Title:
Poker pal
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fortune telling device is disclosed that may be consulted while playing poker. The device is hollow, and simulates a stack of poker chips. A cube with alternate, distinct betting choices on each side floats within a liquid medium within the hollow wall. When playing poker, the player may consults the device by shaking, and allowing the floating cube to rise to the surface, when a betting choice must be made. In this manner, the pleasure of playing the game of chance is enhanced without the need of high-stakes gambling.



Inventors:
Gentile, Ronald Edward (Fredericksburg, VA, US)
Blaney, Robert K. (Fredericksburg, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/895523
Publication Date:
11/27/2008
Filing Date:
08/27/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eugene, Eickholt H. (1119 CAROLINE STREET, FREDERICKSBURG, VA, 22401, US)
Claims:
1. A fortune telling device intended to enhance the element of chance used in conjunction with a standard poker game, comprising a hollow cylindrical member that simulates a stack of poker chips, a liquid medium within the hollow cylindrical member, a transparent window overlying the top of the hollow cylindrical member, in liquid-tight sealing arrangement with the cylindrical hollow wall member, a bottom member in liquid-tight sealing relationship with the hollow cylindrical wall member, and a cube that is less dense than the liquid medium, the cube including a distinct message on each side thereof that corresponds to a unique poker betting choice, whereby a user may consult the fortune telling device when choosing a particular course of betting while playing poker.

2. The fortune telling device of claim 1 wherein a top member overlies the transparent window, the top member being open in the center thereof, whereby the transparent window is visible through the open center of the top member.

3. The fortune telling device of claim 2 wherein the top member, the transparent window, the bottom member, and the hollow cylindrical member all adhesively bonded together into a unitary device.

4. The fortune telling device of claim 2 wherein the top member, the transparent window, the bottom member, and the hollow cylindrical member all constructed of thermoplastic, and are all thermally welded together.

5. The fortune telling device of claim 2 wherein the top member has radial sections that are alternately colored and non-colored to simulate a poker chip, and wherein side portions of the hollow cylinder member have alternately colored sides that are in register with the colored sections of the top member, simulating a stack of colored poker chips.

6. The fortune telling device of claim 5 wherein the non-colored sections have designs embedded therein.

7. The fortune telling device of claim 2 wherein the sides of the hollow wall member are shaped to simulate a stack of poker chips.

8. The fortune telling device of claim 2, wherein the cube member is nine-sided and each side includes a message, the nine messages designated as (1) All In, (2) Call, (3) Fold, (4) Raise, (5) Check, (6) Chase It, (7) Bluff O. Are You Crazy, (8) Push'em, (9) Bet.

9. The fortune telling device of claim 2, wherein the cube member is twelve-sided and a unique betting message is imprinted on each side.

10. A method of playing poker, comprising utilizing the fortune telling device of claim 1, wherein each player in the poker game, when it is his time to select a gambling decision, shakes the fortune telling device of claim 1, and makes his gambling choice according to the random message displayed by the fortune telling device.

11. A fortune telling device intended to enhance the element of chance used in conjunction with a standard poker game, comprising a wall member forming an interior volume, including a hole in the wall member, a liquid medium within the interior volume, a transparent window sealing the hole in the hollow wall member, in liquid-tight sealing arrangement with the wall member, including within the interior volume a multi-surfaced solid that is less dense than the liquid medium, the multi-surfaced solid including a distinct message on each side thereof that corresponds to a unique poker betting choice, whereby a user may consult the fortune telling device when choosing a particular course of betting while playing poker.

12. A method of playing poker, comprising utilizing the fortune telling device of claim 11, wherein each player in the poker game, when it is his time to select a gambling decision, shakes the fortune telling device of claim 11, and makes his gambling choice according to the random message displayed by the fortune telling device.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a non-provisional application based on provisional application No. 60/931,198, filed May 22, 2007, and claiming benefit of the priority date thereof.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to generally entertainment devices including hand-holdable fortune-telling devices. Specifically, the invention is a device used to predict the future in a poker game, giving answers to the user's questions.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Humans have long sought to learn what the future may hold for them. Over the millennia methods and devices for predicting the future have ranged from shaman reading the entrails of animals, to astrologers, and phrenologists. In more modern time, fortune telling has assumed a role that is more entertaining than serious.

A very popular fortune telling entertainment device is the so-called “Magic Eight Ball” product. This device typically is sized and shaped to look like a pool eight-ball. The device is hollow, filled with a liquid and has a transparent window at the bottom or base of the device. Within the device is a multi-surfaced float with different “answers” printed on the different surfaces. The number of answers is limited by the number of surfaces on the float, and is typically less than perhaps a dozen or so.

In practice, a user might ask the device a question, for example, will this application result in a patent. The user then shakes and inverts the device. Eventually the float rises and presses a surface (with an answer) against the window, which is now facing upward. The “answer” might be “yes”, or “not obvious”, or some other saying.

Since the device preferably is hand-holdable, the sphere portion of the ball is typically a few inches (perhaps 5-6 cm) in diameter. This dimension more or less dictates a maximum size for the float, and thus a maximum number of float surfaces. While creating more surfaces or facets on the float can allow for more answers, the size of the font with which the answers are printed or stamped into the float surfaces decreases. This in turn makes it harder to read smaller and smaller answers from a device that tries to provide a greater number of answers. Often the type with which the answer is printed is font size 10 or so. Further, such devices can be difficult to read under the best of circumstances, especially by elderly people or others with diminished eye sight.

The different “answers” of course appear more or less randomly, which promotes enjoyment, especially when the “answer” is incongruous to the question. However, for spectators observing an individual using the device, their enjoyment will be somewhat delayed because only one person at a time can read the answer. Often the person holding the device will see the answer and, if it is not too embarrassing, will then read it aloud, whereupon the spectators can join in the fun.

Unfortunately, the Magic Eight Ball device is limited to the answers preprogrammed therein. Also, there is no particularized chance application associated with the Magic Eight Ball. As a solution, the instant invention successfully provides new utility, by focusing on answers inherent to a poker game. With the resurgent popularity of the various permutations of poker, such as Texas Hold-Um, draw poker, stud poker, etc., the instant invention has considerably popularity. Because poker games inherently gather several people together, the Poker Pal enhances the enjoyment commensurate with poker gatherings. Additionally, the Poker Pal provides a new measure of surprise to playing poker, especially when the user follows the instructions and sees immediate results of the chance outcomes. In this manner the Poker Pal answers are more likely to have validity, and the validity of the outcome is immediately apparent.

Another type of fortune telling device is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,273,421 issued to Thalheimer et al. Thalheimer et al. teach a self-contained fortune telling entertainment device including an electronic library of human speech and sound effects, to be selected and enunciated in apparent response to a user's question. User intent to use the device is detected, whereupon a pre-answer initiation mode is entered during which sound effects and/or speech is selected from the library and enunciated. After this period ends, a circuit then selects at least one sound, e.g., sound effect and/or vocalized speech, from the library for enunciation as the answer to a user's question, propounded before or during the pre-answer period. Selection of an answer or response may be random, quasi-random, or other, and may be influenced by detected ambient or environment conditions, and may be influenced by at least one user control. LEDs may be activated while the device is in use to provide visual as well as audible entertainment. The device may be hand-holdable in size, and can function without reliance upon ambient light. Unlike the instant Poker Pal, this device is relatively expensive, and is not linked to another particular, popular game of chance.

Another relevant disclosure is made in U.S. Pat. No. 6,368,176, invented by Lozowski et al. This fortune telling entertainment device includes an electronic library of stored text and displayable icons, one of which library entries is selected, preferably at least quasi-randomly, and displayed in apparent response to a user's question. The user preferably shakes the device, which motion initiates a pre-answer period during which optional entertainment display and sound may be output. After initiation is completed, a circuit selects, at least quasi-randomly, a response that is then displayed as an answer to the user's question. Again, the device is relatively expensive, and is not coupled deliberately to another game of chance.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows the device according to the invention in profile, which simulates a stack of poker chips.

FIG. 2 shows the top view of the invention, including a window through which the random selections, such as “All In” would be visible.

FIG. 3 is an assemble drawing of the invention as seen in profile.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the invention showing dice insignia.

FIG. 5 shows the cube that is floated within the simulated stack of poker chips of the invention.

FIG. 6 shows a twelve-sided solid that is floated within the simulated stack of poker chips of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the Figures, a hollow cylindrical wall member (4), as seen in FIG. 3, appears to be a stack of interlocking poker chips. This design feature readily associates the Poker Pal (1) with the game of poker. A series of semi-circular ridges (2), as seen in FIG. 1, on the outside wall of the hollow cylinder (4) simulates a stack of interlocking poker chips. Such ridges can be provided by thermoplastic casting, or molding. The device in its usual dimensions has an outer diameter of approximately 1.50 inches, matching the conventional width of poker chips. It is expressly understood that the height is arbitrarily chosen at about 1.50 inches as well. The important consideration in establishing the height is to enable embedding of a floating cube (3), as seen in FIG. 2, and allow free rotation of the cube. As can be seen with hidden lines in the FIG. 1, the inside diameter is approximately 1 inch. Thus the walls of the hollow cylinder (1) are about ¼ inch thick. This provides sufficient mechanical stability and impact resistance whereby the device will not readily break if accidentally dropped.

Most economically, the cylindrical hollow wall member (1) is manufactured from thermoplastic, either by injection molding, in-situ polymerization, or other suitable manufacturing technique. It must be understood that the invention is not limited to plastics, metals being totally suitable. When metals are the material chosen, the device could be machined or stamped, or made using other manufacturing methods as known in the art of metal fabrication.

A window (5), seen in FIG. 1 in broken lines as a hidden element, and separately in FIG. 3, is cemented or otherwise hermetically sealed to the hollow cylinder. The window is transparent plastic, such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), or other transparent material. Polymeric material is preferred because of its impact resistance. Most importantly, the window must be of sufficient transparency to enable the user to easily read the answer on the cube (3) within. A recess (6), as seen in FIG. 3, of approximately 0.05 inches is provided circumferentially in the inside top surface of the hollow cylindrical wall, within which the window (5) is embedded in register with the recess (6). The window is approximately 0.10 inches in thickness. Therefore, the window protrudes about 0.05 inches above the top surface of the hollow cylindrical wall. A final poker chip like top covering (7) overlaps the protruding section of the window, as seen in FIG. 3. The top covering (7) is approximately 0.10 inches thick, and includes a 0.05 inch circumferential recess that corresponds in diameter to the protruding window portion that extends 0.05 inches above the top surface of the hollow cylinder (4). In this manner, the top covering member (7) snaps over the protruding window member, with an interference fit. Adhesive is conveniently applied to all contiguous surfaces between the hollow cylindrical wall member, the window (5), and the overlapping top member (7). Alternatively, because the three members (4), (5), and (7) that touch may be constructed of thermoplastic materials, the three members may be welded together with suitable application of heat. Most important is that the three members (4), (5), and (7) be sealed in a liquid-tight manner to prevent leakage. Of course, the overlapping top member (7) must be hollow in the center, to allow visibility of the transparent window. The inside diameter of the hollow center portion of the overlapping top member (7) corresponds to the recessed portion of a conventional poker chip, to add to the realism and esthetic appearance of the combination.

Across the bottom of the hollow cylindrical wall member (4), a bottom member (8) provides a liquid tight bottom surface. The bottom member (8) could be manufactured as a unitary, one-piece part of the hollow cylindrical wall member. Alternatively, the bottom member (8) could be adhesively attached or welded to the hollow cylindrical wall member (4). The bottom member (8) is the thickness of a poker chip, about 0.10 inches.

As seen in the FIG. 4, radial sections (9) and (10) are provided that alternate in color. Between the colored radial sections, insignia (11) such as dice or other chance insignia are cast into the surface. This adds an esthetically pleasing remembrance that the entire combination is intended as a chance device, or as an enhancement to a game of chance.

Embedded within the hollow cylindrical wall member is a floating cube (3), seen in FIG. 2. Each side of the cube is provided with an embedded or otherwise printed message that corresponds to a particular poker choice. The cube is suspended in a fluid medium. The cube must be less dense than the medium, enabling the cube to float. Naturally the fluid must be transparent, or at least translucent, so that the user may see the message through the window. Blue colored water is used in the Figures. Water is economical, and non-toxic. Other colors are naturally within the scope of the invention, as are other liquid medium, such as glycerin or water/glycerin solutions. Most advantageously, the messages or verbiage are printed on the cube (3) and covered in a transparent ABS or other transparent substance. It is imperative that the material chosen to cover the printed verbiage is not soluble in the liquid medium.

In the particular embodiment shown in the FIG. 5, the cube (3) is six sided. Any number of sides are usable, so long as the floating cube (3) has flat outside surfaces that stably rest next to the transparent window (5). Obviously, the more surfaces the floating cube (3) is provided, the more messages are possible. FIG. 6 shows a twelve sided solid. For the messages that follow, a nine-sided cube is appropriate.

The following messages may be included. It is understood expressly that these are mere examples of verbiage that are suitable, however the invention is in no way limited to these choices of messages.

1. ALL IN

2. CALL

3. FOLD

4. RAISE

5. CHECK

6. CHASE IT

7. BLUFF OH ARE YOU CRAZY

8. PUSH'EM

9. BET

In use, a poker hand is dealt. When betting time begins, the user can shake the device and a command or message appears through the window. At that time, the player can follow the message. For instance, the message might read “RAISE” and the better follows the instruction. In this manner, surprising result are inevitable. The shear fun of playing a chance game is enhanced. Indeed, the very element of chance is multiplied. This is particularly useful when the stakes are low, or non-existent because the players have assigned no actual monetary value to the chips, playing just for the chips at some arbitrary value.