Title:
Gaming system including multiple wager selectors and dynamic theoretical payback percentage display
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Systems and methods of gaming that provide the user with increased wagering within a specific game of chance. Multiple wager selectors each having a specific value ed therewith provide the user with a wide range of wager amounts that may be placed on gaming device. As the user's current wager increases or decreases, a theoretical percentage is displayed to the user.



Inventors:
Kraft, David W. (Bozeman, MT, US)
Fasbender, Dustin L. (Bozeman, MT, US)
Application Number:
11/054524
Publication Date:
08/10/2006
Filing Date:
02/08/2005
Assignee:
Kraft, David W.
Fasbender, Dustin L.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
RENWICK, REGINALD A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HUSCH BLACKWELL LLP (4801 MAIN STREET SUITE 1000, KANSAS CITY, MO, 64112, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of allowing a player to select a wager amount to be made on a gaming device, comprising: (a) providing a first wager selector having a first value; (b) providing a second wager selector having a second value different from said first value; (c) incrementing a wager amount for the player by said first value each time said first wager selector is selected by the player; and (d) incrementing the wager amount for the player by said second value each time said second wager selector is selected by the player.

2. A method as set forth in claim 1, including the steps of: (e) decrementing the wager amount by said first value each time said first wager selector is selected by the player in a decrement mode of said first wager selector; and (f) decrementing the wager amount by said second value each time said second wager selector is selected by the player in a decrement mode of said second wager selector.

3. A method as set forth in claim 1, including the step of disabling said first wager selector to prevent step (c) from occurring when the wager amount has a predetermined value.

4. A method as set forth in claim 2, including the step of disabling said first wager selector to prevent step (c) or step (e) from occurring when the wager amount has a predetermined value.

5. A method as set forth in claim 1, including the step of displaying the wager amount in the value of the currency accepted by the gaming device.

6. A method as set forth in claim 1, including the steps of: (e) varying the theoretical payback percentage of the gaming device dependent on the wager amount selected by the player; and (f) displaying to the player the theoretical payback percentage for each wager amount selected by the player.

7. A method as set forth in claim 6, wherein step (e) comprises varying the theoretical payback percentage in a manner to increase the theoretical payback percentage substantially consistently with increases in the wager amount.

8. A method of operating a gaming device in which a player can select at least first and second different wager amounts, comprising: (a) providing a first theoretical payback percentage for the device when said first wager amount is selected by the player; (b) providing a second theoretical payback percentage for the device when said second wager amount is selected by the player, said second theoretical payback percentage being different from said first theoretical payback percentage; and (c) displaying to the player said first theoretical payback percentage when said first wager amount is selected and said second theoretical payback percentage when said second wager amount is selected.

9. In a method of operating a gaming device, the steps of: (a) providing separate first and second wager selectors having respective first and second values assigned thereto different from one another; (b) incrementing a wager amount selected by a player of the device by said first value each time the player selects said first wager selector and by said second value each time the player selects said second wager selector, wherein each selector can be selected a plurality of times to effect a final wager amount; (c) providing different theoretical payback percentages for the gaming device for each different wager amount selected by the player; and (d) displaying to the player the theoretical payback percentage for each wager amount selected by the player.

10. The invention of claim 9, including the steps of: (e) decrementing the wager amount by said first value each time the player selects said first wager selector in a decrement mode thereof, and (f) decrementing the wager amount by said second value each time the player selects said second wager selector in a decrement mode thereof.

11. The invention of claim 10, including the step of displaying to the player the wager amount in the value of the currency accepted by the gaming device.

12. A gaming device allowing a player to select a wager amount, comprising: (a) a first wager selector having a first value; (b) a second wager selector having a second value different from said first value; (c) means for incrementing a wager amount for the player by said first value each time the player selects said first wager selector; and (d) means for incrementing the wager amount for the player by said second value each time the player selects said second wager selector.

13. A gaming device as set forth in claim 12, wherein: said first and second wager selectors each has an increment mode and a decrement mode; said means for incrementing a wager amount by said first value is active only in the increment mode of said first wager selector; said means for incrementing a wager amount by said second value is active only in the increment mode of said second wager selector; said first wager selector is operable to decrement the wager amount by said first value each time the player selects said first wager selector in the decrement mode thereof; and said second wager selector is operable to decrement the wager amount by said second value each time the player selects said second wager selector in the decrement mode thereof.

14. A gaming device as set forth in claim 12, wherein said first wager selector is disabled when the wager amount is above a predetermined value.

15. A gaming device as set forth in claim 12, including a display for displaying the wager amount in the value of the currency accepted by the gaming device.

16. A gaming device as set forth in claim 12, wherein different theoretical payback percentages are applicable to different wager amounts, and including: a display visible to the player visually displaying to the player the theoretical payback percentage applicable to each different wager amount selected by the player.

17. In a gaming device in which a player can select at least first and second different wager amounts, a first theoretical payback percentage is assigned to a game played with said first wager amount, and a second theoretical payback percentage is assigned to a game played with said second wager amount, said second theoretical payback percentage being different from said first theoretical payback percentage, the improvement comprising: (a) a visual display visible to the player; and (b) means for displaying on said display said first theoretical payback percentage when the player selects said first wager amount and said second theoretical payback percentage when the player selects said second wager amount.

18. A gaming device in which a player can select a wager amount and the device has different theoretical payback percentages for different wager amounts, comprising: (a) separate first and second wager selectors having respective first and second values assigned thereto different from one another; (b) said first wager selector having an increment mode wherein a wager amount for the player is incremented by said first value each time said first wager selector is selected by the player and a decrement mode wherein the wager amount is decremented by said first value each time said first wager selector is selected by the player; (c) said second wager selector having an increment mode wherein the wager amount is incremented by said second value each time said second wager selector is selected by the player and a decrement mode wherein the wager amount is decremented by said second value each time said second wager selector is selected by the player; and (d) a visual display on which the theoretical payback percentages are displayed to the player for different wager amounts selected by the player.

19. A gaming device as set forth in claim 18, including a display for displaying to the player the wager amount that is selected in the value of the currency accepted by the gaming device.

20. A gaming device as set forth in claim 18, wherein said first wager selector is disabled when the wager amount exceeds a predetermined amount.

21. A method of operating a gaming device in which a player can select a plurality of different wager amounts, comprising: displaying payback percentage information to said player; and permitting said payback percentage information to change relative to the selected amount to be wagered by said player.

22. The invention as in claim 21, including the step of increasing the payback percentage being displayed upon said player increasing the selected amount of the wager.

23. The invention as in claim 21, including the step of decreasing the payback percentage being displayed upon said player decreasing the selected amount of the wager.

24. Gaming device in which a player playing said gaming device may select a plurality of different wager amounts, said device comprising: means for displaying payback percentage information to said player; and means for displaying payback percentage information that changes relative to the selected amount to be wagered by said player.

25. A gaming device as set forth in claim 24, including means for increasing the payback percentage being displayed upon said player increasing the selected amount of the wager.

26. A gaming device as set forth in claim 24, including: means for decreasing the payback percentage being displayed upon said player decreasing the selected amount of the wager.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

None.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Gaming machines or devices that are currently available permit a player to play video card games, video keno, video spinning-reel type games, video bingo, and other types of games. These same games, as well as others, may also be played over a data network such as the Internet.

Current gaming devices provide games that are based on a single denomination within each game (e.g. nickel games, quarter games, dollar games etc.). Wagers and awards are whole number multiples of the particular denomination. This stems from the time when coins or tokens were inserted into the gaming machine as the only means of accepting money and hoppers dispensing coins were the primary means of returning winnings to the player. The payout amount for a winning outcome had to be an increment of the denomination for the player to be able to redeem their entire winnings and permitted the players to bet their entire credit balance down to exactly zero. This practice continues even though most gaming machines now have currency acceptors rather than or in addition to coin acceptors and ticket printers that print cash out tickets, which permits any credit balance to be fully redeemed. There are multi-game and multi-denomination machines which provide more flexibility by allowing the player to select a single denomination at which to play a game.

Current implementations allow the player to either select the game by name and then select the desired denomination or select the game by name with denomination as part of the identifying name, or select the denomination first and then choose the game. Current games that are based on a nickel denomination would have a five cent wager selector and possibly a max bet selector. The five cent wager selector would increment the player's wager by one credit (five cents) each time it is selected and there might also be decrement functionality. The max bet selector would set the player's bet at the maximum bet allowed in the game if it was selected. There are some games that provide additional bet selectors which allow the player to bet a set number of credits per line in spinning reel games, but these selectors have no repeat functionality.

It would be unusual for a nickel denomination game to allow a player to wager up to one hundred dollars, but if it did and a player wanted to wager one hundred dollars and there was no max bet selector, the game would require two thousand selections of the five cent wager selector. If there was a max bet selector, it would make it easy for the player to achieve the one hundred dollar bet, but if they only wanted to bet fifty dollars (assuming a one hundred dollar max bet), it would require one thousand selections of the five cent wager selector. If a current game was based on a five dollar denomination, a five dollar wager selector would make it easier for the player to achieve the fifty or one hundred dollar bet, but it would eliminate the ability for the player to wager anything less than five dollars or anything greater than five dollars that was not a whole number multiple of five dollars.

It is not uncommon that higher denomination games offer higher theoretical payback percentages to the player. Due to the random nature of games, statistically speaking, the more games that are played the closer the actual payback percentage of the game gets to the theoretical payback percentage. Theoretical payback percentages are sometimes posted, as fixed values, on certain machines or banks of machines to try and attract players, but in the vast majority of cases, the player is not informed in any way of a game's theoretical payback percentage. There are currently games that give players incentive to bet more by increasing the pays for certain outcomes at higher bets, thereby increasing the theoretical payback percentage. It is very common for poker games to have a maximum bet of five coins where the Royal Flush will pay 250 times the total bet for the first four coins bet and pay 800 times the total bet for a five coin wager. Examining the effect of this Royal Flush pay increase in three “standard” Jacks or Better poker pay tables known in the industry as the 5-7, the 5-8 and the 6-9, the theoretical payback percentage on the fifth coin bet increases from approximately 94.91 to 96.15; 96.06 to 97.30; and 98.37 to 99.54 respectively. Assuming the player was offered the 5-7, the 5-8, and the 6-9 at denominations of 5¢, 25¢, and $1 respectively, discrepancies can be seen which are not atypical of current art in the gaming industry and are often unavoidable or inherent in the credit/denomination approach used throughout the industry. The player betting 25¢ in the 5¢ game is getting 96.15% while the player betting 25¢ in the 25¢ game is getting 96.06%. The player betting $1 in the 25¢ game is getting 96.06% while the player betting $1 in the $1 game is getting 98.37%.

Using the same three Jacks or Better poker pay tables it is possible to create a table of the bet versus the theoretical cost per hour to play, the amount the “house” makes, which is calculated by multiplying each wager times the quantity one minus the associated theoretical payback percentage and summing over all games played in an hour. Assuming an average player plays a game every six seconds, or 600 games per hour the following table results:

5¢ 5-7 game25¢ 5-8 game$1 6-9 game
BetCost/hourBetCost/hourBetCost/hour
 5¢$1.5325¢$5.91$1$9.78
10¢$3.0550¢$11.82$2$19.56
15¢$4.5875¢$17.73$3$29.34
20¢$6.11$1$23.64$4$39.12
25¢$5.78$1.25$20.25$5$13.80

The house would not want a player occupying a machine and only betting 5¢ per game with a rent of only $1.53 per hour, especially if they are giving the player free drinks or other comps. The game being played can have a huge impact on the $1 player. If they are playing the 25¢ game at a $1 bet it costs them $23.64 per hour but if they play the $1 game at the same bet it only costs them $9.78 per hour. At the same time, players are typically given no indication of the payback percentage. The majority of keno and spinning reel games offer no pay increases at increased bets.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the invention provide more diverse betting options, which may eliminate the need for games at different denominations.

Another object of this invention is to create more equity in terms of cost per hour to play for the house at lower bets and for the player at higher bets.

It is a further object of this invention to provide players with more information regarding the effect of their wager on the payback percentage and the related cost per hour to play.

In one aspect of the invention, a gaming device is provided with multiple wager selectors, each with a different value, within a single game. Each wager selector operates, in a preferred embodiment, to increment the player's wager amount by the value of the wager selector each time it is selected (as by depressing a key). Preferably, each wager key may either increment or decrement the wager amount at the player's option. Accordingly, players can more easily achieve their desired bet level over a larger range of bets. For example, if a game is provided with four wager selectors with values of five cents, twenty-five cents, one dollar and five dollars, each with increment and decrement functionality and a maximum bet of one hundred dollars, the player can select any bet from five cents to one hundred dollars in five cent increments with twenty eight or less selections of the appropriate wager selectors. For practical reasons, each selector could be limited to a maximum of twenty increments. This would allow the player to wager from five cents to one dollar in five cent increments, from twenty-five cents to five dollars in twenty-five cent increments, from one dollar to twenty dollars in one dollar increments, or from five dollars to one hundred dollars in five dollar increments with no more than twenty selections of the appropriate wager selector.

In a further aspect of the invention, the theoretical payback percentage will be caused to increase at every, or nearly every, increasing bet. The contribution to the theoretical payback percentage of any given outcome is calculated by multiplying the statistical odds of that outcome occurring times the pay for that outcome. With multiple wager selectors, it is possible to provide awards which are whole number multiples of the smallest wager selector and fractional multiples of the larger wager selectors while still permitting the player to bet their entire credit balance down to exactly zero. An increased number of available award values with increasing bets provides for more precision in targeting theoretical payback percentages as the wager increases. With a five cent wager selector and a twenty five cent wager selector, when the player is betting twenty-five cents it is possible to provide awards which are any multiple of five cents rather than just multiples of twenty-five cents, allowing game designers greater flexibility in achieving desired theoretical payback percentages. All other things being constant, increasing the theoretical payback percentage as the absolute value of the bet increases will create a more equitable cost per hour to play the game for all players. The theoretical payback percentage can be set low enough at a five cent bet that the “house” no longer needs to worry about a player occupying a seat and only betting five cents per game. Similarly, the theoretical payback percentage can be set high enough at large bets such that the cost per hour to play is not so high as to discourage high rollers.

In another aspect of the invention, a variable display shows the player the theoretical payback percentage at the current wager amount. The theoretical payback percentage is displayed for each different wager amount and will change with at least one wager change. Added visibility may be created by displaying the range of possible theoretical payback percentages available.

The gaming system of the invention and associated methods of operation may be implemented on a stand-alone gaming machine or over a data network such that the player may access the gaming system from a remote computer (e.g., over the Internet). The wager selectors may take the form of depressable keys for making selections of wager amounts which can be selectively incremented or decremented by the key value with each depression. Alternatively, a “touch screen” arrangement for the wager selectors may be employed such that the player makes wager selections directly on the display screen.

Therefore, the invention provides for a gaming system and method in which the player has a wide range of choices and relative ease of achieving wager amounts. The need for games at different denominations is eliminated. There is more flexibility in achieving a desired increase in theoretical payback percentage as the bet increases. Due to increasing the theoretical payback percentage as the absolute value of the bet increases, more player equity is created in terms of average cost per hour to play, all other things being constant. The theoretical payback percentage display dynamically updates the theoretical payback percentage as the player's wager amount changes, giving the player more information about how a wager amount affects the theoretical payback percentage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic view of multiple wager keys used in conjunction with a gaming device showing a total bet of $0.25;

FIG. 1a is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing a bet of $0.95;

FIG. 1b is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing a bet of $4.25;

FIG. 1c is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing a bet of $65.00;

FIG. 1d is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing a bet of $100.00;

FIG. 1e is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing a bet of $0.05;

FIG. 2 is a chart illustrating the variety of wager amounts that may be made available to a player according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view of three wager keys that may be provided on a gaming device in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic view of multiple wager keys similar to FIG. 3 but with the wager display arranged to display the wager that is selected in terms of the number of credits bet rather than in the value of currency accepted by the gaming device;

FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic view of multiple wager keys that may be provided on a gaming device in accordance with another embodiment of the invention, the wager keys being arranged only to increment the wager amount and not to decrement it;

FIG. 6 is a chart illustrating the theoretical payback percentage increasing at every increasing bet;

FIG. 6a instructs how to calculate Payback Percentage and provides an example;

FIG. 7 is a chart comparing the cost per hour to play of three fixed theoretical payback percentages and the increasing theoretical payback percentage of FIG. 6

FIGS. 8 and 8a-8c are diagrammatic views of multiple wager keys and a display of the applicable theoretical payback percentages that may be associated with different wager amounts in accordance with embodiments of the invention; and

FIG. 9 is a schematic block diagram of an electronic implementation of one embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

This invention is directed in one aspect to the providing of a gaming device that is equipped with multiple wager selectors within a game and with each selector having a different value assigned to it. Each wager selector may be incremented (and also preferably decremented) in succession to change the value of the amount wagered by the value assigned to the wager selector each time the player selects the wager selector. In this way, a player is not restricted in the amount he or she can bet but instead is given wide latitude in selecting the wager amount for each round of play on the gaming device.

In another aspect of the invention, the theoretical payback percentage increases at every, or nearly every, increasing bet. With multiple wager selectors, as the bet increases, the number of available pay values increases, providing more precision in targeting theoretical payback percentages. All other things being constant, increasing the theoretical payback percentage as the absolute value of the bet increases will create a more equitable cost per hour to play the game for all players.

In a further aspect of the invention, the theoretical payback percentage is displayed to the player for each wager amount that he or she selects. The player is thus provided with a visual display informing him or her of the fact that the theoretical payback percentage increases with the amount that is wagered. The theoretical payback percentage display is adjusted dynamically such that the theoretical payback percentage that is displayed changes with changes in the wager amount.

Version No. 1

Version no. 1 of the invention is shown in FIG. 1 and FIGS. 1a-1e. With initial reference to FIG. 1, a gaming device, which may be of any desired type allows a player to select a wager to be made on the game he or she has elected to play. In this regard the machine may be dedicated to only one game or may be a multiple game machine in which one out of a variety of available games may be selected to be played. The game provides to the player a plurality of different wager selectors generally identified by numeral 10. The wager selectors 10 may take a variety of different forms such as “touch screen” devices or, as shown in FIG. 1, different wager or bet keys 12, 14, 16 and 18 which are accessible to be depressed by the fingers of a player on the gaming device. In version no. 1 of the invention, key 12 has a value of 5¢ assigned to it as indicated, key 14 has a value of 25¢, key 16 has a value of $1, and key 18 has an assigned value of $5. Thus, each of the wager keys 12-18 is assigned a different value expressed in the currency (for example in dollars and cents) that the gaming device is constructed to accept. The keys 12-18 are shown side-by-side in a row but can be arranged differently.

In version no. 1 of the invention shown in FIG. 1, each of the wager keys 12-18 is separated into an upper finger pad and a lower finger pad. For example, key 12 is provided on its upper portion with an upper finger pad 12a which may be depressed by the user to operate key 12 in an increment mode in which the wager amount is incremented by 5¢ each time finger pad 12a is selected (i.e., depressed by the player). Key 12 also has a lower finger pad 12b located on the lower portion of key 12 which may be depressed to operate key 12 in a decrement mode in which the wager amount is decremented by 5¢ each time pad 12b is depressed by the player. It is to be understood that either or both the increment pad 12a or the decrement 12b (and the finger pads for the other keys) may be depressed and held in a depressed condition to repeatedly increment or decrement the wager amount, rather than require discrete depressions for repeated incrementing or decrementing.

The remaining keys 14-18 similarly have increment finger pads and decrement finger pads. Key 14 has an increment pad 14a on its upper portion which increments the wager amount by 25¢ each time it is depressed, and a decrement key pad 14b on its lower portion which decrements the wager amount by 25¢ each time it is depressed. Likewise, key 16 has an increment finger pad 16a on its upper portion which can be depressed to operate key 16 in an increment mode to increase the wager amount by $1 with each depression of pad 16a (or in successive $1 increments when pad 16a is depressed and held in a depressed condition). A decrement pad 16b on the lower portion of key 16 decrements the wager amount by $1 each time pad 16b is depressed. Finally, an increment finger pad 18a is provided on the upper portion of key 18 which increments the amount wagered by $5 each time it is depressed. A decrement finger pad 18b is provided on the lower portion of key 18 and operates to decrement the wager amount by $5 each time it is depressed.

Thus, the wager amount can be incremented or decremented as desired by the player by the amount that is associated with whichever of the bet keys 12-18 is selected. The player can increment the wager amount in 5¢ increments by depressing finger pad 12a and decrement the wager amount in 5¢ increments by depressing finger pad 12b. The wager amount can be incremented in 25¢ increments by depressing finger pad 14a and decremented in 25¢ increments by depressing finger pad 14b. The wager amount can be increased in $1 increments by depressing finger pad 16a and decreased in $1 increments by depressing finger pad 16b. The player can increase the amount wagered in $5 increments with the depression of finger pad 18a and decrease the amount wagered in $5 increments by depressing finger pad 18b.

The gaming device may include a display such as the visual display 20 shown in FIG. 1 that visually displays to the player the amount he or she has selected to wager in the absolute value of the currency that the gaming device accepts. FIG. 1 shows the display 20 in a condition where the wager amount selected by the player is 25¢ (expressed in dollar terms as $0.25). The display 20 is preferably in a position on the gaming device where the player can easily ascertain the amount of his or her wager.

In FIG. 1, some of the finger pads of some of the keys are shaded to indicate that they are disabled when the wager amount is 25¢ as indicated. Thus, finger pads 14b, 16b and 18b are disabled when the wager amount is 25¢. The wager amount cannot be decremented using the 25¢ key 14 because that would make the amount wagered equal to zero which is not permitted. The wager amount cannot be decremented by the $1 key 16 or the $5 key 18 because the amount wagered would then be less than zero which is not permitted. The 5¢ decrement pad 12b remains active and can be used to decrement the amount wagered in 5¢ increments. All of the increment finger pads remain active and can be operated to increment the wager amount by the value associated with the key that is selected. Accordingly, the art of entering a 25¢ bet precludes the operation of the disabled (shaded) keys and the disabled keys will remain in this condition until the total bet reaches a value that will permit the enabled operation of same.

Each of the wager keys 12-18 preferably has a maximum wager amount assigned to it such that when the wager amount has reached the applicable maximum amount, that particular key is disabled for that amount and larger wager amounts. For example, the 5¢ bet key 12 may have a $1 maximum assigned to it as indicated, the 25¢ bet key 14 may have a $5 maximum wager amount assigned to it, the $1 bet key 16 may have a $20 maximum wager amount assigned it, and the $5 bet key 18 may have a $100 maximum wager amount assigned to it. When the wager amount is $1 or more, the 5¢ wager key 12 cannot be used to increment the wager amount, so the finger pad 12a is disabled when the bet reaches $1 or more. Similarly, pad 14a is disabled when the wager amount is $5 or more, finger pad 16a is disabled when the wager amount is $20 or more, and the finger pad 18a is disabled when the wager amount has reached $100. In this manner, players are encouraged to use the proper bet key to speed up entry of the wager amount.

FIG. 1a is a depiction of the condition of the wager keys 12-18 when the wager amount is 95¢ as indicated on the display 20 of FIG. 1a. At this wager amount, the decrement finger pads 16b and 18b of bet keys 16 and 18 are disabled (illustrated by shading) because decrementing the wager amount by $1 or $5 would result in a negative wager amount which is impermissible. All of the increment finger pads and the finger pads 12b and 14b are enabled at a wager amount of 95¢.

FIG. 1b depicts a situation where the wager amount is $4.25 as indicated on the display 20 of FIG. 1b. With this wager amount, finger pad 12a is disabled as is finger pad 18b, as indicated by the shading in FIG. 1b. Finger pad 12a is disabled because the wager amount is above the $1 maximum for key 12. Finger pad 18b is disabled because decrementing the bet by $5 would result in a negative wager amount which is impermissible. All of the other finger pads are enabled.

Referring to FIG. 1c, finger pads 12a, 14a and 16a are disabled when the total bet amount is $65, as displayed on the visual display 20 of FIG. 1c. The disabling of these finger pads is due to the wager amount of $65 exceeding the $1 maximum for key 12, the $5 maximum for key 14 and the $20 maximum for key 16.

In FIG. 1d, the wager amount is $100 as indicated on the display 20. All of the increment finger pads 12a, 14a, 16a and 18a are disabled because the wager amount meets or exceeds the maximum amount assigned to each of the keys 12-18. All of the decrement finger pads may be enabled so that the $100 wager can be decremented as desired. Depressing pads 12b, 14b, or 16b may reduce the bet to the respective maximum amount assigned to keys 12, 14, and 16 or pads 12b, 14b and 16b may instead be disabled because the wager amount exceeds the maximum wager amount assigned to keys 12, 14 and 16.

FIG. 1e depicts a wager amount of 5¢ displayed on the visual display 20. All of the decrement finger pads are disabled, as indicated by the shading of finger pads 12b, 14b, 16b and 18b in FIG. 1e. Decrementing of the 5¢ bet using any of the keys would result in a wager amount of zero or less which is impermissible so that all of the decrement finger pads are disabled.

FIG. 2 is a chart which sets forth the available bets that are permitted in accordance with this embodiment of the invention. With the 5¢ bet key 12, bets from 5¢ to $1 can be made in 5¢ increments as indicated by the first column in FIG. 2 under the “5¢ bet key” heading. Under the next column, having the heading “25¢ bet key,” it is noted that bets of 25¢, 50¢, 75¢ and $1 can be made using the 25¢ bet key 14 as well as the 5¢ bet key 12. Additionally, the 25¢ bet key 14 can be used to make bets from $1 to $5 in 25¢ increments. As further indicated on FIG. 2, the $1 bet key 16 can be used to make bets of $1, $2, $3, $4, and $5, all of which can also be made using the 25¢ bet key 14. The $1 bet key 16 can also be used to make bets from $5 to $20 in $1 increments, as indicated on FIG. 2. The $5 bet key 18 can be used to make bets of $5, $10, $15, and $20, all of which can be made alternatively using the $1 bet key 16. The $5 bet key 18 can also be used to make bets from $20 to $100 in $5 increments.

It is possible to enable all of the keys in order to make bets of any amount. However, it is unlikely that a player would desire to use the 5¢ bet key 12 when the wager amount is $1 or more, as he or she would be more likely to increment in larger increments which is more easily done using other of the keys. A similar situation holds true for the 25¢ bet key 14 which a player would be unlikely to use with a wager amount of $5 or over, as he or she would be more likely to be interested in incrementing the bet in $1 or $5 increments using the $1 wager key 16 or the $5 bet key 18. Thus, in the preferred embodiment of the invention, which encourages speedy bet entries, the available bets are those set forth in FIG. 2, although other bets can be made available in accordance with the invention by altering the “max bet” per bet key.

Version No. 2

Version no. 2 of the invention is shown in FIG. 3 and differs from version no; 1 in that only the 5¢ wager key 12, the 25¢ wager key 14 and the $1 wager key 16 are provided on the gaming device. As indicated on FIG. 3, the selected wager amount is 75¢, and the decrement finger pad 1 6b is disabled because decrementing the wager amount by $1 would result in a wager less than zero which is impermissible.

The invention contemplates that at least two wager keys will be provided on the gaming device, with each key being assigned a different value. Further, more than the four keys illustrated in FIG. 1 and FIGS. 1a-1e can be provided, and the values assigned to each of the keys can be selected as desired.

Version No. 3

In each of version no. 1 and version no. 2 of the invention, the display 20 displays the wager amount in the absolute value of the currency that is accepted by the gaming device. FIG. 4 depicts version no. 3 of the invention, which differs from version no. 2 (FIG. 3) primarily in that the wager amount is displayed as the number of credits that are wagered rather than in the amount of currency that is wagered. Thus, the display 20a of FIG. 4 displays a “credits bet” number of 15 on display 20a with a “credit value” of 5¢ also being displayed at 22. Thus, the total wager amount is 75¢, the same as in FIG. 3, but it is displayed in terms of the number of credits, with the value of each credit also displayed, rather than as the value of the currency as in the other versions. Additionally, version no. 3 labels key 12 as a one credit key, key 14 as a five credit key and key 16 as a twenty credit key, rather than labeling the keys with the value of the currency assigned to them. Each key increments or decrements the wager by the number of credits assigned to it with each depression of its increment or decrement finger pad. Finger pad 16b is disabled under the conditions shown in FIG. 4, because decrementing the number of credits bet by 20 would result in a negative number which is impermissible.

Version No. 4

FIG. 5 depicts version no. 4 of the invention which is similar to version no. 3, except that the keys 12, 14 and 16 are provided only with increment finger pads 12a, 14a and 16a and are not provided with any decrement finger pads or other way of decrementing the wager amount. Thus, the present invention contemplates multiple wager keys that include only a means to increment the wager amount.

Increasing Theoretical Payback percentage at Increasing Bets

FIG. 6 is a chart representing a video keno game wherein the player selects six active numbers. Winning combinations 1, 2, 3, & 4 represent 3, 4, 5, & 6 matches respectively between the numbers drawn and the player's active numbers. Winning combinations 1, 2, & 4 are constant multiples at every bet level. Winning combination 3 is an increasing multiple as the bet increases which results in an increase in the theoretical payback percentage at every increasing bet. Looking at the first and last columns of the chart, as the bet increases from $0.05 to $100 the theoretical payback increases from 80.028% to 99.431%. At a bet of $0.25 the target theoretical payback percentage is 88%. In this embodiment, the 88% payback percentage is an arbitrary number selected so as to optimize a player's interest. In other embodiments, different payback percentages could be selected as long as the embodiments conform to the principles of the present invention. Winning combination 3 pays $15.45 and the resulting theoretical payback percentage is 88.015%. If we limited winning combination 3 to only be multiples of $0.25, winning combination 3 would pay $15.25 or $15.50 which would result in theoretical payback percentages of 87.767% and 88.077% respectively. Allowing awards to be multiples of the smallest bet key rather than the current bet provides for more precision in achieving the desired payback percentage.

Referring again to FIG. 6 and, in particular to FIG. 6a, there is illustrated one embodiment of a method 100 for the calculation of a payback percentage at a given bet. At steps 102-105 the pay for winning combinations referenced in FIG. 6 are multiplied by the probability of the particular winning combination occurring. At step 106, the products from steps 102-105 are summed and multiplied by 100 to obtain the payback percentage for a given bet. Example 101 applies method 100 to calculate that for a $0.05 bet, payback percentage 107 is 80.02%.

Cost Per Hour of Play

FIG. 7 is a chart comparing the average cost per hour of play between the increasing theoretical payback percentage of FIG. 6 and fixed theoretical payback percentages of 90%, 95%, and 98%. At the lower bets the increasing theoretical payback percentage is more equitable to the house. At a bet of $0.05 the player will pay an average of $5.99 per hour of play assuming 600 games per hour. This is approximately double, four times and ten times what the player playing the 90%, 95%, and 98% games respectively would pay for an average hour of play. At the higher bets the increasing theoretical payback percentage is more equitable to the player. At a bet of $5 the player playing the increasing percentage would pay an average of $51.23 per hour compared to $300, $150, and $60 on the 90%, 95%, and 98% games respectively. At a bet of $20 the player playing the increasing percentage would pay an average of $93.49 per hour compared to $1200, $600, and $240 on the 90%, 95%, and 98% games respectively and at a bet of $100 the difference goes to $341.15 per hour on the increasing percentage and $6000, $3000, and $1200 on the 90%, 95%, and 98% games respectively. Across the entire range of bets there is considerably less variance in the cost per hour of play on the increasing payback percentage −$5.99 to $341.14 than on the 90% −$3 to $6000, the 95% −$1.50 to $3000 or the 98% −$0.60 to $1200.

Theoretical Payback Percentage Display

FIGS. 8 and 8a-8c provide diagrammatic views of a gaming device constructed according to version no. 1, with the wager keys 12-18, and the gaming device also including a game presentation 24, a visual display 26 which displays the theoretical payback percentage for each wager amount that is selected, and another visual display 28 which may display the amount that is awarded to the player for the various winning combinations that are available at the wager amount the player has selected. All of the displays may be incorporated on a single screen or other display device if desired. A “game start” control 30 may also be provided to initiate playing of the game.

FIG. 8 shows a situation where the wager amount is 5¢. All of the decrement finger pads 12b, 14b, 16b and 18b are disabled due to the wager amount. Display 26 visually displays to the player a theoretical payback percentage of 80.028% which is a relatively low percentage due to the low amount of the wager. Display 28 displays how much the player will win with various winning combinations from FIG. 6 based on the 5¢ wager amount. The theoretical payback percentage that is displayed on the display 26 is calculated according to the formula of FIG. 6a.

FIG. 8a is a depiction of the gaming device similar to FIG. 8, but with a wager amount of 65¢. As indicated on the display 26, the theoretical payback percentage with this wager amount is 93.173% which is considerably higher than the theoretical payback percentage for the 5¢ bet (80.028%) of FIG. 8. The winning combinations displayed on the display 28 are also increased, with winning combinations 1, 2 and 4 in this case increased proportionally with the increase in the bet and winning combination 3 increased more than proportionally so that the theoretical payback percentage is increased.

FIG. 8b is a depiction of a gaming device similar to FIGS. 8 and 8a, but with a bet of $4.25. The theoretical payback percentage displayed on the display 26 in this case is 98.165% which is appreciably higher than in the case of the 65¢ wager amount of FIG. 8a. The awards for the various winning combinations are also increased as shown on display 28.

FIG. 8c is a diagrammatic view of a gaming device similar to FIGS. 8 and 8a-8b, but with a wager amount of $65. As indicated on display 26, the theoretical payback percentage for this wager amount is 99.392%, higher than for all of the lesser wager amounts of the previous figures. Additionally, the display 28 illustrates that the various winning combinations pay considerably more than in the case of the other wager amounts.

In this manner, one aspect of the present invention contemplates providing a dynamic display of the theoretical payback percentages for the different wagers that can be made, with the theoretical payback percentage typically increasing as the wager amount increases.

FIG. 9 depicts schematically in block diagram form an exemplary manner in which the invention may be electronically implemented in a gaming device. The gaming device may be equipped with a control unit 50 which includes: a processor 52 (e.g., microprocessor, microcontroller or application-specific integrated circuit) for receiving various inputs and generating signals to direct display of information on displays 20, 26 and 28 (and/or other display devices); a memory device 54 for storing program code or other data; optionally, a sound card 56 connected to speakers if sound is to be provided to the user during gaming operations; a screen input controller 58 to sense input on a touch screen 60 that may be provided on the display screen and generate a signal for transmission to the processor 52; and a video controller 72 to control the display of information on the displays 20, 26 and 28. The memory device 54 preferably includes random access memory (RAM) 62 for storing event data or other data generated or used during a particular game, and read only memory (ROM) 64 for storing program code. The program code controls the system functions within particular games on the system in accordance with related games rules and pay tables. User commands may be inputted into the system through touch screen 60 (if provided) or other input devices (e.g., input keys 12-18), as well as through a payment acceptor 66 that may accept a variety of payment methods including coin and paper currency, redeemable paper or coin credits or tokens, and electronic credit scanned from a card or the like. Additionally, if the user is performing gaming functions at a remote computing device 68 over a data/communications network 70, such as a local area network (LAN), or a wide area network (WAN) (e.g., the Internet), etc., some of the functions of the control unit 50 may be performed at a network server.

In accordance with the invention, a gaming device may be adapted for play of various games. The player may make game selections on the touch screen 60 or other input devices coupled with the control unit 50. The player selects a particular game of chance and provides payment through the payment acceptor 66. Then, wager selections may be made on the various wager selectors. For example, the player may decide to bet one dollar by depressing finger pad 16a one time, and then he or she may add fifty cents to the current wager by depressing finger pad 14a of the quarter selector key 14 two times until the wager amount displayed on display 20 reaches the desired wager amount of $1.50. At each wager amount during the incrementing process (e.g., $1.00, $1.25, $1.50) the theoretical payback percentage display 26 displays what the theoretical payback percentage is for the current wager, and the display 28 displays the amount that can be won for each winning combination at the current wager amount. For instance, the theoretical payback percentage is 93.173% when the current wager amount is $0.65 (FIG. 8a) but may be 98.165% when the current wager amount is increased to $4.25 (FIG. 8b). The theoretical payback percentage may vary depending on the particular game being played, according to the gaming operator specifications.

Once the current wager amount has been established, the game proceeds, and awards may be granted according to the conditions of the applicable pay table. Program code for the gaming system may determine the outcome for each game using a random number generator or other randomization software controlled to ensure that the operator's desired house advantage is realized.

Although embodiments of the gaming system have been described with reference to wager selectors associated with denominations of 5 cents, 25 cents, 1 dollar and 5 dollars, as many wager selectors as desired and at any value assigned to each wager selector may be provided to present the player with the desired number of wagering options. With conventional gaming systems where a limited number of wager selectors are available—typically one selector per game (e.g., a quarter selector) and perhaps a “max bet” button for the maximum bet allowable (an integer multiple of the value of the selector)—the amount that can be bet on a particular gaming device is limited. Player excitement and knowledge are increased by having a visual indicator of what the theoretical payback percentage is at the current wager amount, and how that percentage changes as the player's wager amount increases. Preferably, the theoretical payback percentage is increased substantially consistently (over a given range) with increases in the wager amount.

From the foregoing it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to attain all ends and objects hereinabove set forth together with the other advantages which are obvious and which are inherent to the structure.

It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims.

Since many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative, and not in a limiting sense.