26, wherein the electronic client device comprises a client computer.

30. The method of claim 26, wherein the electronic client device comprises a client monitor, wherein the monitor is configured to receive inputs from a keyboard.

31. The method of claim 26, wherein the electronic client device comprises a client monitor, wherein the monitor is configured to receive inputs from a mouse.

32. The method of claim 26, wherein the electronic client device comprises a client monitor, wherein the monitor is configured to receive inputs from a joystick device.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a method of playing a card game, and more particularly to a method of playing a version of draw poker that is adapted for play of multiple hands simultaneously, preferably on a computer network such as the Internet.

1. Description of the Related Art

Many games that use playing cards have been known and played for many decades. A list of such games includes bridge, pinochle, canasta, rummy, and poker. The term “poker” actually refers to a family of games that typically involve placing monetary bets.

In poker, a standard deck of 52 cards is generally used. Each card is considered to have a rank and a suit. The rank of the card is the apparent value of the card. The highest rank of a card is an Ace, followed by a King, a Queen, a Jack, and then in descending numerical order from Ten to Two. A Two is often referred to as being a Deuce, and a Three is often referred to as being a Trey. The suit of the card is the group of objects to which the card belongs, as indicated by the symbol shown on the face of the card. There are four suits: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs. The rank/suit combination of each of the 52 cards in the deck is unique, i.e., there is exactly one Ace of Spades in the deck, there is exactly one Six of Diamonds, there is exactly one Queen of Clubs, etc.

The objective of poker is to obtain a five-card hand having as high a ranking as possible. The ranking order of poker hands is as follows: 1) straight flush (i.e., five consecutively ranked cards of the same suit); 2) four of a kind (i.e., all four cards in the deck that have the same rank); 3) full house (i.e., three cards having a first rank combined with a pair of cards having a second rank); 4) flush (i.e., five cards of the same suit, regardless of rank); 5) straight (i.e., five consecutively ranked cards of the same suit); 6) three of a kind; 7) two pairs; 8) one pair; and 9) high card.

There are many variations on the basic theme in poker. For example, poker is often played competitively among three to seven players. On any given hand, the player who displays the highest ranking poker hand at the end of the hand wins that hand. Typically, the reward for winning a hand is that the player wins all of the money or chips that are in the pot, i.e., the money or chips that have been bet by the players during the course of the hand. However, poker can also be played individually against “the house”, such as a betting parlor. In this type of game, the player is typically rewarded according to a payout table that fixes values based on the ranking of the poker hand achieved by the player.

One group of poker games is known as stud poker. In stud poker, the player is typically dealt one or two cards, and then the player places a bet based on the initial deal. Then, the player may be dealt cards one at a time, with bets being placed in between each dealing of a card. The player is dealt his last card, which often is either the fifth card or the seventh card, and a last bet is placed. Then, the player reveals his hand, and either wins or loses based on the ranking of his hand. Although the player may have been dealt seven cards, he must choose which five cards out of those seven that he wishes to use for his poker hand. The game can be varied by dealing some cards face up (i.e., all other players can see the card) and some cards face down (i.e., only the player dealt that card can see it); or it can be varied by virtue of the betting rules that are typically declared prior to the beginning of the hand; or it can be varied by declaring certain cards as being “wild cards”. When a card is wild, that means that it can be used to substitute for any card chosen by the player. So, for example, if Deuces are wild, and a player is dealt three Sevens and a Deuce, that player would typically use the Deuce as being a fourth Seven, thus yielding a poker hand holding of four of a kind.

In another variation, community cards can be used. Community cards are cards that are commonly held by all players. Typically, the community cards are dealt face down, and bets are placed each time a community card is revealed.

Another type of poker game is known as draw poker. In draw poker, each player is usually dealt five cards, and then the player is given an opportunity to discard several cards and draw replacement cards from the remaining undealt portion of the deck. In one popular version of five-card draw poker, the players are allowed to discard no more than three of the originally dealt cards, unless the player holds an Ace and wishes to discard all four of his cards other than the Ace. Bets are placed before the draw and after the draw. In another popular variation, when playing as an individual against the house, a player may be permitted to discard any or all of his cards. A player typically places only one bet on each hand, prior to the initial deal of cards.

In recent years, with the advent of the Internet, video poker has become popular. Typically, video poker is played by individuals against the house. Cards are dealt using computer software. The Internet allows a player to play several hands simultaneously. This allows the player to win more often, and at the same time, it typically enables the video game provider to increase profits due to the increase in the number of games played. Several variations of poker games that combine one or more of the aforementioned features are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,531,448; 5,732,950; 5,823,873; and 6,007,066, the contents of each of which is incorporated herein by reference.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, a method for playing a poker game is provided. The method includes the steps of placing a bet on at least a first hand, receiving a deal of five cards, the five cards being contained in a standard 52-card deck, choosing which cards to hold and which cards to discard, drawing replacement cards from the deck, wherein the number of replacement cards is equal to the number of discarded cards, and receiving a payout. An amount of the payout is based on an amount of the bet and a poker hand ranking of a combination of the cards that were held and the cards that were drawn as replacement cards. The discarded cards are placed back into the deck prior to the step of drawing replacement cards. The amount of the payout may also be based on whether any of the discarded cards is drawn as a replacement card. The at least first hand may be displayed on a monitor of a computer. The poker game may be played by using a mouse and a keyboard that are operatively coupled to the computer that is configured to be in communication with a server that acts as a dealer for the poker game. The computer and the server may be in communication via a computer network, such as the Internet.

In another aspect, a method for playing a poker game is provided. The method includes the steps of placing a bet on at least a first hand, a second hand, and a third hand; receiving a deal of five cards for each of the at least three hands, choosing which cards to hold and which cards to discard; drawing replacement cards for each of the at least three hands from the deck corresponding to the respective hand, wherein the number of replacement cards is equal to the number of discarded cards; and receiving a payout for each of the at least three hands. The five cards received in each respective deal are contained in a standard 52-card deck corresponding to the respective hand. The same five cards are dealt to each of the at least three hands. The same cards are held in each of the at least three hands and the same cards are discarded in each of the at least three hands. An amount of the payout is based on an amount of the bet and a poker hand ranking of a combination of the cards that were held and the cards that were drawn as replacement cards. The discarded cards from each of the at least three hands are placed back into each respective deck prior to the step of drawing replacement cards. An additional payout may also be determined, wherein the amount of the additional payout may be based on a cumulative number of the discarded cards that are drawn as replacement cards. The at least three hands may be displayed on a monitor of a computer. The poker game may be played by using a mouse and a keyboard that are operatively coupled to the computer that is configured to be in communication with a server that acts as a dealer for the poker game. The computer and the server may be in communication via a computer network, such as the Internet.

In yet another aspect, a method for playing a poker game is provided. The method includes the steps of placing a bet on at least ten separate hands; receiving a deal of five cards for each of the at least ten hands, the five cards being contained in a standard 52-card deck corresponding to the respective hand, wherein the same five cards are dealt to each of the at least ten hands; choosing which cards to hold and which cards to discard, wherein the same cards are held in each of the at least ten hands and the same cards are discarded in each of the at least ten hands; drawing replacement cards for each of the at least ten hands from the deck corresponding to the respective hand, wherein the number of replacement cards is equal to the number of discarded cards; and receiving a payout for each of the at least ten hands. An amount of the payout is based on an amount of the bet and a poker hand ranking of a combination of the cards that were held and the cards that were drawn as replacement cards. The discarded cards from each of the at least ten hands are placed back into each respective deck prior to the step of drawing replacement cards. An additional payout may also be determined, wherein the amount of the additional payout may be based on a cumulative number of the discarded cards that are drawn as replacement cards. The at least ten hands may be displayed on a monitor of a computer. The poker game may be played by using a mouse and a keyboard that are operatively coupled to the computer that is configured to be in communication with a server that acts as a dealer for the poker game. The computer and the server may be in communication via a computer network, such as the Internet.

In still another aspect, a method of conducting a poker game over a computer network is provided. The network includes a server computer and at least one client computer that is in communication with the server computer. The method includes configuring the server computer to execute the steps of causing the at least one client computer to display at least ten undealt hands of five-card draw poker, prompting a user to indicate an amount of a bet using the at least one client computer, dealing five cards from a standard 52-card deck to a first hand of the at least ten hands, dealing the same five cards from respective standard 52-card decks to each of the other at least nine hands, causing the at least one client computer to display the five dealt cards in each of the at least ten hands, prompting the user to indicate which of the five dealt cards will be held and which of the five dealt cards will be discarded, the held cards being held in each of the at least ten hands, and the discarded cards being discarded in each of the at least ten hands, drawing replacement cards for each of the at least ten hands from the respective decks, wherein the replacement cards for a given hand are independent of the replacement cards for the other hands, determining a payout for each of the at least ten hands, and causing the at least one client computer to display the respective payouts. An amount of the payout is based on the amount of the bet and a poker hand ranking of a combination of the cards that were held and the cards that were drawn as replacement cards. The discarded cards from each of the at least ten hands are placed back into each respective deck prior to the step of drawing replacement cards. An additional payout may also be determined, wherein the amount of the additional payout may be based on a cumulative number of the discarded cards that are drawn as replacement cards. The computer network may be the Internet.

In yet another aspect, the invention provides a system for conducting a poker game. The system includes a server computer and at least one client computer, the at least one client computer being in communication with the server computer. The server computer is configured to cause the at least one client computer to display at least ten undealt hands of five-card draw poker; prompt a user to indicate an amount of a bet using the at least one client computer; deal five cards from a standard 52-card deck to a first hand of the at least ten hands; deal the same five cards from respective standard 52-card decks to each of the other at least nine hands; cause the at least one client computer to display the five dealt cards in each of the at least ten hands; prompt the user to indicate which of the five dealt cards will be held and which of the five dealt cards will be discarded, wherein the held cards are held in each of the at least ten hands, and wherein the discarded cards are discarded in each of the at least ten hands; draw replacement cards for each of the at least ten hands from the respective decks, wherein the replacement cards for a given hand are independent of the replacement cards for the other hands; determine a payout for each of the at least ten hands; and cause the at least one client computer to display the respective payouts. An amount of each payout is based on the amount of the bet and a poker hand ranking of a combination of the cards that were held and the cards that were drawn as replacement cards. The discarded cards from each of the at least ten hands are placed back into each respective deck prior to the draw of replacement cards. The server computer may be further configured to determine an additional payout. The amount of the additional payout may be based on a cumulative number of the discarded cards that are drawn as replacement cards. The server computer may be in communication with the at least one client computer via a computer network, such as the Internet.

In still another aspect of the invention, a storage medium for storing software for conducting a poker game over a computer network is provided. The network includes a server computer and at least one client computer that is in communication with the server computer. The software is computer-readable. The software includes instructions for causing the server computer to cause the at least one client computer to display at least ten undealt hands of five-card draw poker; prompt a user to indicate an amount of a bet using the at least one client computer; deal five cards from a standard 52-card deck to a first hand of the at least ten hands; deal the same five cards from respective standard 52-card decks to each of the other at least nine hands; cause the at least one client computer to display the five dealt cards in each of the at least ten hands; prompt the user to indicate which of the five dealt cards will be held and which of the five dealt cards will be discarded, wherein the held cards are held in each of the at least ten hands, and wherein the discarded cards are discarded in each of the at least ten hands; draw replacement cards for each of the at least ten hands from the respective decks, wherein the replacement cards for a given hand are independent of the replacement cards for the other hands; determine a payout for each of the at least ten hands; and cause the at least one client computer to display the respective payouts. An amount of each payout is based on the amount of the bet and a poker hand ranking of a combination of the cards that were held and the cards that were drawn as replacement cards. The discarded cards from each of the at least ten hands are placed back into each respective deck prior to the step of drawing replacement cards. The software may further include instructions for causing a computer to determine an additional payout, wherein the amount of the additional payout is based on a cumulative number of the discarded cards that are drawn as replacement cards. The computer network may be the Internet.

In yet another aspect of the invention, a method of conducting a draw poker game over a computer network is provided. The network includes a host server and an electronic client device. The method includes the steps of causing the client device to display at least one draw poker hand comprising a plurality of card symbols, causing the client device to prompt a player to indicate a discarding of a plurality of the displayed cards symbols, and causing the client device to display a plurality of drawn card symbols corresponding to the plurality of discarded card symbols, wherein at least one of the drawn card symbols is identical to one of the discarded card symbols. The method may also include the steps of causing the client device to prompt the player to indicate an amount of a bet to be placed on the draw poker hand, and causing the client device to display an amount of a payout. The amount of the payout may be based on a poker hand ranking of the draw poker hand being displayed after the drawn card symbols have been displayed. The amount of the payout may be further based on a number of drawn card symbols that are identical to any of the discarded card symbols. The electronic client device may be a client computer. The electronic client device may be a client monitor. The monitor may be configured to receive inputs from any or all of a keyboard, a mouse, or a joystick device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram that illustrates a network implementation of a video draw poker game according to a preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is an exemplary computer screen shot that illustrates a video draw poker game after the initial deal and the discard and prior to the draw, according to a preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is an exemplary computer screen shot of the video draw poker game of FIG. 2 that illustrates the game after the draw, according to a preferred embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a new variation of the standard game of five-card draw poker, hereinafter referred to as Bounty Poker. In a preferred embodiment, Bounty Poker is played by an individual player against the house. In certain aspects, Bounty Poker is played similarly as in conventional draw poker, in that a player places a bet and then is dealt a hand of five cards from a standard deck of 52 cards. The player decides which cards to hold and which cards to discard. The player is permitted to discard any or all of the cards. After the discard, the player draws new cards from the deck to replace the discarded cards. The player ends up with a five-card hand, and this hand is evaluated in terms of its poker hand ranking. A payout is made to the player based on the amount of the original bet and the poker hand ranking of his hand, as specified in a payout table.

In Bounty Poker, however, unlike conventional draw poker, the discarded cards are placed back into the deck prior to the draw, thus making the discarded cards available for the draw. Therefore, it is possible that one or more of the discarded cards may be drawn, despite having been discarded. The placement of the discarded cards back into the deck prior to the draw changes the probabilities of drawing any particular card, generally to the disadvantage of the player. Therefore, in Bounty Poker, the player is given a special “bounty” reward whenever he draws a card that had originally been discarded. This is especially attractive to players involved in playing video draw poker against the house.

Referring to FIG. 1, in a preferred embodiment, Bounty Poker is played as a video poker game on a computer network 20. A server computer 30 includes software that acts as “the house” by dealing cards and keeping track of discarded cards, bets, and winnings. The player plays by using an electronic client device 40 that is networked to or otherwise electrically connected to the server computer. The electronic client device 40 displays the hand being played on its monitor, and also enables the player to interact with the server computer 30 by using a keyboard, a mouse, and/or a joystick that are operatively coupled to the electronic client device 40.

Any type of controller or processor may be used to control the server computer 30 and the electronic client device 40. For example, one or more general-purpose computers, Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), Digital Signal Processors (DSPs), gate arrays, analog circuits, dedicated digital and/or analog processors, hard-wired circuits, etc. may be used by the server computer 30 and the electronic device 40 to receive inputs from and provide outputs to each other. Instructions for controlling the one or more of such controllers or processors may be stored in any desirable computer-readable medium and/or data structure, such as floppy diskettes, hard drives, CD-ROMs, RAMs, EEPROMs, magnetic media, optical media, magneto-optical media, etc. Additionally, the electronic client device 40 may be a “dumb” terminal that includes a display monitor and a keyboard, mouse, and/or joystick to allow a player to interact with the server computer 30 via the client device 40. The network 20 may be any type of electronic network that enables electronic communication between the server 30 and the client 40, including a Local Area Network (LAN), a Wide Area Network (WAN), or any other computer network, such as the Internet.

Referring to FIG. 2, in a preferred embodiment, the player may play up to ten hands simultaneously using the computer display 100. When playing ten hands simultaneously, the player first places a bet that will be multiplied by ten by clicking on the button 105, labeled “BET MAX”. An initial five-card hand 110 is then dealt to the player. In the example shown in FIG. 2, the player is initially dealt the Seven of Hearts, the Ace of Diamonds, the King of Spades, the Jack of Spades, and the Seven of Diamonds. A typical player would choose to hold the pair of Sevens and to discard the Ace, King, and Jack. The held cards are indicated by the word “HOLD” on each of the Sevens, and the discarded cards are indicated in the lower left portion 115 of the screen display just above the words “Discarded cards to qualify bonus: 10”. In the other nine hands 120, the two held cards are displayed in each hand, and the other three cards are shown as not having been drawn. At item 130, the number “10” that appears along with the words “Discarded cards to qualify bonus” is a counter that shows the player the number of appearances that must be made by previously discarded cards in order for the player to qualify for a “Bounty” bonus.

In a payout table 125, eleven types of winning poker hands are listed, along with the respective payout factors: A Royal Flush; Four Aces; Four 2's, 3's, 4's; a Straight Flush; Four of a Kind; a Full House; a Flush; a Straight; Three of a Kind; Two Pairs; and Jacks or Better. Jacks or Better refers to a pair of Jacks, a pair of Queens, a pair of Kings, or a pair of Aces. Thus, if a player obtains a Royal Flush, the player will win 4200 times his original wager.

Referring to FIG. 3, each of the ten hands 110, 120 has now drawn three additional cards. In each case, there were 50 possible cards that could have been drawn—all except the two cards that were held. As it happens, in four instances, one of the three discarded cards was drawn. Thus, at item 130, the number of “discarded cards to qualify [for a] bonus” has now been decreased from ten to six, because there were four appearances of previously discarded cards, and so the “10” was decremented four times. Thus, assuming that the player continues to play Bounty Poker, each time that the player draws a card that had been previously discarded for that set of hands, the number of “discarded cards to qualify for a bonus”, presently six, will be decremented again, until it reaches zero, at which point the player qualifies for bonus points and a corresponding payout. In addition, in one hand, i.e., the hand at the lower left position within the nine hands above the original hand, the player has drawn a pair of Sixes to combine with the pair of Sevens that was already holding. Thus, for that hand, the player has achieved “Two Pairs”, which, as indicated in the payout table on the left side of the illustration, is worth a payout of 10 times the original bet. However, in each of the other hands, the player has not achieved any of the card combinations that allows for a payout.

In conventional five-card draw poker, such as is described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,531,448; 5,732,950; 5,823,873; and 6,007,066, when drawing the three replacement cards, a player would know that there are only 47 cards from which those three cards can be drawn. Thus, when holding a pair of Sevens, the player knows that there are two additional Sevens remaining in the deck of 47 cards, and the player is hoping that at least one of those Sevens might be drawn among the three new replacement cards to provide a “three of a kind”, or that both Sevens might be drawn to provide a “four of a kind”. However, in the Bounty Poker game according to the present invention, because the discarded cards are placed back into the deck, the player's chances of drawing an additional Seven or a pair of Sevens are decreased, because the deck from which the three replacement cards will be drawn has 50 cards instead of 47. FIG. 3 shows that this decreased probability may be manifested by the reappearance of a discarded card among the three replacement cards, as happens four times out of the ten hands in this example. From a betting standpoint, this decrease in probability is quite significant. However, the bettor is compensated for this with the “Bounty” bonus points that are awarded when the discarded cards reappear.

In an alternative embodiment, the Bounty Poker game according to the present invention may be played competitively by several players against each other. In this version of Bounty Poker, each player is initially dealt five cards, and then chooses which cards to hold and which to discard. Typically, in the competitive version of the game, a player may be permitted to discard up to three cards from the initial deal, or up to four provided that the player is holding an ace, which must be displayed to the other players. In contrast to standard five-card draw poker, the discarded cards are then returned to the deck and made available for the draw. Prior to the draw, there may be a round of betting, during which players are given the opportunity to bet on their hands, or to “fold”, i.e., drop out of the hand. Each player then draws the same number of replacement cards as had been discarded by that player, thus causing each player to have exactly five cards. However, there is a possibility that one or more players will have drawn at least one of the cards that was originally discarded, either by another player or by the same player. After the draw, the players typically bet on their hands again. After the betting is completed, the hands of the players that stayed in the hand (i.e., those who did not fold) are compared, and the one having the highest poker hand ranking wins the pot.

In the competitive version of the game, there is no additional “bounty” reward when a player draws one of the cards that he originally discarded, because the nature of the competitive game does not lend itself to such a reward. However, the fact that the discarded cards are available for the draw is likely to affect the betting strategies of the players, because it changes the probabilities of drawing a given card or cards, and it also changes the probability that a competitor will draw a given card or cards. In addition, the reuse of the discarded cards enables up to nine players on a single hand, rather than a maximum of six when discarded cards are not available for the draw.

While the present invention has been described with respect to what is presently considered to be the preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments. To the contrary, the invention is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. The scope of the following claims is to be accorded the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent structures and functions.