Title:
SIMULTANEOUS MULTIPLAYER GAMING MACHINE AND METHOD OF CONTROLLING THE SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gaming machine is configured of: stations each for individually carrying out a card game; a display visible to players each playing the card game in one of the stations; and a control device configured to control progress of game situation and the like played in the entire system. Each of the stations samples a predetermined number of cards from multiple cards having their own attributes different from one to another. The last stages of the card games played in the stations are shared and carried out as a shared game on the display. A card sampled in the shared game is added to the cards sampled in each station. Whether each player wins or loses is determined on the basis of whether the rank of the player's hand formed as an outcome of the addition is higher or lower. An award is provided to the player on the basis of the hand rank.



Inventors:
Yoshizawa, Kazumasa (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
12/014336
Publication Date:
09/25/2008
Filing Date:
01/15/2008
Assignee:
Aruze Corp. (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24; A63F13/45; A63F13/27; A63F13/35; A63F13/55; A63F13/843
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
RENWICK, REGINALD A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
POLSINELLI PC / WATCHSTONE LLP (1000 Louisiana Street Suite 6400, Houston, TX, 77002, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A gaming machine comprising: a plurality of gaming devices each for carrying out a game in which, a predetermined number of cards are sampled from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another, and thereafter an award is provided on the basis of the sampled cards; a control device sampling a predetermined number of cards from a plurality of cards having their own attributes inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices; and a display displaying the cards sampled by the control device, the display being visible to players each playing the game in one of the gaming devices, wherein each of the gaming devices is operable to: (a) sample the predetermined number of cards from the plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another; (b) determine a combination formed by using the cards sampled by each of the gaming devices itself and the cards sampled by the control device; and (c) provide an award on the basis of the combination.

2. A gaming machine comprising: a plurality of gaming devices each for carrying out a game in which, from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another, cards are sampled as a hand, and thereafter an award is provided on the basis of a rank of the sampled hand; a control device sampling a predetermined number of cards from a plurality of cards having their own attributes inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices; and a display displaying the cards sampled by the control device, the display being visible to players each playing the game in one of the gaming devices, wherein each of the gaming devices is operable to: (a) sample the predetermined number of cards from the plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another; (b) determine a combination formed in a hand obtained by adding the cards sampled by the control device to the cards sampled by each of the gaming devices itself; and (c) provide an award on the basis of a rank of the combination.

3. A gaming machine comprising: a plurality of gaming devices each for carrying out a game in which, cards are sampled as a hand from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another, and thereafter an award is provided on the basis of a rank of the sampled hand; a control device sampling cards from a plurality of cards having their own attributes inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices and selecting a predetermined number of cards from the sampled cards, after all of the gaming devices complete sampling the hand; and a display displaying the cards sampled by the control device and effect images in which the predetermined number of cards are selected from the sampled cards, the display being visible to players each playing the game in one of the gaming devices, wherein each of the gaming devices is operable to: (a) sample the predetermined number of cards from the plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another; (b) determine a combination formed in a hand obtained by adding the cards sampled by the control device to the cards sampled by each of the gaming devices itself; and (c) provide an award on the basis of a rank of the combination.

4. The gaming machine according to claim 1, wherein each of the gaming devices includes: a displaying section adapted to display an image on a game in which, a predetermined number of cards are sampled from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another, and in which thereafter an award is provided on the basis of the sampled cards; a receiving section for receiving from the control device a control signal for displaying cards obtained by adding the sampled cards displayed on the displaying section to the cards displayed on the display; a memory for storing image data on the plurality of cards having their own attributes, the plurality of cards including the cards used in each of the gaming devices; a payout memory for storing a payout table associating the combination with a payout amount; and a controlling section configured to sample, upon receipt of the control signal, image data on the cards corresponding to the signal from the image data stored in the memory, then to cause the displaying section to display the sampled image data, and finally to provide the award on the basis of the combination formed by using the aforementioned sampled cards and the cards sampled by the control device.

5. The gaming machine according to claim 2, wherein each of the gaming devices includes: a displaying section adapted to display an image on a game in which, a predetermined number of cards are sampled from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another, and in which thereafter an award is provided on the basis of the sampled cards; a receiving section for receiving from the control device a control signal for displaying cards obtained by adding the sampled cards displayed on the displaying section to the cards displayed on the display; a memory for storing image data on the plurality of cards having their own attributes, the plurality of cards including the cards used in each of the gaming devices; a payout memory for storing a payout table associating the combination with a payout amount; and a controlling section configured to sample, upon receipt of the control signal, image data on the cards corresponding to the signal from the image data stored in the memory, then to cause the displaying section to display the sampled image data, and finally to provide the award on the basis of the combination formed by using the aforementioned sampled cards and the cards sampled by the control device.

6. The gaming machine according to claim 3, wherein each of the gaming devices includes: a displaying section adapted to display an image on a game in which, a predetermined number of cards are sampled from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another, and in which thereafter an award is provided on the basis of the sampled cards; a receiving section for receiving from the control device a control signal for displaying cards obtained by adding the sampled cards displayed on the displaying section to the cards displayed on the display; a memory for storing image data on the plurality of cards having their own attributes, the plurality of cards including the cards used in each of the gaming devices; a payout memory for storing a payout table associating the combination with a payout amount; and a controlling section configured to sample, upon receipt of the control signal, image data on the cards corresponding to the signal from the image data stored in the memory, then to cause the displaying section to display the sampled image data, and finally to provide the award on the basis of the combination formed by using the aforementioned sampled cards and the cards sampled by the control device.

7. A method of controlling a gaming machine including: a plurality of gaming devices each for individually carrying out a game in which an award is provided on the basis of cards sampled from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another; a control device configured to sample a predetermined number of cards from a plurality of cards inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices; and a display adapted to display the cards sampled by the control device, the gaming devices, the control device and the display being connected to one another, the method comprises; causing each of the gaming devices to sample a predetermined number of cards from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another; causing the control device to sample, as a shared game displayed on the display, a predetermined number of cards from a plurality of cards inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices; and causing each of the gaming devices to provide an award on the basis of a predetermined combination formed by using a card group obtained by adding the cards sampled in the shared game to the cards sampled by the gaming device itself.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based upon and claims the benefit of priority from Japanese Patent Application No. 2007-13111 filed on Jan. 23, 2007, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a multiplayer gaming machine including gaming devices through which multiple player participate in a game by using gaming media such as coins and bills, and to a method of controlling this gaming machine.

2. Description of the Related Art

Generally, a so-called stand-alone gaming machine is known as a conventional gaming machine as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,981,635. Further, U.S. Pat. No. 7,040,984 discloses a gaming device which includes multiple slot machines linked together through a central control device, and which varies the amounts of awards provided to the respective slot machines according to their rankings in a game played through the multiple slot machines thus linked.

Meanwhile, card games using playing cards, roulette games and the like enable multiple players to participate in, and to simultaneously play a game, unlike slot machine games each causing a player (a person) to play a game against the gaming machine. Those games allowing multiple players to play together are termed as mass games.

The slot machines shown in U.S. Pat. No. 7,040,984 do not share the contents of a game, although the slot machines are linked together through the central control device. That is because an actual game is played in each of the slot machines in a stand-alone mode, independently of the rest of the slot machines.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide a simultaneous multiplayer gaming machine having new entertainment features by adding excellent entertainment features of a conventional and stand-alone gaming device to a simultaneous multiplayer game, and to provide a method of controlling the simultaneous multiplayer gaming machine.

A first aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine comprising: a plurality of gaming devices each for carrying out a game in which, a predetermined number of cards are sampled from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another, and thereafter an award is provided on the basis of the sampled cards; a control device sampling a predetermined number of cards from a plurality of cards having their own attributes inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices; and a display displaying the cards sampled by the control device, the display being visible to players each playing the game in one of the gaming devices. Each of the gaming devices is operable to: (a) sample the predetermined number of cards from the plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another; (b) determine a combination formed by using the cards sampled by each of the gaming devices itself and the cards sampled by the control device; and (c) provide an award on the basis of the combination.

The foregoing configuration causes each of the gaming devices to sample the predetermined number of cards from the multiple cards having their own attributes different from one to another; causes the control device to sample at least one card from the multiple cards having their own attributes, inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices; and causes the display to display the card sampled by the control device. Subsequently, the configuration causes each of the gaming devices to provide an award on the basis of a combination formed by using the cards sampled by the gaming device itself and the card sampled by the control device.

Accordingly, by causing each of the gaming devices to provide an award on the basis of a combination formed by using the cards sampled by the gaming device itself and the card sampled by the control device, the configuration makes it possible to add excellent entertainment features of a conventional and stand-alone gaming device to a multiplayer card game. In addition, the configuration is capable of providing a multiplayer gaming machine having new entertainment features.

A second aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine comprising: a plurality of gaming devices each for carrying out a game in which, from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another, cards are sampled as a hand, and thereafter an award is provided on the basis of a rank of the sampled hand; a control device sampling a predetermined number of cards from a plurality of cards having their own attributes inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices; and a display displaying the cards sampled by the control device, the display being visible to players each playing the game in one of the gaming devices. Each of the gaming devices is operable to: (a) sample the predetermined number of cards from the plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another; (b) determine a combination formed in a hand obtained by adding the cards sampled by the control device to the cards sampled by each of the gaming devices itself; and (c) provide an award on the basis of a rank of the combination.

The foregoing configuration causes each of the gaming devices to sample the predetermined number of cards as a hand from the multiple cards having their own attributes different from one to another; causes the control device to sample at least one card from the multiple cards having their own attributes, inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices; and causes the display to display the card sampled by the control device. Subsequently, the configuration causes each of the gaming devices to provide an award on the basis of a rank of a combination formed in the hand obtained by adding the cards sampled by the gaming device itself to the card sampled by the control device.

Accordingly, by causing each of the gaming devices to provide an award on the basis of the rank of the combination formed in the hand obtained by adding the card sampled by the control device to the cards sampled by the gaming device itself, the configuration makes it possible to add excellent entertainment features of a conventional and stand-alone gaming device to a simultaneous multiplayer card game. In addition, the configuration is capable of providing a simultaneous multiplayer gaming machine having new entertainment features.

The third aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine comprising: a plurality of gaming devices each for carrying out a game in which, cards are sampled as a hand from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another, and thereafter an award is provided on the basis of a rank of the sampled hand; a control device sampling cards from a plurality of cards having their own attributes inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices and selecting a predetermined number of cards from the sampled cards, after all of the gaming devices complete sampling the hand; and a display displaying the cards sampled by the control device and effect images in which the predetermined number of cards are selected from the sampled cards, the display being visible to players each playing the game in one of the gaming devices. Each of the gaming devices is operable to: (a) sample the predetermined number of cards from the plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another; (b) determine a combination formed in a hand obtained by adding the cards sampled by the control device to the cards sampled by each of the gaming devices itself; and (c) provide an award on the basis of a rank of the combination.

The foregoing configuration causes each of the gaming devices to sample the cards as a hand from the multiple cards having their own attributes different from one to another; causes the control device to sample the cards from the multiple cards having their own attributes, inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices; and causes the display to display the effect image in which a card is further selected out of the cards sampled by the control device. Subsequently, the configuration causes each of the gaming devices to provide the award on the basis of the rank of the combination formed in the hand obtained by adding the card sampled by the control device to the cards sampled by the gaming device itself.

Accordingly, by causing each of the gaming devices to provide the award on the basis of the rank of the combination formed in the hand obtained by adding the card finally selected out of the cards sampled by the control device to the cards sampled by the gaming device itself, the configuration makes it possible to add excellent entertainment features of a conventional and stand-alone gaming device to a simultaneous multiplayer card game. In addition, the configuration is capable of providing a simultaneous multiplayer gaming machine having new entertainment features.

The fourth aspect of the present invention provides a method of controlling a gaming machine including: a plurality of gaming devices each for individually carrying out a game in which an award is provided on the basis of cards sampled from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another; a control device configured to sample a predetermined number of cards from a plurality of cards inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices; and a display adapted to display the cards sampled by the control device, the gaming devices, the control device and the display being connected to one another, the method comprises; causing each of the gaming devices to sample a predetermined number of cards from a plurality of cards having their own attributes different from one to another; causing the control device to sample, as a shared game displayed on the display, a predetermined number of cards from a plurality of cards inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices; and causing each of the gaming devices to provide an award on the basis of a predetermined combination formed by using a card group obtained by adding the cards sampled in the shared game to the cards sampled by the gaming device itself.

The foregoing configuration causes each of the gaming devices to sample the predetermined number of cards from the multiple cards having their own attributes different from one to another; causes the control device to sample at least one card from the multiple cards having their own attributes, inclusive of the cards used in each of the gaming devices; and causes the display to display this sampled card. Subsequently, the configuration causes each of the gaming devices to provide the award on the basis of the combination formed by using the cards sampled by the gaming device itself and the card sampled by the control device.

Accordingly, by causing each of the gaming devices to provide an award on the basis of a combination formed by using the cards sampled by the gaming device itself and the card sampled by the control device, the configuration makes it possible to add excellent entertainment features of a conventional and stand-alone gaming device to a simultaneous multiplayer card game. In addition, the configuration is capable of providing a method of controlling a game played in a simultaneous multiplayer gaming machine having new entertainment features.

As described above, the gaming machine and the method of controlling the gaming machine according to the present invention are capable of adding excellent entertainment features of a conventional and stand-alone gaming device to a simultaneous multiplayer card game, and thereby providing new entertainment features to a simultaneous multiplayer game.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an example of a game screen and an effect image displayed in a display for explaining characteristics of a game system according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating an outline of the game system according to the embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating an appearance of the game system according to the embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating the game system according to the embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an explanatory diagram illustrating memory areas in a RAM in a control device in the game system according to the embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating a station in the game system according to the embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is an explanatory diagram illustrating an example of a hand rank table stored in a ROM in the station in the game system according to the embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart illustrating a game process performed in the control device and the station which constitute the game system of the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a flowchart illustrating a game process performed in the control device and the station which constitute the game system of the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is an explanatory diagram illustrating an example a game screen which is displayed on a display device in the station in the course of progress of a card game carried out on a basis of the process shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.

FIG. 11 is another explanatory diagram illustrating an example of a game screen which is displayed on the display device in the station in the course of continued progress of the card game carried out on the basis of the process shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.

FIG. 12 is another explanatory diagram illustrating an example of a game screen which is displayed on the display device in the station in the course of continued progress of the card game carried out on the basis of the process shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.

FIG. 13 is another explanatory diagram illustrating an example of a game screen which is displayed on the display device in the station in the course of continued progress of the card game carried out on the basis of the process shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.

FIG. 14 is another explanatory diagram illustrating an example of a game screen which is displayed on the display device in the station in the course of continued progress of the card game carried out on the basis of the process shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.

FIG. 15 is an explanatory diagram illustrating an example of an effect image for a shared game which is displayed on a display panel in a display in the course of a progress of the card game played on the basis of the process shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.

FIG. 16 is an explanatory diagram illustrating an example of an effect image for a shared game which is displayed on a display panel in a display in the course of a progress of the card game played on the basis of the process shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.

FIG. 17 is an explanatory diagram illustrating an example of an effect image for a shared game which is displayed on a display panel in a display in the course of a progress of the card game played on the basis of the process shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.

FIG. 18A is a flowchart illustrating a game process performed in the control device and the station which constitute the game system of the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 18B is a flowchart illustrating a game process performed in the control device and the station which constitute the game system of the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 19 is a flowchart illustrating a game process performed in the control device and the station which constitute the game system of the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 20 is another explanatory diagram illustrating an example of a game screen which is displayed on the display device in the station in the course of continued progress of the card game carried out on the basis of the process shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.

FIG. 21 is another explanatory diagram illustrating an example of a game screen which is displayed on the display device in the station in the course of continued progress of the card game carried out on the basis of the process shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.

FIG. 22 is another explanatory diagram illustrating an example of a game screen which is displayed on the display device in the station in the course of continued progress of the card game carried out on the basis of the process shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.

FIG. 23 is another explanatory diagram illustrating an example of a game screen which is displayed on the display device in the station in the course of continued progress of the card game carried out on the basis of the process shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

A gaming machine 1 according to embodiments of the present invitation is configured chiefly of stations 4, a display 20, and a control device 13. The stations 4 are gaming devices in each of which an individual card game is played. The display 20 is visible to players playing their games in their respective gaming devices. The control device 13 is configured to control the gaming devices, the display 20, and progress of game situation in the entire system, and the like. The gaming machine 1 is a game system enabling the card games to be played. In the case of the present embodiment, from multiple cards having their attributes which are different from one to another, a predetermined number of cards are sampled in each of the stations 4 in which the players play their individual card games. The gaming machine 1 is characterized in that a payout (an award) is provided to each player on the basis of the rank of the player's card combination formed in the player's card group (hereinafter referred to as a “hand”) consisting of a hand sampled in the player's corresponding station 4 and a card sampled in a game carried out in the entire gaming machine 1 in a sharing manner.

An embodiment of the present invention can be carried out in various modes without departing from the main point of the present invention in that a payout (an award) is provided on the basis both of an outcome of a game played in the station 4 and an outcome of a game played in the entire gaming machine 1 in a shared manner. Hereinafter, descriptions will be given of two patterns of this embodiment.

A first embodiment is a game carried out as follows. Stand-alone card games are carried out respectively in multiple stations 4 in a conventional manner until the final rounds of the card games. Subsequently, the final rounds of the card games are carried out as a shared game among the multiple stations connected to the game system. A card sampled in the shared game is added to a hand of each of players playing their individual card games in their respective stations. Whether the players are winners or losers is determined on the basis of whether the ranks of the players' hands formed by their additions are higher or lower.

A second embodiment is a game carried out as follows. Stand-alone card games are carried out respectively in multiple stations 4. After all the stand-alone card games are completed, a shared game is carried out in a shared manner among the multiple stations connected to the game system. In a case where a predetermined card combination is formed by using cards consisting of a card sampled from the shared game and cards constituting a hand of each of the players playing their individual card games in their respective stations, a payout (an award) is provided to the player on the basis of the player's card combination thus formed.

First of all, descriptions will be given of the first embodiment. In the case of the first embodiment, it is assumed that card games played in the respective stations 4 are either a card game termed as poker, or card games similar to poker, for example. A full deck of cards used in each of the card games according to the present embodiment consists of four suits: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Each suit consists of 13 cards: ace (A), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, jack (J), queen (Q) and king (K). The suits and numbers have a set of ranks in the cards. Suits are ranked from highest to lowest: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. For each of the suits, cards are ranked from highest to lowest: (A), king (K), queen (Q), jack (J), 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2.

During a game, a game screen 61 is displayed on each of display devices 8, which will be described later. Each player can input an ante to start a card game, and can make a bet by use of credits on hand, for example, by operating a predetermined display section on a touch panel 50 provided in the front surface of each of the display devices 8. Once the player operates the display section in accordance with a predetermined procedure in order to start a card game, a predetermined number of cards are dealt as a hand to the player. In the case of the present embodiment, four cards are dealt to each player on the initial deal. An effect image of a virtual dealer dealing cards to players is actually displayed on the display device 8 of each of the stations 4. Subsequently to this effect image, four cards are displayed in a hand displaying section 62 in each of the display devices 8. After each player reviews these four cards, one who wishes to make a bet with the current hand consisting of these four cards makes a bet operation. If a player is not satisfied with the hand, the player can fold.

FIG. 1 shows an example of a game screen displayed to a player. The upper half of FIG. 1 shows an example of an effect image displayed on a display panel 20a in the display 20, and the lower half of FIG. 1 shows an example of a game screen displayed in the display device 8 in each of the gaming devices termed as stations 4. The display panel 20a in the display 20 shown in the upper half of FIG. 1 shows an image 75 representing a deck of cards as well as a card 76a (Joker), a card 76b (King of diamonds), a card 76c (10 of clubs) and a card 76d (2 of diamonds), which are sampled from the deck of cards. The upper half of FIG. 1 shows a state where, among the four cards, only the card 76b is displayed in a highlighted manner. In the game screen 61 shown in the lower half of FIG. 1, the player's hand is displayed in a player's hand displaying section 62, and a dealer's hand is displayed in a dealer displaying section 63. In addition, the game screen 61 is provided with a last card displaying section 64. A card which is sampled by the control device 13, and which is the same as the card 76b displayed in the highlighted manner in the effect image displayed on the display 20 shown in the upper half of FIG. 1, is displayed in the last card displaying section 64. (In the case shown in FIG. 1, King of diamonds is displayed therein)

The game screen 61 includes: the player's hand displaying section 62 in which the player's hand is displayed; the dealer displaying section 63 in which the dealer's hand is displayed; the last card displaying section 64 in which a card selected in the shared game is displayed; unit BET buttons 65; a payout result displaying section 66 in which a payout result in the previous card game is displayed; and a credit amount displaying section 67 in which a current amount of credits is displayed. In addition to the dealer's hand, a video image representing the virtual dealer and the like are displayed in the dealer displaying section 63.

The game screen 61 further includes: an ante displaying section 68 in which the amount of credits anted is displayed; a bet amount displaying section 69 in which the amount of credits bet is displayed; a bet allowable remaining time displaying section 70 in which a remaining time during which the player is allowed to make a bet operation is displayed; a MINI displaying section 71 in which the amount of credits placed and accumulated for a jackpot (hereinafter shortened to “JP” in some cases) MINI is displayed; a MAJOR displaying section 72 in which the amount of credits placed and accumulated for a JP MAJOR is displayed; and a MEGA displaying section 73 in which the amount of credits placed and accumulated for a JP MEGA is displayed.

The player's hand displaying section 62 displays the player's hand obtained by adding the last card 62e (equivalent to the card 76b (King of diamonds)), which is sampled in the shared game represented in the effect image displayed in the display 20, to the images representing the four cards including a card 62a (Ace of spades), a card 62b (King of hearts), a card 62c (King of spades) and a card 62d (King of clubs) which are sampled on the initial deal in the station 4.

The dealer displaying section 63 displays the dealer's hand consisting of five cards which include a card 63a (9 of clubs), a card 63b (9 of diamonds), a card 63c (Queen of clubs), a card 63d (Queen of diamonds) and a card 63e (3 of clubs). In addition, the dealer displaying section 63 displays the image representing the virtual dealer and the like.

The last card displaying section 64 displays the card which is the same as the card 76b (King of diamonds) selected in the shared game. The card displayed in this last card displaying section 64 is added to the player's hand (as the card 62e).

The unit BET buttons 65 are those through which the player who has determined to place a bet against the dealer or to start to play a game inputs the amount of credits to be bet on the game. The unit BET buttons 65 are constituted of a 1-credit BET button 65A, a 5-credit BET button 65B, a 10-credit BET button 65C and a 100-credit BET button 65D. The player can bet credits in the amount which the player indicates by pressing down these four buttons.

By touching the location where the 1-credit bet button 65A is displayed, the player can bet 1 credit at a time. Each time the player touches the 1-credit bet button 65A, the amount of credits increases sequentially, “1,” “2,” “3,” . . . , and is displayed in the bet amount displaying section 69. By touching the location where the 5-credit bet button 65B is displayed, the player can bet 5 credits at a time. Each time the player touches the 5-credit bet button 65B, the amount of credits increases sequentially, “5,” “10,” “15,” . . . . By touching the location where the 10-credit bet button 65C is displayed, the player can bet 10 credits at a time. Each time the player touches the 10-credit bet button 65C, the amount of credits increases sequentially, “10,” “20,” “30,” . . . . By touching the location where the 100-credit bet button 65D is displayed, the player can bet 100 credits at a time. Each time the player touches the 100-credit bet button 65D, the amount of credits increases sequentially, “100,” “200,” “300,” . . . .

The payout result displaying section 66 displays the amount of credits which the player bet on the previous game, and the amount of credits paid out on the previous game. In this respect, an amount obtained by subtracting the amount of credits bet on the previous game from the amount of credits paid out on the previous game means the amount of credits (awards) which the player newly earned on the previous game.

The credit amount displaying section 67 displays the amount of credits which the player currently possesses. When a bet is made, the amount of credits displayed on the credit amount displaying section 67 decreases by the amount of credits bet. For example, the amount of credits decreases by 1 for each bet of 1 credit. On the other hand, in a case where the player wins a game against the dealer so that credits are paid out according to the player's hand rank, the amount of credits increases by the amount of credits thus paid out to the player. Incidentally, when the amount of credits which the player possesses reduces to 0, the game is over.

The ante displaying section 68 displays the amount of credits anted. An ante is an equivalent of a participation fee for each game, and a minimum amount of credits to be anted is determined in advance. The player can start a game when the player antes a predetermined amount of credits in accordance with an instruction displayed on the screen.

The bet amount displaying section 69 displays the amount of credits bet, which the player indicates by touching the unit BET buttons 65. A lower limit amount of credits to be bet is determined, in advance on the basis of a rule of the card game played in the station 4, for example, to be double the amount of credits anted.

The bet allowable remaining time displaying section 70 displays a remaining time during which the player is allowed to make a bet. For example, the bet allowable remaining time displaying section 70 displays the number “20” when starting to accept a bet operation. The number decreases by 1 every second. When the number reduces to “0,” a bet operation is no longer accepted. When the number reduced to “0” in every station 4, a shared game start to be carried out in the display 20.

The MINI displaying section 71 displays the amount of credits which have been so far accumulated for a JPMINI. “MINI” means a jackpot, for example, equivalent to an accumulated amount of 60% of the total coins put in for JPs in all the stations 4. The MAJOR displaying section 72 displays the amount of credits which have been so far accumulated for a JP MAJOR. “MAJOR” means a jackpot, for example, equivalent to an accumulated amount of 25% of the total coins put in for JPs in all the stations 4. The MEGA displaying section 73 displays the amount of credits which have been so far accumulated for a JP MEGA. “MEGA” means a jackpot, for example, equivalent to an accumulated amount of 15% of the total coins put in for JPs in all the stations 4. Accordingly, the amounts displayed in the MINI displaying section 71, the MAJOR displaying section 72 and the MEGA displaying section 73 are shared among all the stations 4.

When a predetermined card combination is formed in a hand of a player playing in any of the stations 4 during a card game, out of the JPs displayed on the respective displaying sections 71 to 73, credits corresponding to a JP determined to be paid are paid out to the player. After this credit payout, the displaying section corresponding to the paid-out jackpot displays the initial JP value. In the case of the present embodiment, for example, the initial value for the “MINI” is 200 credits; the “MAJOR”, 5000 credits; and the “MEGA”, 50000 credits.

The game screen 61 has the foregoing configuration. When a player makes a bet through the game screen 61, first of all, the player puts in an ante in accordance with an instruction which is displayed when a game starts. After the ante is put in, the player reviews cards which are dealt out by the virtual dealer, determines whether to play against the dealer, and touches an area displayed on the screen for the player's choice. When the player chooses to play against the dealer, the player then bets credits in the amount which the player indicates, by touching the unit BET buttons 65 including the 1-credit bet button 65A, the 5-credit bet button 65B, the 10-credit bet button 65C and the 100-credit bet button 65D. For example, the player can bet a total of 48 credits by touching the 10-credit bet button 65C four times, the 5-credit bet button 65B once, and the 1-credit bet button 65A three times.

Once each of players make the above-described bet operation through a game screen 61, the last stages of the individual card games which the players have played in the stations 4 are shared and subsequently carried out as a shared game on the display panel 20a in the display 20. The card 76b selected in this shared game is reflected on each of the stations 4. As shown in the game screen 61 in the lower half of FIG. 1, the card 76a is added to a hand of each of the players of the card games carried out on the stations 4, the hand being displayed in the player's hand displaying section 62. In the case shown in FIG. 1, the card 76b corresponds to the card 62e. In each station 4, whether a player wins or loses his/her game is determined on the basis of whether the rank of his/her hand including the card sampled in the shared game is higher or lower. In the game which has been described by use of FIG. 1, the player wins the game because the player's has a card combination which ranks higher than that of the dealer's hand. Thus, credits are paid out to the player on the basis of a hand rank table, which will be described later.

As described above, the game system, which has been shown as the first embodiment of the present invention, determines whether a player wins or loses a game on the basis of a card combination formed in the player's hand consisting of cards sampled in a game carried out on one of the stations 4 and a card sampled in a shared game carried out by the control device which is connected to the stations 4. In addition, in the game system a payout corresponding to a player's hand rank is provided to the player. As a result, the game system makes it possible to provide the simultaneous multiplayer game with new entertainment features by incorporating entertainment features of the simultaneous multiplayer game with excellent entertainment features of stand-alone gaming devices.

The card game which is shown as the first embodiment and the below-mentioned second embodiment is described as what is termed as poker. However, the card game may be a card game similar to poker, or a card game played in accordance with game rules in which whether a player wins or loses the game against the dealer is determined on the basis of whether the rank of the player's hand (card combination leading to a payout (an award)) is higher or lower, and in which, when the player wins, he/she is entitled to receive a payout (an award) in accordance with his/her hand. In addition, a type of poker employed in the invention may be draw poker, stud poker, pai gow poker and the like, and is not particularly limited. Descriptions will be given hereinbelow of the card game according to the present embodiment by referring to Caribbean stud poker which has rules suitable for being applied to a video poker device.

Detailed descriptions will be given hereinbelow of the card game which is shown as the first embodiment of the present invention by use of the drawings.

Descriptions will be given of a schematic configuration of the gaming machine 1 according to the present embodiment by use of FIGS. 2 and 3. As shown in FIG. 2, the gaming machine 1 is configured chiefly of the stations 4, the display 20 and the control device 13 configured to control the entire system including the stations 4 and the display 20. In the case of the present embodiment, the stations 4 are gaming devices in each of which a player can play a card game. In the card game, from multiple cards having their own attributes which are different from one to another, a predetermined number of cards are sampled, and then a payout (an award) is provided on the basis of the rank of the card combination in the thus sampled cards. As shown in FIG. 3, the gaming machine 1 is further provided with the large display 20. The display 20 is provided with the display panels 20a respectively in its four sides. Each display panel 20a displays an effect image in which the shared last one of cards constituting a hand of each of the players of the card games carried out on stations 4 is selected, as described in detail later. The control device 13 chiefly carries out a process for selecting cards to be displayed on the display 20, and also functions as a server for controlling the entire game system.

Descriptions will be subsequently given of a configuration of the gaming machine 1. As shown in FIG. 3, the gaming machine 1 includes: a cabinet 2, the display 20, multiple (12 in the case of the present embodiment) stations 4, and an electric sign section 5. The cabinet 2 serves as a main body. The display 20 is provided on a substantially central part on the cabinet 2. The multiple stations 4 are provided around the display 20 in a manner of surrounding the display 20. The electric sign section 5 is provided above the cabinet 2. The stations 4 and the display 20 are electrically connected to the control device 13. In the present embodiment, the stations 4 share a part of their games in the entire gaming machine 1 within which the stations 4 are connected through a network 30. Instead, however, card games may be designed to be played in the respective stations 4 in a stand-alone manner. Moreover, the gaming machine 1 may be connected to another gaming system with a configuration similar to that of the gaming machine 1 through a wireless or wired network.

Each station 4 at least includes: a medal insertion slot 6, a control section 7, and the display device 8. From the medal insertion slot 6, coins as well as gaming media each having a currency value, such as chips and medals, are inserted. The control section 7 includes multiple control buttons and the like through which the player inputs predetermined instructions. The display device 8 displays images on the game. Each station 4 accepts a bet operation made by a player. The player can continue playing the evolving game by operating the touch panel, the control section 7 and the like while watching the images displayed on the display device 8. Medal payout openings 9 are provided to each side of the cabinet 2, stations 4 being arranged in each side. In addition, a speaker 10 for reproducing music, effect sounds and the like is provided in the right above the display device in each of the stations 4.

Above the display device 8 in each of the stations 4, a win lamp 11 is provided. When a payout is determined on the basis of a player's hand rank during a card game, the win lamp 11 is lit up in the station 4 in which the player plays the card game and in which the payout is to be provided. In addition, when a player wins a jackpot on the basis of the player's hand rank, the win lamp 11 is lit up in the station 4 in which the player plays the card game.

Incidentally, each win lamp 11 is provided in a location visible from all the stations 4 (the 12 stations in the case of the present embodiment) arranged around the gaming machine 1. Accordingly, when a win lamp 11 of one of the stations 4 is lit up, all the other players playing in the same gaming machine 1 can see the win lamp 11 any time.

A medal sensor (not illustrated) is provided inside each of the medal insertion slots 6. The medal sensor validates the gaming media having currency value such as a medal or the like which is inserted from the medal insertion slot 6, and counts the amount of thus inserted gaming media. Furthermore, a hopper (not illustrated) is provided inside each of the medal payout openings 9. A predetermined amount of gaming media is paid out from the medal payout opening 9.

Inside a corner section 12 located in a corner of the cabinet 2, the control device 13 serving as the server for controlling progress of entire game situation in the gaming machine 1 is placed. The control device 13 is usually housed in the corner section 12 lest the control device 13 should be manipulated by players, and is operable by opening the corner door 14 provided to the corner section 12 by use of the key switch. Various settings can be made for the gaming machine 1 by operating the control device 13.

The electric sign section 5 is provided with a JP amount displaying section 15 on which an amount of a JP is displayed. As described later, the gaming machine 1 according to the present embodiment is designed to offer the three types of jackpot: “MEGA,” “MAJOR” and “MINI.” Credits equivalent to an accumulated amount of 15% of the total JP coins put in for JPs in all the 12 stations 4 are stored for a JP “MEGA.” Credits equivalent to an accumulated amount of 25% of the total JP coins put in for JPs in all the 12 stations 4 are stored for a JP “MAJOR.” Credits equivalent to an accumulated amount of 60% of the total JP coins put in for JPs in all the 12 stations 4 are stored for a JP “MINI.” When one of the JPs, for example “MEGA” is determined in any of the stations 4 on the basis of the player's rank, the credits equivalent to the amount accumulated for the JP “MEGA” are paid out to the awarded station 4. Out of the three types of JPs, the credits accumulated for the JP “MEGA” is displayed on the JP amount displaying section 15. Incidentally, the JP amount displaying section 15 is provided to the top section of the electric sign section 5. The content displayed on the JP amount displaying section 15 is visible to all the players playing games in the corresponding stations 4.

Once all the stations 4 complete sampling their respective hands, the control device 13 receives signals for indicating the completions from the stations 4. Thereafter, from the multiple cards having their own attributes, which include the cards used in each of the stations 4, the control device 13 samples one card. In this case, the shared last one of cards constituting each of the hands may be selected out of these multiple cards. Instead, an effect may be used in which some cards are sampled from these multiple cards first, and one card is finally selected out of the cards thus sampled.

The display 20 is arranged in a location visible to the players playing their games in their corresponding stations 4. The display 20 is designed to display a series of processes in which the control device 13 samples cards along with effect images.

Next, descriptions will be given of an internal configuration of the gaming machine shown as the embodiment of the present invention by use of FIG. 4. As shown in FIG. 4, the gaming machine 1 is configured of the control device 13 and the multiple stations 4 (the 12 stations in the case of the present embodiment) connected to the control device 13. The electric sign section 5 is connected to the control device 13. Detailed descriptions will be given of an internal configuration common among the stations 4.

The control device 13 includes a CPU 81 for controlling the entire gaming system, a ROM 82, a RAM 83, a timer 84, a liquid crystal display 32 connected to the control device 13 via a liquid crystal drive circuit 85, and a keyboard 33. The control device 13 carries out the process for sampling at least one from the multiple cards having their own attributes, which include the cards used in each of the stations 4. The process for sampling the card here is that for determining the shared last one of cards constituting a hand of each of the players playing their individual card games in the corresponding stations 4.

The CPU 81 performs various processes on the basis of input signals supplied from each of the stations 4 as well as data and programs stored in the ROM 82 and the RAM 83. On the basis of results of the processes, the CPU 81 transmits instruction signals to the stations 4, and thus controls the stations 4 in a leading manner. In particular, the CPU 81 receives signals from each of the stations 4, and thus carries out a series of processes for displaying effect images on the display 20.

In addition, the CPU 81 carries out the process for sampling at least one card on the basis of data on the multiple cards having their own attributes, which includes the cards used in each of the stations 4. As described later, the data on the multiple cards is stored in the ROM 82. Specifically, the CPU 81 monitors the hands of the player and the dealer in a card game carried out in each of the stations 4, and thereby selects the last card in a way that the selected card does not unnaturally overlap any of the cards included in the hands. Given that in usual poker games used cards have four suits: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs, the CPU 81 selects the last card in a way that the selected card does not unnaturally overlap any of the cards included in the hands. However, a special effect may be intentionally given in which the last sampled card overlaps any of the cards included in the hands. In a case where, for example, four Kings are already included in the hands of the player and the dealer in one of the stations 4, it is usually impossible that another card of King is drawn in this station 4. Regardless of this, in the case of the present embodiment, another card of King may be drawn in an effect image, displayed in display 20, for sampling the last card is sampled.

In this manner, the CPU 81 carries out the process for sampling the shared last one of the cards constituting each of the hands in the card games carried out in the stations 4. This enables the stations 4 to share a part of their games among themselves in the entire gaming system by use of the control device 13 and the display 20, instead of the stations 4 causing their games to be played in a stand-alone manner.

The ROM 82 is configured, for example, of a semiconductor memory or the like. The ROM 82 stores a program for implementing basic functions of the gaming machine 1 in addition to a program for notifying maintenance timings as well as for executing the setting and management of the conditions for notifying maintenance timings, programs for controlling the stations 4 in the leading manner, and the like are stored in the ROM 82.

Data on the amount of credits bet in each of the stations 4, data on the amounts respectively of the jackpots “MINI,” “MAJOR” and “MEGA”, and data on results of processes carried out by the CPU 81 are stored in the RAM 83.

FIG. 5 shows memory areas in the RAM in the gaming machine according to the present embodiment. As shown in FIG. 5, the RAM 83 is provided with: a JP “MINI” accumulation memory area 83A for storing the amount of credits accumulated for the JP “MINI”; a JP “MAJOR” accumulation memory area 83B for storing the amount of credits accumulated for the JP “MAJOR”; and a JP “MEGA” accumulation memory area 83C for storing the amount of credits accumulated for the JP “MEGA”. The RAM 83 is further provided with a card information memory area 83D for temporarily storing information on the cards included in the hands of the dealer and the player as well as the suits of the cards (hereinafter referred to as “card information”).

Furthermore, the timer 84 for measuring a time period is connected to the CPU 81. Information on the time period measured by the timer 84 is transmitted to the CPU 81. On the basis of the information on the time period measured by the timer 84, the CPU 81 controls the effect process for selecting the last card, and the like, as described later.

Moreover, the electric sign section 5 (see FIG. 4) is connected to the CPU 81. The CPU 81 gives an illumination effect by controlling light emissions of LEDs and the like. In addition, the CPU 81 causes predetermined characters and the like to be displayed on the electric sign section 5. Furthermore, the CPU 81 causes the credit amount for a JP so far accumulated (the credit amount for the JP “MEGA” in the case of the present embodiment) to be displayed.

Subsequently, FIG. 6 shows an internal configuration common among the stations 4 constituting the gaming machine 1 shown as the embodiment of the present invention. In the case of the present embodiment, a single configuration is basically applicable to all the 12 stations 4. For this reason, description will be given of the internal configuration of one of the stations 4 as an example.

The station 4 includes: the display device 8 adapted to display images on a card game; a transmit-receive interface (not illustrated) through which the station 4 transmits/receives control signals and the like to/from the CPU 81 in the control device 13; and the memory for storing data on images of the multiple cards having their own attributes, including the cards used in a card game played in the station 4, a payout table for associating card combinations with payouts, and the like. Upon receipt of a control signal through the transmit-receive interface, the station 4 samples pieces of image data stored in the memory, and displays the sampled pieces of image data, and carries out a process for providing a payout (an award) on the basis of a card combination formed by using the cards sampled by the station 4 and the card sampled by the control device 13 by referring to the payout table stored in the memory.

As shown in FIG. 6, the station 4 includes a station control unit configured of a station control CPU 91, a ROM 92 and a RAM 93. The ROM 92 is configured, for example, of a semiconductor memory. Programs for implementing basic functions of the station 4, other various programs needed for controlling the station 4, a data table and the like are stored in the ROM 92. An example of data stored in the ROM 92 is data on the images of the multiple cards having their own attributes, which are used in a card game played in the station 4. Payout rates corresponding to winning card combinations formed by using possible hands of a player playing a card game in the station (the amounts of credits paid out per chip respectively for possible winning card combinations) are stored in the form of a table in the ROM 92 in the station 4. Whether a rank of a card combination formed in a hand of a player playing a card game in the station 4 is higher or lower is shown by the hand rank. In other words, the ROM 92 functions as a payout memory.

FIG. 7 shows an example of the hand rank table stored in the ROM 92. FIG. 7 shows payout rates with which payouts are provided for each bet credit on the basis of a hand. In the case of the embodiment, as shown in FIG. 7, a royal straight flush (100 times), a straight flush (50 times), four cards of a kind (20 times), a full house (7 times), a flush (5 times), a straight (four times), three cards of a kind (three times), two pair (twice), one pair (once) and no pair (once) are arranged as hands for which corresponding payouts are made in a manner similar to that of a poker game. A higher hand with a higher payout rate outranks a lower hand with a lower payout. In other words, the higher the hand rank is, the stronger the hand rank is. Incidentally, the payout rates are shown for example purposes only. Payout rates on the basis of hands are not limited to the examples shown in FIG. 7. In addition, the number of hands and the names of the hands are shown for example purposes only. The number of hands and the names of the hands are not limited to the examples shown in FIG. 7.

The RAM 93 is used as a work area for the station control CPU 91. The RAM 93 is a memory where various pieces of data on which the station control CPU 91 does arithmetic, the amount of credits currently possessed by a player, the amount of credits accumulated in the entire gaming machine 1, the status of bets made by the player, and the like are temporarily stored.

From the multiple cards having their own attributes different from one another, which are stored in the ROM 92, a predetermined number of cards are sampled by the station control CPU 91. The station control CPU 91 controls a game in which a payout is provided on the basis of the cards thus sampled. Referring on the payout table (see FIG. 7) stored in the ROM 92, the station control CPU 91 provides a payout on the basis of a card combination formed in a hand consisting of the cards sampled by the station control CPU 91 itself and a card sampled by the control device 13.

A bet confirmation button 47, a payback button 48 and a help button 49, which are provided in the control section 7, are electrically connected to the station control CPU 91.

The bet confirmation button 47 is a button which a player presses down when the player confirms a bet after operating the bet operation. The payback button 48 is a button which the player usually presses down when the game is over. Once the payback button 48 is pressed down, medals are paid back to the player through the medal payout opening 9 on the basis of credits currently possessed by the player, and which have been earned by the player through the game and the like. The help button 49 is a button which the player presses down when the player does not know how to operate the station for continuing to play the game. Once the help button 49 is pressed down, a help screen for showing information on various operations is immediately displayed on the display device 8.

On the basis of operation signals outputted when the buttons are pressed down, the station control CPU 91 controls the station in order to implement various operations correspondingly. Specifically, when an operation of the player is inputted, the station control CPU 91 carries out a corresponding process on the basis of an input signal supplied from the control section 7 as well as the data, the programs and the like which are stored in the ROM 92 and the RAM 93. Thereafter, the station control CPU 91 transmits a result of the process to the CPU 81.

In addition, the station control CPU 91 receives an instruction signal from the CPU 81, and thus controls the peripheral devices constituting the station 4, hence controlling progress of the card game played in the station 4. Furthermore, when an operation of the player is inputted, the station control CPU 91 carries out a corresponding process on the basis of an input signal supplied from the control section 7 as well as the data, the programs and the like which are stored in the ROM 92 and the RAM 93. On the basis of a result of the process, the station control CPU 91 controls the peripheral devices constituting the station 4, and thus continues the game.

A hopper 94 is connected to the station control CPU 91. On the basis of an instruction signal from the station control CPU 91, the hopper 94 pays out a predetermined amount of medals through the medal payout opening 9 (see FIG. 3). The display device 8 is electrically connected to the station control CPU 91 with a liquid crystal drive circuit 95 in between. The display device 8 is controlled by the station control CPU 91, and thus displays a series of pieces of information on the game to the player.

The liquid crystal drive circuit 95 includes a program ROM, an image ROM, an image controlling CPU, a work RAM, a VDP (Video Display Processor) and a video RAM. Programs for controlling images to be displayed on the display device 8 and various selection tables are stored in the program ROM. For example, dot data for forming the images to be displayed on the display device 8 is stored in the image ROM. On the basis of a parameter set up in the station control CPU 91, the image control CPU selects an image to be displayed on the display device 8 from the dot data beforehand stored in the image ROM in accordance with the image control programs beforehand stored in the program ROM. The work RAM is a temporary storage in which the image control programs are stored when the image control programs are executed by the image control CPU. The VDP forms images corresponding to the contents of a display selected by the image control CPU, and thus outputs the images to the display device 8. Incidentally, the video RAM is a temporary storage which is used when the VDP forms the images.

As described above, the touch panel 50 is attached to the front surface of the display device 8. Information generated by operating the touch panel is transmitted to the station control CPU 91. The player can make a bet operation by use of the game screen 61 (see FIG. 1) displayed on the touch panel 50. Specifically, the player can make operations for doing things such as starting to play a game, choosing whether to fold or continue playing the game, and determining the amount of credits to be bet by touching the unit BET buttons 65. Information generated by the operations is transmitted to the station control CPU 91. On the basis of the information, the amount of chips which the player currently bet is stored in the RAM 93 each time the player bets the chips through the game screen 61. Furthermore, information on the cards constituting the hands of the player and the dealer as well as information on bets is transmitted to the CPU 81 in the control device 13, and subsequently is stored in the card information memory area 83D in the RAM 83 in the control device 13.

A sound outputting circuit 96 and a speaker 10 are also electrically connected to the station control CPU 91. The speaker 10 gives out various effect sounds when various effects are given on the basis of output signals from the sound outputting circuit 96.

The medal sensor 97 is also electrically connected to the station control CPU 91. The medal sensor 97 detects medals put in through the medal insertion slot 6 (see FIG. 3), and do arithmetic on the medals thus put in, hence transmitting the arithmetic result to the station control CPU 91. On the basis of the transmitted signals, the station control CPU 91 increases the amount of credits possessed by the player, which amount is stored in the RAM 93.

The win lamp 11 is also electrically connected to the station control CPU 91. The station control CPU 91 flashes the win lamp 11 on and off in a predetermined color in a case where the player wins a card game on which the player bets through the game screen 61, or in a case where the player wins a JP.

Because the station has the foregoing configuration, the station 4 can causes a card game to be played in which the virtual dealer appears on the display device 8, and thereafter samples the predetermined number of cards and deals them to the player, as well as the player's cards competes for a higher hand rank with the dealer's cards.

Descriptions will be subsequently provided for a gaming process executed by the CPU 81 in the control device 13 and a gaming process executed through the station 4 by the station control CPU 91 by use of FIGS. 8 and 9, the control device 13 and the station 4 constituting the gaming machine 1 shown as the first embodiment of the present invention.

First of all, descriptions will be provided for the gaming process executed through the station 4 in the gaming machine 1. The gaming machine 1 includes the multiple stations 4. The gaming process executed through each of the stations 4 is as follows.

In step S1, the station control CPU 91 displays a screen for inviting a prospective player to start to play a game by put in an ante on the display device 8 (see FIG. 10, an image 632, which will be described later). In step S2, the station control CPU 91 determines whether or not an ante is put in. If no ante is put in (If NO in step S2), the station control CPU 91 returns to step S1, and continues to display the image 632 thereon until an ante is put in. If the station control CPU 91 determines that an ante is put in (If YES in step S2), the station control CPU 91 displays an image for inviting the player to put in a jackpot (JP) coin (see FIG. 11, an image 633, which will be described later) thereon in step S3, and determines whether or not a JP coin is put in step S4. If no JP coin is put in (If NO in step S4), the station control CPU 91 returns to step S3, and displays the image 633 thereon until a JP coin is put in. If the station control CPU 91 determines that a JP coin is put in (If YES in step S4), the station control CPU 91 transmits to the control device 13 a game start signal for informing the control device 13 that a game is going to be started, and waits for a control signal to be sent from the control device 13.

Upon receipt of a control signal from the control device 13 in step S6, the station control CPU 91 determines whether or not the received signal is a signal indicating that a game should be on standby to start. If the received signal is a standby signal (If YES in step S7), the station control CPU 91 displays a screen indicating that a game is on standby to start on the game screen 61 in step S8, and waits for a control signal to be sent from the control device 13. If the received signal is a start signal (If NO in step S7), the station control CPU 91 proceeds to step S9, where it samples cards constituting the player's hand, displays an effect image in which the dealer is dealing the cards to the player and a character image 634 of “Your Hand” indicating that the player's hand is sampled in the game screen 61, and displays the sampled cards in the player's hand displaying section 62 (see FIG. 12, the image 634, which will be described later). Simultaneously, the station control CPU 91 displays a fold button 74A which the player press when choosing to fold, and a challenge button 74B which the player press when choosing to make a bet against the dealer, in the game screen 61.

In step S10, the station control CPU 91 determines whether or not the player folds. If the player folds, or if it is detected that the player touches the fold button 74A, the station control CPU 91 proceeds to step S14, which will be described later. On the other hand, if the player chooses to make a bet against the dealer, or if it is detected that the player touches the challenge button 74B, the station control CPU 91 displays a character image 635 of “Make a Bet” thereon (see FIG. 13).

Subsequently, the station control CPU 91 determines whether or not the player makes the bet operation in step S11. In the case of the present embodiment, the predetermined bet time is set up. If the player makes no bet (If NO in step S11), and if the predetermined bet time is over (If YES in step S12), the station control CPU 91 forfeits the ante and ends the game in step S13. In other words, in the case of the present embodiment, even if the player folds, the ante is not refunded to the player. On the other hand, if the station control CPU 91 determines that the player makes a bet operation in step S11, the station control CPU 91 displays a character image 636 of “Open the Dealer's Hand,” an effect image in which the dealer's hand is being opened, and the dealer's hand on the dealer displaying section 63 in step S14 (see FIG. 14). In addition, the station control CPU 91 transmits to the control device 13 a hand open signal indicating that the dealer's hand has been opened in step S15.

Afterward, once the station control CPU 91 receives from the control device 13 information on the last card sampled for a shared game in step S16, the station control CPU 91 executes a process for determining the ranking of the player's hand consisting of the five cards including the last card ranks in step S17. Furthermore, the station control CPU 91 compares the rank of the dealer's hand with the rank of the player's hand. If the rank of the player's hand is higher than the rank of the dealer's hand (If YES in step S18), the station control CPU 91 transmits the result of the determination to the control device 13 in step S19. On the basis of the result of the determination, the control device 13 determines whether or not a card combination entitled to any one of JPs “MINI,” “MAJOR” and “MEGA” is formed by using the cards included in the player's hand, and transmits a result of the determination made on the JP bonus to the station 4. In step S20, the station control CPU 91 receives from the control device 13 the result of the determination made on the JP bonus. In step S21, the station control unit 91 provides a payout (an award) on the basis of the result of the determination made on the JP bonus and the result of the process carried out for determining the hand rank in step S17.

On the other hand, if the rank of the dealer's hand is higher than the rank of the player's hand (IF NO in step S18), the station control CPU 91 proceeds to step S22, where it forfeits the bet credits and the ante, and ends the game.

Subsequently, descriptions will be given of the gaming process executed by the control device 13 in the gaming machine 1.

In step S31, the CPU 81 in the control device 13 receives game start signals which the respective stations 4 have transmitted in step 5. Thereafter, in step S32, the CPU 81 determines whether or not a shared game is being carried out. If the shared game is being carried out (If YES in step S32), the CPU 81 transmits a standby signal indicating that a game is should be on standby to be start to the stations 4 which are sources of transmission of the respective game start signals. If the shared game is not being carried out (If NO in step S32), the CPU 81 transmits, to the stations 4 which are sources of transmission of the respective game start signals, a start signal for permitting the stations 4 to start to play their respective games.

On the basis of the start signal, each of the stations 4 carries out a process for dealing a hand to the player. When the player inputs the player's choice to makes a bet against the dealer with the dealt hand, the station 4 opens the dealer's hand. Once the CPU 81 receives the hand open signals from the respective stations 4 in step S35, the CPU 81 starts a shared game. At this time, the CPU 81 transmits to the display 20 a control signal for causing an effect image to be displayed on the display 20. Subsequently, in step S37, the CPU 81 transmits information on the sampled card to all of the station 4.

The card games are not started simultaneously in all of the respective stations 4 because the players in the stations 4 put in their antes and make their bet operations at different times. For this reason, the CPU 81 in the control device 13 controls a timing at which the CPU 81 starts the shared game by monitoring the hand open signals from the respective stations 4. Thereby, the CPU 81 is capable of starting the shared game once the four cards dealt to the player are opened in each of the stations 4. The CPU 81 selects the last card which is common among the stations 4.

Each of the stations 4 carries out the rank determination process for determining whether or not one of the predetermined card combinations is formed in the hand consisting of the five cards including the last card, and subsequently transmits a result of the determination to the control device 13. In step S38, the CPU 81 in the control device 13 receives the result of the determination from each of the stations 4. On the basis of the result of the determination transmitted from each of the stations 4, the CPU 81 determines whether or not there is a station 4 in which a card combination entitled to any one of the JPs “MINI,” “MAJOR” and “MEGA” is formed in the hand. Thereafter, in step S40, the CPU 41 transmits to each of stations 4 entitled to the JP bonus a notice that the station 4 is entitled to the JP bonus. The stations 4 make their payouts on the basis of their results of the determination made on the JP bonus and their results of the determination made on the hand rank in step S17.

In addition, the display 20 displays an effect image in which the last card is being sampled on the basis of the control signal which the control device 13 transmits to the display 20 at the timing of step S36 (in step S51).

Subsequently, detailed descriptions will be given of development of a card game carried out on the processes shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 by use of the game screen 61 displayed on the display device 8 in each of the stations 4 and examples of the shared game displayed on the display panel 20a of the display 20 (FIGS. 10 to 17).

FIG. 10 shows an example of a screen which is displayed on the game screen 61 when the station 4 is on standby for a game to be started. On the game screen 61, the image 631 of the virtual dealer and the character image 632 of “You Can Start to Play a Game by Putting in an Ante” are displayed in the dealer displaying section 63. “512” is displayed in the credit amount displaying section 67. In other words, the game screen shows that the amount of credits currently possessed by the player is 512. When the player puts in an ante, a game starts. Subsequently, the game screen 61 shown in FIG. 11 is displayed. The image 631 of the virtual dealer and the character image 633 of “Put in a Jackpot Coin” are displayed on the game screen 61 shown in FIG. 11. In addition, the ante displaying section 68 shown in FIG. 11 displays “10,” that is the amount of credits anted by the player in the game screen 61 shown in FIG. 10. Because the player antes the 10 credits, “502” is displayed in the credit amount displaying 67. In the case of the present embodiment, it is provided that one JP coin should be equal to “one credit.” The control device 13 accumulates the JPs “MINI,” “MAJOR” and “MEGA” on the basis of the allocation ratios among the JPs.

Once the station 4 detects the JP coins are put in, the station 4 displays the effect image in which the cards are dealt out thereon. On the game screen 61 shown in FIG. 12, the image 631 of the virtual dealer and the character image 634 of “Your Hand” are displayed in the dealer displaying section 63. The images representing the four cards consisting of the card 62a (Ace of spades), the card 62b (King of hearts), the card 62c (King of spades) and the card 62d (King of clubs) are displayed in the player's hand displaying section 62 on the game screen 61. The fold button 74A through which the player inputs an instruction indicating that the player withdraws from the game against the dealer with no more card added to these cards and the challenge button 74B through which the player inputs an instruction indicating that the player makes a bet against the dealer are displayed under the ante displaying section 68. The player can choose between the two by touching one of these buttons.

When the player selects the fold button 74A, this selection means that player chooses to withdraw from the game. The station 4 forfeits the anted 10 credits, and the station 4 causes the current game screen 61 returns to the pre-game game screen 61. When the player instead selects the challenge button 74B, the station 4 displays a game screen used for the player to make a bet.

The game screen 61 shown in FIG. 13 is a screen used for the player to make a bet. On the game screen 61 shown in FIG. 13, the image 631 of the virtual dealer and the character image 635 of “Make a Bet” are displayed in the dealer displaying section 63. At this time, the player can input the amount of credits which the player determines to bet by use of the unit BET buttons 65. The game screen shown in FIG. 13 shows that the player bets 20 credits at this time, and it is accordingly shown in the credit amount displaying section 67 that the amount of credits which the players currently possesses is 408. Because the length of the bet allowable remaining time is predetermined, if the player does not complete making a bet operation within the predetermined length of time, the station 4 forfeits the ante, and the player is forced to fold automatically.

FIG. 14 shows an example of the game screen 61 which is shown when the player completes making a bet operation. When the player completes making a bet operation, the station 4 opens the dealer's hand. On the game screen 61 shown in FIG. 14, the dealer's hand consisting of the card 63a (9 of clubs), the card 63b (9 of diamonds), the card 63c (Queen of clubs) and the card 63d (Queen of diamonds) and the card 63e (3 of clubs) is displayed in the dealer displaying section 63. In addition, the character image 636 of “Dealer's Hand is Opened” is displayed therein. FIG. 14 shows that “three of a king” is currently formed by using the player's hand, and the player is waiting for an outcome of a shared game in which the last card is selected. It is likely that a card combination with a higher hand rank may be formed on the basis of a card which is going to be sampled in the shared game.

When, as described above, the dealer's hand is opened after the player completes making the bet operation, the shared game is subsequently started in the display panel 20a in the display 20. FIGS. 15 to 17 show an example of effect images displayed for the shared game. First of all, for example, an effect image in which four cards are sampled is displayed for the shared game in the display panel 20a in the display 20. At this time, an effect in which the cards are sampled one-by-one is given. In the case of the example of the displayed effect image shown in FIG. 15, an image 75 representing a deck of cards and a scene in which the card 76a (Joker) and the card 76d (2 of diamonds) are sampled from the deck of cards. Subsequently, the card 76b (King of diamonds) and the card 76c (10 of clubs) are sampled therefrom as the shared game continues.

After the four cards are sampled, the four cards are sequentially displayed in highlighted manner while blinking frames, mutually-different color frames and the like appear around the four cards. FIGS. 16 and 17 show how the four sampled cards are sequentially displayed in the highlighted manner after the four cards are sampled from the deck of cards (represented by the image 75). FIG. 17 shows what effect image follows the effect image of FIG. 16 after the predetermined length of time passes. FIG. 16 shows how the card 76a (Joker) is displayed in the highlighted manner, and FIG. 17 shows how the card 76d (2 of diamonds) is displayed in the highlighted manner. This highlighted display sequentially rotates among the four cards as if it were a roulette wheel. Time intervals at which the highlighted display moves from one card to another become shorter, and the highlighted display stops at a predetermined card eventually. Finally, the card at which the highlighted display stops is adopted as an effective card. After that, an effect may be given in which, for example, the other three cards are eliminated from the display panel 20a, and only the effective card is displayed in the display panel 20a in a magnified manner. It should be noted that the locations at which the sampled cards are arranged, the sequence with which the sampled cards are arranged, the sequence with which the highlighted display rotates among the sampled cards, and the like may be changed whenever deemed necessary on the basis of effects. As a result, the locations, the sequences and the like are limited to the example shown for the present embodiment.

In the case of this shared game, it is assumed that the highlighted display finally stops as shown in FIG. 1. At this time, the card 76b (King of diamonds) sampled in the shared game is displayed in the last card displaying section 64 in each station 4. A card (the card 62e) which is the same as the card displayed in the last card displaying section 64 is added to the player's hand in each station 4. As a result, the player in the station 4 shown in FIG. 1 comes to have four of a king. Because this hand rank of the player is higher than that of the dealer, the player wins the game against the dealer, and the player is entitled to a payout (an award) on the basis of this hand rank. In the case of the present embodiment, the player is entitled to a payout of 20 times as large as the betted credits on the basis of the hand rank table shown in FIG. 7.

As described above, the gaming machine 1 shown as the first embodiment of the present invention causes a card game based on poker to be played in each station 4, and causes the last phase of the card game to be played as a shared game through the display. The gaming machine 1 makes the players' hands by adding a card sampled in a shared game to the cards sampled in each of the stations 4. As a result, the gaming machine 1 determines whether or not the player in each station wins the card game against the dealer on the basis of whether the rank of the player's hand thus formed is higher or lower than the dealer's hand. Thereby, the gaming machine 1 according to the first embodiment has new entertainment features obtained by incorporating excellent entertainment features of a conventional and stand-alone gaming device with entertainment features achieved by a multiplayer mass game.

Subsequently, descriptions will be given of the second embodiment of the present invention. A game carried out in the second embodiment is as follows. After a stand-alone card game is carried out in each of multiple stations 4 connected to the game system, a shared game is played among the multiple stations 4. In a case where a predetermined card combination is formed by using a card sampled in the shared game and the cards constituting a hand of a player playing the card game in the corresponding station, a payout (an award) is provided to the player on the basis of the card combination thus formed. The gaming machine 1 shown as the first embodiment as well as the stations 4, the control device 13 and the display 20 thereof are applicable to the game system which realizes the game carried out for the second embodiment. The game characteristic as the second embodiment is realized through a gaming process executed by the CPU 81 in the control device 13 constituting the gaming machine 1 on the basis of programs stored in the ROM and the like and a gaming process executed by the station control CPU 91 on the basis of programs stored in the ROM and the like.

Descriptions will be provided hereinbelow for the gaming processes shown as the second embodiment by use of FIGS. 18A and 18B. First of all, descriptions will be provided for the gaming process shown as the second embodiment, which is executed in each of the stations 4 in the gaming system 1. Descriptions will be omitted for steps common between the gaming process shown as the second embodiment and the gaming process shown as the first embodiment in the station 4, which are executed in each of the stations 4. Specifically, the gaming process shown as the second embodiment, which is executed in each of the stations 4, is shown as a flow chart continued from step S9 in FIG. 8 to step S61 in FIG. 18A.

In the case of the second embodiment, the station control CPU 91 does things such as displaying the image for inviting a prospective player to start to play a game and the image for inviting the player to put in a jackpot coin, and samples the cards constituting the player's hand (see FIG. 8, steps S1 to S8). The examples shown in FIGS. 10 to 11 are applicable to effect images to be displayed in the game screen 61. In the case of the second embodiment, however, the last card displaying section 64 is not displayed therein. The station control CPU 91 displays on the game screen 61 the effect image in which the dealer deals the cards to the player, and the character image 634 of “YOUR HAND” indicating that the player's hand is sample, as well as displays the sampled cards in the player's hand displaying section 62 on the game screen 61 (see FIG. 19). Simultaneously, the fold button 74A which the player presses when the player chooses to withdraw from the game against the dealer and the challenge button 74B which the player presses when the player choose to make a bet against the dealer are also displayed on the game screen 61. The second embodiment is different from the first embodiment in that five cards are selected and dealt as the player's hand. In other words, the player competes with the dealer by use of the hand consisting of these five cards.

In step S61, the station control CPU 91 determines whether or not the player withdraws from the game. When the player withdraws from the game, or when the station control CPU 91 detects that the player touches the fold button 74A, the station control CPU 91 proceeds to step S64, which will described later. On the other hand, when the player chooses to make a bet against the dealer, or when the station control CPU 91 detects that the player touches the challenge button 74B, the station control CPU 91 displays the character image 635 of “Make a Bet” in the game screen 63 (see FIG. 20).

Subsequently, in step S62, the station control 91 determines whether or not the player makes the bet operation. If the player makes no bet within the predetermined time (if NO in step S63 and if YES in step S62), the station control CPU 91 forfeits the ante and ends the game in step S64. If, in step S62, the station control CPU 91 determines that the player makes the bet operation, the station control CPU 91 displays the character image 636 of “Dealer's Hand is opened,” the effect image in which the dealer's hand is opened, and the dealer's hand in the dealer's hand displaying section 63 in step S65 (see FIG. 21).

In step S66, the station control CPU 91 executes a process of determining whether the rank of the player's hand consisting of the five cards is higher or lower. In addition, in step S67, the station control CPU 91 compares the hand rank of the dealer with the hand rank of the player in order to determine whether the player's hand ranks higher or lower than the dealer's player. If the player's hand ranks higher than the dealer's hand (if YES in step S67), the station control CPU 91 transmits the result of the determination to the control device 13 in step S68. The control device 13 determines whether or not a card combination entitled to any one of the JP bonuses “MINI,” “MAJOR” and “MEGA” is formed in each of the stations 4 on the basis of the result of the determination made in the station 4. The control device 13 transmits a result of the determination made on the JP bonuses to each station 4. The station control CPU 91 in each station receives the result of determination made on the JP bonuses from the control device 13 in step S69. In step S70, the station control CPU 91 makes a decision on a provisional payout (hereinafter referred to as “primary credits”) on the basis of the result of the determination made on the JP bonuses and the result of the hand rank determination process executed in step S66.

On the other hand, if the dealer's hand ranks higher than the player's hand (if NO in step S67), the station control CPU 91 forfeits the betted credits and the ante in step S71, and proceeds to step S70. In this case, because it has already been determined that the dealer's hand ranks higher than the player's hand, the station control CPU 91 determines in step S70 that the amount of the primary credits should be 0.

Once the station control CPU 91 makes the determination on the primary credits in step S70, the station control CPU 91 transmits to the control device 13 a signal indicating that the determination is made on the primary credits (in step S72). Subsequently, on the basis of this signal, the control device 13 starts a shared game. The station control CPU 91 receives from the control device 13 a signal indicating a card which is sampled as a result of the shared game (in step S73).

The station control CPU 91 determines whether or not any one of predetermined combinations is formed by using the card sampled in the shared game executed and displayed on the display 20 by the control device 13 and the five cards sampled in the station control CPU 91 itself (in step S74). The second embodiment is characterized in that, regardless of whether the player's hand rank is higher or lower, suits and numbers of cards are used as symbols, and in that, in a case where any one of the predetermined symbol combinations is formed, a payout is made on the basis of this combination.

If any one of the predetermined combinations is formed (if YES in step S74), the station control CPU 91 calculates the amount of credits to be paid out on the basis of the combination (in step S75). Thereafter, the station control CPU 91 executes a process for paying out credits (secondary credits) obtained by summing up the primary credits and the credits on the basis of the combination (in step S76). On the other hand, if no predetermined combination is formed (if NO in step S74), the station control CPU 91 executes a process for paying out only the primary credits (in step S77). The symbol combinations entitled to payouts are stored as a table associating the combinations respectively with the amounts of credits to be paid out in the ROM 92 or the like.

Subsequently, descriptions will be provided for the gaming process shown as the second embodiment, which is executed by the control device 13 in the gaming machine 1, by use of FIGS. 18A and 18B. Descriptions will be omitted for steps common between the gaming process shown as the second embodiment and the gaming process shown as the first embodiment, which are executed in the control device 13. Specifically, the gaming process shown as the second embodiment, which is executed in the control device 13, is shown as a flow chart continued from step S34 in FIG. 8 to step S81 in FIG. 18A.

The CPU 81 in the control device 13 receives the game start signal from each station 4. If the shared game is not currently being played among the stations 4, the CPU 81 transmits, to each station 4 which is the source of transmission of the game start signal, the start signal for permitting the station 4 to start the game. On the basis of this start signal, the station 4 carries out the process for dealing a hand to the player. Subsequently, if the player inputs the player's choice to make a bet against the dealer by use of the dealt hand, the station 4 opens the dealer's hand, and compares the dealer's hand with the player's hand in order to determine whether the player's hand ranks higher or lower than the dealer's hand. As a hand rank signal, a result of the determination made on whether the player's hand ranks higher or lower than the dealer's hand is transmitted to the control device 13 by the station 4.

In step S81, the CPU 81 in the control device receives the hand rank signal. Once the CPU 81 receives the hand rank signal, the CPU 81 determines in step S82 whether or not a combination entitled to any one of the JP bonuses “MINI,” “MAJOR” and “MEGA” is formed in each of the stations 4. In step S83, the CPU 81 transmits to stations 4 which are entitled to the JP bonuses signals indicating their entitlements. Each station 4 makes a determination on the primary credits on the basis of the result of the determination made on the JP bonuses and the result of the hand rank determination process executed in step S66. Once the station 4 makes the determination on the primary credits, the station 4 transmits to the CPU 81 a signal indicating that the determination is made on the primary credits.

Once the CPU 81 receives the primary credit determination signal indicating that the station 4 makes the determination on the primary credits in step S84, the CPU 81 starts a shared game in step S85. At this time, the CPU 81 transmits a control signal for displaying an effect image on the display 20. In step S86, the CPU 81 transmits information on a sampled card to all of the stations 4. On the basis of the control signal transmitted from the control device 13 at a timing corresponding to step S85, the effect image in which the card is sampled is displayed on the display 20 (in step S91).

In the case of the second embodiment, the card games do not start simultaneously among all of the stations 4 due to the timings at which the players put in their antes and make their bet operations and the like. However, the CPU 81 monitors the primary credit determination signal transmitted from each station 4, and thereby controls the timing at which the CPU 81 starts the shared game. For this reason, the CPU 81 is capable of starting the shared game after each station 4 determines whether the player's hand ranks higher or lower than the dealer's hand in the card game played in the station 4. Once the CPU 81 starts the shared game, the CPU 81 selects multiple cards which, along with the hand in each station 4, can make a combination.

Each station 4 determines whether or not any one of the predetermined combinations is formed in the hand consisting of these five cards and the selected multiple cards, and executes a process for paying out only the primary credits, or a process for paying out the secondary credits obtained by summing up the primary credits and the credits on the basis of the combination, on the basis of a result of the determination.

Subsequently, detailed descriptions will be given of a card game in the second embodiment carried out on the processes shown in FIGS. 8 and 19 by use of the game screen 61 displayed on the display device 8 in each of the stations 4 and examples of the shared game displayed on the display panel 20a of the display 20 (FIGS. 10 and 19 to 23).

FIG. 10 shows an example of a screen which is displayed on the game screen 61 when the station 4 is on standby for a game to be started. On the game screen 61, the image 631 of the virtual dealer and the character image 632 of “You Can Start to Play a Game by Putting in an Ante” are displayed in the dealer displaying section 63. “512” is displayed in the credit amount displaying section 67. In other words, the game screen shows that the amount of credits currently possessed by the player is 512. When the player puts in an ante, a game starts. Subsequently, the game screen 61 shown in FIG. 11 is displayed. The image 631 of the virtual dealer and the character image 633 of “Put in a Jackpot Coin” are displayed on the game screen 61 shown in FIG. 11. In addition, the ante displaying section 68 shown in FIG. 11 displays “10,” that is the amount of credits anted by the player in the game screen 61 shown in FIG. 10. Because the player antes the 10 credits, “502” is displayed in the credit amount displaying 67. In the case of the present embodiment, it is provided that one JP coin should be equal to “one credit.” The control device 13 accumulates the JPs “MINI,” “MAJOR” and “MEGA” on the basis of the allocation ratios among the JPs.

Once the station 4 detects the JP coins are put in, the station 4 displays the effect image in which the cards are dealt out thereon. On the game screen 61 shown in FIG. 19, the image 631 of the virtual dealer and the character image 634 of “Your Hand” are displayed in the dealer displaying section 63. The images representing the four cards consisting of the card 621a (Ace of spades), the card 621b (King of hearts), the card 621c (King of spades), the card 621d (King of clubs) and the card 621e (King of hearts) are displayed in the player's hand displaying section 62 on the game screen 61. The fold button 74A through which the player inputs an instruction indicating that the player withdraws from the game against the dealer with no more card added to these cards and the challenge button 74B through which the player inputs an instruction indicating that the player makes a bet against the dealer are displayed under the ante displaying section 68. The player can choose between the two by touching one of these buttons.

When the player selects the fold button 74A, this selection means that player chooses to withdraw from the game. The station 4 forfeits the anted 10 credits, and the station 4 causes the current game screen 61 returns to the pre-game game screen 61. When the player instead selects the challenge button 74B, the station 4 displays a game screen used for the player to make a bet.

The game screen 61 shown in FIG. 20 is a screen used for the player to make a bet in the second embodiment. On the game screen 61 shown in FIG. 20, the image 631 of the virtual dealer and the character image 635 of “Make a Bet” are displayed in the dealer displaying section 63. At this time, as in the first embodiment, the player can input the amount of credits which the player determines to bet by use of the unit BET buttons 65. The game screen shown in FIG. 20 shows that the player bets 20 credits at this time, and it is accordingly shown in the credit amount displaying section 67 that the amount of credits which the players currently possesses is 408. Because the length of the bet allowable remaining time is predetermined, if the player does not complete making a bet operation within the predetermined length of time, the station 4 forfeits the ante, and the player is forced to fold automatically.

FIG. 21 shows an example of the game screen 61 which is shown when the player completes making a bet operation. When the player completes making a bet operation, the station 4 opens the dealer's hand. On the game screen 61 shown in FIG. 21, the dealer's hand consisting of the card 63a (9 of clubs), the card 63b (9 of diamonds), the card 63c (Queen of clubs) and the card 63d (Queen of diamonds) and the card 63e (3 of clubs) is displayed in the dealer displaying section 63. In addition, the character image 636 of “Dealer's Hand is Opened” is displayed therein. FIG. 21 shows an example indicating that “three of a king” is formed by using the player's hand.

When, as described above, the dealer's hand is opened after the player completes making the bet operation, the shared game is started on the display panel 20a in the display 20 without interruption, and the multiple cards are sampled. It should be noted that the examples of the effect images used in the shared game which has been described by use of FIGS. 15 to 17 are applicable to steps of sampling the multiple cards.

FIG. 22 shows examples of screens which are displayed respectively on the display panel 20a and the game screen 61 when it is determined whether any one of the predetermined combination is formed after the four cards are sampled in the display screen on the display panel 20a. While, as shown in FIG. 22, an effect image in which the multiple cards are sampled is being displayed on the display panel 20a, the CPU 81 in the control device 13 transmits the information on the sampled cards to each station 4 (see FIG. 18B, steps S72 to S74).

When any of the predetermined combination is formed by using the card group consisting of the player's hand used in the card game (it does not matter whether or not the player's hand outranks the dealer's hand) and the multiple cards sampled in the shared game, the formed combination is displayed in the dealer displaying section 63, as shown in FIG. 23. Specifically, an example of the display screen shown in FIG. 23 shows that a combination of Joker and a spade (equivalent to a combination of two spades) as well as a combination of five Kings is formed when seven cards are selected from the five cards consisting of a card 621a (Ace of spades), a card 621b (King of hearts), a card 621c (King of spades), a card 621d (King of clubs) and a card 621e (King of diamonds) which are selected in the station 4 as well as the cards consisting of a card 761a (Joker), a card 761b (King of diamonds), a card 761c (10 of clubs) and a card 761d (2 of diamonds) which are selected in the shared game. As a result, the station 4 pays out the secondary credits obtaining by summing up the primary credits corresponding to “four of a king” and credits corresponding to the combination of Joker and a spade (equivalent to a combination of two spades) as well as the combination of five Kings, the combinations being the outcome of the shared game.

As described above, in the case of the gaming machine 1 shown as the second embodiment of the present invention, each station 4 generates credits on the basis of an outcome of a card game similar to poker, which is played and completed in the station 4, as well as credits on the basis of a combination formed by using the cards constituting a hand used in the card game and the cards sampled in a shared game to which an effect is given on the display 20 after the card game is completed. Thereby, the gaming machine 1 according to the second embodiment has new entertainment features obtained by incorporating excellent entertainment features of a conventional and stand-alone gaming device with entertainment features achieved by a multiplayer mass game.

It should be noted that, in the screens whose examples are shown in FIGS. 22 and 23, the locations at which the sampled cards are arranged, the sequence with which the sampled cards are arranged, and general matters concerned with the display may be changed whenever deemed necessary on the basis of effects. As a result, the locations, the sequence and the general matters are not limited to the example shown for the present embodiment. The present embodiment has been described citing the case where the number of cards from which it is determined whether or not any one of the predetermined combinations is formed is 7. However, the number of cards from which it is determined whether or not any one of the predetermined combinations is formed is not limited to 7. Furthermore, as far as the second embodiment is concerned, the number of suit groups and the number of cards with the same number may be different from those accepted for standard card games including poker. Generally, because a deck of cards has number cards ranging from the Ace to King of each of the four suit groups, the normal practice is that a deck of cards includes only the four “Kings.” In the case of the second embodiment, in order to enable various combinations to be formed, the deck 75 of cards used for a shared game in which the multiple card are sampled is treated independently of the deck of cards used for a card game played in each station. In other words, more than four cards with the same number may possibly appear when the player's hand and the multiple cards sampled in the shared game are joined together.

The foregoing descriptions have been provided for the game systems as the first and second embodiments of the present invention. The purpose of the foregoing descriptions is to show the concrete examples only. The descriptions impose no specific restriction on the present invention. The concrete configuration can be changed according to the necessity. The number, the figures and the like of the cards used in the games, which have been used to described the foregoing embodiments, also stand as an example of how many cards are used for the games, and how the figures and the like of the cards are used for the games. How many cards are used for the games and how the figures and the like of the cards are used for the games are not limited to the number, the figures and the like of the cards, which have been used to described the foregoing embodiments. Moreover, the effects described as being brought about by the embodiments of the present invention are enumerated only as the most desirable effects of the present invention. The effects of the present invention shall not be limited to the effects described as being brought about by the embodiments of the present invention.