Title:
OMAHA DUEL POKER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of playing a modified poker game comprises: each player making an ante bet and optional insurance bet; dealing four cards face down to each player and to the dealer; dealing a plurality of community cards face down; each player deciding whether to make a second bet or to fold; revealing one community card; each player deciding whether to make a third bet; revealing the remaining community card(s); players and dealer forming their best five-card poker hand using any of the four cards dealt to them and at least one of the community cards; comparing each player's hand with the dealer's hand; and resolving all bets wherein the player automatically wins if his hand is a predetermined poker combination. In one embodiment, three community cards are dealt, the second bet and third bet are equal to the ante bet, and the predetermined poker combination is four-of-a-kind or better.



Inventors:
Kling, Werner Alecsander (Oslo, NO)
Hagen, Hugo (Raetingen, NO)
Application Number:
11/694877
Publication Date:
10/02/2008
Filing Date:
03/30/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F1/00
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Primary Examiner:
STANCZAK, MATTHEW BRIAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jennifer, Riel J. (711 E. Walnut Street, Suite 204, Pasadena, CA, 91101, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of playing a modified poker game between a dealer and at least one player, the method comprising: (a) each player making an ante bet and optional insurance bet; (b) dealing four cards face down to each player and to the dealer; (c) dealing a plurality of community cards face down; (d) each player either making a second bet or folding; (e) revealing one card from the plurality of community cards; (f) each player who made the second bet either making a third bet or checking; (g) revealing remaining cards from the plurality of community cards; (h) each player forming a player hand comprised of player's best five cards, wherein the player's best five cards are selected from the four cards dealt to the player and the plurality of community cards; (i) the dealer forming a dealer hand comprised of dealer's best five cards, wherein the dealer's best five cards are selected from the four cards dealt to the dealer and the plurality of community cards; (j) comparing each player hand with the dealer hand; and (k) resolving the ante bet, the second bet, the third bet, and the insurance bet, wherein the player hand automatically wins if the player hand is a predetermined poker combination.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the predetermined poker combination is at least a four-of-a-kind.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein if the player hand is the predetermined poker combination, the player hand wins even money on the ante bet, the second bet, and the third bet and wins an ante bonus based on the ante bet.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein the ante bonus pays: 3 to 1 if the player hand is a four-of-a-kind, 10 to 1 if the player hand is a straight flush, and 25 to 1 if the player hand is a royal flush.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein the plurality equals three.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein the second bet and the third bet each equal the ante bet.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein the insurance bet is paid 3 to 1 if the player hand is a pair of 3's or worse.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein if the player hand is less than a pair, the insurance bet is paid 7 to 1 if the player hand is less than King-high and the insurance bet is paid 4 to 1 if the player hand is not less than King-high.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein if the player hand is not the predetermined poker combination, (i) the ante bet, the second bet, and the third bet push if the player hand ties with the dealer hand; (ii) the ante bet, the second bet, and the third bet are lost if the dealer hand beats the player hand; (iii) the ante bet, the second bet, and the third bet win even money if the player hand qualifies and beats the dealer hand; and (iv) the ante bet pushes, and the second bet and the third bet win even money if the player hand does not qualify but beats the dealer hand.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein the player hand qualifies with at least a two pair.

11. A method of playing a modified poker game between a dealer and at least one player, the method comprising: (a) each player making an ante bet and optional insurance bet; (b) dealing four player cards face down to each player; (c) dealing four dealer cards face down to the dealer; (d) dealing a first community card, a second community card, and a third community card face down; (e) requiring each player to either make a second bet equal to the ante bet or fold; (f) revealing the first community card; (g) requiring each player who made the second bet to either make a third bet equal to the ante bet or check; (h) revealing the second community card and the third community card; (i) revealing the dealer cards; (j) each player forming a player hand comprised of player's best five cards, wherein the player's best five cards are selected from the player cards, the first community card, the second community card, and the third community card; (k) the dealer forming a dealer hand comprised of dealer's best five cards, wherein the dealer's best five cards are selected from the dealer cards, the first community card, the second community card, and the third community card; (l) determining game outcome by using traditional poker rankings as a basis to make a comparison between each player hand and the dealer hand; and (m) resolving the ante bet, the second bet, the third bet, and the insurance bet, wherein the player hand automatically wins if the player hand is at least a four-of-a-kind.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein if the player hand is at least a four-of-a-kind, the player hand wins even money on the ante bet, the second bet and the third bet and wins an ante bonus based on the ante bet.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the ante bonus pays: 3 to 1 if the player hand is a four-of-a-kind, 10 to 1 if the player hand is a straight flush, and 25 to 1 if the player hand is a royal flush.

14. The method of claim 11 wherein the insurance bet is paid 3 to 1 if the player hand is a pair of 3's or worse.

15. The method of claim 11 wherein if the player hand is less than a pair, the insurance bet is paid 7 to 1 if the player hand is less than King-high and the insurance bet is paid 4 to 1 if the player hand is not less than King-high

16. The method of claim 11 wherein if the player hand is not at least a four-of-a-kind, (i) the ante bet, the second bet, and the third bet push if the player hand ties with the dealer hand; (ii) the ante bet, the second bet, and the third bet are lost if the dealer hand beats the player hand; (iii) the ante bet, the second bet, and the third bet win even money if the player hand is at least a two pair and beats the dealer hand; and (iv) the ante bet pushes, and the second bet and the third bet win even money if the player hand is not at least a two pair but beats the dealer hand.

17. A method of playing a modified poker game between a dealer and at least one player, the method comprising: (a) each player making an ante bet and optional insurance bet; (b) dealing four player cards face down to each player; (c) dealing four dealer cards face down to himself; (d) dealing a first community card, a second community card, and a third community card face down; (e) each player either making a second bet equal to the ante bet or folding; (f) revealing the first community card; (g) each player who made the second bet either making a third bet equal to the ante bet or checking; (h) revealing the second community card and the third community card; (i) revealing the dealer cards; (j) each player forming a player hand comprised of player's best five cards, wherein the player's best five cards are selected from the player cards, the first community card, the second community card, and the third community card; (k) the dealer forming a dealer hand comprised of dealer's best five cards, wherein the dealer's best five cards are selected from the dealer cards, the first community card, the second community card, and the third community card; (l) determining game outcome by using traditional poker rankings as a basis to make a comparison between each player hand and the dealer hand; and (m) resolving the ante bet, the second bet, the third bet, and the insurance bet, wherein if the player hand is at least a four-of-a-kind, the player hand wins even money on the ante bet, the second bet and the third bet and wins an ante bonus based on the ante bet, and wherein the ante bonus pays 3 to 1 if the player hand is a four-of-a-kind, 10 to 1 if the player hand is a straight flush, and 25 to 1 if the player hand is a royal flush.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein the insurance bet is paid 3 to 1 if the player hand is a pair of 3's or worse.

19. The method of claim 17 wherein if the player hand is less than a pair, the insurance bet is paid 7 to 1 if the player hand is less than King-high and the insurance bet is paid 4 to 1 if the player hand is not less than King-high

20. The method of claim 17 wherein if the player hand is not at least a four-of-a-kind, (i) the ante bet, the second bet, and the third bet push if the player hand ties with the dealer hand; (ii) the ante bet, the second bet, and the third bet are lost if the dealer hand beats the player hand; (iii) the ante bet, the second bet, and the third bet win even money if the player hand is at least a two pair and beats the dealer hand; and (iv) the ante bet pushes and the second bet and the third bet win even money if the player hand is not at least a two pair but beats the dealer hand.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a method and apparatus for playing a card game. More particularly, the present invention relates to a modified poker game that may be played as a casino table game or as a video game.

BACKGROUND

Poker is a very popular card game played all over the world. Nearly all poker games use a standard 52-card deck of playing cards (with thirteen values-2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace—and four different suits: spades, diamonds, clubs, and hearts). Sometimes, one, two, or four “jokers” are added to the deck to serve as “wild cards,” which may be used to represent any card of any suit.

Wagering

Poker games include the ability to make wagers (although friendly poker games may be played without wagers, much of the skill and excitement of poker comes from its wagering system). Often, chips or other markers are used and placed in a central area called the “pot.” Most poker games begin with an “ante,” or forced bet, by some or all of the players. There then follows one or more betting rounds wherein players have the opportunity to “check” (meaning to refrain from betting) or bet (sometimes up to a certain pre-set limit, and sometimes with no limit) by placing chips in the pot. Other players then have the option to “call” the bet by matching it, “raise” the bet by placing more chips in the pot, or “fold,” by surrendering their cards and forfeiting that hand. After the final betting round, if more than one player remains in the game, there is a “showdown” where the remaining players reveal their cards and the winner is determined by ranking the relative value of the hands, as discussed below.

This method of betting engenders some fairly complicated strategy, and also allows for the possibility of “bluffing.” A bluff is when a player bets a large wager while only holding a relatively weak hand; such a strategy may work in poker because a player may win the pot (without ever showing his cards) if each other player folds.

Ranking of Poker Hand Values

Poker games use a standard method of ranking the value of poker hands. The ranking of poker hands is based on rarity, and is as follows (from most valuable to least valuable):

Straight Flush: five cards of the same suit, in order (Q-J-10-9-8 of spades)

Four of a Kind: four cards of the same value, and one extra card (J-J-J-J-7)

Full House: three cards of one value, plus two of another (A-A-A-3-3)

Flush: five cards of the same suit (A-J-9-7-2 of clubs)

Straight: five cards in sequence, Aces may be low or high (9-8-7-6-5)

Three of a Kind: three cards of the same value, and two extra (5-5-5-K-Q)

Two Pair: two cards of one value plus two cards of another (10-10-6-6-Q)

One Pair: two cards of one value, and three extra (A-A-9-5-2)

Hands higher in the list are more rare (the odds of attaining them are higher), and therefore more valuable and beat hands lower on the list. If more than one player has the same type of hand (e.g. three of a kind), higher cards beat lower cards (Aces are the highest, then Kings, Queens, Jacks, 10s, and so on). So, three Queens beats three Jacks. The remaining cards in a five-card hand may also be ranked in order if necessary to break ties (Q-Q-Q-A-5 beats Q-Q-Q-K-J, and A-A-K-J-9 beats A-A-K-J-8). Suits are equal, and therefore irrelevant in ranking hands. The highest possible Straight Flush, A-K-Q-J-10 of the same suit, is called a “Royal Flush” or “Royal Straight Flush.” Also of note, Five of a Kind is possible only with wild cards (or multiple decks), and beats a Straight Flush.

Variations

There are a number of variations of poker, each of which is based on the standard dealing, wagering, and hand valuation rules described above. One of the most popular variations of poker today is “Texas Hold 'Em,” often simply called “Hold 'Em.” Hold 'Em play begins with a dealer providing each player with two face down cards (the dealer rotates among the players in successive rounds of play). There is then a round of betting, with the player to the dealer's left forced to wager an amount known as the “small blind,” and the player to his left forced to wager an amount known as the “big blind,” usually double the amount of the small blind. Betting then continues around the table, with each player choosing to match the big blind (or “call”), raise, or fold. After the first round of betting is complete, the dealer places three cards face up in the center of the table. These cards, known as the “flop,” are community cards, and may be used by any or all of the players still in the game. There is another round of betting, before a fourth community card is added face up to the center (known as the “turn”). There is then another round of betting before the fifth and final community card is placed face up with the others (known as the “river”). There is a final round of betting, and then a showdown (if more than one player is still in the game), where players may use both, one, or neither of their face down cards (or “hole cards”) in combination with the five community cards to create the best five-card poker hand they can.

The advent of small cameras that can show each player's face-down cards, and the televised, no-betting-limit “World Series of Poker” (in which players compete in a Texas Hold 'Em tournament for large stakes) have combined to make Hold 'Em a very popular home and casino game, with Hold 'Em poker tournaments often being shown on television and drawing large audiences. The World Series of Poker jackpots can award a million dollars or more to the winner.

Another popular variation of poker is known as Omaha poker or Omaha Hold 'Em. Omaha is similar to Texas Hold 'Em in that (a) each player gets some individual face-down cards and some community cards with which to form his hand, (b) the face-up, community cards are dealt in a set of three (the flop), then one more (the turn), then the final card (the river), and (c) which player acts as the dealer rotates around the table, and the players to the dealer's left must post the small blind and big blind.

In Omaha, however, each player is dealt four (not two) face-down cards before the first round of betting, in addition to the five community cards that are dealt later. Also, in composing his final hand, each player MUST use exactly two hole cards plus three community cards. In addition, Omaha is often played “high-low,” where the highest hand and the lowest hand split the pot.

Drawbacks and Potential Improvements

While standard poker games are popular, there is a need in the art for new and improved games with more variety and more varied betting opportunities. For example, the traditional game of Texas Hold 'Em could be improved by providing the opportunity for players to place insurance bets or win high-payout ante bonuses. Additionally, traditional forms of poker lack a bonus feature that pays out a large sum to players who are dealt certain hands; they also lack the protection of an “automatic winner” feature that guarantees a payout to a player with a high-ranking hand. In current poker games, players with high-ranking hands may lose to even higher-ranking hands; in fact, they are likely to lose a great deal of money in such a situation. There is a need in the art to remedy these deficiencies and improve on the current games available. The addition of such variations would likely make the present invention more fun and exciting for players, as it increases the payouts that a player may receive, allows for an insurance bet, and provides the guaranteed protection of an automatic win feature.

Variations such as those discussed above are therefore likely to increase the popularity of poker-type games even further. Poker games utilizing such variations and advantages are likely to be more popular than standard poker games, attract more and higher wagers from bettors, be more enjoyed by players, and be more profitable for the casinos that offer them. Other advantages of the present invention will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in light of the ensuing description of the present invention.

SUMMARY

The present invention is directed to a method of playing a modified poker game that generates additional excitement, allows for larger payouts than conventional poker games, allows for an insurance bet, and provides the guaranteed protection of an automatic win feature. In the present invention players are afforded the opportunity to place an insurance bet that rewards the player if his hand is worse than a given threshold. In this way, players have an opportunity to win money on high-ranking hands as well as on low-ranking hands, which imparts a new element of strategy and improves player enjoyment by providing a “fall-back” feature. The present invention offers a bonus feature that pays out a large sum (up to 25 to 1 in one embodiment of the present invention) to players who are dealt certain hands and includes the protection of an “automatic winner” feature that guarantees a payout to a player with a high-ranking hand that is comprised of a predetermined poker combination. Providing players with more opportunities to win and the opportunity for larger payouts would bring greater excitement and interest to players and will likely attract new players to the game. Additionally, the features of the present invention will likely attract more and higher wagers from bettors, be more enjoyed by players, and be more profitable for the casinos that offer them.

To achieve the foregoing and in accordance with the purposes of the present invention, the present invention is directed to a gaming method that comprises: each player making an ante bet and optional insurance bet; dealing four cards face down to each player and to the dealer; dealing a plurality of community cards face down; each player deciding whether to make a second bet or to fold; revealing one community card; each player deciding whether to make a third bet; revealing the remaining community cards; players and dealer forming their best five-card poker hand using any of the four cards dealt to them and at least one of the community cards; comparing each player's hand with the dealer's hand; and resolving all bets wherein a player automatically wins if his hand is a predetermined poker combination.

One embodiment of the present invention is directed to a method of playing a modified poker game comprising: (a) each player making an ante bet and optional insurance bet before receiving any cards; (b) dealing four face down cards to each player; (c) dealing four face down cards to the dealer; (d) dealing three community cards face down; (e) requiring each player to either make a second bet equal to the ante or fold and forfeit the ante; (f) revealing the first community card; (g) requiring each player who made the second bet to either check or make a third bet equal to the ante; (h) revealing the second and third community cards; (i) revealing the dealer's four face down cards; (j) each player and the dealer forming their best five-card poker hand comprised of five cards selected from the four face down cards dealt to them and the three community cards; (k) determining game outcome by using traditional poker rankings as a basis to make a comparison between each player's hand and the dealer's hand; and (l) resolving all bets wherein a player automatically wins if his hand is a predetermined poker combination. The predetermined poker combination may be a specific combination, or it may be of a predetermined rank wherein the hand must be a certain combination or better.

In one embodiment, the predetermined poker combination is four-of-a-kind or better, and the player wins even money on his ante bet, second bet, and third bet and is paid an Ante Bonus based on his ante bet. Bets may be resolved according to whether the player's hand qualifies with a certain predetermined rank. In one example, the player's hand must be a two pair or better to qualify. The insurance bet is also resolved based on the player's hand being comprised of certain poker combinations. In one embodiment of the invention, if the player's best five-card poker hand is a pair of threes or worse, the insurance bet is paid 3 to 1. In an alternate embodiment, if the player's best five-card poker hand is less than a pair, then the player wins the insurance bet; and if the player's hand is less than King-high, the bet is paid 7 to 1, otherwise the bet is paid 4 to 1.

The above description sets forth a summary of embodiments of the present invention so that the detailed description that follows may be better understood and contributions of the present invention to the art may be better appreciated. Some of the embodiments of the present invention may not include all of the features or characteristics listed in the above summary. There may be, of course, other features of the invention that will be described below and may form the subject matter of claims. In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in further detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or as illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways; for example, the invention may be carried out through software on a computer, via the Internet, or other electronic medium. Furthermore, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

Other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, various features of embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a block diagram showing generally the steps of a gaming method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 depicts a flowchart showing a sequence of steps of a gaming method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 depicts a flowchart showing a sequence of steps used to resolve bets in a gaming method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 depicts a top plan view of a gaming layout in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 depicts the player's betting positions of the gaming layout shown in FIG. 4 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 depicts the player's betting positions of an alternate gaming layout in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 depicts the dealer's card positions and community card positions of the gaming layout shown in FIG. 4 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following description of embodiments of the invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this application. The drawings show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

The order in which the steps are presented below is not limited to any particular order and does not necessarily imply that they have to be performed in the order presented. It will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art that the order of these steps can be rearranged and performed in any suitable manner. It further will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art that some steps may be omitted or added and still fall within the spirit of the invention.

Gaming Method

The present invention is directed to a gaming method and an apparatus that may be used to implement the gaming method. In general, the gaming method is designed to reward players who have compiled poker hands that are better than the dealer's poker hand based on conventional poker rules and to reward players who have compiled poker hands that beat the dealer's poker hand or that are comprised of specific combinations. Each poker hand includes five cards although in alternate embodiments, the poker hand may be comprised of a different number of cards such as a three-card poker hand or seven-card poker hand. Traditional poker combinations and their corresponding ranks are used—namely (ranked in ascending order) pair, two pairs, three of a kind, straight, flushes, four of a kind, full house, straight flush, and royal flush as more fully described above.

In the various embodiments described herein, the term “dealer” may represent the “house” or the casino, or may refer to a virtual dealer in embodiments of the invention that involve computers, the Internet, and/or other forms of electronic media. Additionally, the dealer may be a player designated in advance, or the players may take turns acting as the dealer.

As depicted in the block diagram of FIG. 1, the gaming method of the present invention generally comprises: each player making an ante bet and optional insurance bet (block 100); dealing four cards face down to each player and to the dealer (block 200); dealing a plurality of community cards face down (block 300); each player deciding whether to make a second bet or to fold (block 400); revealing one community card (block 500); each player deciding whether to make a third bet (block 600); revealing the remaining community card(s) (block 700); players and dealer forming their best five-card poker hand using any of the four cards dealt to them and at least one of the community cards (block 800); comparing each player's hand with the dealer's hand (block 900); and resolving all bets wherein a player automatically wins if his hand is a predetermined poker combination (block 1000).

Referring now to FIG. 2, in one embodiment of the present invention, the gaming method of the invention begins with a dealer shuffling a set of cards (step 110). A standard single deck or multiple decks of cards may be used. The players are then asked to place their ante bets and optional insurance bets (step 120) before any cards are dealt. The ante bet and the insurance bet do not have to be equal. In alternate embodiments of the present invention, the gaming method may further comprise allowing players to make an optional side wager bet based on any variety of occurrences.

After the dealer shuffles the cards and the players have placed their ante bets and optional insurance bets, the dealer deals four face down cards to each player (step 130). The dealer also deals four face down cards to himself (step 140). The dealer also deals three community cards face down (step 150).

Next, at step 160, after seeing their four face down cards, each player must decide whether to bet or fold his poker hand. If the player decides to fold, he loses his ante bet (step 162). A player's insurance bet is unaffected and remains in action even if the player folds his poker hand; in which case, the player's cards will be tucked under his insurance bet. If the player decides to bet, he places a second bet equal to the ante bet (step 164).

At step 170, the first community card is revealed. The players who did not fold must then decide whether to check or bet (step 180). If the player decides to check, the player does not place an additional bet (step 182). If the player decides to bet, he then places a third bet equal to the ante bet (step 184). In alternate embodiments of the invention, the second bet and third bets do not have to be equal to the ante bet, but may be some multiple or fraction thereof. After the players have decided whether to make the third bet, the second and third community cards are revealed (step 190).

The dealer then reveals his four face down cards (step 210). Next, each player and the dealer form their best five-card poker hand using any of the four cards dealt to them and at least one of the three community cards (step 220). In other words, each player's hand and the dealer's hand is comprised of five cards selected from the four cards dealt to them and the three community cards. For instance, when forming his hand, a player may use four of his face down cards and one of the community cards, three of his face down cards and two of the community cards, or two of his face down cards and all three community cards.

Once the dealer and players form their poker hands, the dealer's hand is compared with each player's hand (step 230), and game outcome is determined using traditional poker rankings. The bets are then resolved (step 240) wherein a player automatically wins if his hand is a predetermined poker combination. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the predetermined poker combination is a four-of-a-kind or better. In such embodiments, if the player's hand is a four-of-a-kind or better, then the player automatically wins the hand and is paid even money on his ante, second, and third bets, and is also paid an Ante Bonus according to a predetermined payout schedule based on the player's ante bet. Any suitable payout schedule may be used based on the rarity of the hand (i.e., rarer hands get paid more than less rare hands). For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the Ante Bonus may have the following payout schedule:

Player HandAnte Bonus
4-of-a-kind 3 to 1
Straight Flush10 to 1
Royal Flush25 to 1

Additionally, the bets may be resolved according to whether a player's hand qualifies. A player's hand qualifies if it is of a predetermined rank. For instance, a player may qualify if his hand is a two pair or better. If a player qualifies, he may be able to receive a higher payout and/or win on more of his bets as described below. Regardless of whether the player qualifies with a hand of two pair or better, ties are pushes.

FIG. 3 illustrates how the ante, second, and third bets may be resolved. First, it is determined whether a player's poker hand has a certain poker combination to be an automatic winner. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3, the player's hand must be a four-of-a-kind or better to be an automatic winner (step 270). If the player's hand is a four of-a-kind or better, then his ante bet, second bet, and third bet all win even money, and he is paid an Ante Bonus as described above (step 272). If the player's hand is not an automatic winner, then the hands are examined to see if the player's hand ties with the dealer's hand (step 275). If there is a tie, then the ante bet, second bet, and third bet push (step 278).

If the player's and dealer's hands do not tie, then the next step is to determine whether the player's hand qualifies with a two pair or better (step 280). If the player's hand qualifies, the next step in the inquiry is to determine whether the player's hand beats the dealer's hand (step 283). If the player's hand qualifies and beats the dealer's hand, then the player's ante bet, second bet, and third bet all win even money (step 284). If the player's hand qualifies but does not beat the dealer's hand, then the player loses his ante bet, second bet, and third bet (step 285).

On the other hand, if the player's hand does not qualify with a two pair or better, then the next step in the inquiry is to determine whether the player's hand beats the dealer's hand (step 286). If the player's hand does not qualify but beats the dealer's hand, then the player's second and third bets win even money and the ante bet pushes (step 287). If the player's hand does not qualify and does not beat the dealer's hand, then the player loses his ante bet, second bet, and third bet (step 288). Thus, in the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3, the player loses his ante bet, second bet, and third bet if the dealer beats his player hand, whether or not his player hand qualifies.

In alternate embodiments of the invention, the ante bet, send bet, and/or third bets may be resolved according to a different set of rules and the requirements to qualify may also vary.

Insurance Bet

The insurance bet is also resolved based on the player's hand being comprised of certain poker combinations. In one embodiment of the invention, if the player's best five-card poker hand is a pair of threes or worse, the insurance bet is paid 3 to 1. In an alternate embodiment, if the player's best five-card poker hand is less than a pair, then the player wins the insurance Bet, and if the player's hand is less than King-high, the bet is paid 7 to 1, otherwise the bet is paid 4 to 1. Of course, in alternate embodiments, the insurance bet may be based on other combinations and may have a variety of payout schedules.

Gaming Layout

An embodiment of a gaming layout 60 of the present invention is shown in FIG. 4. Gaming layout 60 may be made with the common shapes of conventional casino gaming tables such as a semi-circular shape. Gaming layout 60 may also be made with materials of conventional gaming tables, such as felt, vinyl, wood, plastic, laminate, and/or marble. In alternate embodiments of the present invention, gaming layout 60 may be a video or computer representation of a conventional gaming table, game layout and/or player position.

Gaming layout 60 includes a plurality of player positions 62A-G, which is adapted to distinguish each player's bets and cards from those of the other players. Although seven player positions 62A-G are depicted in FIG. 4, any suitable number of player positions may be included in a gaming layout of the present invention. The number of player positions may vary depending on the size of the gaming table and the number of players a casino wishes to accommodate in one given game. Also, it is not necessary that all player positions be utilized while the game is being played. At least one player position needs to be utilized for the game to be played.

Gaming layout 60 may further include a chip tray to store gaming chips 66. The dealer may place the cards dealt to himself in any designated area of the gaming layout according to the casino's preference. For example, the dealer may deal his face down cards and place it on dealer card positions 80 which is at or near the center of the table such that it is readily visible to all players when the dealer reveals his cards. Gaming layout 60 also includes community card positions 90. Community card positions 90 include three distinct community card positions located substantially in the center of the gaming layout or the board.

FIG. 5 depicts an enlarged view of one of player positions 62A-G of FIG. 4. Each player position includes the following betting positions: ante bet position 71, second bet position 72, third bet position 73, and insurance bet position 75. Before any cards are dealt, the player places his ante bet on ante bet position 71 to participate in the game and his optional insurance bet on insurance bet position 75. Second bet position 72 is where the player places his additional bet if he decided not to fold his poker hand after viewing his four face down cards. After the first community card is revealed, the player places his third bet on third bet position 73 if he decides not to check. Each player position may further comprise position 32 which may include rules of play and/or payout schedules. Each player position may further include a plurality of card positions designated to receive the cards dealt to the player. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 5, ante bet position 71, second bet position 72, third bet position 73, and insurance bet position 75 may be designated respectively with the following indicia: “ANTE,” “PLAY 1,” “PLAY 2,” and “INSURANCE.”

FIG. 6 illustrates a player position of a gaming layout of an alternate embodiment of the present invention. As seen in FIG. 6, ante bet position 71, second bet position 72, third bet position 73, and insurance bet position 75 may be configured in a variety of patterns and may be comprised of a variety of shapes. Additionally, any one or combination of words, numbers, colors, logos, shapes, and/or other symbols may be used to designate ante bet position 71, second bet position 72, third bet position 73, and insurance bet position 75. For example, “ante,” “ante bet,” “1,” or “1st bet,” may be used to designate ante bet position 71. The indicia “turn” and “flop,” “Play 1” and “Play 2,” “2” and “3,” or “2nd bet” and “3rd bet,” may be used to designate second bet position 72 and third bet position 73, respectively. “Bluff,” “No Hand,” or “Insurance,” may be used to designate insurance bet position 75.

Dealer card positions 80 and community card positions 90 of FIG. 4 are illustrated in FIG. 7. As seen in FIG. 7, dealer card positions 80 include card positions 81, 82, 83, and 84 which are where the dealer places his four face down cards. Community card positions 90 include first community card position 91, second community card position 92, and third community card position 93 which are each individually adapted to identify the first community card, second community card, and third community card respectively. Any combination of colors, patterns, designs, words, numbers, logos, shapes, and/or other symbols may be used to designate dealer card positions 81, 82, 83, and 84 and community card positions 91, 92, and 93.

In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 7, the first community card position 91 is distinguished from community card positions 92 and 93 by its positioning as it is further spaced from community card positions 92 and 93. However, the layout may vary depending on the embodiment of the invention as well as the indicia used to designate the community card. Community card positions 91, 92, and 93 may be labeled “1,” “2,” “3” to indicate that the first community card, second community card, and third community card should be placed thereon respectively. Alternatively, community card position 91 may be designated with the term “turn” and community card positions 91 and 93 may collectively be designated with the term “flop.” The number of community cards incorporated into the game is not limited to three community cards. For instance, in other variations of the invention there may be two, four, or more community cards. Naturally, in such embodiments, the number of community card positions correlate with the number of community cards used in the game.

Of course, locations, and designs of the betting positions and/or any of the card positions may be adjusted as desired so long as they remain within reasonable access and view for the player and the dealer. Also, any designation (any combination of colors, patterns, designs, words, numbers, logos, shapes and/or other symbols) may be included within the betting locations and/or card positions so long as the meaning of the designation is clear or logical for the players and dealer. Other features may be included within the gaming layout 60 such as payout schedules/tables, rules of play, logos, trademarks, casino name, designs and/or various artistic elements.

CONCLUSION AND ALTERNATE EMBODIMENTS

It can be realized from the embodiments described herein that the present invention provides a modified poker game that adds new excitement and is more rewarding than traditional poker games for both players and gaming establishments. The above-described embodiments of the present invention have many advantages. For instance, the incorporation of the automatic winner feature utilizes appealing payout schedules, and multiple betting opportunities allow for larger payouts and additional excitement. Thus, the present invention offers the possibility of large payouts for the players.

The present invention's insurance bet and automatic win feature provides protection for a player that he will likely win on one or more of his bets whether he has a bad hand or great hand. In the present invention, players are afforded the opportunity to place an insurance bet that rewards the player if his hand is worse than a given threshold. In this way, players have an opportunity to win money on high-ranking hands as well as on low-ranking hands, which imparts a new element of strategy and improves player enjoyment by providing a “fall-back” feature. Additionally, the present invention offers a bonus feature that pays out a large sum (up to 25 to 1 in one embodiment of the present invention) to players who are dealt certain hands and includes the protection of an “automatic winner” feature that guarantees a payout to a player with a high-ranking hand. Even if the dealer or another player has the same high ranking hand (or better), the player wins so long as he obtains the minimum hand required to be an automatic winner. Providing players with more opportunities to win and the opportunity for larger payouts would bring additional excitement and interest to players and will likely attract new players to the game. Furthermore, the features of the present invention will likely attract more and higher wagers from bettors, be more enjoyable for players, and be more profitable for the casinos that offer them.

In certain embodiments of the invention, the invention also allows multiple players to win against a dealer in a single poker round. In such embodiments, the players do not compete against each other like in traditional poker games, but they compete against the dealer, and thus more than one player may win in each poker round. Competing against a dealer can be more enticing to new players as it may be less intimidating than playing against other more experienced players. Playing against a dealer may also create an atmosphere of camaraderie among the players and invoke a feeling of belonging together for the same cause, which is to beat the dealer. The present invention further adds excitement by providing multiple betting opportunities and opportunity for bigger payouts than conventional poker games.

The present invention retains some of the features and advantages of poker games while also providing the player with the dynamics of an insurance wager, automatic-winner feature, and multiple betting opportunities for enhanced player anticipation and enjoyment. The invention benefits the player who desires a novel variation of poker as well as the player who does not want to have to learn new rules for valuing cards and scoring hands, but desires some variety. Additionally, with the incorporation of additional betting opportunities such as with the insurance bet, the invention provides gaming establishments with the potential of generating more revenue. Nonetheless, it is advantageous to offer poker players some variation to maintain their long-term interest.

Furthermore, various embodiments of the present invention have reasonable odds for both the player and the house. This is another advantage of the invention because, to be a viable casino game, the gaming method should provide opportunity for a reasonable return for both the house and the player.

It is to be understood, that even though some advantages of the present invention are described herein, it is not necessary that all the advantageous features and/or all the advantages need to be incorporated into every embodiment of the invention.

Although the present invention has been described above in considerable detail with reference to certain versions thereof, other versions are possible. For example, in alternate embodiments of the invention, an optional side bet may be incorporated into the gaming method of the present invention. In such embodiments, when making the ante bet and optional insurance bet, the player may choose to make an additional side bet before any cards are dealt to him. Such side bets may be made on the occurrence of any one or combination of a variety of events. The side bet may be based on the outcome of any combination of the following cards: one or more of the player's cards, one or more of the dealer's cards, and/or one or more of the community cards. For instance, in one embodiment of the invention, a side bet may be made that the three community cards will form a three-of-a-kind combination, or the dealer's four hole cards will form a four-of-a-kind or a two pair combination. In other examples of the invention, a side bet may be based on designated community cards (i.e., the second and third community cards) forming a pair or even a blackjack combination (i.e., the sum of the values total twenty-one). The side bet may also be based on the occurrence of one or more specific cards. For instance, a side bet may be based on the dealer's hole cards or community cards containing a pair of aces or any other designated card(s).

Additionally, the gaming method described above is not limited to being played as a table game. The gaming method may be played as a board game or by using computers or electronic devices having audio and video outputs. Thus, the term “cards” as used in this application refers to traditional cards made of paper stock having traditional game indicia, such as numbers (2-10), suits (diamonds, hearts, spades, and clubs), and characters (aces, jacks, queens, and kings). The term “cards” is also used to refer to electronic images of traditional cards. The term “dealer” may be an actual person distributing the cards. It is noted that the dealer may also be a player, and the dealer does not have to be associated with a business entity having a stake in any profits derived from operating the game. The players may play against each other wherein one player is designated as the dealer. Alternatively, the players may take turns acting as the dealer. The term “dealer” may also be used to refer to a virtual dealer that is programmed through an electronic device or computer.

The invention can be readily implemented in a wide variety of additional forms and media including, but not limited to: single player slot video machines, multi-player slot video machines, electronic games and devices, lottery terminals, scratch-card formats, software, as well as in-flight, home, and Internet entertainment. Furthermore, the invention can be readily implemented in software, which can be stored on a disk (e.g., magnetic disk, compact disc (CD), USB memory stick, pen drives, flash drives, etc.) and used with a computer system. In one embodiment, the gaming method of the present invention may be implemented as a computer game that may be executed via disk or downloaded from the Internet and played using a computer, gaming console, or an electronic handheld device (e.g., personal digital assistants (PDA), mobile phones, etc.). Such embodiments may be played individually or may be played with other players. In another embodiment, the present invention may be played as an interactive online gambling game wherein the player may play against the dealer individually or with other players via the Internet. The dealer may be an actual person or a virtual dealer. Similarly, the other players may be actual people or they may be computer generated virtual players. In other embodiments of the invention, the gaming method may be played against a casino or wagering establishment from a remote location via the Internet or any other type of network.

Some steps of the gaming method described herein may be added, omitted, modified, or performed in various sequences. Additionally, some of the steps described in the various embodiments herein are for illustrative purposes, and as such, some of the steps may be modified, added, or omitted without departing from the scope of the invention. Nonetheless, the various embodiments of the invention which are described herein may be incorporated in a variety of contexts as mentioned above.

While the description above refers to particular embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit thereof. The presently disclosed embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.