Title:
Countdown bonus game for poker or slot machine
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of playing a video poker game or a slot machine game in which the key component is the ability to assign a card or cards (or symbol or symbols) to the player based on predetermined play levels. This can be as a result of completing a number of hands, spins, wager amounts or other “triggering” events.



Inventors:
Schmit, Patrick (Lincoln, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/205820
Publication Date:
11/09/2006
Filing Date:
08/17/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LAYNO, BENJAMIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John, Edward Roethel (2290 S. JONES BLVD. #100, LAS VEGAS, NV, 89146, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. The method of playing a game of video poker comprising: a) a countdown meter displays a predetermined number of hands of video poker to be played; b) a player makes a wager to play a hand of video poker and the countdown meter decrements; c) the player plays the hand of video poker in a conventional manner; d) the player continues to make wagers and play hands of video poker in the conventional manner until the countdown meter decrements to zero; e) when the countdown meter decrements to zero, the player then plays a bonus hand of video poker in a conventional manner; f) when the player achieves a final hand of video poker during the play of the bonus hand, the player receives at least one bonus replacement card to be used in the final hand if the replacement card would result in the player having a better winning hand poker combination than the player would have in the final hand without the replacement card; and g) awarding the player a payout for the better winning hand poker combination.

2. The method of claim 1 in which the predetermined number of hands is a fixed number.

3. The method of claim 1 in which the predetermined number of hands is a randomly selected number.

4. The method of claim 1 in which the player must make a wager to play the bonus hand.

5. The method of claim 1 in which the player plays a “free” bonus game.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 11/121268, filed May 3, 2005 and also claims the benefit of Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/567,422, filed May 3, 2004.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This application relates to a method of playing a video poker game or a slot machine game in which the key component is the ability to assign a card or cards (or a symbol or symbols) to the player based on predetermined play levels. This can be as a result of completing a number of hands, spins, wager amounts or other “triggering” events.

In a poker game iteration of the present invention, the poker game display includes a countdown meter, which decrements each time an appropriate wager is made. The countdown meter begins at a pre-established level and once the meter reaches zero, the player is awarded one or more “bonus hands”. The player then plays out the bonus hand, proceeding through both the initial deal step and the subsequent draw step. After the player achieves the final poker hand, the game controls will determine which single or multiple remaining cards in the deck will provide the player with the highest possible winning poker hand combination. The game controls then award the player that bonus replacement card or cards which are placed into the final poker hand, whether or not the card or cards have already been used, or are “dead”. The player then receives a payout for the poker hand ranking of this final poker hand based on the amount wagered and a pay table.

In a slot machine iteration of the present invention, the slot machine game display includes a countdown meter, which decrements each time an appropriate wager is made. The countdown meter begins at a pre-established level and once the meter reaches zero, the player is awarded one or more “bonus spins”. The player then plays out the bonus spin. After the bonus spin is completed, the game controls will determine which single or multiple remaining slot machine symbols will provide the player with the highest possible winning symbol combination. The game controls then award the player that bonus replacement symbol or symbols which are placed into the final symbol display. The player then receives a payout for the final symbol display based on the amount of the wager and the pay table.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention can be applied to a conventional video poker machine or a conventional electronic or mechanical slot machine.

A conventional video poker machine displays representations of playing cards and the player is allowed to discard cards from an initial deal and receive replacement cards therefor in an attempt to achieve a winning poker hand combination for which a payout or prize award results.

A conventional electronic or mechanical slot machine displays various symbols which, when arranged in a pre-determined manner, result in various payouts or prize awards.

In both video poker machines and slot machines, the amount of the payout or prize award is based on the amount wagered by the player and the pay table associated with the game.

The present invention is a modification to the conventional manner of play of a video poker machine or a slot machine.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a countdown meter is displayed to the player on the screen of the gaming device, or on a device attached to the gaming device, representing the number of qualifying hands remaining until the game goes into a bonus mode. A qualifying hand is a pre-determined wager amount or series of wager amounts.

Each time a qualifying hand is played, the countdown meter decrements. Once the countdown reaches zero, the game will transition to a bonus mode, whereby the player is entitled to participate in a poker hand or a reel spin, during which the payouts achieved are at a premium.

In the case of the video poker game, upon completion of the bonus hand, the player will be awarded one or more additional bonus replacement cards of any suitable suit and rank. These bonus replacement cards will be selected to be the replacement cards that provide for the highest available payout, given the resultant card combination of the completed bonus hand.

In the case of the slot machine game, any one or more symbols can be awarded to achieve a specified level of pay based on the pre-established pay table corresponding to the various symbols contained in the game.

Operation

The poker game would play in a manner such as the following:

1. The player makes a wager and plays the video poker gaming machine. As is conventional, the player is dealt an initial hand of five cards. The player then discards those cards that the player wishes to replace and the player receives replacement cards resulting in a final five card hand. The player receives a payout for whenever the final five card hand is a winning poker hand combination based on the amount of the player's wager and a pay table associated with the various poker hand rankings that have been pre-established as winning poker hand combinations.

2. A predetermined number of hands is played by the player. The predetermined number could be randomly selected or be a fixed number of hands. The predetermined number of hands to be played is shown on the countdown meter.

3. When the countdown meter reaches zero, the player's next hand is a bonus hand. The player makes an additional wager, or plays a “free” game, and plays out the bonus hand by discarding unwanted cards and receiving replacement cards resulting in a final five card hand. In the event a different card can improve the player's final five card bonus hand into a better winning poker hand combination, the player receives that card as a bonus replacement card into the final bonus hand and the player is then awarded the corresponding payout for the winning poker hand combination.

For example, if the final five card hand the player achieved during the play of the bonus hand was a Three-of-a-Kind, the player then would be awarded as a bonus replacement card the fourth card of the same rank as the cards in the Three-of-a-Kind to complete his hand as a Four-of-a-Kind. He then would receive the pay associated with Four-of-a-Kind instead of the Three-of-a-Kind that the player had previously before the substitution took place during the bonus hand.

In the event a hand cannot be improved during the bonus hand, a Royal Flush being one example, the bonus hand would carry over until the next game played.

As an example, a player who is playing a traditional video poker machine, betting max coins per hand, will be able to view his countdown meter as it decrements for each hand he plays. Once this meter reaches zero, the player will then enter the bonus hand mode. The player then makes another wager as he did before, or plays a “free” game, and plays the hand out to completion. As is consistent with conventional video poker games, the player is dealt the initial five cards and then is given the option of holding all or none of the initial five cards, and then being dealt the corresponding number of new cards, so that the final hand totals five. If for instance, in the bonus mode hand the player ended up with three Jacks, the game controls would then award the player the remaining fourth Jack as the bonus replacement card to complete his hand and award him the pay associated with four Jacks.

Likewise, the countdown bonus mode can be applied to other gaming devices, using the same distinctive method of awarding a particular symbol or outcome for participation in the bonus mode.

Utilizing the bonus hand and the corresponding probabilities, the game can be used to establish a wide-area progressive determined by a specified card outcome. This feature will allow for higher probabilities as a function of entering the bonus mode (i.e. a sequential Royal Flush in bonus mode).

While the invention has been illustrated with respect to several specific embodiments thereof, these embodiments should be considered as illustrative rather than limiting. Various modifications and additions may be made and will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the invention should not be limited by the foregoing description, but rather should be defined only by the following claims.