Title:
Bonus hand blackjack
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wagering card game is played in a first stage with reference to a bonus hand and in a second stage according to the rules of conventional Blackjack. Each player posts a main bet to compete against the dealer during the second stage of play and optionally may post a side bet to be eligible for the first stage bonus payout. Two cards are dealt face-up to each player and two cards are dealt to the dealer, one face down and the other face-up. Any player who posted a side bet and is dealt a Blackjack combination on the first two cards is eligible to participate in the play of the bonus hand. The dealer's hand, or optionally two freshly dealt cards, define the bonus hand. In either embodiment, the dealer announces the bonus hand value which may range from a “No Blackjack” hand of 20 points or lower, any non-suited Blackjack hand or any suited Blackjack hand. The dealer then refers to a matrix table of bonus payout values and pays according to the payout value that is indexed by the player hand possible Blackjack combinations and the possible bonus hand combinations. After side bets are resolved, regular play of Blackjack commences, based on the two cards originally dealt to the players and to the dealer.



Inventors:
Brunelle, Kenneth J. (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Application Number:
09/999635
Publication Date:
03/28/2002
Filing Date:
10/24/2001
Assignee:
BRUNELLE KENNETH J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/00; A63F1/00; (IPC1-7): A63F1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COLLINS, DOLORES R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PHILIP J. ANDERSON, ESQ (LAS VEGAS, NV, US)
Claims:
1. A method of playing a wagering card game between a dealer and one or more players comprising the steps: each player posting a main bet to participate in the card game; each player optionally posting a side bet to become eligible to participate in a bonus payout; dealing two cards from a deck of cards to each player and the dealer, respectively; providing a bonus payout schedule comprising a set of bonus payout values, the bonus payout values being cross-referenced by possible Blackjack card combinations of a player hand and possible card combinations of a bonus hand; and resolving each player side bet according to the bonus payout value in the bonus payout schedule that is cross-referenced by the card combination dealt to the player and the card combination of the bonus hand.

2. A method of playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 1, including the step: adopting the dealer's hand as the bonus hand for side bet resolving purposes.

3. A method of playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 1, including the steps: dealing two cards from the deck of cards into a bonus hand that is separate from any player hand and separate from the dealer hand; and using the card combination of the separate bonus hand for side bet resolving purposes.

4. A method of playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 1, including the step: playing a round of the conventional game of Blackjack using the two-card hands previously dealt to each player and the dealer.

5. A method of playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 1, including the step: declaring a player's hand to be eligible to participate in a bonus payout if the player's hand contains a Blackjack card combination.

6. A method of playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 1, including the step: each player exercising or declining the option to post a side bet to become eligible to participate in a bonus payout.

7. A method of playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 1, including the step: selecting the possible Blackjack card combinations of the player's hand from the card combination set {Ace-10 of any suit combination, Ace-Jack of any suit combination, Ace-Queen of any suit combination, and Ace-King of any suit combination}.

8. A method of playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 1, including the step: selecting the possible card combinations of the bonus hand from the card combination set {any two cards that total 20 or less, Ace-10 of any suit combination, Ace-Jack of any suit combination, Ace-Queen of any suit combination, and Ace-King of any suit combination}.

9. A method of playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 1, including the steps: each player exercising or declining the option to post a side bet for the right to participate in a bonus payout, and upon posting a side bet becoming a bonus-eligible player; and declaring a bonus-eligible player to be qualified to participate in a bonus payout if the player's hand contains a Blackjack card combination.

10. A method of playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 1, including the steps: arranging the bonus payout values in a matrix array, the payout values being indexed by cross-reference to the possible Blackjack card combinations of the player hands and the possible card combinations of the bonus hand.

11. A method of playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 1, including the steps: selecting the possible player hands from the card combination set {Ace-10 of any suit combination, Ace-Jack of any suit combination, Ace-Queen of any suit combination, and Ace-King of any suit combination}; and selecting the possible bonus hands from the card combination set {any two cards that total 20 or less, Ace-10 of any suit combination, Ace-Jack of any suit combination, Ace-Queen of any suit combination and Ace-King of any suit combination}.

12. A method of playing a card game as set forth in claim 1, wherein the bonus payout schedule includes a matrix of bonus payout values disposed in a rectilinear array bounded by a first coordinate axis and by a second coordinate axis, including the steps: arranging the possible Blackjack card combinations of the player hands along the first coordinate axis; and arranging the possible card combinations of the bonus hand along the second coordinate axis.

13. Apparatus for playing a wagering card game between a dealer and one or more players comprising, in combination: a deck of playing cards; a hand of first and second playing cards dealable from the deck forming a player hand; a hand of first and second playing cards dealable from the deck forming the dealer's hand; a playing surface; one or more player stations disposed on the playing surface, each player station including a first betting box for receiving a main bet and each player station including a second betting box for receiving an optional side bet; and a bonus payout schedule including a set of bonus payout values, each payout value corresponding to a player hand card combination and a bonus hand card combination.

14. Apparatus for playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 13, wherein the hand of playing cards dealt to the dealer forms the bonus hand.

15. Apparatus for playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 13, further comprising: a hand of first and second playing cards dealable from the deck to a bonus hand that is separate from all other hands.

16. Apparatus for playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 13, wherein the bonus payout values are indexed by cross-reference to possible Blackjack card combinations of the player hand and possible card combinations of the bonus hand; and the bonus payout schedule including possible player hand Blackjack combinations arranged in a row or column, the possible player hand Blackjack combinations being selected from the card combination set {Ace-10 of any suit combination, Ace-Jack of any suit combination, Ace-Queen of any suit combination and Ace-King of any suit combination}; and the bonus payout schedule including possible bonus hand combinations are arranged in a column or row, the possible bonus hand combinations being selected from the card combination set {any two cards that total 20 or less, Ace-10 of any suit combination, Ace-Jack of any suit combination, Ace-Queen of any suit combination and Ace-King of any suit combination}.

17. Apparatus for playing a wagering card game between a dealer and one or more players comprising, in combination: a deck of playing cards; a hand of playing cards dealable from the deck to each player; a hand of playing cards dealable from the deck to the dealer; a hand of playing cards dealable from the deck forming a bonus hand; and a bonus payout schedule including a set of bonus payout values, each payout value corresponding to the play of a particular player hand and a particular bonus hand.

18. Apparatus for playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 17, wherein the hand of playing cards dealt to the dealer forms the bonus hand.

19. Apparatus for playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 17, wherein the hand of playing cards forming the bonus hand are separate from the dealer's hand and from any particular player's hand.

20. Apparatus for playing a wagering card game as set forth in claim 17, wherein: the possible bonus hand card combinations comprising the card combination set {any two cards that total 20 or less, Ace-10 of any suit combination, Ace-Jack of any suit combination, Ace-Queen of any suit combination, and Ace-King of any suit combination}; and the possible player hand Blackjack card combinations comprising the card combination set {Ace-10 of any suit combination, Ace-Jack of any suit combination, Ace-Queen of any suit combination and Ace-King of any suit combination}.

21. A Blackjack card game comprising, in combination: a deck of playing cards; a playing surface; a dealer station disposed on the playing surface for receiving and displaying a hand of cards dealt from the deck; a player station disposed on the playing surface for receiving and displaying a hand of cards dealt from the deck; a bonus hand card dock disposed on the playing surface for receiving and displaying a hand of cards dealt from the deck; and a bonus payout schedule including a set of bonus payout values, each payout value being indexed in the schedule by cross-reference to a Blackjack card combination dealt to a player hand and the card combination dealt to the bonus hand.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Casino gambling involves many different games of chance. Some casino games involve playing cards that are used in competition with the casino or against other players. In the most popular casino games, players compete against the casino, the games are fast-paced, provide more than one opportunity to win and the bets are resolved quickly. Generally, the shorter the time between placing a bet and the winning of a hand, the more popular the game.

[0002] Some casino card games are variations on poker in which winning hands are determined according to generally accepted rules of card value and rank. In the play of Baccarat, for example, the face cards are assigned numerical values and the players play against each other in an effort to score as close to nine as possible. In poker, various combinations of cards determine the winner of each round and there is only one winning hand in each round of play.

[0003] Popular casino games based on the strategy and card priority of the game of poker provide multiple opportunities to win. Caribbean Stud, a five-card poker game currently played in casinos, provides more than one chance to win with a particular hand. A limitation on the play of Caribbean Stud is the requirement for the dealer to have a qualifying hand, e.g., Ace-King. A player's hand may be a winner, but the player may lose the opportunity to receive a large payout because the dealer did not receive a qualifying hand.

[0004] Another popular casino game comparable to Caribbean Stud is Let It Ride, a game based on poker strategy and card priority. In the play of Let It Ride, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,437,462, three cards are dealt to the player and two to the dealer. The player then combines his cards with the dealer's cards to produce a poker hand. Let It Ride is popular because of its fast-paced play, simple strategies, the opportunity to participate in an additional jackpot and multiple opportunities to win in the same hand.

[0005] A limitation on the play of Let It Ride is the apparent complexity of the betting. Three bets are placed on each hand with two of the bets being resolved, or withdrawn by the player, during three stages of play. A fourth bet is a bonus jackpot bet and is forfeited if the player does not receive a bonus hand. A prospective player must overcome his reluctance to wager three times on one hand to begin play. The option to withdraw a portion of the wager is not productive for the casino—the player is allowed to take back a portion of the bet that has already been committed.

[0006] The highest ranked poker hand is a winner for both Caribbean Stud and Let It Ride. Based on the method of betting, both games allow multiple opportunities to win and generally meet the requirements for a popular casino game. However, the dealer-qualifying requirement of Caribbean Stud and the complexities of the betting requirements of Let It Ride are discouraging to the average player.

[0007] Other wagering card game methods are known. For example in Padukee, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,415,414, the player places two bets plus a bonus jackpot wager.

[0008] Blackjack is a card game in which the participants play against the dealer (the casino) independently of other players. Cards are dealt one at a time from a shoe containing one or more poker decks. Each playing card is assigned a count value with the numbered cards having the corresponding whole number values two through 10, respectively; the face cards (King, Queen, Jack) each having an assigned count value of ten. The Ace of any suit can be counted as one or 11 points at the player's discretion and the value can be changed during the playing of the hand. The Ace is the most powerful card in the deck, not only because it can be used as two distinct values, one and 11, but also because it has the power to create a Blackjack.

[0009] In the play of Blackjack the player's goal is to draw cards which together should amount to 21 points, or as close as possible without exceeding 21. When the player gets 21 with his two first cards, he has Blackjack. If the player's sum of cards is closer to 21 than the dealer's hand, he wins as much as he has put on stake, except when he has Blackjack. In that case the player may win in a ratio of 3:2 times his bet or more (assuming the dealer does not also have Blackjack). If the player's sum of cards exceeds 21, he loses what he has at stake. If the player and the dealer have the same scores, no one wins and the stake goes back to the player in a so-called “push.” A Blackjack combination beats any non-suited 21 count value combinations.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The wagering card game of the present invention is a variation of the conventional game of Blackjack and is played with one or more decks of fifty-two playing cards, preferably a poker deck, and a bonus hand payout schedule. The game is played in a preliminary stage for a bonus payout, followed by a round of standard Blackjack. A hand of two cards is dealt to each player and to the dealer. Each player becomes eligible to play for a bonus payout by posting a bonus side bet. Each bonus-eligible player's hand holding a Blackjack combination is matched with a bonus hand to qualify for a bonus payout After bonus side bets have been resolved, the players and the dealer commence the play of conventional Blackjack with the two cards initially dealt to them.

[0011] Each player enters the game by posting an initial main bet, for example in a main bet wager circle provided on a playing surface. Each player may optionally post a side bet to be eligible to participate in a bonus hand payout. Following the rules of conventional Blackjack, the dealer deals two cards, one card at a time and face-up, to each player. The dealer receives one card face down and one card face-up. According to the preferred embodiment of the invention, the dealer's hand also constitutes the bonus hand to be used in the play for the bonus payout. Optionally, two cards are dealt in turn one at a time and face-up on the board, in a separate “bonus hand” not associated with the dealer or with any particular player, and those two cards constitute the bonus hand for side bet resolving purposes.

[0012] To qualify for a bonus payout, a player must post a bonus side bet (for example, $1) and possess a Blackjack combination on the first two cards dealt to him. Each player possessing a Blackjack hand and who wagered the bonus side bet wins and will be paid according to a bonus hand payout schedule. The payout value depends on the value of the bonus hand, which contains the two cards initially dealt to the dealer (or optionally to a separate bonus hand). The bonus hand (the dealer's hand or a separate bonus hand) is a community hand and the right to participate in the bonus payout is not contingent on winning the round. The player need only pay the bonus side bet and hold a Blackjack combination on the first two cards dealt to him to win a bonus payout. Each player who wagered a bonus side bet and did not receive a Blackjack on the initial deal of two cards will lose his side bet wager.

[0013] The dealer may pay the main bets and the bonus side bets at this time or wait until each player's turn in regular Blackjack play rotation. After all bonus side bets are paid, the play of conventional Blackjack commences based on the hands initially dealt and proceeds according to conventional Blackjack rules until all main bets are resolved.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0014] FIG. 1 illustrates a typical casino gaming table layout used in the wagering game of the present invention;

[0015] FIG. 2 is a block diagram representing the flow of play in the game; and

[0016] FIG. 3 is a bonus payout schedule containing a matrix of payout values for various sets of bonus hand (dealer's hand) card combinations and player hand Blackjack card combinations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0017] Referring to FIG. 1, the wagering game of the present invention, referred to herein as “Bonus Hand Blackjack,” is a card game played on a real or simulated playing surface 10. The playing surface is preferably a preprinted felt covering that is secured to the top of a gambling table. Alternatively, the playing surface can be simulated on a video screen and the game can be played via a computer under software control with the cards being simulated and the players participating via an interactive video station. Depicted on the playing surface 10 is a single dealer position 12, multiple player positions 14 and a multiple deck shoe 16. The layout of each player position 14 is identical to all other player positions. Although seven player positions 14 are shown, as many as ten players or as few as one player and one dealer may play the game.

[0018] Each player position 14 includes a main bet wagering circle 18 for receiving the player's main wager and a smaller optional bonus hand side bet circle 20. An insurance semicircle 22 is printed on the felt covering, forming an arc that borders the player positions. The conventional Blackjack table seats a dealer and one to seven players. The first seat on the dealer's left is referred to as First Base, and the first seat on the dealer's right is referred to as Third Base. The main betting circle 18 and the side bet circle 20 are printed on the felt covering in front of each player seat. Immediately in front of the dealer is the casino's chip tray 24. On the dealer's left is the multiple-deck shoe 16 from which cards are withdrawn one at a time by the dealer. Multiple deck Blackjack games typically consist of an even number of decks (2, 4, 6, 8) although some casinos use five or seven decks. This permits the dealer to deal more hands per hour, thereby increasing the casino take, and it reduces (but does not eliminate) the player advantage gained from card counting.

[0019] On the dealer's immediate right is a money drop slot 26 where all currency and chips are deposited. Immediately below the drop slot is a numbered drop box in which the cash proceeds of a particular casino shift are deposited. Next to the drop slot to the right of the dealer is a card discard tray 28.

[0020] Referring now to FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, before any cards are dealt, the cards are shuffled, block 30, and the players post a main wager, block 32, by placing the desired chips (value and number) into the main betting circle 18, thus becoming eligible to compete against the dealer. At this time, each player may also post a bonus side bet, block 34, for example one dollar, thus becoming eligible to participate in a bonus hand payout. A player becomes eligible (but not yet qualified) to compete in the bonus hand payout by placing his optional side bet in the side bet circle 20.

[0021] Following the rules of conventional Blackjack, the dealer deals two cards, one at a time and face-up, to each player, block 36. The dealer receives one card face down and one card face-up. According to the preferred embodiment of the invention, the dealer's hand as initially dealt also constitutes a bonus hand to be used in the play for the bonus payout. Optionally, two cards are dealt in turn one at a time and face-up to the board, not to the dealer and not to a player, and those two cards constitute a bonus hand.

[0022] Referring again to FIG. 1, the dealer position 12 optionally includes two printed rectangular borders defining card docks 38 and 40, labeled CARD ONE and CARD TWO, into which two cards are also dealt during the initial deal of hands if a separate bonus hand is used. When a separate bonus hand is used, the bonus hand consists of two cards (equal in number to the number of cards initially dealt to each player) that are not dealt to any particular player or to the dealer, but instead are dealt face-up into the bonus card docks 38, 40 during the initial deal of hands. Otherwise, the playing surface immediately in front of the dealer is blank, and the dealer deals his cards onto the playing surface, the first card face-up and the second card face-down, usually placed beneath the first card. In that instance, the dealer's hand also serves as the bonus hand.

[0023] The card combination of the bonus hand is used to determine a bonus payout to each bonus-eligible player. The Blackjack-qualified hands of bonus-eligible players are cross-referenced with the bonus hand in a matrix schedule 42 of bonus payout values 44, FIG. 3. A player is qualified to participate in the play for the bonus payout if the player's first two dealt cards constitute any one of several conventional Blackjack combinations 46, 48, 50 (e.g., Ace-10 of any suit combination, Ace-Jack of any suit combination, Ace-Queen of any suit combination, or Ace-King of any suit combination). As used herein, “any suit combination” refers to two cards of the same suit (e.g., all spades, or all hearts, or all diamonds or all clubs) as well as two cards of mixed suits (e.g., spade-heart, or spade-diamond, or spade-club, or heart-diamond, or heart-club, or diamond-club). Any suited Blackjack combination or any non-suited Blackjack combination dealt to a bonus-eligible player on the initial deal will qualify for the bonus play.

[0024] A “Blackjack” is defined as the combination of any Ace and any 10 point value card in the original dealt hand of two cards. The point total of these two cards is 21. A Blackjack combination occurs only where a player or the dealer is dealt an ace and any 10 point value card in the first two cards of the originally dealt hand. The dealer does not participate in the play for the bonus payout, and an eligible, Blackjack-qualified player will win a payout no matter what hand is dealt to the dealer. If the dealer also receives a Blackjack combination, it is called a “push” and the Blackjack-qualified player will recover his original bet during regular play, but this will not have any affect on his right to participate in the bonus hand payout play. A player who wagers a main bet, but does not receive a Blackjack hand, loses his side bet but is still eligible to compete against the dealer during the regular play of Blackjack that follows the bonus hand match.

[0025] Referring again to the flow diagram in FIG. 2, a deck of poker cards is shuffled at block 30. The deck may be shuffled manually by the dealer, by an automatic shuffling machine or by a computer. Optionally the cards are dealt one at a time from the casino shoe 16 that may contain several standard poker decks. Each deck contains fifty-two cards, so that fresh cards are immediately available for dealing from a new deck as each deck is exhausted. Sometimes, prior to shuffling, the dealer will fan out the cards on the table so that the players can verify that all cards are present.

[0026] After the cards are shuffled, the complete deck is put in front of a player to be “cut.” The player is given a plastic index card to be placed anywhere he chooses in the deck. The deck is split there, put on the table and the section that was on the bottom is now placed on top. The player sitting on first base is normally the one to cut first and the cutting rotates clockwise among the players on subsequent cuts. After the dealer places all the cards together he will remove and discard the first card. This is referred to as “burning” a card. This card is normally placed in the discard tray 28 and all subsequent discarded playing cards are placed on top. The dealer will also place the plastic index card somewhere in the deck and only deal cards until the index card has been reached. He will continue dealing that particular round, but reshuffle the deck as soon as that round is completed.

[0027] Once all the main bets and bonus side bets are down, two cards (one at a time) are dealt from the deck shoe 16 to each player in turn from left to right, block 36. Usually the cards are dealt face-up to the players and are not allowed to be touched by the players. The dealer gives a first card to the first baseman face-up, then the second player and so on in turn until all players have one card. Then the dealer deals his own first card and places it face-up in front of him on the table. Then a second card is dealt to all players in the same order, also face-up. Then the dealer takes a second card and places it face-down in front of him, usually beneath his face down card. In this embodiment, the dealer declares his hand to be the bonus hand for side bet resolving purposes.

[0028] The dealer then evaluates the table for Blackjacks. Any player posting a bonus side bet (for example, $1) and possessing a Blackjack combination on the first two cards dealt is a winner and is paid according to the bonus payout schedule (FIG. 3), block 54. Any player who posted a bonus side bet and does not possess a Blackjack combination on the first two cards dealt will lose his side bet at this time, block 56.

[0029] The dealer pays the Blackjack qualified players the bonus amount according to the value shown in the payout schedule 42 (FIG. 3), block 54. The bonus pay out schedule 42 is a matrix or table of bonus payout values V(x,y) disposed in a rectilinear array bounded by a first coordinate axis X and by a second coordinate axis Y. The payout values, indicated generally by the reference numeral 44, are arrayed in a matrix of rows and columns. Each particular payout value V(x, y) corresponds uniquely in cross-reference relation with a particular one of the player's possible Blackjack card combinations 46, 48, 50 (e.g., Ace-10 of any suit combination, Ace-Jack of any suit combination, Ace-Queen of any suit combination, or Ace-King of any suit combination) arranged along one axis, and a particular one of the bonus hand (the dealer's hand) possible card combinations 58, 60 and 62 (e.g., Ace-10 of any suit combination, Ace-Jack of any suit combination, Ace-Queen of any suit combination, or Ace-King of any suit combination, and “No Blackjack”) arranged along the other axis.

[0030] As shown in FIG. 3, a particular bonus payout value {V(x, y)=9 to one} is indexed or cross-referenced in the box 44 corresponding with a particular player's non-suited Blackjack combination and a particular “No Blackjack” bonus hand (dealer's hand ) card combination. Likewise, a particular bonus payout value {V(x, y)=2,500 to one} is indexed or cross-referenced in the box 52 corresponding with a particular player's Blackjack combination (Ace-Jack of spades) and a particular suited Blackjack (Ace-King of hearts) in the bonus hand (dealer's hand).

[0031] Since each player's initial two cards are dealt face-up, each player knows instantly if he possesses a Blackjack combination and is a bonus payout winner. That is, each player holding a Blackjack combination will be a bonus payout winner even though the dealer may also hold a Blackjack. The value of the bonus payout depends on the cards held in the bonus hand (the dealer's hand or an optional separate bonus hand). If the dealer's up-card is a numbered card, the dealer cannot hold a Blackjack and the bonus hand is declared “No Blackjack.” The dealer's hole card remains face down to be used during regular Blackjack play after bonus side bets are resolved. When the dealer's hand (the bonus hand) is a “No Blackjack” combination, each Blackjack-qualified player's hand is cross-referenced or indexed by the values given in the “No Blackjack” row 62 of the bonus payout schedule 42 to determine each eligible player's bonus payout.

[0032] If the dealer's up-card is an Ace, the dealer will have a Blackjack combination if his hole card is a ten point value card, i.e., {10, Jack, Queen or King}. In the event that insurance is not used, the dealer declares his Blackjack, wins the main bet wagers, collects the main bet wagers from all players and pays bonus side bets according to the bonus payout schedule to the Blackjack-qualified bonus side bet players, block 54.

[0033] If the dealer's up card is a ten-count card (King, Queen, Jack or 10), the dealer peeks at his hole card and determines whether he holds a Blackjack combination. If his hole card yields a Blackjack (i.e., his hole card is an Ace), the dealer turns it over, declares the Blackjack, collects main bets (unless a player has a Blackjack which initiates a “push”) and pays bonus payout bets according to the bonus payout schedule, block 54. If his hole card does not yield a Blackjack, the dealer declares “No Blackjack,” leaves his hole card face down to be used during regular Blackjack play after bonus side bets are resolved, block 64, and pays all Blackjack qualified, bonus-eligible players according to the bonus payout schedule, block 54 and FIG. 3.

[0034] The dealer resolves the bonus side bets according to the bonus pay out schedule 42, for example as shown in FIG. 3, block 54. The bonus payout schedule is displayed for viewing by all players during the play of each round, for example on an illuminated sign set up adjacent the playing table 10, on a video screen, or imprinted on the playing surface itself.

[0035] The bonus pay out schedule 42 contains a matrix array of bonus pay out values V(x, y) corresponding with a set of player's hand possible Blackjack card combinations on one matrix axis X, for example {Ace-Jack of spades, any suited Blackjack, or any non-suited Blackjack} and a set of bonus hand card combinations on a second matrix axis Y, for example {20 or less (“No Blackjack”), any suited Blackjack, or any non-suited Blackjack}. A predetermined bonus payout value V(x, y) is indicated at each (x, y) coordinate that corresponds with a unique player hand/bonus hand combination.

[0036] For example, the payout values range from a minimum payout value 44 of nine-to-one corresponding the player holding a non-suited Blackjack and the dealer (bonus hand) holding “No Blackjack,” to a maximum payout value 52 of 2,500-to-one corresponding with the player holding the Ace-Jack of spades Blackjack combination and the dealer (bonus hand) holding any suited Blackjack combination. In this example, each bonus hand-qualified player is guaranteed to win at least nine to one, even if the dealer's hand (the bonus hand) does not have a Blackjack combination (“No Blackjack”). Also, each bonus hand-qualified player is guaranteed to win substantially more (from 50-to-1 up to 2,500-to-1), where the dealer's hand (the bonus hand) holds a suited or non-suited Blackjack combination.

[0037] In the preferred embodiment, the dealer's hand doubles as the bonus hand. Instead of dealing a separate bonus hand, the dealer declares (or optionally casino rules may require) that his hand constitutes the bonus hand and then everything will be scored accordingly. Thus, the dealer's hand will serve dual functions: first, for scoring purposes as the bonus hand during the bonus match, block 54, and in the conventional way during the play of regular Blackjack by conventional rules, block 64.

[0038] The play of regular blackjack then proceeds, block 64, starting with the two-card hands that were dealt initially. After all players stand, the dealer evaluates each player's hand, determines main bet winners and resolves main bets according to standard Blackjack rules of play, block 66, thus concluding the first round of play. The play of the next Bonus Hand Blackjack round then commences with the shuffling of cards, block 30.

[0039] It will be apparent that the card game of the present invention overcomes the limitations of conventional casino games such as Caribbean Stud and Let It Ride. “Bonus Hand Blackjack ” includes all the attributes desired for a popular wagering card game: it is simple to play and fast-paced; a player is able to win a bonus payout with his original hand; and the game provides for the possibility of multiple winners during the play of each hand.

[0040] For example, as shown in FIG. 3, multiple winners include hands with any non-suited Blackjack, any suited Blackjack and the natural Blackjack (Ace of spades and Jack of spades). Also, a bonus-eligible player hand that does not beat the dealer but does contain a Blackjack can compete for the bonus hand payout, block 66. Each Blackjack-qualified and eligible bonus hand player is assured of winning at least from nine-to-1, 20-to-one or 50-to-one, even though the dealer's (bonus) hand does not contain a Blackjack combination (“No Blackjack”).

[0041] The foregoing description of a preferred embodiment illustrates the best mode for playing the game of the present invention. The bonus payout values and possible Blackjack card combinations given herein are for explanation purposes only.





 
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