Title:
Slot machine and slot machine gaming method therefor
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A slot machine includes a display unit, an input unit allowing user input, and a game-processing unit connected to the display and input units, and configured to perform consecutive steps of a slot machine gaming method. The slot machine gaming method includes: displaying on the display unit a matrix of cells of (m) columns and (m) rows, where (m) is an even number; providing a plurality of pay lines selectively activated by the user through the input unit, each of the cells being traversed an equal total number of times by the pay lines; consecutively displaying in each of the cells a plurality of indicia for a predetermined time interval, and maintaining display of the indicia last appearing in the cells after elapse of the predetermined time interval; and determining if the indicia last appearing in the cells comply with predetermined winning criteria.



Inventors:
Yang, Arden (Rosemead, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/416029
Publication Date:
05/31/2007
Filing Date:
05/02/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SZABO, STEPHEN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OSTROLENK FABER LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A slot machine gaming method to be implemented using a slot machine having a display unit, said slot machine gaming method comprising: a) displaying on the display unit of the slot machine a matrix of cells of (m) columns and (m) rows, where (m) is an even number; b) providing a plurality of pay lines selectively activated by a user, each of the cells of the matrix being traversed an equal total number of times by the pay lines; c) consecutively displaying in each of the cells a plurality of indicia for a predetermined time interval, and maintaining display of the indicia last appearing in the cells after elapse of the predetermined time interval; and d) determining if the indicia last appearing in the cells comply with predetermined winning criteria based on a relation between the pay lines activated by the user in step b) and the indicia last appearing in the cells in step c).

2. The slot machine gaming method of claim 1, wherein, in step a), (m) is equal to four.

3. The slot machine gaming method of claim 2, wherein, in step b), a total number of the pay lines is a multiple of four.

4. The slot machine gaming method of claim 3, wherein the pay lines are divided into groups of four of the pay lines, each of the cells of the matrix being traversed once by one of the four pay lines in the same group.

5. The slot machine gaming method of claim 1, wherein, in step b), a total number of the pay lines is twenty-four.

6. The slot machine gaming method of claim 5, wherein, in step b), each of the cells of the matrix is traversed a total of six times by the pay lines.

7. A slot machine, comprising: a display unit; a game-processing unit connected to said display unit and configured to perform consecutive steps of a slot machine gaming method; and an input unit connected to said game-processing unit and allowing input by a user; wherein said slot machine gaming method includes: a) displaying on said display unit a matrix of cells of (m) columns and (m) rows, where (m) is an even number; b) providing a plurality of pay lines selectively activated by the user through said input unit, each of the cells of the matrix being traversed an equal total number of times by the pay lines; c) consecutively displaying in each of the cells a plurality of indicia for a predetermined time interval, and maintaining display of the indicia last appearing in the cells after elapse of the predetermined time interval; and d) determining if the indicia last appearing in the cells comply with predetermined winning criteria based on a relation between the pay lines activated by the user in step b) and the indicia last appearing in the cells in step c).

8. The slot machine of claim 7, wherein, in step a) of said slot machine gaming method, (m) is equal to four.

9. The slot machine of claim 8, wherein, in step b) of said slot machine gaming method, a total number of the pay lines is a multiple of four.

10. The slot machine of claim 9, wherein the pay lines are divided into groups of four of the pay lines, each of the cells of the matrix being traversed once by one of the four pay lines in the same group.

11. The slot machine of claim 7, wherein, in step b) of said slot machine gaming method, a total number of the pay lines is twenty-four.

12. The slot machine of claim 11, wherein, in step b) of said slot machine gaming method, each of the cells of the matrix is traversed a total of six times by the pay lines.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority of Taiwanese Application No. 094142075, filed on Nov. 30, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a slot machine and a slot machine gaming method therefor, in which a matrix of cells generated in the slot machine gaming method by the slot machine is formed as a square m-by-m matrix, where (m) is an even number.

2. Description of the Related Art

Referring to FIG. 1, a conventional slot machine utilizes a matrix of an odd number of cells for displaying indicia. Furthermore, dimensions of the matrix are typically unequal, that is, an m-by-n matrix is commonly utilized where (m) does not equal (n). As a result, problems are encountered with respect to pay lines used with such a matrix. In particular, with reference to FIG. 2, after all possible patterns for the pay lines are drawn through the matrix, a total number of times the different cells of the matrix are traversed by the pay lines is not the same for all the cells. This is outlined in Table 1.

TABLE 1
Number of times 25 pay lines traverse cells
of a conventional 3 × 5 matrix
Cell
No.Group 1Group 2Group 3Group 4Group 5Total
1221218
2211138
3131229
4211138
5221218
6122229
7133209
8302207
9133209
10122229
11212128
12211228
13122139
14211228
15212128

It is evident from Table 1 that the total number of times the pay lines pass through the cells varies depending on the cell location in the matrix. For example, the pay lines pass through cell 8 in the center of the matrix (see FIG. 1) a total of seven times, while the pay lines pass through the remainder of the cells eight or nine times. Hence, the odds associated with the cells of the matrix are not the same. This makes it difficult to calculate overall win/loss probabilities for the machine, and makes difficult also the design of the layout of the pay lines.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of this invention is to provide a slot machine and a slot machine gaming method therefor, in which a matrix of cells generated in the slot machine gaming method by the slot machine is formed as a square m-by-m matrix, where (m) is an even number.

According to one aspect, the slot machine gaming method of this invention is implemented using a slot machine having a display unit, and the slot machine gaming method comprises: a) displaying on the display unit of the slot machine a matrix of cells of (m) columns and (m) rows, where (m) is an even number; b) providing a plurality of pay lines selectively activated by a user, each of the cells of the matrix being traversed an equal total number of times by the pay lines; c) consecutively displaying in each of the cells a plurality of indicia for a predetermined time interval, and maintaining display of the indicia last appearing in the cells after elapse of the predetermined time interval; and d) determining if the indicia last appearing in the cells comply with predetermined winning criteria based on a relation between the pay lines activated by the user in step b) and the indicia last appearing in the cells in step c).

According to another aspect of this invention, the slot machine comprises a display unit on which the matrix of cells and the indicia are displayed, a game-processing unit connected to the display unit and configured to perform consecutive steps of the slot machine gaming method of this invention, and an input unit connected to the game-processing unit and allowing input by a user (e.g., activation of the pay lines).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a 3×5 matrix utilized in a conventional slot machine;

FIG. 2 shows various pay lines applied to the 3×5 matrix of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram of a slot machine according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a schematic view of a 4×4 matrix applied to the slot machine of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a flow chart of a slot machine gaming method according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

FIGS. 6 and 7 show various schematic views of pay lines applied to the 4×4 matrix of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 3, a slot machine according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a game-processing unit 2, a display unit 3, and an input unit 4.

The game-processing unit 2 is connected to the display unit 3 and the input unit 4, and is configured to perform overall control of the slot machine, which includes performing consecutive steps of a slot machine gaming method of the present invention. The game-processing unit 2 generates an image of a matrix of cells on the display unit 3, and varies the display of indicia in each of the cells of the matrix during gaming. The input unit 4 allows for input by a user to start gaming, control betting parameters, etc.

The slot machine gaming method performed by the game-processing unit 2 will now be described with reference to FIG. 5.

In step 51, the game-processing unit 2 displays an image on the display unit 3 of a matrix of cells having (m) columns and (m) rows, where (m) is an even number. An example of such a matrix is shown in FIG. 4. In the matrix of FIG. 4, (m) is equal to four to thereby result in a square 4×4 matrix. However, the present invention is not limited in this respect, and it is important only that (m) be an even number as described above.

Next, in step 52, the game-processing unit 2 performs control to provide a plurality of pay lines 31 on the image of the matrix of cells as shown in FIG. 6. The pay lines 31 are selectively activated by the user through the input unit 4. Preferably, a total number of the pay lines 31 is a multiple of four. In the example shown in FIG. 6, a total of twenty-four of the pay lines 31 are provided on the image of the matrix.

To facilitate understanding of this embodiment, the pay lines 31 of FIG. 6 are divided into first through sixth groups of four of the pay lines 31 each. Each of the cells of the matrix is traversed once by one of the four pay lines 31 in the same group. Each of the pay lines 31 in each of the first through sixth groups passes from left to right (or from right to left) through four of the cells. Furthermore, for each of the groups of the pay lines 31, each of the cells is traversed only once by one of the lines. Therefore, each of the cells is traversed an equal total number of times (i.e., six times) by the twenty-four pay lines 31. This is outlined in the following Table 2.

TABLE 2
Number of times 24 pay lines traverse cells of
4 × 4 matrix of the present invention
Cell
No.Group 1Group 2Group 3Group 4Group 5Group 6Total
11111116
21111116
31111116
41111116
51111116
61111116
71111116
81111116
91111116
101111116
111111116
121111116
131111116
141111116
151111116
161111116

Next, in step 53, after receiving user input with respect to the activated pay lines 31, the game-processing unit 2 performs control such that a plurality of indicia are consecutively displayed in each of the cells of the matrix for a predetermined time interval. After elapse of the predetermined time interval, the game-processing unit 2 performs control to maintain display of the indicia last appearing in the cells.

Subsequently, in step 54, it is determined if there is compliance with predetermined winning criteria based on a relation between the pay lines 31 activated by the user in step 52 and the indicia last appearing in the cells in step 53. If there is compliance with the predetermined winning criteria, the game-processing unit 2, in step 55, calculates and awards the user with points on the basis of the predetermined winning criteria.

As an example, points may be awarded to the user if the four cells through which an activated one of the It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the predetermined winning criteria may encompass a large variety of different conditions associated with the indicia displayed in the cells of the matrix and the activated pay lines 31.

Gaming is ended in step 56. Step 55 is skipped following step 54 if it was determined in step 54 that there is not compliance with the predetermined winning criteria.

In FIG. 6, although the pay lines 31 are shown extending between left and right sides of the matrix, the present invention is not limited in this respect, i.e., it is possible for the pay lines 3 to extend between top and bottom sides of the matrix, as shown in FIG. 7. The patterns of the pay lines 31 for each of the groups have been altered in FIG. 7 by rotating the corresponding patterns of FIG. 6 in a counterclockwise direction by 90 degrees. If desired, the groups may be selectively interchanged between FIG. 6 and FIG. 7, and still maintain equal odds for the cells.

Furthermore, although a 4×4 matrix of cells is used as an example in the present invention, other even-numbered square matrices may be employed, such as a 2×2 matrix or a 6×6 matrix. However, there may be drawbacks when using matrices with such different dimensions. For example, a very limited number of the pay lines 31 may be associated with a 2×2 matrix of cells. With a 6×6 matrix of cells, on the other hand, the indicia displayed in the cells may require shrinking to an excessively small size if a relatively small screen size is provided by the display unit 3.

In the present invention described above, a square m-by-m matrix in which (m) is an even number is generated in the slot machine gaming method by the slot machine. As a result, the pay lines 31 may be drawn such that the odds associated with each of the cells of the matrix are equal. Furthermore, the design of the layout of the pay lines 31 is simplified and maybe varied with relative ease.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiment but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent arrangements.