Title:
BILLARD GAME AND METHOD OF PLAYNG THE SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The instant application discloses a variety of embodiments for a method and apparatus relating to games of pool. One embodiment for a method of playing pool may comprise a first player and a second layer shooting a cue ball at object balls. In the embodiment the first layer will shoot to break a rack of object balls. After breaking the rack of the object balls, the first player may shoot a pre-determined number of ten shots where the player attempts to pocket as many balls as possible.



Inventors:
Rogers, Larry Joe (Liberty Township, OH, US)
Application Number:
12/207008
Publication Date:
08/27/2009
Filing Date:
09/09/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/41
International Classes:
A63D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAMPEL & ASSOCIATES, P.C. (555 SKOKIE BLVD., SUITE 500, NORTHBROOK, IL, 60062, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for playing a game comprising: (a) placing at least one object ball and at least one cue ball on a playing surface of a pool table; (b) striking the cue ball a designated number of times wherein permitting the at least one cue ball and at least one object ball to stop completely after each strike; (c) counting and recording the number of object balls pocketed; (d) repeating the steps of (a) through (c); and (e) counting and recording the number of object balls pocketed during steps (a) through (d).

2. A method for aiding at least one player to play the game of claim 1 by providing the player with access to a playing surface of a pool table.

3. A method for creating league tournaments where a plurality of parties may play the game of claim 1: (a) providing each party with access to a playing surface of a pool table; (b) monitoring a layout for play by the plurality of parties; (c) tracking a score for each party; (d) recording the score for reach party; and (e) releasing the results of the scores.

4. An apparatus in the form of a kit to aid a party in playing the game of claim 1: (a) a product case capable of carrying object balls and/or cue balls; (b) a shot count reader; (c) a means for keeping score of at least one player; and (d) a means for monitoring at least one player's handicap.

Description:

The present application is based on, and claims the priority of U.S. provisional application No. 61/031,853. The '853 application is currently still pending. Further, the contents of the entire '853 are fully incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates, in general, to the game of pool. More particularly, the present invention relates to an apparatus for playing pool and a method of playing pool.

Conventional pool games exist as two-player pool games. Scoring systems for conventional two-player pool games are determined by the play of competing opponents. The score of the game may be measured in terms of a “win” or a “loss”. Generally, in traditional games, a user may win by pocketing more balls. Alternatively, in traditional games, a player may generally lose where a player pockets the “8” ball. In most pool games, if a player pockets any ball, he remains at the table for another shot, and continues until he misses, fouls, or wins the game. A match ends when one of the players has won the required number of games.

As previously mentioned, most pool games reward players for shots made by allowing play to continue provide less opportunity to less-skilled players to play. The games begin with a player “breaking” the rack of balls. Depending upon whether the player pockets a ball during the breaking of the rack, the player may or may not continue shooting. Generally, this is the only time in a single game where a player breaks a rack of balls. The player breaking the rack may continue shooting the whole game were the player to never miss a shot. In traditional games, only upon the player breaking the rack missing or faulting may another player be given the opportunity to shoot.

Unfortunately, this type of play hampers a less-skilled player's ability to gain experience playing pool. Where a less-skilled player plays a skilled player, the skilled player will generally shoot so often that the less-skilled player never gains an opportunity to shoot. Yet further, this inability to shoot inhibits or reduces interest in the game for all players, because, aside from the skill factor, no player generally enjoys watching other players shoot for long periods of time without ever being given much opportunity to participate in the game. Even where multiple players may receive similar playing time, the scoring system in a traditional pool game of “win” or “lose” does not address a difference of skill level. The varying levels of skill sets held by different players are treated identical in traditional games. No adequate means for handicapping a player's skill ability exists in traditional games.

Therefore, a different game is needed that avoids the disadvantages of traditional pool games. The new game should permit lesser-skilled players to get more adequate playing time, allow for statistical handicapping between the different players' skill level, and/or allow all players the opportunity to take the same number of shots. The embodiments of the current apparatus and method have never been invented before, avoid the disadvantages of the prior art, and/or satisfy a need by encompassing the previously mentioned needs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The instant application discloses a variety of embodiments for a method and apparatus relating to games of pool. One embodiment for a method of playing pool may comprise a first player and a second player shooting a cue ball at object balls. In the embodiment, the first player will shoot to break a rack of object balls. After breaking the rack of object balls, the first player may shoot a pre-determined number of ten shots where the player attempts to pocket as many balls as possible. In this embodiment, while the first player shoots, a second player may control a shot marker reader monitoring the number of shoots being taken by the first player. After a first player finishes shooting the ten shots, the embodiment may further comprise awarding a score to the first player correlating with the number of object balls pocketed during the inning.

After the first player completes shooting for an inning, the embodiment comprises the second player breaking a re-configured rack as that broke by the first player. Similar to the first player, the embodiment comprises a second player continuing shooting for a pre-determined number of ten shots while the first player may control a shot marker reader monitoring the number of shoots being taken by the second player. The embodiment further comprises that the second player may be awarded a score correlating with the number of object balls pocketed by the second player. This embodiment may comprise five innings which would therefore allow each player to shoot a total possible number of fifty shots.

After completing the five innings, the embodiment may comprise compiling each player's score for every inning to generate an overall raw score from which a winner may be determined. In one embodiment, the overall raw score may be handicapped. In another embodiment, the score may be recorded and/or monitored where the players are in a league and/or to continually update the players' handicaps.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings incorporated in and forming a part of the specification illustrate several aspects of the present invention, and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of one embodiment for a pool table;

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of one embodiment for a Rack Attack pool ball;

FIG. 3 shows a top view of one embodiment of a rack of object balls;

FIG. 4 shows a top view of one embodiment of a rack of object balls;

FIG. 5 shows a top view of one embodiment of a rack of object balls;

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of a pool table and an arrangement of object balls.

FIG. 7 shows an embodiment of shot marker.

FIG. 8 shows an embodiment of a timer.

Reference will now be made in detail to embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION

Numerous objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon a reading of the following description of merely illustrative embodiments of the present invention when taken in conjunction with accompanying drawings. In this respect, before explaining the current embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of descriptions and should not be regarded as limiting.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

The instant application discloses embodiments relating to a method of playing a game, a method of managing play of a game, and an apparatus for a combination thereof. For embodiments of a method of playing a pool game, one may use a pool table as depicted in FIG. 1. As well known, a variety of pool tables exist. Therefore, the pool table depicted in FIG. 1 represents merely one embodiment of a table. In addition to a pool table, embodiments of the method may comprise using pool sticks, cue balls and object balls. For definitional purposes, a cue ball may comprise the ball being struck by the cue stick. Additionally, the object balls may comprise those balls the user is hoping to pocket in the pool table.

One embodiment of object balls may comprise Rack Attack balls. FIG. 2 depicts one embodiment of a Rack Attack ball. More particularly, an embodiment of a Rack Attack ball may comprise a resin plastic. Another embodiment of a Rack Attack ball may measure about 2.25 inches in diameter and weigh about 5.25 to 6 ounces. In other embodiments, the sizes and weights of Rack Attack balls may vary. In further embodiments, a variety of designs may be placed on different embodiments of the Rack Attack balls. As depicted in the embodiment of FIG. 2, an ‘RA’ logo adorns a Rack Attack ball. For the remaining purposes of this application, Rack Attack balls and object balls may be used interchangeably when describing different embodiments of a method or apparatus.

As for a method of playing a game, one embodiment comprises placing a rack of object balls and at least one cue ball on the playing surface of a pool table. Typically, a traditional rack of object balls consists of fifteen balls in a triangle formation where the back row may comprise five balls and the first row may comprise a single ball. An embodiment of the method may comprise racking the balls in this traditional rack. However, in other embodiments of the method, the object balls may be racked in other formations including, but not limited to those depicted in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5.

FIG. 3 depicts a rack of balls where an additional back row of six balls has been added onto to a traditional rack of fifteen object balls. As depicted in FIG. 3, the entire rack may comprise twenty-one balls. As previously shown, an endless variety of rack setups may exist as depicted in FIGS. 4 and 5. These racks may differ in a variety of aspects including, but not limited to, the number of balls, the size of balls, and the layout of balls.

In another embodiment of the method, a player may arrange at least one object ball in any manner without the assistance of a rack. For example, as depicted in the embodiment of FIG. 6, a player may arrange seven object balls on the playing surface of the pool table. Yet further, an embodiment of the game may comprise arranging object balls using a rack in combination with object balls placed on the playing surface without a rack.

In an embodiment of the game, a first player may strike the cue ball after arranging the object balls on the playing surface. Yet further to this embodiment, the first player may continue shooting regardless of whether the player pocketed any object balls in the first shot, second shot, and so on. In an embodiment, the pre-determined number of shots may correlate with the number of object balls originally placed on the playing surface and/or the number of object balls left on the playing surface after the break shot.

After shooting the cue ball for a designated number of shots, the player may be awarded a score. In one embodiment, the awarded score may correlate to the number of object balls pocketed by the player. Additionally, this type of score may otherwise be labeled as a player's score for an inning. For purposes of this embodiment, an inning may represent a single round where each player may be afforded the opportunity to strike the cue ball. In an embodiment where only one player is playing, the player may shoot for a plurality of innings to obtain an overall raw score for the game. In this embodiment, a game may be over when a player shoots for the plurality of innings.

However, other embodiments may comprise multiple players competing in a game. In these embodiments comprising multiple players, another player may shoot and receive a score for the inning after a first player finishes shooting for an inning. In this embodiment, depending upon the number of players, each player should break a rack just as done by the previous player and continue shooting in a manner similar to the previous player. In one embodiment, the inning may end where all players shot the designated number of times.

However, embodiments may exist where each player may not necessarily shoot every inning. For example, in an embodiment of a method for couples play, a team may comprise multiple players. In this embodiment, the players on the team may rotate shooting each inning and/or each shot. Regardless of who shoots for the team in this embodiment, a score may be awarded for the team at the end of an inning. In this embodiment, at least one player from every team should shoot in each inning.

As mentioned, in one embodiment, each player and/or team resumes shooting in the same format for each inning. The cycle continues for each inning in this embodiment. In some embodiments, the racks may change for each inning. For example, in one embodiment, the rack of FIG. 3 may be used for the first inning and the racks of FIGS. 4 and/or 5 in later innings. Regardless, for each inning of an embodiment, each player and/or team should receive the same opportunity to shoot the same number of shots. In a further embodiment, the game ends when at least one player and/or team finishes shooting for all innings. For these embodiments, a total score is accumulated for each team and/or player at the end of the game. In some embodiments, this score may be labeled as a raw score.

Upon accumulating a total score for a player and/or team, a winner may be decided in one embodiment based on the player and/or team with the highest raw score. In another embodiment, the winner may be decided only after handicapping the raw scores of each player and/or team.

A more specific example of an embodiment demonstrating the scoring of the game comprises a first player and a second player where the first player starts with a rack of ten object balls. The first player strikes the cue ball breaking the rack. The first player then shoots ten shots hoping to make ten balls, unless any balls were pocketed during the break. The inning ends for the first player in this embodiment when the player takes ten shots. When the first player is finished, the second player starts with a rack of ten object balls. The second player breaks the rack and shoots ten shots. The inning is over after the second player takes ten shots. In this embodiment, this cycle is repeated for four more innings. At the end of each inning, a player receives a score in this embodiment that may equal the number of object balls pocketed during the inning. At the end of all five innings of this embodiment, the player receives a raw score for the game. The raw score may equal the total number of object balls pocketed by the player in all innings.

In this example, the first player may pocket the following number of object balls in each of the five innings: 8, 8, 9, 8, 9. The first player's raw score may comprise 42. In this example, the second player may pocket the following number of object balls in each of the five innings: 8, 6, 6, 5, 8. The second player's raw score may comprise 33.

Different embodiments of the method may comprise various systems for handicapping a player and/or team's raw score. In one embodiment for handicapping a score, each player and/or team may attain an average score after playing at least one game. In this embodiment, the average score is subtracted from a perfect score. The handicap in this embodiment is then calculated by taking a percentage of the difference between the average score from the perfect score. In one embodiment, the handicap could be seventy-five percent of the difference. In another embodiment of the method using a handicap system, each raw score may be increased by the handicap amount.

One embodiment of a handicap scoring system may be described for the previous game comprising five innings of ten shots per player per inning based on having ten object balls. In a game of this design, the perfect score may comprise fifty points. As mentioned earlier, there are two players in this particular game of five innings. Player 1 is a player with an average score of 46 points. Player 2 is a player with an average score of 30 points. In this embodiment of a handicap system, the handicap amount is seventy-five percent of the difference between a player's score and a perfect score. Therefore, Player 1 may have a handicap of 3 and Player 2 may have a handicap of 15.

As mentioned earlier, in the particular game played by Player 1 and Player 2, Player 1 scored a raw score of 42 points and Player 2 scored a raw score of 33 points. Using this embodiment of the handicap system, Player 1's handicapped score is 45 and Player's 2 handicapped score is 48. Therefore, while player 2 had a lower raw score compared to player 1, player 2 may still win the game due to this embodiment of a handicap system.

Other embodiments of the method still exist. In a further embodiment of the method, a player's shots are monitored using a shot marker. FIG. 7 depicts an embodiment of a shot marker. The embodiment depicted in FIG. 7 may comprise a series of markers that may rest on a “A-frame” whereby the markers may rotate easily over one another. In one embodiment of the game, a person other than the shooting player may command the shot marker as the player shoots. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 7, the shot marker may then monitor the number of shots taken by a player in a single inning. In any embodiment of the method, it would be advisable for the embodiment to comprise a shot marker having a number corresponding to the largest number of shots to be taken per inning. Upon the end of each inning, the shot marker may be configured to zero in an embodiment.

Various other embodiments of shot markers exist. Another embodiment of a shot marker may comprise an electronic marker capable of displaying a numeral indicating the number of shots taken by a player in an inning. Another embodiment comprises a plurality of slidable markers. In this embodiment, one may slide a marker from one position to a second position where the second position may comprise the number of shots taken by a player in a single inning.

Yet further, some embodiments of the method may comprise multiple innings where the number of shots taken by each player per inning varies. Therefore, in one embodiment, the number of shots for the first inning may comprise six shots. In this embodiment, the number of shots may increase by one per inning. In another example, different racks may be used in different innings resulting in a different number of shots taken by a player each inning.

One embodiment of the game may comprise compensating for differences in break skill. Under this embodiment, the player pocketing one or more object balls on the break begins shooting its second shot from a formulated shot number. In a specific embodiment, the formulated shot number may equal the total number of object balls minus the number of balls pocketed on the break. For example, if a player pockets three balls out of ten balls on the break, the player may be ruled to be taking the fourth shot of the inning when in reality it is the second shot. This embodiment of the game prevents those players skilled at breaking from gaining an advantage.

Another embodiment of the game comprising penalizing a player for a scratch shot. Generally, a scratch shot may be defined as pocketing the cue ball. In traditional billiard pool games, any shot resulting in the cue ball entering a pocket and/or leaving the table may comprise a scratch. In one embodiment of the game, a scratch shot may be penalized by forfeiture of the next remaining shot. In a further embodiment, points may be deducted from a player's score when the player pockets the cue ball.

Another embodiment of the game may allow a player to shoot until a miss. In this embodiment, players may not take the same number of shots. Yet further to this embodiment, the player may be awarded a score for the number of object balls pocketed prior to missing a shot. Similar to other embodiments discussed, the other players may not interact with balls put into play by other players. In this embodiment, a player missing a shot would therefore signal an end to that inning for that player.

Another embodiment of the game comprises a timer. In one embodiment, the timer may record the time used by each player for each inning and/or the total game. In another embodiment, the timer may act as a clock for each half inning for each player where the timer begins counting down from a set time. In this embodiment, the player may be provided with this amount of time to shoot the number of allowed shots offered to each player per inning. In this embodiment, the player loses any ability to take shots upon the expiration of the period set by the timer.

In another embodiment, the timer may comprise a total amount of time provided to a player for the entire game. In this embodiment, the player may be provided with his or her own timer. The timer may start for this embodiment of the game each time a player shoots first in an inning. The timer may stop as each player stops shooting for the inning. Therefore, as the innings progress in this embodiment, the amount of time on each timer decreases for each player. In this embodiment, a player may allocate more time to the first inning, middle innings, and/or later innings.

Another embodiment of the game may comprise a “call each shot” component. In one embodiment, a player may name the pocket where the player intends to pocket an object ball. In one embodiment, the player may name a particular object ball to pocket. In another embodiment, the player may name a combination of the pocket and/or the object ball. Points may be awarded or taken away for those object balls that do not enter a named pocket.

Another embodiment of the game may comprise a sequence component. One embodiment of a sequence component may comprise each player shooting an object ball into a pre-determined sequence of pockets. Another embodiment of a sequence component may comprise each player shooting a pre-determined sequence of individually-labeled and/or group-labeled object balls. For example, in one embodiment, each player may shoot an object ball into a rear pocket first, a side pocket, and so on. In another embodiment, the object balls may be labeled by color including red, green, and blue. In this embodiment, a player must first pocket the red object balls, then the green object balls, and then the blue object balls.

An apparatus of the embodiment may comprise a kit. In one embodiment, the kit may comprise a product case for carrying object balls and/or a cue ball. An embodiment of a product case is depicted in FIG. 9. In a further embodiment, the kit may comprise an embodiment of a shot count reader such as that depicted in FIG. 7. In another embodiment, the kit may comprise a means for keeping score, calculating a handicap, and/or updating one's handicap.

In view of the disclosed embodiments for a method and an apparatus, a variety of tools may be used in conjunction with these embodiments. For example, leagues may be created to support different embodiments of the method. In one embodiment, a league operator would control at least one league for a particular type of game method. In this embodiment, the league operator may be responsible for marketing Rack Attack, recruiting players, managing league events, collecting funds, and/or monitoring a Rack Attack website.

Another tool may comprise an authorized outlet or center approved to associate itself with the methods and products disclosed in the current application. In the embodiment, the authorized outlet may act in marketing league events and products, holding league events, renting game sets or related products, and/or selling game sets or related products at its site.

An additional tool may comprise a sanctioning body. In one embodiment, the sanctioning body may comprise an internet site. The site may post league scores, tournament scores, official rules of the game, and/or the process for dispute resolution. In one embodiment, the sanctioning body may review any disputes through electronic transmission via its website. In another embodiment, the sanctioning body may review any disputes in person.

As mentioned earlier, the internet may comprise a tool to use in conjunction with the embodiments of the method and apparatus disclosed herein. In different embodiments, the internet may comprise a tool for monitoring leagues, tournaments, and/or individual profiles. In an exemplary method, a single main website and/or multiple websites may be created where the main website is directed to Rack Attack. A main website may also comprise a blog. Other pages deriving from the main website may be created for each variation of a method of playing the game and any related apparatus.

Some embodiments of the websites may be used by an individual to compare his or her score with other players. For example, an embodiment of the internet site may allow individual users to post scores for different embodiments of the game whereby the website would formulate different statistics regarding these games. These individuals may use formulated web pages associated with a main website. For some of these sites, fees may be required. For example, in sanctioned leagues, a fee may be required to monitor and/or configure a web page dedicated to the league. Alternatively, where an individual or group is merely playing for fun, a fee may not necessarily be required to monitor and/or configure a free web page for any and all users.

Any and all of the monitoring and configuring of a website and/or web page may be performed by a variety of individuals. For example, players may monitor and/or configure the website and/or web page themselves. Alternatively, only a league source or company employee may monitor and/or configure a website. Ultimately, control and access of a website and/or different pages associated with a site may be configured in any manner.

Having shown and described various embodiments of the present invention, further adaptations of the methods and systems described herein may be accomplished by appropriate modifications by one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope of the present invention. Several of such potential modifications have been mentioned, and others will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For instance, the examples, embodiments, geometries, materials, dimensions, ratios, steps, and the like discussed above are illustrative and are not required. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention should be considered in terms of the following claims and is understood not to be limited to the details of structure and operation shown and described in the specification and drawings.