Title:
Game of blackjack and apparatus therefore
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Apparatus for playing a multi-player blackjack-type card game, comprises a playing table having three or more, particularly four, delineated play regions, each assigned a different winning ratio. The regions are elongated to accommodate several players, and are additional to an incidental dealer region for use by a dealer player. There are one or more decks of playing cards, a set of counters, having stake values and for placing as desired on the regions. The user places counters on the regions of the table with a view to increasing his number of counters. At each play a final number of counters per player is calculated depending on an initial number placed on the first region, a blackjack result per player against the dealer using the cards and the respective first region winning ratio, the final number of counters further being modified by a number of said counters placed on one or more of the additional delineated play regions, modified by an outcome achieved by a dealer player, and a respective winning ratio of said additional region.



Inventors:
Cohen, Oded (Tel-Aviv, IL)
Application Number:
12/585357
Publication Date:
01/14/2010
Filing Date:
09/14/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/292, 463/42
International Classes:
A63F9/24; A63F1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOWARAH, GEORGE L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARTIN D. MOYNIHAN d/b/a PRTSI, INC. (P.O. BOX 16446, ARLINGTON, VA, 22215, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for playing a multi-player blackjack-type card game, comprising: a playing table having a first and at least two more delineated play regions, each region being assigned a respectively different winning ratio, and each region being elongated to accommodate each of a plurality of regular players, said regions being in addition to an incidental dealer region for use by a dealer player, a set of cards comprising at least one deck of playing cards, a set of counters, each counter being assigned a value and locatable on one of said regions, the apparatus being configured for use to achieve a final value of counters per player depending on an initial value from said set being located on said first region, a respective blackjack result per player using said cards and the respective first region winning ratio, the final number of counters further being modified by a value of said counters placed on at least one of said additional delineated play regions, modified by an outcome achieved by a dealer player, and a respective winning ratio of said additional region.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said playing table has at least a third additional delineated region, assigned a fourth winning ratio, and also elongated to accommodate each of said plurality of regular players.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said second additional delineated play region is assigned a winning ratio of substantially seven to one.

4. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said second additional delineated play region is assigned a winning ratio of substantially seven to one.

5. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said third additional delineated play region is assigned a winning ratio of substantially eleven to one.

6. Apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said third additional delineated play region is assigned a winning ratio of substantially eleven to one.

7. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said third additional delineated play region is assigned a winning ratio of substantially ten to one.

8. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said first additional delineated play region is assigned with two winning ratios, depending on different cards of equal value being drawn.

9. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said first delineated play region is associated with a blackjack result of a player beating the dealer, and wherein said first additional delineated play region is associated with a blackjack result of the dealer drawing an initial ace followed by a card of value ten.

10. Apparatus according to claim 9, wherein said first additional delineated play region is associated with a first winning ratio and with a second winning ratio and wherein said second winning ratio is associated with two predetermined cards from the different cards of value ten, the first winning ratio being associated with others of the cards of value ten.

11. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said second additional delineated play region is associated with a dealer initially drawing an ace and subsequently achieving a blackjack result of busting.

12. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said third additional delineated play region is associated with a dealer initially drawing a card of value ten and subsequently drawing an ace.

13. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein each of said play regions are associated with a different blackjack event, each event having a finite probability of occurrence, and wherein said respective winning ratio is selected to be less than said finite probability of occurrence.

14. Apparatus according to claim 13 wherein said winning ratio is less than two percent for said first additional delineated play region.

15. Apparatus according to claim 13, wherein said winning ratio is in excess of five percent for each of said second and third additional delineated regions.

16. Apparatus according to claim 15, wherein said winning ratio is in excess of six percent for said second additional delineated region.

17. A method of providing a game of blackjack played between at least one player and a dealer using at least one deck of cards and having an insurance bet which a player may place in the event of a dealer initially drawing an ace, the insurance bet having a first winning ratio for applying a score in the event of the dealer subsequently drawing a card of value ten, the modification comprising: applying to said insurance bet a second winning ratio in the event of the value ten card drawn by a dealer being at least one predetermined card selected from the value ten cards.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein said first and said second winning ratios are selected to give an overall probability of winning defining a margin over an actual probability of occurrence of less than two percent.

19. The method of claim 18, comprising the further modification of applying an additional bet on the dealer drawing a second card being an ace following the dealer having drawn an initial card of value ten.

20. The method of claim 18, comprising the further modification of applying an additional bet on the dealer achieving a blackjack result of bust following initial drawing of an ace.

21. A method of providing a game of blackjack played between at least one player and a dealer using at least one deck of cards, comprising: defining three or more different regions on a play table, each associated with different events respectively, and assigning to each region a different winning ratio based on the finite probability of occurrence of the respective event.

22. A method of providing a game of blackjack played between one player and a dealer using at least one deck of cards, the method comprising: supplying at least three different bets, each bet based on an event having a finite probability of occurrence and each bet being assigned a different ratio respectively, such that a margin is defined between said finite probability of occurrence and said respective ratio for each bet, said bets being such that said margin is less than seven percent for all of said bets.

23. Networked computerized apparatus for playing a multi-player blackjack-type card game with other players at other computers over a network, the apparatus comprising: a virtual playing table having a first and at least two more delineated play regions, each region being assigned a respectively different winning ratio, and each region being elongated to accommodate each of a plurality of regular players, said regions being in addition to an incidental dealer region for use by a dealer player, a virtual set of cards comprising at least one deck of playing cards, a virtual set of counters, each counter being assigned a value and locatable on one of said regions, the apparatus being configured for use to achieve a final value of counters per player depending on an initial value from said set being located on said first region, a respective blackjack result per player using said cards and the respective first region winning ratio, the final number of counters further being modified by a value of said counters placed on at least one of said additional delineated play regions, modified by an outcome achieved by a dealer player, and a respective winning ratio of said additional region.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a Continuation-In-Part (CIP) of PCT Patent Application No. PCT/IL2008/000332, filed on Mar. 11, 2008, which claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/906,224, filed on Mar. 12, 2007, the contents of both Applications are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the game of blackjack and apparatus therefore and, more particularly, but not exclusively to an improved wagering system and wagering table therefore.

Blackjack is a popular casino card game which mixes elements of chance with a certain amount of skill.

Blackjack as a game offers various ways to bet on the outcome. Regardless of the number of players at the table the individual player takes on only the dealer and conventionally receives odds of 1:1 for a straight win, 3:2 for a blackjack and the highest payout 2:1 for the insurance bet. Due to the relatively low prizes, say as compared to payouts of 36:1 for roulette, blackjack has always been considered as a relatively dull game.

Blackjack's precursor was vingt-et-un (“twenty-one”), which originated in French casinos around 1700, and did not offer the 3:2 bonus for a two-card 21.

When blackjack was first introduced in the United States it was not very popular, so gambling houses tried offering various bonus payouts to get the players to the tables. One such bonus was a 10-to-1 payout if the player's hand consisted of the ace of spades and a black Jack, meaning a jack of one of the black suits, either the Jack of clubs or the Jack of spades. Such a hand was called a blackjack and the name stuck to the game even though the bonus payout was soon abolished. Such a bonus is not used today and no such odds are available in conventional blackjack.

As the game is currently played, there is still a hand known as a blackjack, but it need not necessarily contain a jack, certainly not one of the two black jacks at all, but rather is an ace together with any card having a value of ten, meaning a 10 or any of the picture cards.

Each player is initially dealt two cards. The hand with the highest total wins as long as it doesn't exceed 21; a hand with a higher total than 21 is the to bust. Cards 2 through 10 are worth their face value, and picture or face cards (jack, queen, king) are also worth 10. An ace's value is 11 unless this would cause the player to bust, in which case it is worth 1. A hand in which an ace's value is counted as 11 is called a soft hand, because it cannot be busted if the player draws another card.

The goal of each player is to beat the dealer by having the higher, but still not busted, hand. Note that if the player busts he loses, even if the dealer also busts, and in this sense Blackjack favors the dealer. If both the player and the dealer have the same point value in their respective hands, it is called a “push”, and neither player nor dealer wins the hand. Each player has an independent game with the dealer, so it is possible for the dealer to lose to one player, but still beat the other players in the same round.

The minimum bet is printed on a sign on the table and varies from casino to casino, and even from table to table within the same casino. After initial bets are placed, the dealer deals the cards, either from one or two hand-held decks of cards, in which case the game is known as a pitch game, or more commonly from a dealing shoe. The dealing shoe contains four or more decks, and today six decks are typical. The dealer gives two cards to each player, including himself. One of the dealer's two cards is face-up so all the players can see it, and the other is face down. The face-down card is known as the hole card. In European blackjack, the dealer's hole card is not actually dealt until the players have played their hands.

A two-card hand of 21, necessarily an ace plus a ten-value card, is called a blackjack or a natural, and is an automatic winner. A player with a blackjack is typically paid 3:2 on his bet.

The play proceeds as follows:

    • If the dealer has blackjack and the player doesn't, the player automatically loses.
    • If the player has blackjack and the dealer doesn't, the player automatically wins.
    • If both the player and dealer have blackjack then it's a push, and the player gets his stake back.
    • If neither side has blackjack, then each player plays out his hand, one at a time.
    • When all the players have finished the dealer plays his hand.

The player's options for playing his or her hand are:

    • Hit or Twist: Take another card.
    • Stand or Stick: Take no more cards.
    • Double down: Double the wager, take exactly one more card, and then stand.
    • Split: Double the wager and have each card be the first card in a new hand. This option is available only when both cards have the same value. Sometimes two picture cards are considered acceptable for splitting, as each is worth ten points.
    • Surrender: Forfeit half the bet and give up the hand. Surrender was common during the early- and mid-20th century, but is no longer offered at most casinos.

The player's turn is over after deciding to stand, doubling down to take a single card, or busting. If the player busts, he or she loses the bet even if the dealer goes on to bust.

After all the players have finished making their decisions, the dealer then reveals his or her hidden hole card and plays the hand. House rules say that the dealer must twist until he or she has at least 17, regardless of what the players have. In most casinos a dealer must also twist with a soft 17, a combination of cards adding up to either 7 or 17, such as an ace and a 6. The felt of the table will indicate whether or not the house hits or stands on a soft 17.

If the dealer busts then all remaining players win. Bets are normally paid out at the odds of 1:1, as explained above.

Some common rules variations include:

    • one card split aces: a single new card is added to each Ace and the turn ends. They are thus regarded as 11-point cards. No other denomination is subject to this process.
    • early surrender: a player has the option to surrender before the dealer checks for a Blackjack.
    • late surrender: player has the option to surrender after the dealer checks for a Blackjack.
    • double-down restrictions: a double-down is allowed only on certain combinations of cards and is usually only allowed if a hand consists of two cards.
    • A dealer must twist on a soft seventeen, as explained.
    • European No-Hole-Card Rule: the dealer receives only one card, dealt face-up, and does not receive a second card, and consequently does not check for blackjack until the players have acted. This means players lose not only their original bet, but also any additional money invested from splitting and doubling down. A game that uses the no-hole-card rule does not necessarily mean loss of additional bets as well as original bets. In Australia for example, a player who is beaten by a dealer blackjack may keep all split and double bets and loses only the original bet. Thus the game play is effectively the same as it would if there were a hole card.

If the dealer's displayed card or upcard is an Ace, the player is offered the option of taking Insurance before the dealer checks his hole card. The player who wishes to take Insurance can bet an amount up to half his original bet. The Insurance bet is placed separately on a special portion of the table, which usually carries the words “Insurance Pays 2:1”. The player who is taking Insurance is betting that the dealer's hole card or to-be-dealt second card is a 10-value card, i.e. a 10, a Jack, a Queen or a King. Because the dealer's upcard is an Ace, this means that the player who takes Insurance is essentially betting that the dealer was dealt a blackjack, i.e. a two-card 21, and this bet by the player pays off 2:1 if it wins.

The bet is called an insurance bet since with a stake of half the original stake, if the dealer has a blackjack, the bet wins the same amount as the players Blackjack wager, such that if insurance is taken and the player does not have a blackjack but dealer does, no money is lost. Of course the dealer can end up not having blackjack and the player can still win or lose the main blackjack bet.

Insurance is in fact a bad bet for the player who has no knowledge of the hole card because it has a house edge of approximately 7%. Even for the player who has himself been dealt a blackjack, it is unwise to take Insurance. In such a case, the dealer usually asks the player “Even money?” This means that instead of 3:2, the player with the natural accepts to be paid off at 1:1. Thus it is exactly the same thing as buying Insurance, losing the Insurance bet and getting paid 3:2 on the natural.

On the whole, few players take the insurance bet because of the high advantage to the house. It is an aim of the present invention to make the insurance bet more attractive and also to offer the possibility of larger payouts in the game.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided apparatus for playing a multi-player blackjack-type card game, comprising:

a playing table having a first and at least two more delineated play regions, each region being assigned a respectively different winning ratio, and each region being elongated to accommodate each of a plurality of regular players, the regions being in addition to an incidental dealer region for use by a dealer player,

a set of cards comprising at least one deck of playing cards,

a set of counters, each counter being assigned a value and locatable on one of the regions,

the apparatus being configured for use to achieve a final value of counters per player depending on an initial value from the set being located on the first region, a respective blackjack result per player using the cards and the respective first region winning ratio, the final number of counters further being modified by a value of the counters placed on at least one of the additional delineated play regions, modified by an outcome achieved by a dealer player, and a respective winning ratio of the additional region.

According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of providing a game of blackjack played between at least one player and a dealer using at least one deck of cards and having an insurance bet which a player may place in the event of a dealer initially drawing an ace, the insurance bet having a first winning ratio for applying a score in the event of the dealer subsequently drawing a card of value ten, the modification comprising:

applying to the insurance bet a second winning ratio in the event of the value ten card drawn by a dealer being at least one predetermined card selected from the value ten cards.

According to a third aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of providing a game of blackjack played between at least one player and a dealer using at least one deck of cards, comprising:

defining three or more different regions on a play table, each associated with different events respectively, and assigning to each region a different winning ratio based on the finite probability of occurrence of the respective event.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of providing a game of blackjack played between one player and a dealer using at least one deck of cards, the method comprising:

supplying at least three different bets, each bet based on an event having a finite probability of occurrence and each bet being assigned a different ratio, such that a margin is defined between the finite probability of occurrence and the winning ratio for each bet, the bets being such that the margin is less than seven percent for all of the bets.

According to a fifth aspect of the present invention there is provided networked computerized apparatus for playing a multi-player blackjack-type card game with other players at other computers over a network, the apparatus comprising:

a virtual playing table having a first and at least two more delineated play regions, each region being assigned a respectively different winning ratio, and each region being elongated to accommodate each of a plurality of regular players, the regions being in addition to an incidental dealer region for use by a dealer player, a virtual set of cards comprising at least one deck of playing cards, a virtual set of counters, each counter being assigned a value and locatable on one of the regions,

the apparatus being configured for use to achieve a final value of counters per player depending on an initial value from the set being located on the first region, a respective blackjack result per player using the cards and the respective first region winning ratio, the final number of counters further being modified by a value of the counters placed on at least one of the additional delineated play regions, modified by an outcome achieved by a dealer player, and a respective winning ratio of the additional region.

Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. The materials, methods, and examples provided herein are illustrative only and not intended to be limiting.

The present apparatus may be a manual apparatus or alternatively an electronic apparatus including a computer. In the case of a computerized system, several selected steps could be implemented by hardware or by software on any operating system of any firmware or a combination thereof. For example, as hardware, selected steps of the invention could be implemented as a chip or a circuit. As software, selected steps of the invention could be implemented as a plurality of software instructions being executed by a computer using any suitable operating system. In any case, selected steps of the method and system of the invention could be described as being performed by a data processor, such as a computing platform for executing a plurality of instructions. In the event that the invention is provided over a computer or a computer network, terms such as “table” and “card” may be construed to include virtual tables and virtual cards.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is herein described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. With specific reference now to the drawings in detail, it is stressed that the particulars shown are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the preferred embodiments of the present invention only, and are presented in order to provide what is believed to be the most useful and readily understood description of the principles and conceptual aspects of the invention. In this regard, no attempt is made to show structural details of the invention in more detail than is necessary for a fundamental understanding of the invention, the description taken with the drawings making apparent to those skilled in the art how the several forms of the invention may be embodied in practice.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a simplified diagram illustrating a standard blackjack table and accessories.

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram showing a view from above of a blackjack table according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram showing a view from above of an alternative blackjack table according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is another schematic diagram showing a view from above of an alternative blackjack table according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a third schematic diagram showing a view from above of an alternative blackjack table according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a fourth schematic diagram showing a view from above of a further alternative blackjack table according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a fifth schematic diagram showing a view from above of a further alternative blackjack table according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present embodiments comprise a method of improving the insurance bet for the game of blackjack and a betting table allowing such an improved bet to be played. Specifically the improved insurance bet recognizes two predetermined cards as special. In the event of the dealer drawing, as his second card or hole card, any card of value ten the insurance payout is the conventional two to one, but in the event of the two predetermined cards being drawn, the payout is increased, for example to a more exciting three to one. This has the advantage that not only is the maximum payout increased, making the game more interesting, but the overall house advantage for the insurance bet is reduced to below 2%, which allows the insurance bet to be part of a playing strategy, and therefore means that more players may be expected to make use of it. It is noted that with the traditional insurance bet limited to a maximum of 50% of the main stake the best that happens with odds of two to one is that the player breaks even. By contrast, with the present invention it is possible to make a gain.

In addition a busted ace bet is introduced. When the dealer initially obtains an ace, or his revealed card is an ace, the player may place a stake of up to half of the original bet, on the dealer going bust. The payout for this event may be set higher than for the insurance bet. For example a payout of seven to one will still leave the house with an advantage in excess of 6%.

A further new bet that is introduced is a bet on a dealer blackjack when starting with a ten. If the dealer's first or revealed card is a card of value ten, then the player may bet up to half of his original stake on the dealer next obtaining an ace, that is on the dealer obtaining a blackjack. In this case a payout of eleven to one still leaves the house with an advantage of nearly six percent.

The three new bets are complementary to each other, and are intended to be featured together in players' strategies.

In order to accommodate the new bets a redesigned playing table is provided. In the traditional table a first region is provided for a basic bet on the game and then a second region is provided, typically inwards of the first region, for placing the higher-value insurance bet. In the redesigned table two new regions are provided, a third region to accommodate the dealer's ace busting bet and a fourth region to accommodate the bet on the dealer drawing an ace after a ten card.

The principles and operation of an apparatus and method according to the present invention may be better understood with reference to the drawings and accompanying description.

Before explaining at least one 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 the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments or of being practiced or carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

Reference is now made to FIG. 1 which is a schematic representation of apparatus for playing a card game such as blackjack involving a dealer and other players. A table 10 is marked out for play as will be explained below, and essentially takes the place of a board in a board game. The game is played with cards, preferably one or more complete decks of standard playing cards, and counters which are placed by the players on the table as stakes on a hoped for outcome. Commonly, six decks of playing cards are used.

Reference is now made to FIG. 2, which is a simplified diagram illustrating the table 10 of FIG. 1 viewed from above so that the markings are visible. Table 10 comprises three delineated play regions, 20, 22 and 24. Each of the regions is assigned a different winning ratio, and each region is elongated to accommodate each one of the non-dealing players who sit around the semicircular side of the table. The dealer sits on the opposite—straight side of the table. A dealer space 26 may optionally be provided.

During the course of the game hands are played using the set 12 of cards, which as mentioned comprises one or more full decks of playing cards.

The counters are assigned a stake value, and are placed by the players on their parts of any of the three regions of their choice. The apparatus is used to achieve a respective blackjack result per player using the cards. As mentioned, each player individually achieves a score, being 21 or below, or goes bust. In addition, if the score of 21 is achieved with two cards only then it is a blackjack. The player score is then compared with the dealer's score to give the player a result. The result is either win, draw or lose. In the event of a win any stake he has placed in the first region 20 is multiplied by the winning ratio for the first region and he is returned additional counters or chips in accordance with the multiplication result. In the event of a draw the stake is returned but with no additional counters, and in the event of a loss the stake is lost. For the second and third regions the result is not taken into account. Only the dealer's play is considered. If the dealer's play leads to certain combinations of cards then the player wins and he is given new counters based on his stake in that space and the winning ratio for the region. If the dealer's play does not lead to the result defined for the region then the player loses his stake on that region.

In general, second and subsequent regions are derivative regions, in that the maximum stake allowed is based on the stake in the first region, typically 50% of the stake in the first region. As a further alternative the 50% may just be a recommendation and higher bets may be allowed at the discretion of the provider. At the discretion of the provider the three derivative regions may in fact be provided as fully independent regions with no connection at all to the original stake.

Reference is now made to FIG. 3, which shows a preferred embodiment in which playing table 10 has a fourth delineated region 30. The fourth delineated region 30 is assigned a fourth winning ratio, and is likewise elongated to accommodate each of said plurality of regular players. The fourth region operates in the same way as the second and third regions in that the outcome depends on the dealer's play and not on the player result.

The first region 20 is for the traditional stake on the game of blackjack. The winning ratio is generally fairly low, typically 1.5 to 1. The second region is traditionally for the insurance bet. If the dealer draws an ace as his first card, then players can place a bet on whether the next card has a score of ten and thus gives the dealer a blackjack. The region traditionally has a winning ratio of two to one. According to the present embodiments however the second delineated play region 22 is assigned with two winning ratios, depending on different cards of equal value being drawn. That is to say if the dealer draws a card of value ten then the second region wins. In general the winning ratio is two to one. However, if the dealer draws either of two predetermined cards of value ten then the winning ratio is increased to three to one. Thus the two black jacks may be designated as the predetermined cards and if they are drawn then the winnings are increased.

In a preferred embodiment, the third delineated play region 24 is associated with a dealer initially drawing an ace and subsequently achieving a blackjack result of busting. The stake is typically placed after the ace is revealed so that it is simply a stake on the dealer busting. A suitable winning ratio for such a region is seven to one, as will be explained in greater detail below.

The fourth delineated play region 30 may be associated with a dealer initially drawing a card of value ten and subsequently drawing an ace. The stake is placed after the ten is revealed so that it is really a stake on the dealer drawing an ace. A suitable winning ratio for such a region is eleven to one, as will be explained in greater detail below.

As explained above, the different regions on the table are associated with different events in blackjack, which can be results between the player and the dealer or can be scores of the dealer. Each of these events has a finite probability of occurrence which can be calculated on the basis of the number of desirable and undesirable outcomes using standard probability theory. The different regions thus have both an actual probability and a winning ratio. The difference between the two is the margin, and a margin is associated with each region. A corresponding winning ratio is generally selected to be less than the finite probability of occurrence, thus giving a positive margin.

In general if the margin associated with a given region is too large the region will not be used. Today the margin associated with the game as a whole is around 2%, but that associated with the insurance bet is around 7.39%, so the insurance bet is rarely used. However, if the second region is modified in accordance with the present embodiments, so as to provide a winning ratio of three to one for two specific cards, then the margin is reduced to 2% or just slightly below, approximately 1.96% depending on the number of decks used. The result is to make the insurance bet something that could be part of a reasonable play strategy.

The winning margin for the modified insurance bet is based on a single deck from which the dealer has withdrawn one card, an ace. Fifty one cards remain. It will be appreciated that this is a naïve calculation since it does not take into account the cards drawn by the players, nor that six decks are generally used.

Of the fifty one remaining cards, sixteen have a value of ten. Of these sixteen, fourteen have a payout ratio of two to one, and two have the enhanced payout ratio of three to one. So of a total of 51 outcomes, 35 outcomes lose, 14 outcomes are paid at 2:1 and 2 outcomes are paid at 3:1, giving a total payout of (14×2)+(2×3)=34. The margin is therefore:

35-3451=1.96%

If the third and fourth regions are associated with the events set out above, then the margin is in excess of five percent for each of the third and fourth delineated regions, nevertheless the bets are still interesting for two reasons. First of all their winning ratios are far above what is generally available in blackjack, and secondly the bet against a dealer drawing an ace allows a relatively small stake to protect a good score, say twenty, against being surprised by the dealer drawing a last minute ace.

In fact the margin in the third region is in excess of six percent, as follows:

The chances of going bust following drawing of an ace are 0.1165 which is approximately eight to one. The winning ratio is seven to one. The actual odds of the event occurring are 1:0.1165=8.58:1, so that the margin is:

8.58-88.58=6.75%

The above calculation is correct for a single deck, so that depending on the number of decks used the busted ace with a winning ratio of 7:1 gives a margin of 6.75%.

The fourth region 30 is associated with the event of the dealer starting with a ten and subsequently drawing an ace, the dealer blackjack. For a winning ratio of eleven to one the margin is 5.88% depending on the number of decks used.

The calculation is based on a single deck. The dealer has drawn a ten so that 51 cards remain, of which four are aces. Thus the chances of the bet winning are 4/51 and the payout is 11:1, giving a total of twelve events, 4×11 with a payout and 1×11 without a payout, from a total of 51 bets. The winning ratio is thus

51-4851=5.88%

In the broadest terms the present embodiments allow for the definition of any number of additional regions on the table, such that each region is associated with an event in blackjack, although not necessarily an outcome or result. The event has a finite probability and the region has a winning ratio and there is a margin between the finite probability and the winning ratio which is small but favors the dealer and the house.

In one embodiment the invention consists in applying to the insurance bet a second winning ratio in the event of the value ten card drawn by a dealer being at least one predetermined card selected from the value ten cards, thus considerably reducing the margin, in that the two winning ratios are selected to give an overall probability of winning defining the margin as less than two percent.

The embodiment includes the further modification of defining a new region in which the event is the dealer drawing a second card being an ace following the dealer having drawn an initial card of value ten.

The embodiment includes the further modification of defining an additional region in which the event is that of the dealer achieving a blackjack result of bust following initial drawing of an ace.

Again, in broad terms, an embodiment of the present invention comprises providing a game of blackjack played between at least one player and a dealer using at least one deck of cards, the game including three or more different regions on a play table, each associated with different events, and each region being assigned a different winning ratio based on the finite probability of occurrence of the given event.

In the above, a margin is defined between the finite probability of occurrence of the event and the winning ratio for each region, so that the margin is less than seven percent for all of the regions.

FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 are now mentioned together as three different and non-limiting examples of how the layout of FIG. 2 may be provided in practice.

Reference is now made to FIG. 6 which shows a further variation. In FIG. 6 the regions are the same as those in FIG. 2. By contrast with the earlier figures the insurance bet and the dealer busting with an ace are unchanged. However the odds for a dealer drawing an ace are reduced to 10:1. Furthermore the dealer's ace is only played if the player has a 19, a 20 or a blackjack as his score. The change in odds or winning ratio plus the limitation on the player score increase the house advantage from 10% to 15%. The bet is appropriate for a live shoe, as a 15% margin is sufficient to overcome concerns of card counting.

Reference is now made to FIG. 7 which shows a further example of a table being used. In region 70 of FIG. 7 a region is marked ten bust 7 to 2. In this region a player, say with a blackjack, is able to place a bet when the dealer's first card is shown to be of value ten. The bet is on the dealer busting.

Ace bust pays seven to one. If the dealer initially draws an ace the player can bet on the dealer going bust and obtain 7 to 1. Ten bust allows the player to bet on the dealer going bust if the dealer initially draws a ten, and pays out 7 to 2.

Other bets include ace insurance, in which if the dealer draws an ace the player takes insurance against the next card being a ten value card. The bet pays 2 to 1, but a bonus 3 to 1 if the card drawn by the dealer is either of the two black jacks.

In region 72 a ten insurance bet is shown. If the dealer first draws a ten card the player is able to place a side bet against the dealer drawing an ace as his next card and thus nullifying any win he may have had with his own strong score. Using the bet the player is able to insure his win, if he himself got a winning score, against the dealer drawing an ace as his next card and thereby nullifying the player's blackjack (or potentially winning twenty or nineteen).

The ten insurance bet herein pays 11 to 1. For a game using six decks there are 24 winning combinations from 311 total combinations, giving a probability of a winning combination of 0.07717. Paying 11 to 1 for a probability of 0.07717 gives a house margin of 7.4%.

It is appreciated that certain features of the invention, which are, for clarity, described in the context of separate embodiments, may also be provided in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention, which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment, may also be provided separately or in any suitable subcombination.

Although the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims. All publications, patents, and patent applications mentioned in this specification are herein incorporated in their entirety by reference into the specification, to the same extent as if each individual publication, patent or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated herein by reference. In addition, citation or identification of any reference in this application shall not be construed as an admission that such reference is available as prior art to the present invention.