System and method for combining playing card values, sight unseen
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A system and method of combining two playing card values, sight unseen, and displaying which of multiple ranges that the total falls into, without displaying the actual total or the actual values of either card. Each specific range will then determine the action that is to be performed next on the total, as part of a casino game.

Bartlett, Lawrence E. (Arcadia, CA, US)
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International Classes:
A63F1/18; A63F3/00; A63F9/24; (IPC1-7): A63F9/24
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I claim:

1. A system for summing playing card values from a deck of playing cards, modulo 10, and rendering a signal if the sum falls in a predetermined range without displaying the sum, said system comprising: means for reading the value of dealt but unrevealed playing cards; a summer receiving the values read by the reading means to sum the values of at least two dealt but unrevealed playing cards modulo ten, said summer issuing a control signal if the sum value is in a predetermined range; and a signaling device to receive said control signal and in response thereto issuing a perceptible signal.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein said signaling device includes a light illuminated by said control signal.

3. A system for playing a game of Reverse Baccarat according to the rules thereof using playing cards dealt from at least one deck to each of a dealer and a player, said system comprising: a signaling device for the dealer; a reader to read the values of unrevealed cards dealt to the dealer and to generate data signals corresponding thereto; a summation device receiving said signals from the reader, summing said card values modulo ten and issuing any one of (i) a first control signal to said signaling device if said sum is one of (a) 0 through 4, (b) 0-5 or 6 (ii) a second control signal if said sum is one of (a) 5 through 9 or (iii) a third control signal if said sum is one of 5 through 9, said signaling device issuing perceptible signals to the dealer in response to receipt of said control signals.

4. The system of claim 3 wherein said signaling device includes a light illuminated by said signals issued by said summation device.

5. The system of claim 3 wherein said signaling device includes a light for each of at least two signals issued by the summation device.

6. The system of claim 3 wherein said signaling device includes a speaker to issue an auditory signal.

7. A method for summing playing card values from a representation of a deck of playing cards, modulo 10, and rendering a signal if the sum falls in a predetermined range without displaying the sum, said method comprising: reading the value of dealt but unrevealed representations of playing cards; summing the values read by reading the values of at least two dealt but unrevealed representations of playing cards modulo ten and issuing a control signal if the sum value is in a predetermined range; and issuing a perceptible signal in response to issuance of the control signal.



[0001] The present invention relates to systems and methods for determining sum values of playing cards sight unseen for card games and for issuing signals where the sum values are in a range of values for further action in the game.


[0002] In the casino-style card game of my prior U.S. Pat. No. 5,529,309 titled “Card Game” (also referred to herein as Reverse Baccarat), the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference, the game is played with two cards from a deck being dealt to a dealer position and each player position. The dealer then completes his hand first by, depending upon the sum of the first two dealer cards modulo ten, revealing the dealer's cards, drawing a third card or standing on the sum. After the dealer's action, each player opts to draw a third card if, according to the rules, taking a third card is permitted. The player's cards are likewise summed modulo ten and compared with the sum of the dealer's hand to determine wins, losses or ties.

[0003] In that the dealer must complete his hand first before any action by the player(s), heretofore the dealer, in the live action card game, must examine his cards out of view of the player to determine what action he must take, e.g. reveal the hand, draw or stand. Where the dealer stands or takes a third card, his first two cards remain hidden from the players. While the players will know the ranges of the sums where the dealer stands or draws, they do not know the exact, unrevealed, value of the dealer's first two cards. An unscrupulous dealer may, after examination of the hidden value dealer's two cards, signal a confederate player as to the exact value of the unrevealed cards thus giving the player an unfair advantage in deciding whether to draw a third card or not.

[0004] Therefore, what is needed is a system or method whereby the dealer need not examine his face down cards but which yet provides information to the dealer for him to take the action required by the rules of the game to complete his hand. The system and method, should not reveal the exact value but only provide sufficient information for the dealer to complete his hand.

[0005] Similarly in Blackjack, where the dealer has an exposed Ace or ten value card and an unrevealed face down card, the dealer must determine out of the view of the other players, whether the face down card is an Ace or ten value card. In obtaining this knowledge the dealer is not supposed to obtain any other knowledge of the down card, since that might inadvertently be conveyed to the players. If the dealer does in fact have a Blackjack, the face down card is then revealed.

[0006] There may be other casino games where card values must be added or determined outside of the view of the players.

[0007] Further, since games are often dealt from a single deck or shoe holding a plurality of decks, the device and method should be one which can be used with either a single deck or a shoe. Also, preferably, it should be portable, battery driven, and use a scanner or reading device which does not make physical contact with the cards to cause wear. Still further, such a device should switch to a “sleep” mode when not in use to conserve power and become activated when cards have been positioned for scanning or reading. Preferably, the cards should be read (scanned) when they are resting rather than when they are in motion, because a misread can be corrected more easily.

[0008] Regarding card readers, Normand et al, U.S. Pat. No. 4,951,950 discloses a playing card distributing device which senses an optical mark placed on the cards. It is a device for holding cards, reading cards, and storing their values as per each player, out of view of anyone. The cards are dealt from the bottom of the deck in a game of Bridge. It describes coded cards read by “photo emitter-receiver couples”. It also describes a display device showing to which player the specific card should go. A programmed (pre-determined) hand can be dealt to a specific player with this device. There is no disclosure of summing the cards.

[0009] Pionchon, U.S. Pat. No. 5,200,890, describes a device similar to that of Normand et al where the cards are dealt from the top, but strictly for the game of Bridge. Again there is no disclosure of summing. Soules, U.S. Pat. No. 5,067,713 describes a similar device which is solid-state and has no moving parts. It mentions bar codes that are invisible to the naked eye but which are readable at a specific wavelength illuminated from a reading device. It describes a coded deck of cards. The codes could be patterns. It mentions infra-red and ultra-violet light, and mentions a type of black ink which does not absorb IR radiation. No mention is made of adding up the cards. The cards are read as they are in motion.

[0010] Cononi, U.S. Pat. No. 4,575,623 describes an optical scanning system where the customer purchases the items scanned. Granholm, U.S. Pat. No. 4,237,375 describes an opto-electronic apparatus for reading information contained in an information carrier. Miller, U.S. Pat. No. 4,889,367 describes an information system comprising printing labels in ink that is visible and also printing on the same label in wavelengths not humanly visible.

[0011] Laughlin, U.S. Pat. No. 5,364,106 describes a card reader for use in a blackjack game which reads various types of ink including magnetic ink. No infra-red is mentioned, but a light sensitive diode and another specific photosensor are mentioned. It is battery driven. There is a mark placed on certain cards, and the equipment sensing the mark turns on a light or LED which the dealer then observes. No mention is made of summing the cards.

[0012] Cuff et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,534,562 describes binary coded playing cards for use in the game of Bridge, or other games. It is for an apparatus which will deal a predetermined hand to a player. The apparatus must store the order of the cards dealt. No mention is made of summing the cards.

[0013] Garczynski, U.S. Pat. No. 5,632,483 describes a device which examines the dealer's down card in blackjack and determines by OCR whether the face down card is a 10-value or an ACE. This device is designed only for blackjack, and no other game. Further no summing is disclosed.

[0014] Albrecht, U.S. Pat. No. 5,374,061 describes an apparatus for determining a count during dealing and continuously incrementing that count, using a deck of cards which has been coded with that count. The cards would be machine readable via bar codes, magnetic ink, or OCR means, etc. The reader of the cards would be incorporated into a dealing shoe. The main purpose of the device is to maintain a “running count value” in blackjack. The description in the patent mentions blackjack only.

[0015] Bennett, U.S. Pat. No. 5,586,936 describes a table and player tracking system used in a blackjack game. Player identity cards are necessary. The playing cards are optically read as they are dealt from a dealing shoe.

[0016] Hill, U.S. Pat. No. 5,722,893 describes a network card tracking system for use in the casino pit area. The dealing shoe has a card scanner in it. Data is fed to a host computer which then determines a running count that “card counters” could be using in blackjack. The sole purpose of this system is to spy on card counters.

[0017] Lorsen et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,126,166 describes a card counting device with the same purpose as in the Hill patent above. The key claim is that the device must generate data in real time as to the statistical advantage of the remaining cards to be played. No mention is made of adding up the values of cards.

[0018] There are mirror “peeker” devices used in some blackjack games which allow the dealer to peek at a certain corner of the face down card underneath. Depending on the marking in that corner, the dealer can determine if the card will complete a Blackjack hand. The markings on the cards are in the nature of dark ink spots, which could be magnetized, or duplicate alphanumeric characters printed horizontally in the corners. The peeker devices also can operate by a photodetector sensing a dark spot versus a light spot, and then electronically activating a green or red LED. If the card does not comprise part of a blackjack hand, then no information is given as to what its actual value is. These devices do not sum hidden card values.

[0019] There is a known device and system for multiple players to play a computerized version of Blackjack as described in Takashima, U.S. Pat. No. 4,614,342. The cards are displayed electronically to all players and to a dealer's hand; the system recognizing that the unrevealed card of the dealer's hand will fill a Blackjack. The system adds up and displays preliminary hand values and can make suggestions as to further play to the players.

[0020] U.S. Pat. No. 6,062,979 to Inoue describes a video Baccarat machine. Two cards are displayed for the player and two cards for the banker, but one of these cards is randomly selected to be unrevealed. This allows the player to make a judgment and provides a method for teaching the player the correct baccarat strategy. The hidden card is called a judgment card. Obviously cards are summed by the processor for the device, but the values or their sums are not all hidden from the participants of the game.


[0021] There is, therefor, set forth according to the present invention a system and method for summing the values of cards, sight unseen, and for issuing a signal for controlling further action of the game. The method and system of the present invention are particularly adapted for implementation in the table game version(s) of the game of my prior U.S. Pat. No. 5,529,309 titled “Card Game”. The method and system can also be implemented in a video or computer generated game.

[0022] Toward this end a system and method is provided for summing playing card values from a deck of playing cards, modulo 10, and rendering signals if the sum falls within predetermined ranges without displaying or revealing the sum or individual card values. The system includes means for reading the value of dealt but unrevealed playing cards and a summer receiving the values read by the reading means to sum the values of at least two dealt but unrevealed playing cards, modulo ten. The summer is adapted to issue discrete control signals if the sum value is in one of a plurality of predetermined ranges. The control signals control a signaling device to issue a perceptible signal. The signal may be light, sound or other humanly perceptible signal.

[0023] As but an example, where the game is according to my prior U.S. Pat. No. 5,529,309, each player of the game makes a wager. Two cards are dealt to each player and two cards are dealt face down to the dealer. The dealer's cards are interfaced with a card reader which reads the values of the cards and sends data signals corresponding to these values to a summing device, such as a summer incorporated into a processor. The processor sums the dealer's card values, modulo ten. If the sum is, for example, in a range of 8 or 9, a signal is issued to illuminate a light on a panel to inform the dealer to turn over his cards since he has a Natural. If the sum is in the range of 5-7 another signal is issued to illuminate another light instructing the dealer to stand and if the sum is in the range of 0-4, a further signal is issued to illuminate a third light to instruct the dealer to draw a third card.

[0024] Thus, the dealer's face down cards are summed and signals are issued for control of the game without revealing the exact value sum of the dealer's face down cards. For example, if the dealer stands, the only information the players have is that the dealer's hand value is between 5-7.

[0025] It should be understood that any two discrete signals are all that is required, e.g. a Natural or the draw a third card since the absence of a signal would indicate that the dealer should stand. Further other value ranges can be adopted.

[0026] Accordingly the dealer's cards can be summed, sight unseen, and signals issued to control the further action of the game. The same system and method can be used in Blackjack to determine whether the dealer has a Blackjack, i.e the sum will then be one, modulo ten, and the dealer will see one of the cards, thus knowing the sum is 21 and not 11. By providing the device with the ability to switch between modes, e.g. Blackjack and my game, the system can serve both games.


[0027] These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become appreciated as the same becomes better understood with reference to the description, claims and drawings wherein:

[0028] FIG. 1 is a top view of a table for play of the game employing the system and method of the present invention;

[0029] FIG. 2 shows a signaling device for the system;

[0030] FIG. 3 shows a card for use in the system; and

[0031] FIG. 4 shows the detector for the system and method.


[0032] Turning to the drawings FIG. 1 shows a table 10 incorporating the system and method of the present invention. The table may be one for Blackjack or for Reverse Baccarat, the game of my prior U.S. Pat. No. 5,529,309 and includes a game layout 12 denoting several player positions 14 as is customary for the game. Each player places their wager(s) in the corresponding player position 14. The table 10 also includes a chip tray 16 containing an inventory of chips for playing the game. The game may be played using a single deck of playing cards or multiple decks of cards may be dealt from a shoe 18 as is known in the art.

[0033] According to the present invention, in front of the tray 16 are first and second card sensors 20a,b and a third card area 22. Also disposed on the table 10 proximate thereto is a signaler 24 the purposes of which will hereinafter become evident.

[0034] With reference to FIG. 2 the signaler 24 is shown as including three lights 26a-c where the system and method is adapted for the play of Reverse Baccarat. Light 26a may have a notation of “S” or “Stand”, light 26b a notation of “D” or “Draw: and light 26c a notation of “N” or “Natural”. The signaler 24 may be built into the table 10 or shoe 18 15, or be an accessory to the table.

[0035] With reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, an example of a playing card 28 for use in the system is shown. While the card is shown as a 2⋄, it will be understood that the following description applies to all playing cards.

[0036] Each 28 card includes the card numeral 30 (or designation, e.g. “Q” for a Queen) and the pips 32 as are well known identifiers for playing cards. To provide a means for reading the value of the playing cards, each card may include extra symbols in either visible ink or machine readable ink. For the Reverse Baccarat game (or Blackjack) the suit of the playing card does not matter. Face cards (Kings, Queens and Jacks) as well as 10s are each valued, modulo ten, as ten or zero. Thus, for Reverse Baccarat, each card will have a value of 0 (the ten value cards) to 9 and can be represented as a dot pattern 34 of four dots. With reference to FIG. 3, the dot pattern 34 may be visible or camouflaged to the naked eye. Where the reader, as hereinafter described, is infrared, some dots would be carbon based ink whereas the others are not. The difference between the carbon based and non-carbon based inks cannot be perceived by the naked eye. The carbon based ink dots are read by the infrared reader while the others are not determinable. The dot pattern 34 is disposed along an edge of the face of the card to register with the reader as hereinafter described. With the foregoing in mind, the dot patterns may represent the following card values:

[0037] =Ace (one value card)

[0038] =2s

[0039] =3s

[0040] =4s

[0041] =5s

[0042] =6s

[0043] =7s

[0044] =8s

[0045] =9s

[0046] =10 value cards

[0047] Where is a carbon ink-based dot and is a non-carbon ink-based dot.

[0048] Alternatively each card may include an imprinted bar code in visible or invisible machine-readable ink or a magnetic stripe. Any other system for reading values for cards may be used including a printed circuit imprinted on the cards or made a part of the physical structure of the cards to be detected, magnetic printing or fluorophores sprinkled in the ink that is used for printing, dots, lengths of lines, or blotches, altering ink density or glyphs or diagrams embedded in the design of the cards and which are indistinguishable to the human eye. Still further, if a neuro-network detector is used, the processor for the neuro-network reader may be “trained” to read and distinguish the faces of the cards without adding any marks or other instrumentalities to the card for reading.

[0049] With continuing reference to FIG. 3, the card 28 also includes a mark 36 spaced from the dot pattern 34 to align with a sensor to indicate the presence of a card in a position for reading.

[0050] Turning to FIG. 4, to read the card when in a face down position, the system and method includes card sensors 20a,b each positioned to receive the first two cards dealt by the dealer to the dealer's hand. In that the sensors 20a,b are the same only one will be described.

[0051] The sensor 20a includes a glass or reading area 38 as well as registration tabs 40 at the corners thereof to receive the corners of a card so as to register the face of the card 28 (in a face down position on the table) over the glass 38. As registered the mark 36 registers over a first photo cell 42 or similar optical device which senses light and dark in the visible, near infra-red or ultraviolet (NIR/UV) ranges. Based upon NIR/UV light emitted through the glass 38 and/or redirected through fiber optic cables and reflected from the mark photocell 42 senses light and dark based on a threshold amount of “brightness”. If the reflected light exceeds a threshold value, a signal is sent to control a switch 44 to control a processor 46 to go from a standby condition to an operating condition. The processor 46 is normally in a standby condition or state to save energy. When the presence of a card to be read is sensed by the photocell 42, the processor 46 is turned on to receive signals from a photocell array 48 arranged to register with the dot pattern 34 on the card 28. The array 48 includes four photo cells 50 each to read a dot position in the dot pattern 34. Based upon the dots read and their position, the processor compares the data to stored data to recognize the card value. For example, for the 2⋄ of FIG. 3, the array 48 would read a pattern as 0010 and recognize the card as a 2 (deuce). In this manner the processor 46 receives data of the value of the card over the glass 38 and while in a face down condition. The other sensor 20b operates in a similar fashion.

[0052] The operation of the system and method of the present invention will now be described with reference to the play of Reverse Baccarat.

[0053] To play the game, each player makes a wager at their player position 14 and two cards are dealt from a deck or the shoe 18 to each player and to the dealer face down. The dealer's cards are registered, face down, over the glass of the sensors 20a,b for reading. In Reverse Baccarat the dealer completes his hand first.

[0054] The processor 46 receives the signals for the sensors 20a,b and sums the card values, modulo 10. According to one version of the game, if the sum is 8 or 9. that is a Natural and the dealer exposes his cards and there is no further action by the players.

[0055] If the two cards read by the sensors 20a,b have a sum value of 8 or 9, a signal is sent to the signaler to illuminate light 26c signaling the dealer to turn over his cards. If the sum is not 8 or 9 but is 0-4, the processor 46 issues a signal to light 26b which indicates to the dealer to draw a third card. The drawn third card is dealt face up from the shoe 18 and is placed in the third card area 22 for the players to see. If the sum is 5-7 the processor sends a signal to the illuminate the light 26a indicating to the dealer to stand, i.e. not draw a card or reveal his cards. If the drawn third card is a 9, the players are precluded from drawing third cards.

[0056] As can be appreciated, the dealer's hand is completed without revealing the first two, face down cards to the players or to the dealer. Thus, while the dealer's action provides some information to the players, they do not know the exact value of the dealer's cards unless the dealer is signaled to reveal his hand which is a Natural (8 or 9).

[0057] After the dealer has completed his hand, with the first two cards remaining face down, and if permitted by the rules of the game, each player stands or draws a third card. After the players have completed their action regarding their hands, the dealer's first two cards are revealed, and summed modulo ten along with any third card that the dealer has drawn. Each player's final hand sum is compared to that of the dealer one by one and the ones closest to 9 are declared winners. For player winning hands, the player is paid based on their wagers and for dealer winning hands the player's wager is collected. For tie sums the wager is neither won nor lost.

[0058] The processor 46 and other features of the system may be portable and battery powered. When not in use, the system is in a sleep mode, power is conserved, and will arise from the sleep mode only when two cards are in position to be read, not just one.

[0059] The system and method can be used in numerous variations of the Reverse Baccarat game as set forth below by reprogramming the processor 46 to issue signals based upon different sums. 1

VersionNaturalDealer StandDealer Draw
285-7, 90-4
486-7, 90-5
68, 96, 70-5
78, 970-6
87, 980-6
97, 890-6
107, 96, 80-5
117, 86, 90-5
125, 67-90-4

[0060] Further it should be noted that in a live game format, the system and method can also be used in Blackjack. For Blackjack the system would determine if the dealer has a Blackjack by adding up the two cards, which would total 1, modulo ten. In Blackjack the dealer at first exposes one card. If that card is an Ace, he asks the players if they want to make an insurance bet. After the insurance bet, the dealer would turn the Ace face down and use the system to perform the addition. If the total was not 1, then there is no Blackjack, the Ace would be turned face up again, and the game would continue. If the total was 1, it would mean that the dealer had a Blackjack.

[0061] Similarly, if the dealer had a 10 value card turned up, he would not ask for insurance but he would turn that card face down for the system to perform the addition. If the total was not 1, then he would turn over the card again and continue with the game. If the total was 1, it would mean that the dealer had a Blackjack.

[0062] It should also be understood that the method could also be employed in a computer/video version of the game of Reverse Baccarat. Video Reverse Baccarat can be played as follows. A random number generator for the processor selects four integers either with or without replacement from universe of 52 integers. Those four integers will be converted to representations of playing card values (with suits) and two will be assigned to the dealer and the other two to the player. At this point only the two cards assigned to the player would be displayed at the video display face up. The two assigned to the dealer (face down) will be added up modulo 10. If the total is a Natural, e.g. an 8 or a 9, the processor controls the display to reveal the dealer's cards, no further player action is permitted and the dealer's sum is compared to the sum of the Player's two cards to determine the winner, loser or of there is a tie. If the dealer's sum is 5-7 the processor signals that the dealer is standing and then waiting for the player to stand or draw and if the dealer's sum is 0-4 the processor selects and displays the dealer's third card. As with the live table game version above, if the drawn third card is a 9 further player action is precluded. If the third card is not a nine the processor signals the player to stand or draw a third card. Final hand sums, summed modulo ten, are compared to determine if the player has won, lost or tied. An extra wager can be included for a tie outcome or for a jackpot.

[0063] While I have described certain embodiments of the present invention it should be understood that it is subject to many modifications without departing from the scope of the appended claims.