Title:
Card game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A parlor or casino card game for a plurality of players incorporates each player's placing an ante into a pot, dealing a hand to each player, participating in a round of betting, and then playing hands by collecting combinations of standard playing cards to form melds which may be laid down. Cards are added to a hand by drawing from a deck or picking up a most recent discard, and cards are eliminated from a hand by a discard which completes each player's turn. The game ends when one player has formed and laid down melds comprising all the cards in the hand except for a single card which is then discarded. Each player can use an imaginary card having any suit or value to complete certain melds. The first player to lay down all of the cards in a hand wins the game and may take the pot.



Inventors:
Lichtman, Jack (Miami, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/038876
Publication Date:
07/20/2006
Filing Date:
01/20/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/303
International Classes:
A63F1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, ALYSSA MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael C. Cesarano, P.A. (Miami, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of playing a card game comprising the steps of: providing at least one set of playing cards comprising a plurality of card suits, each suit including a plurality of cards wherein each card has a particular number value or predetermined face card value to form a contiguous sequence from a lowest value to a highest card value for each suit, all of said suits having in common cards with the same values, placing an initial ante to form a pot, dealing a plurality of cards to each player to form a hand, holding one or more rounds of betting in which each player, in turn, may raise the pot, call, check, or fold, until all players have completed their bets, placing one card face up to form a first card in a discard pile, a first player playing a turn either by choosing the top card in said discard pile to combine with other cards in said player's hand to form and lay down one meld or to add to an existing meld and optionally to lay down one or more additional melds or add to one or more existing melds, or by choosing the top card from the deck and optionally laying down one or more melds or adding to one or more existing melds, said player completing said turn by discarding one card face up on the top of said discard pile, repeating the foregoing steps for playing a turn for each successive player until one player has formed and laid down one or more melds and ends the game by discarding the last card in said player's hand, said player thereby winning the hand and taking all of the money in the pot, each said meld being one of three possible card combinations, said first card combination comprising three or more cards forming a sequence of consecutive numbers and face card values in which each card in said sequence is the same suit as every other card in said sequence, said second card combination comprising three or more cards having the same value, at least three of said cards being of different suits, said third card combination comprising all cards in a hand being of the same suit except for the card to be placed on said discard pile, which may be of any suit, said one or more existing melds being melds that have been laid down by a player and onto which an additional card or cards may be added to enlarge the meld.

2. The method of playing a card game as claimed in claim 1, said method further comprising each player's hand optionally being supplemented with one imaginary card that may be of any desired suit and particular value, said imaginary card being used in one of said melds comprising said first card combination, said imaginary card's suit and particular value being declared at the time said meld is laid down.

3. The method of playing a card game as claimed in claim 2, said method further comprising the step of a player's notifying other players that said player's hand has been completed by uttering a predetermined vocal signal.

4. The method of playing a card game as claimed in claim 2, said method further comprising the step of a player's completing said player's hand and ending the game on said player's first turn.

5. The method of playing a card game as claimed in claim 3, said set of playing cards comprising one or more standard decks of cards.

6. The method of playing a card game as claimed in claim 5, said set of playing cards comprising two standard decks of cards.

7. The method of playing a card game as claimed in claim 5, said method further comprising the step of assigning said ace a rank of either the highest or the lowest sequential value of said card values for each meld in which an ace is used.

8. The method of playing a card game as claimed in claim 7, said method further comprising the step of each player's turn being determined by the order of each player seat relative to said dealer, said first player being to the dealer's immediate left, each successive player being to the immediate left of the player whose turn is last completed.

9. The method of playing a card game as claimed in claim 7, said method further comprising the step of each player's turn being determined by the order of each player seat relative to said dealer, said first player being to the dealer's immediate right, each successive player being to the immediate right of the player whose turn is last completed.

10. The method of playing a card game as claimed in claim 7, said method further comprising the step of dealing an initial hand of eight cards to each player.

11. The method of playing a card game as claimed in claim 1, said method further comprising the step of using a computer to simulate the betting and play of one or more simulated players, said computer performing the further steps of maintaining a record of the ante of each player and each simulated player, maintaining a record of the betting of each player and each simulated player, dealing the cards, betting each said simulated player's hand, playing each said simulating player's hand, and determining a winner of each said game.

12. The method of playing a card game as claimed in claim 11, said method further comprising the step of accepting money or tokens from each non-simulated player and paying out money or tokens to each non-simulated player who is a winner of said game.

Description:

BACKGROUND

For thousands of years, games that use cards or other uniquely identifiable playing pieces have been popular, both as a means of pleasurably passing time in the company of others, and as intellectual exercises that challenge the players to make choices based upon perceived statistical probabilities and each player's recollection of past events. Two games that have been highly popular in decades past are poker and gin rummy. Both poker and gin rummy are commonly played as parlor games, and both have been adapted to a casino-style of play. However, because both games have been played for many years under generally the same respective historical rules, some people who are accustomed to playing poker or gin rummy, and to facing the same tactical choices that they have been making for years, may find that the old games have become stale, and that certain tactical choices no longer present the intellectual challenges that they once did. Such people may wish to play a game that is similar in some concepts to poker or gin rummy, but that involves different tactical elements of play and of betting.

The present invention is a new card game that combines betting elements of poker, and tactical hand play elements of gin rummy, but that also incorporates new features in terms of requiring the creation of new card combinations needed to complete the game, and invoking the optional use of an imaginary card that may be used to substitute for an actual, needed card. Such new features present intellectual challenges that are not found in other games, and provide a substantially larger number of possible card combinations for a winning hand than other traditional card games.

The appealing feature of the card game of this invention is its entertainment value. The invention can provide fun for casino patrons and home players who enjoy card games, and can easily be adapted to computerized play. Many players enjoy the new, innovative features of the invention to provide players with a game that is easy to learn and play but that generates more excitement than standard card games such as blackjack, poker, and gin rummy, which have become boring and simplistic after many card-playing sessions. The card game of this invention provides a gaming experience that can be played for fun or money.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is a card game that fulfills the need for a fun, new casino-style gambling game. The game is played using one or more standard decks of cards, each card having a suit and a specific numeric or face card value.

The game may be played by as few as two players, although greater excitement and enjoyment may be had where there are between five and eight players. Computerized versions of the game of this invention may be developed, and would be able to interact with one or more live players while providing virtual players who are able to compete at selectable, predetermined levels of skill.

To play this game, each player antes a predetermined amount into the pot. For parlor or informal games, a $5 ante is suggested. Each player is each dealt the same number of cards. Although different versions of the invention can use different numbers of cards, eight cards per hand has been found to provide an interesting and challenging game for the players. Following the deal, a round of betting commences with each player having an opportunity to raise the bet, to pass (check), or to fold if the player does not wish to meet the amount of the largest bet that has been made as his turn to bet comes around.

The object of the game is to be the first to lay down all of the cards in a hand as 3, 4, 5 or 6 card melds, or by laying down a flush in which all of the cards of the hand are of a single suit, and to discard a last, unused card.

Following the betting, the play commences in a sequential fashion around the playing table, beginning with the player at the dealer's left. Although play could revolve to the dealer's right, rather than to the left, such a modification is a matter of choice, and is unimportant to the play of the game. Similarly, it is desirable to rotate the deal of each new hand amongst the players to ensure that each player has an opportunity to play “first,” “second,” or at any other position as each new hand is dealt. Some casino-style versions, however, may require that a single “house” dealer deal all hands. In that case, the deal may be theoretically rotated amongst players, and the order of play of the players may be rotated each hand, with a token being used to indicate which player is the theoretical dealer.

Cards are introduced into a player's hand either as a new draw card, which is delivered by the dealer to the player face down so that its suit and value are not seen by other players, or as a pickup of the face up top card from a discard pile. During a player's turn, the player may lay down one or more melds, but is not required to do so. During the turn, a player may also lay cards down on the meld of another player. A player's turn is complete when the player places a card face up on the discard pile.

There are three kinds of melds: A first kind is a flush in which all of the cards in the hand are of the same suit, regardless of value. A second kind is a straight flush combination of three or more consecutively numbered or valued cards of the same suit. A third kind of meld is three or more cards of the same value and of at least three different suits. When only three cards of the same value are being held, they may be laid down only if they are of three different suits. A fourth or fifth card of the same value can be added to form a four or five card meld, and may be the same suit as any of the first three or may be of a different suit.

To assist a player to complete a meld of consecutively numbered cards of the same suit (a straight), each player can optionally add one imaginary card, (or a Joker), to his or her hand, and can declare the suit and value of the card at the time the meld in which the imaginary card is used is laid down. The imaginary card can only be used in a straight, and is not available to assist in the completion of a flush.

The game is normally played using two standard card decks in order to provide a sufficient number of cards for the number of players, although smaller games may use a single deck, and there is no reason why additional decks cannot be used, if desired. The use of multiple standard decks makes it possible for cards having identical suits and values to be used in a four or five card meld of cards having the same value so long as at least three different suits are represented in the meld. In the preferred embodiment, players may lay down their cards by adding to existing melds laid down by other players.

In the preferred embodiment, although other meld combinations may be used, the game is commonly won with three melds of three cards each. Because each player may use an imaginary card to help form a straight, the number of actual cards laid down in a winning hand will be eight (unless the player has played cards onto another player's meld), and a last, unused card will be discarded. However, it is also possible to win with two melds of four cards each, and to ignore the imaginary card; or to have one five card meld and one three card meld, and ignore the imaginary card. Other winning combinations that use the imaginary card are possible, so long as the minimum length meld is three cards, and the rules for using suits are followed. The variety of possible meld combinations, and the players' calculations of the odds for drawing necessary or desirable cards, make the card game of this invention challenging and interesting for the players, and provide a decided advantage for those players most able to adjust the calculated odds by watching the play of other players.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a flow chart showing the primary steps in the playing of a hand by each player.

FIG. 2 is a flow chart showing the essential steps involved in the betting phase of the hand.

FIG. 3 shows a representative hand having two melds that may be laid down to complete a game.

FIG. 4 shows a representative hand having three melds that may be laid down to complete a game.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 depicts the flow of the game of this invention. Before each hand, each player will place a like ante into the pot 10. Once all players have placed their antes, the dealer will deal the cards face down to each player 20. The method of dealing can be sequential, or may be two, four, eight, or any other desired number of cards at a time. In the preferred embodiment, each player will receive eight (8) cards.

To enter the game, a player must first place an ante, and during the betting phase, must raise the bet or check, as is depicted in FIG. 2. Preferably, betting will begin with the player next to the dealer 200, who can place a bet (raise) 230 or pass 240. Although the first player could fold 210 and decline to play the hand 220, as a practical matter he would check to see whether any other players will raise the pot by placing a bet. Depending upon the situs and nature of the game (casino or parlor), a raise may be limited to triple the amount of the opening ante.

Betting proceeds from one player to another 280 until all players have had an opportunity to bet 260, and all players who have not folded have placed bets of equal size 270. If at least some bets have been made, then play will commence 300. Alternatively, if no player has placed a bet 290, then the hand is not played 310, and an additional ante is collected for the next hand, doubling the size of the pot. If bets are not placed for consecutive hands, the pot may optionally be divided, and a portion reserved to supplement a future pot. By limiting each pot to a maximum size before the betting commences, and reserving the excess for future pots, the players will have a greater number of opportunities to participate in larger pots, and their interest in the game will be maintained at a high level.

The betting continues until all raises 250 have been met 270 or players have dropped out of the betting 220. The betting phase takes place after the hand has been dealt, and all betting stops before the hand play begins. Because of this betting procedure, betting strategies may take into account the strength of a player's hand as dealt and the player's assessment of the likelihood of winning with that starting hand. For example, a player with a good hand may pass on the initial bet, as a signal that his hand is weak, and will thereby encourage others to enter the game and increase the size of the pot. The player will then raise the pot when his betting turn comes again.

Returning to FIG. 1, once the betting is complete, the dealer deals one card, face up 40. Starting with the player next to the dealer 50, if the face up card enables that player to complete his hand, he can lay the hand down 70, play a discard 100, and go out on the opening round 130. If the player cannot go out, he may use the face up card 60 to make a meld, which must immediately be laid down 70. If he cannot or decides not to use the face up card 60, he must draw one card from the deck face down 80. If the player can make a meld at that time, he may do so 90, although he is not required to do so. By holding potential melds within a hand until required to lay them down, a player can maximize the chances of making game-winning melds without committing to any particular combination until it has been made, and can avoid revealing useful information to other players. A player's turn ends when the player discards one card 100. Play then moves to the next player 140.

As play continues, each player may, in his turn, lay down a meld of cards 70, 90 and reduce the number of cards in his hand. When a player picks up the last player's discard 60, he must lay down a meld that uses the card 70. In the preferred embodiment, when a player completes a winning hand 130, he will so notify the other players by voicing a key phrase 120. In at least one version of the game, the player who has completed a winning hand will say “Thunder,” although any means of forewarning the other players that only one card is needed will suffice. The game ends when one player is able to lay down all the cards in his hand and discard a last card. The player who first lays down of all his cards wins the pot 150.

FIGS. 3 and 4 show examples of representative hands comprising melds that may be laid down as winning hands. In FIG. 3, a five card diamond straight meld is combined with a four card same-value meld to complete the hand. The five card straight includes a imaginary Queen of Diamonds to complete the straight. The four card same-value meld includes three 7's of different suits, and one 7 (the 7 of Spades) that is not of a different suit. However, because there are at least three different suits represented in this meld, the fourth 7 is permitted to increase the number of cards in the meld from 3 to 4.

FIG. 4 shows a typical hand having three 3-card melds. Once again, the imaginary card is declared to be the Queen of Diamonds. As an example of the strategy for playing a hand, prior to the final (and game-winning) draw or pick up, the player making this hand could have been holding three 7's of different suits and a diamond straight of 9-10-J and the Ace of diamonds. A game-winning hand could have been made by drawing or picking up an additional 7 (to form a meld of four 7's and a straight 9-10-J-Q of Diamonds, using an imaginary Queen); or by drawing or picking up a 2 or 3 of Diamonds (to form a meld of three 73 s, a 9-10-J of Diamonds straight, and a straight A-2-3 of Diamonds using an imaginary 2 or 3); or by drawing or picking up a Queen or King of Diamonds (to form a meld of three 7's, a 9-10-J of Diamonds straight, and an Q-K-A of Diamonds straight, using an imaginary Queen or King). Thus, in a game played using a single standard deck, any one of five different cards could have resulted in a winning hand. In a game played using two standard decks of cards, which is the referred embodiment of the invention, any of thirteen possible cards (minus any that had already been discarded or were being held by other players) would have completed the winning hand.

Having fully explained the method of playing the game of this invention, it will be understood that minor variations in the betting and play of the game may occur without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention, which is limited only by the following claims.