Title:
Method for multi-line betting on a video poker game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is generally directed to a method of gaming, comprising the steps of providing a table of card combinations, providing a means for wagering comprising selecting one or more card combinations from the table, providing a means for a discarding and drawing cards, allocating a set of cards to at least one player, accepting one or more wagers according to the player's selection from the table of card combinations, providing the player with the option of discarding and drawing cards, and determining whether the cards obtained by the player match the selected card combinations. The present invention is additionally directed to an apparatus and computer program for carrying out the foregoing method.



Inventors:
Krynicky, Joseph (Roselle, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/137238
Publication Date:
12/01/2005
Filing Date:
05/25/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24; G07F17/32; (IPC1-7): A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HARPER, TRAMAR
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Daniel J. Schlue (Akron, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A method of gaming, comprising the steps of: providing a table of card combinations; providing a means for wagering comprising selecting one or more card combinations from the table; providing a means for discarding and drawing cards; allocating a set of at least five cards to at least one player from a deck of cards; accepting one or more wagers according to the player's selection from the table of card combinations; providing the player with the option of discarding one or more cards and drawing a number of cards equivalent to the number of cards discarded; and determining whether the cards obtained by the player match the selected card combinations.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the method of gaming includes the ability to access a progressive jackpot.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the set of at least five cards comprises more than five cards.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the deck of cards further comprises one or more wild cards, Jokers, or combinations thereof.

5. A gaming system capable of practicing the method of claim 1.

6. The gaming system of claim 5, further comprising a capacity for placing bets by a method selected from the Internet, a local area network, a wide area network, a stand alone gaming apparatus, or any combination thereof.

7. The gaming system of claim 6, wherein the gaming system further comprises a mode selected from a computer program or a gaming apparatus.

8. A method of gaming, comprising the steps of: providing a table of card combinations; providing a means for wagering comprising selecting one or more card combinations from the table; providing a means for discarding and drawing cards; accepting one or more wagers according to the player's selection from the table of card combinations; Allocating a set of at least five cards to at least one player from a deck of cards; and determining whether the cards obtained by the player match the selected card combinations.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the method of gaming includes the ability to access a progressive jackpot.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein the set of cards comprises more than five cards.

11. The method of claim 8, wherein the deck of cards further comprises one or more wild cards, Jokers, or combinations thereof.

12. A gaming system capable of practicing the method of claim 8.

13. The gaming system of claim 12, further comprising a capacity for placing bets by a method selected from the Internet, a local area network, a wide area network, a stand alone gaming apparatus, or any combination thereof.

14. The gaming system of claim 13 wherein the gaming system further comprises a mode selected from a computer program or a gaming apparatus.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application is related to a Provisional U.S. patent application filed on May 25, 2004, Ser. No. 60/574,174.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to video poker gaming and methods therefor. More specifically, the present invention relates to a method and apparatus for multi-line betting.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Video poker has been in use for years. Typically, video poker comprises coin-operated video poker machines. These video poker machines have variations on play that may include various pay schedules and variations in details of play such as, for example, the use of wild cards.

One problem with conventional video poker is that players are looking for new playing experiences. In the gaming industry, there is always a need for new variations on popular games inasmuch as players tend to become bored even with popular games after extensive play. Thus, variations on popular games tend to maintain players' interest in gaming, and ensure their continued patronage. Another problem with conventional video poker is that it is not suited to multi-line play. Multi-line play is very popular in other forms of machine gaming (e.g., slot machines), but the rules and play methods of current video poker machines do not lend themselves to multi-line play. Another problem with conventional video poker is the difficulty in offering large jackpots, which are popular with players.

Slot machines are also well known in the art and comprise a row or rows of reels (or simulated reels) having symbols positioned about the face of each reel. The reels are spun and randomly stop on any one of the various symbols positioned about the face of the reel. In the simplest form a slot machine has a payline, which is generally located through the center of each reel. In general, the player wins by obtaining the same symbol on each real along the payline. Slot machines having multiple paylines are also known in the art. However, slot machines embody a fundamentally different gaming method as compared to poker machines. Slot machines depend purely on chance and provide the player with no opportunity to influence the outcome of the game, whereas video poker provides players with the opportunity to strategically select cards for discarding, and select new cards. These additional process steps are not taught or even suggested by the prior art in combination with multiple paylines.

While conventional gaming methods and devices may be suitable for the particular purposes that they address, they are not suitable for a variation of video poker machines capable of multi-line play, and larger jackpots. Thus, there is a need in the art for a video poker machine that permits multi-line play.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, the present invention relates to a method for allowing and/or evaluating multi-line betting on a video poker game. Additionally, the present invention includes the optional use of additional cards in excess of the standard number of cards commonly used in poker (i.e., typically five or seven cards), and the creation and evaluation of winning poker hands formed from six or more cards. In one instance, a player may place a plurality of independent bets on any or all possible outcomes of any given hand. For example, a player may wish to bet that he will obtain either a Full House or a Flush. In such a case two separate bets are required: one for the Full House and a second for the Flush. If either combination is attained, the player wins.

As noted above, in one embodiment of the present invention a poker hand containing six or more cards is formed and evaluated in order to determine if a non-standard winning hand can be formed using six or more cards. In this embodiment, the additional card or cards in excess of five are used to form exotic poker hands containing six or more cards. Given that the present invention can permit the evaluation of winning hands formed from any number of cards in excess of five, the method of the present invention is capable of creating hands that do not exist in conventional video poker. Such hands can be created using six, seven or even eight or more cards. Some examples include a six card Royal Flush, two sets of three cards each, and three pairs. Further examples include a seven card Royal Flush, three sets of three cards each, and four pairs.

In another embodiment, the present invention can enable players to obtain higher payouts due to the present invention's ability to increase the potential to win more than one bet on any given hand. Additionally, some of the card combinations unique to the present invention are substantially less likely to occur than conventional poker hands often associated with video poker. Namely, many exotic card combinations comprising six or more cards will be less likely to occur given the probabilities associated with poker hands formed from six or more cards. Thus, in one embodiment, the method of the present invention enables a player to potentially win higher jackpots than are normally associated with conventional poker hands found on conventional video poker games.

The forgoing broadly outlines the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof may be better understood. Additional features of the present invention will become apparent to one of skill in the art upon reading the following description. It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the details of construction or to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The present invention is capable of other embodiments, and of being practiced and carried out in various ways that will be clear to one of skill in the art. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of the description and should not be regarded as limiting. Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become obvious to the reader and it is intended that these objects and advantages are within the scope of the present invention.

The invention may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying drawings, attention being called to the fact, however, that the drawings are illustrative only, and that changes may be made in the specific construction illustrated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a display screen showing pay tables and basic features; and

FIG. 2 is a display screen showing an example of evaluation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is generally directed to a method and apparatus for playing a new form of video poker. More specifically, the method and apparatus of the present invention provide players with an opportunity to make multiple bets on a plurality of possible outcomes for any given hand. Before or while playing each hand of video poker, the player can choose to place one or more bets on the chance that one or more predetermined card combinations and/or poker hands will occur. For instance, separate bets may be placed for a full house and a flush. Each selected combination is evaluated independently. Therefore, a single hand could result in several winning combinations and thus several payouts. This is in stark contrast to conventional video poker where one bet gives access to one pay table with varying amounts awarded when any one of the target poker hands is achieved. Moreover, conventional video poker machines are only capable of providing a single payout. For instance, if a player attains four of a kind on a conventional machine he can only be paid for a four of a kind. In contrast, the present invention permits the player to bet on attaining any one or more of the poker hands of: (i) four of a kind; (ii) three of a kind; and/or (iii) a pair. Thus, if the player places such a bet and attains four of a kind then he also wins his bets on three of a kind and a pair. Therefore, three payouts are made in combination for one hand of poker.

In one embodiment of the present invention a poker hand containing six or more cards is formed and evaluated in order to determine if a non-standard winning hand can be formed using six or more cards. In this embodiment, the additional card or cards in excess of five are used to form exotic poker hands containing six or more cards. Given that the present invention can permit the evaluation of winning hands formed from any number of cards in excess of five, the method of the present invention is capable of creating hands that do not exist in conventional video poker. Such hands can be created using six, seven or even eight or more cards. Some examples include a six card Royal Flush, two sets of three cards each, and three pairs. Further examples include a seven card Royal Flush, three sets of three cards each, and four pairs.

In still another embodiment, the present invention relates to a video poker game where an additional card or cards in excess of five can be used to form a pool of six or more cards from which five cards are randomly chosen and evaluated. Alternatively, or additionally, the card or cards in excess of five can be used to form one or more exotic poker hands containing six or more cards. Exotic poker hands formed from six or more cards include, but are not limited to, two sets of three of a kind, four of a kind in combination with a pair, three or more sets of pairs, straights of six or more cards, flushes of six or more cards, straight flushes of six or more cards, or four of a kind in combination with three of a kind. As would be apparent to one of skill in the art, in this embodiment the present invention is not limited to any preconceived or conventional poker hands. Rather, the present invention can be designed to permit betting/wagering on one or more possible outcomes of any non-conventional poker hand that can be formed from a standard deck of playing cards (including or excluding the Jokers). In still another embodiment, a set of cards numbering in excess of five can comprise a pool of cards from which the best five cards will be selected and evaluated. That is, a player can select what he or she perceives to be the best five cards from the pool of six or more cards to be evaluated, or a computer can select the best five cards from the pool of six or more cards to be evaluated.

Thus, adding one or more cards in excess of five cards creates new variables that are otherwise not found in conventional five card video poker. In one embodiment, one coin will enable a video poker round similar to conventional video poker machines, a second coin the use of a pool of six or more cards, and a third coin will enable exotic poker hands formed from six or more cards. Pay tables are adjusted accordingly.

Furthermore, the present invention enables players to obtain higher payouts via the possibility of betting/wagering on a plurality of possible outcomes per hand. Additionally, the method of the present invention is capable of being used in combination with a progressive jackpot pay schedule. It is understood in the art that the term progressive jackpot comprises a pay schedule wherein the potential payout amount continues to increase as players bet and lose. Thus, the player who eventually wins takes a jackpot calculated in part according to the number of preceding losses. Finally, some card combinations that are unique to the method of the present invention are substantially less probable than that of conventional poker, namely, many exotic card combinations comprising six or more cards. Thus the method of the present invention generally comprises the potential for higher jackpots, including higher progressive jackpots, than that associated with conventional video poker.

In one embodiment a pay table is displayed informing the player how many credits he will earn if he places a bet on and attains any of the listed goal combinations (i.e. predetermined poker hands, exotic poker hands, and the like). An opportunity to select the amount of credits to bet is offered to the player. The player places his wagers and then, depending in part upon the wager placed five or more cards are displayed on the screen. The player is given the chance to keep any or all of the cards dealt. The player then selects cards to be held and the cards that are not held are then replaced with other cards from a card deck. After these cards are displayed to the player, the video poker machine determines if any of the selected goal combinations have been attained using the final cards displayed. If any of the player's goals or payout hands have been achieved, the player is awarded the number of credits associated with all of the goals/payout hands achieved. In contrast, with respect to conventional video poker games, if more than one payout hand is achieved, only the highest payout hand is used to calculate the appropriate payout.

In another embodiment, a pay table consists of multiple goal/payout hand combinations that can be attained using a player-specified number of cards selected from a deck of cards. The player is prompted to choose the goal/payout hand patterns that he or she will try to attain. If a player does not choose to bet on a particular goal/payout hand, and that goal/payout hand is achieved, the player is not awarded credits. On the other hand, if the player selects a listed goal/payout hand and it is attained, the player is awarded the appropriate amount of credits associated with the specified goal/payout hand. Each goal/payout hand is evaluated independently and therefore a player can receive multiple awards if multiple goals/payout hands are attained.

After the player selects the amount he is betting and selects the goals/payout hands for which he or she is playing, the machine displays cards from a standard deck of playing cards. If the player has selected a goal/payout pattern that uses more than five cards, then more than five cards are displayed. For instance, if the player has selected a goal/payout that uses six cards, then six cards are displayed. As in conventional video poker, the player selects which of the displayed cards to hold, and the video poker machine replaces the cards that are not held with other cards from the deck of cards. The machine then evaluates each goal/payout hand for which the player has elected to play, and awards the associated number of points if the goal/payout hand has been attained. Multiple goals/payout hands can be simultaneously attained and the player is awarded for each and every goal/payout hand upon which he has bet and attained. For example, if a full house has been attained, the player can be awarded credits for attaining a full house, three of a kind, two pair, and possibly jacks or better.

In another embodiment the present invention comprises at least one deck of playing cards, wherein the deck may be either physically tangible or electronic. Accordingly, as cards are dealt to a player or players the contents of the at least one deck are depleted.

In still another embodiment, the present invention comprises a software program capable of performing the method of the present invention. In a still further embodiment the present invention comprises an online gaming method enabling players to place bets over the Internet. Yet another embodiment of the present invention comprises an online gaming method enabling players to place bets over a local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and/or the like. Yet another embodiment of the present invention comprises a gaming method practiced on a stand-alone gaming machine. Still another embodiment of the present invention comprises manually practicing the method of the present invention without the aid of a gaming machine or computer device.

Methods may be included rendering it more convenient for the player to choose his bets. For instance, an option to select all available bets at once may be made available. Similar to existing multi-line slot games, buttons can be included to add multiple paylines. In an embodiment, when the player selects a five line bet he is in effect betting on the five most probable combinations, and thus the five combinations having the lowest value. In another embodiment, the player may select specific lines. These variations can be added to all existing variations of video poker including variations that include the use of Jokers or wild cards.

Turning now to the drawings, in which similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several views, the attached figures illustrate a method for allowing multi-line betting on a video poker game comprising the ability to offer multiple wagering opportunities on one hand of video poker, the use of a sixth or higher card in creating and evaluating video poker hands, and the creation of winning poker hands including six or more cards.

FIG. 1 shows the basic concepts of an embodiment of this game. Specifically, it shows a pay table 101 for a conventional hand of poker, a pay table 102 for a hand of poker using a sixth card from which the best five are chosen, and a pay table 103 for a hand of poker using a sixth card creating an exotic poker hand having six cards. Pay table 101 shows credits awarded when a conventional video poker goal pattern is achieved. While the same hands as conventional video poker are listed, the total amounts that can be won are substantially higher because each line represents a separate bet. Pay table 102 shows credits awarded when a sixth card is added to the hand. The credits awarded when the goal/payout hand is achieved are less than when the hand is achieved using five cards since the player's odds of winning generally increase. Pay table 103 shows credits awarded for hands created using, for example, six cards. The credits awarded are much higher because these hands are generally less probable. In any case, a player may bet on each goal/payout hand separately; therefore, the player can simultaneously bet on all 27 goals/payout hands listed in pay tables 101, 102, and 103 in a single round of poker.

FIG. 1 also shows a sixth card 104, which is added upon the player's election. Additionally, FIG. 1 shows hold buttons 105, which a player uses to indicate which cards are to be kept. Alternatively, a separate hold button 105 for each card dealt is not necessary. Rather, the player could “click” on each card that the player desires to keep. If a card is not held then it is discarded and replaced with another card drawn from the deck. The lower left of FIG. 1 indicates the number of lines bet, 106. In this example all 27 bets have been selected, therefore 27 separate bets have been made, and will be individually evaluated.

FIG. 2 shows an example of a completed game after the evaluation phase. The screen includes a visual indication 301 that the player has won three of his bets. The player's first five cards include two Jacks, so the player wins the Jacks or Better wager of pay table 101. The player also wins Jacks or better and two pair on the six card bet of pay table 102. Notice that since the sixth card 302 is required to form the two pair, the player does not win the two pair bet of pay table 101 since this payout table is limited to payout hands based on only five cards. The total amount won 303 by the player on this hand is shown in the lower left of FIG. 2. Four credits for five card “Jacks or Better”, two credits for six card “Jacks or Better”, and three more credits for six card two pair equals nine credits. But since the player bet five credits for this round, his nine credit subtotal is multiplied by five thus giving us the total winnings shown, i.e. 45 credits.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.