Title:
INTER-LEVEL PLAY BILLIARDS GAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method provides an inter-level play billiards game. The method establishes a first set of rules for the inter-level play billiards game. Further, the first set of rules is associated with a first skill level. In addition, the method provides the first set of rules to a first player of the inter-level play billiards game. The method also establishes a second set of rules for the inter-level play billiards game. The second set of rules is distinct from the first set of rules. Further, the second set of rules is associated with a second skill level that is more experienced than the first skill level. The method provides the second set of rules to a second player of the inter-level play billiards game. In addition, the method monitors play of the inter-level play billiards game between the first player and the second player to ensure that the first player plays the inter-level play billiards game according to the first set of rules and the second player plays the inter-level play billiards game according to the second set of rules.



Inventors:
Garrison, Clark (San Gabriel, CA, US)
Butera, Salvatore A. (Simi Valley, CA, US)
Samaniego, Joseph B. (Glendale, CA, US)
Sapoznik-sabin, Norman (Oak Park, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/425098
Publication Date:
12/20/2007
Filing Date:
06/19/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENT INGENUITY, P.C. (Beverly Hills, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A method of providing an inter-level play billiards game, the method comprising: establishing a first set of rules for the inter-level play billiards game, the first set of rules being associated with a first skill level; providing the first set of rules to a first player of the inter-level play billiards game; establishing a second set of rules for the inter-level play billiards game, the second set of rules being distinct from the first set of rules, the second set of rules being associated with a second skill level that is more experienced than the first skill level; providing the second set of rules to a second player of the inter-level play billiards game; and monitoring play of the inter-level play billiards game between the first player and the second player to ensure that the first player plays the inter-level play billiards game according to the first set of rules and the second player plays the inter-level play billiards game according to the second set of rules.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the first skill level is a beginner skill level and the second skill level is an intermediate skill level.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the first skill level is a beginner skill level and the second skill level is an advanced skill level.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the first skill level is an intermediate skill level and the second skill level is an advanced skill level.

5. The method of claim 1, further comprising establishing a game-winning ball.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein the game-winning ball is the nine-ball.

7. The method of claim 5, wherein the first set of rules includes pocketing at least two balls having the same color to be eligible to pocket the game-winning ball.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein the at least two balls have the same color in different formats.

9. The method of claim 7, wherein the at least two balls having the same color can be pocketed across multiple innings to be eligible to pocket the game-winning ball.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein the at least two balls having the same color are required to be pocketed in sequence across multiple innings to be eligible to pocket the game-winning ball.

11. The method of claim 9, wherein the first player establishes eligibility to pocket the game-winning ball without calling shots for the at least two balls having the same color.

12. The method of claim 7, wherein the first player qualifies to pocket the game-winning ball if the first player is eligible and has pocketed the remainder of the balls other than the at least two balls having the same color and the game-winning ball.

13. The method of claim 7, wherein the game-winning ball can be pocketed, during any inning, by combination or carom for an automatic win.

14. The method of claim 5, wherein the second set of rules includes pocketing at least two balls having the same color in a single inning to be eligible to pocket the game-winning ball.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the at least two balls have the same color in different formats.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the at least two balls having the same color are required to be pocketed in sequence in a single turn.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein the at least two balls having the same color are required to be pocketed by combination or carom in a single turn to be eligible to pocket the game-winning ball.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein the second player qualifies to pocket the game-winning ball if the second player is eligible and has pocketed the remainder of the balls other than the at least two balls having the same color and the game-winning ball.

19. The method of claim 5, wherein the second set of rules includes pocketing all balls utilized in the inter-level billiards game, other than a cue ball, in color sequence in a single inning to become eligible.

20. The method of claim 1, further comprising establishing a set of inter-level play rules applicable to both the first player and the second player.

21. The method of claim 20, further comprising providing the set of inter-level play rules to both the first player and the second player.

22. The method of claim 1, further comprising receiving a wager on the outcome of the inter-level play billiards game.

23. A method of playing an inter-level play billiards game, the method comprising: participating in a break determination; and playing the inter-level play billiards game according to a first set of rules associated with a first skill level, the first set of rules distinct from the second set of rules, the second set of rules being associated with a second skill level that is more experienced than the first skill level.

24. The method of claim 23, wherein the first skill level is a beginner skill level and the second skill level is an intermediate skill level.

25. The method of claim 23, wherein the first skill level is a beginner skill level and the second skill level is an advanced skill level.

26. The method of claim 23, wherein the first skill level is an intermediate skill level and the second skill level is an advanced skill level.

27. The method of claim 23, wherein the first set of rules includes pocketing at least two balls having the same color to be eligible to pocket a game-winning ball.

28. The method of claim 27, wherein the game-winning ball can be pocketed, during any inning, by combination or carom for an automatic win.

29. The method of claim 27, wherein the at least two balls have the same color in different formats.

30. The method of claim 27, wherein the at least two balls having the same color can be pocketed across multiple innings to be eligible to pocket the game-winning ball.

31. The method of claim 30, wherein the at least two balls having the same color are required to be pocketed in sequence across multiple innings to be eligible to pocket the game-winning ball.

32. The method of claim 31, wherein the first player qualifies to pocket the game-winning ball if the first player is eligible and has pocketed the remainder of the balls other than the at least two balls having the same color and the game-winning ball.

33. The method of claim 31, further comprising playing the inter-level play billiards game according to a set of inter-level play rules in addition to the first set of rules, the set of inter-level play rules applicable to both the first player and the second player.

34. A method of playing an inter-level play billiards game, the method comprising: participating in a break determination; and playing the inter-level play billiards game according to a second set of rules associated with a second skill level, the second set of rules distinct from the first set of rules, the first set of rules being associated with a first skill level that is less experienced than the second skill level.

35. The method of claim 34, wherein the first skill level is a beginner skill level and the second skill level is an intermediate skill level.

36. The method of claim 34, wherein the first skill level is a beginner skill level and the second skill level is an advanced skill level.

37. The method of claim 34, wherein the first skill level is an intermediate skill level and the second skill level is an advanced skill level.

38. The method of claim 34, wherein the second set of rules includes pocketing at least two balls having the same color to be eligible to pocket a game-winning ball.

39. The method of claim 38, wherein the game-winning ball can be pocketed, during any inning, by combination or carom for an automatic win.

40. The method of claim 38, wherein the at least two balls have the same color in different formats.

41. The method of claim 38, wherein the at least two balls having the same color are required to be pocketed in a single turn to be eligible to pocket the game-winning ball.

42. The method of claim 38, wherein the at least two balls having the same color are required to be pocketed by combination or carom in a single turn to be eligible to pocket the game-winning ball.

43. The method of claim 42, wherein the second set of rules provides for qualification to pocket the game-winning ball if eligibility is established and the remainder of the balls, other than the at least two balls having the same color and the game-winning ball, have been pocketed.

44. The method of claim 42, wherein the second set of rules provide that eligibility can be established by pocketing all balls utilized in the inter-level billiards game, other than a cue ball, in color sequence in a single inning.

45. The method of claim 42, further comprising playing the inter-level play billiards game according to a set of inter-level play rules in addition to the first set of rules, the set of inter-level play rules applicable to both the first player and the second player.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field

A method is disclosed which generally relates to the game of billiards.

2. General Background

Billiards is a popular game of skill. A typical billiards game involves the use of a billiards table, which has a set of pockets into which players attempt to shoot a series of balls. Billiards players utilize cue sticks to shoot the balls into the pockets.

A typical configuration involves a billiards table with six pockets: four corner pockets and two side pockets. Players utilize their cue sticks to shoot a series of balls into the pockets. For instance, in the billiards game entitled “eight ball,” a set of fifteen balls is utilized. Seven of the balls are numbered and painted in a distinct solid color (“solid colored balls”), seven of the balls are numbered and painted with a distinct colored stripe that is the same color as one of the distinct solid colors (“striped colored balls), and one of the balls is numbered “eight” and is painted solid black (“eight-ball”). The player that gets the first turn can be determined through a variety of ways, e.g., flipping a coin. Accordingly, the player with the first turn breaks, i.e., utilizes his or her cue stick to hit a cue ball, which is painted solid white, into the fifteen balls arranged in a triangular formation. If one of the solid colored balls enters a pocket, the first player is assigned the solid colored balls, and the second player is assigned the stripe colored balls. Alternatively, if one of the striped colored balls enters a pocket, the first player is assigned the striped colored balls, and the second player is assigned the solid colored balls. The first player must then continue to pocket solid colored balls to have the opportunity to pocket the eight ball to ultimately win the billiards game. If both a solid colored ball and a striped colored ball enter a pocket, the breaking player determines whether he or she would like to be assigned the solid colored balls or the striped colored balls to pocket. In one configuration, the first player must call which solid colored ball and which pocket he or she will shoot that solid colored ball into. If the first player makes the shot, he or she continues to attempt to pocket all of the solid colored balls to have the opportunity to pocket the eight-ball. On the other hand, if the first player does not make the shot, the second player has a turn to pocket the striped colored balls to ultimately pocket the eight-ball and win the game. The billiards game continues on in this manner until one of the players pockets all of his or her assigned balls and the eight-ball. In one configuration, a player can win when the other player attempts to shoot the eight-ball into a pocket and scratches, i.e., shoots the cue ball into a pocket.

Current billiards games, such as eight-ball, provide a significant advantage to those with greater skill over those with less skill. In essence, there is very little chance for a relatively new billiards player to win a game of eight-ball against a relatively experienced billiards player. Further, an eight-ball game between two relatively new players usually takes an extended period of time to complete the game. In addition, an eight-ball game between two relatively experienced players often depends on factors such as who wins the coin toss and gets to break. As a result, the current billiards games lack the excitement needed to attract a large number of spectators. Further, without a large number of spectators, the current billiards games are not conducive to wagering in casino settings.

SUMMARY

In one aspect of the disclosure, a method of providing an inter-level play billiards game is disclosed. The method establishes a first set of rules for the inter-level play billiards game. Further, the first set of rules is associated with a first skill level. In addition, the method provides the first set of rules to a first player of the inter-level play billiards game. The method also establishes a second set of rules for the inter-level play billiards game. The second set of rules is distinct from the first set of rules. Further, the second set of rules is associated with a second skill level that is more experienced than the first skill level. The method provides the second set of rules to a second player of the inter-level play billiards game. In addition, the method monitors play of the inter-level play billiards game between the first player and the second player to ensure that the first player plays the inter-level play billiards game according to the first set of rules and the second player plays the inter-level play billiards game according to the second set of rules.

In another aspect of the disclosure, a method of playing an inter-level play billiards game is disclosed. The method participates in a break determination. Further, the method plays the inter-level play billiards game according to a first set of rules associated with a first skill level. In addition, the first set of rules is distinct from the second set of rules. The second set of rules is associated with a second skill level that is more experienced than the first skill level.

In yet another aspect of the disclosure, a method of playing an inter-level play billiards game is disclosed. The method participates in a break determination. Further, the method plays the inter-level play billiards game according to a second set of rules associated with a second skill level. In addition, the second set of rules is distinct from the first set of rules. Further, the first set of rules is associated with a first skill level that is less experienced than the second skill level.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above-mentioned features and objects of the present disclosure will become more apparent with reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numerals denote like elements and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a billiards table 100 that can be utilized for the inter-level play billiards game.

FIG. 2 illustrates a magnified view of the plurality of inter-level play billiards balls 102 utilized in the inter-level play billiards game.

FIG. 3 illustrates a process 300 for providing an inter-level play billiards game.

FIG. 4 illustrates a process 400 of playing an inter-level play billiards game.

FIG. 5 illustrates a process 500 of playing an inter-level play billiards game.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A method is disclosed for providing an inter-level play billiards game. Accordingly, the inter-level play billiards game provides the excitement seen in other sports that typical billiards games lack. For instance, as will be explained, the inter-level play billiards game provides an underdog with a very realistic possibility of beating a champion player. In addition, the inter-level play billiards game is configured to be fast paced because long and drawn out billiards games are less conducive to spectators. Accordingly, the inter-level play billiards game can be utilized in a casino setting to attract spectators who can wager on the inter-level play billiards games. The inter-level play billiard game is not required to be played in a casino. For instance, the inter-level play billiard game can be played in any billiards setting utilizing existing billiards tables and equipment. Further, wagering by spectators is not required for play of the inter-level play billiards game. The inter-level play billiards game can be played for leisure, prizes, or wagers placed by the participants.

In one embodiment, the inter-level play billiards game allows players of different skill levels to compete against one another. A player plays according to a set of rules for his or her skill level even though the player may be playing against a player of a different skill level who is playing according to a different set of rules. Accordingly, play of the inter-level play billiards game can have two players playing against one another, yet according to different sets of rules. For instance, a beginner level player can play against an intermediate level player. The beginner level player plays according to a beginner level set of rules where as the intermediate player plays according to the intermediate set of rules. The beginner set of rules is much less stringent than the intermediate player set of rules so that there is a realistic chance that the beginner player can beat the intermediate player.

Accordingly, the underdog can win. Billiards players are incentivized to play more because of the thrill of possibly beating a player of a higher skill level. Further, spectators are incentivized to watch, and potentially wager on, the inter-level play billiards game because of the extra level of excitement. Other examples of inter-level play include a beginner level player competing against an advanced level player and an intermediate level player competing against an advanced level player.

For ease of discussion, a first player and a second player will be discussed in the description herein. However, one of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the concepts discussed herein can be utilized by teams of players. For instance, a team of two beginner level players can play against a team of two advanced level players. Further, the inter-level play billiards game can potentially have three players of three different levels competing against each other: a beginner player playing according to the beginner set of rules, an intermediate player playing according to the intermediate set of rules, and an advanced player playing according to the advanced set of rules. In addition, there may be more than three different levels of beginner, intermediate, and advanced. For instance, the skill levels may include level one, level two, level three, level four, and level five. One of ordinary skill in the art will understand that these and similar variations are intended to be encompassed by the disclosure. Further, the inter-level play billiards game can be played between two players of the same skill level. The two players, in that instance, will play according to the same set of rules.

The skill level of a player can be determined according to an objective set of standards. In one embodiment, the entity which provides the inter-level play billiards game can help regulate play of the game to ensure that players are playing at the appropriate skill level. For instance, the entity can be a casino that ensures the players are the appropriate skill level. If a player has drastically improved his or her skill level, the player may be moved up a skill level by the entity. For instance, if a beginner player improves his or her game to the point where he or she is winning a significant amount of the time, his or her status may be changed to that of an intermediate player. The entity can establish predetermined guidelines for the determination of when the designation of a player is elevated. For instance, a win/loss percentage over a certain number of games played can be utilized as a factor for the determination of player designation. In one embodiment, the entity regulates who the players can challenge. For instance, the entity can ensure that an advanced player can only challenge another advanced player. The entity can also ensure that an intermediate player can only challenge another intermediate player or an advanced player. Further, the entity can allow the beginner level player to challenge anyone.

The ultimate goal of the inter-level play billiards game, for the both the first player and the second player, is to pocket a predetermined ball. This predetermined ball shall be referred to as the game-winning ball. The game-winning ball can be selected from any of the balls utilized for the inter-level play billiards game. In one embodiment, the game-winning ball is the nine-ball. In yet another embodiment, the game-winning ball is the eight-ball. For ease of discussion, the nine-ball is utilized herein as the game-winning ball. However, one of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the concepts discussed herein can be applied to the game-winning ball being any of the other balls utilized in the inter-level play billiards game.

In one embodiment, to add further excitement to the inter-level play billiards game, a small number of balls are utilized. For instance, a typical billiards game includes fifteen balls. However, utilizing this number of balls may prolong a billiards game. Therefore, the inter-level play billiards game can utilize a smaller set of balls, such as six balls, in order to help expedite the game. Having a faster game helps maintain spectator interest, thereby potentially leading to an increase in wagering.

FIG. 1 illustrates a billiards table 100 that can be utilized for the inter-level play billiards game. Further, a plurality of inter-level play billiards balls 102 can be utilized to play the inter-level play billiards game. In one embodiment, the plurality of inter-level play billiards balls 102 includes a series of pairs. Two balls that are painted the same color constitute a color set and are included in a pair. In one embodiment, the color set includes two balls that are painted the same color, but in a different format. For instance, an example of a color set may be the two-ball, which is painted solid blue, and the ten-ball, which is painted with a blue stripe. While the example illustrated in the disclosure includes two balls per color set, one of ordinary skill in the art will understand that a color set can include more than two balls.

In one embodiment, the game-winning ball is part of a color set. For instance, if the game-winning ball is the nine-ball, which has a yellow stripe, then the other ball in the color set may be the one-ball, which is solid yellow.

To depict a working example, FIG. 1 illustrates the plurality of inter-level play billiards balls 102, including six balls: nine-ball 104 (yellow stripe, game-winning ball), one-ball 106 (solid yellow), two-ball 108 (solid blue), ten-ball 110 (blue stripe), three-ball 112 (solid red), and eleven-ball 114 (red stripe). At the outset of the inter-level play billiards game, the plurality of inter-level play billiards balls 102 is racked in a triangle on a foot spot of the billiards table 100.

FIG. 2 illustrates a magnified view of the plurality of inter-level play billiards balls 102 utilized in the inter-level play billiards game. In the example provided, the three-ball 112 is positioned at the apex of the triangular formation of the plurality of inter-level play billiards balls 102. Further, the nine-ball 104 is positioned at the center of the row most distant from the apex ball.

The billiards table 100 also includes six pockets: four corner pockets 116 and two side pockets 118. Ultimately, the goal for the first player and the second player is to pocket the nine-ball because the nine-ball is the game-winning ball. However, the first player and the second player must be eligible before being able to pocket the nine-ball. The first set of rules provides criteria that the first player must meet before he or she is eligible, and the second set of rules provides criteria that the second player must meet before he or she is eligible. The race to become eligible adds to the excitement. Further, one player may become eligible while the other player does not become eligible. In addition, one player can attempt to prevent the other player from becoming eligible.

To be an effective inter-level play billiards player, the player should have a strong knowledge not only of the set of rules that applies to him or her, but also to the set of rules that applies to his or her opponent. In other words, by knowing how an opposing player of a different skill level can become eligible, the player then knows how to prevent the opposing player from becoming eligible. Accordingly, an example set of rules for a beginner level player, an intermediate level player, and an advanced player shall now be described. The rules shall be described in terms of two players of the same skill level playing against one another. However, the rules are intended to apply to the player of that skill level when that player plays an opposing player of a different skill level.

In one embodiment, the billiards game begins, according to the first set of rules, with a break by lot. In other words, the winner is determined by flipping a coin or drawing numbers. The winner of the lot determines which player will break. The player who breaks must strike the apex ball of the plurality of inter-level play billiards balls 102. In the example illustrated in FIG. 1, the player must strike the three-ball 112, which is the apex ball. At the break, the player automatically becomes eligible and wins, as a result of a “break reward,” if the nine-ball 104 is pocketed into one of the corner pockets 116 or one of the side pockets 118. If the nine-ball 104 is pocketed at the break, the breaking player automatically wins. If the nine-ball 104 is not pocketed at the break, a determination is made as to whether any of the plurality of inter-level play billiards balls 102 are pocketed into one of the corner pockets 116 or one of the side pockets 118. If none of the plurality of inter-level play billiards balls enters one of the corner pockets 116 or one of the side pockets 118, the first player's turn finishes, and the second player's turn begins. If any of the plurality of inter-level play billiards balls 102 is pocketed into one of the corner pockets 116 or one of the side pockets 118, the player keeps his or her turn.

In one embodiment, the beginner level rules provide that the beginner player must pocket a color set in order to be eligible to pocket the nine-ball 104. For instance, the two-ball 108 and the ten-ball 110 are a color set because both balls share are painted blue: the two ball 108 is solid blue and the ten-ball 110 has a blue stripe. The color set can be pocketed across multiple innings. An inning includes a complete set of turns, i.e., one turn for the first player and one turn for the second player. For instance, if the beginner player pockets the two-ball 108 in his or her first turn, subsequently misses pocketing the ten-ball 110 in his or her first turn, and pockets the ten-ball in his or her second turn, the beginner player has successfully pocketed the color set of the two-ball 108 and the ten-ball 110 across multiple innings, i.e., the first and second inning. In another embodiment, the color set must also be pocketed in color sequence in a single inning or across multiple innings. The term “color sequence” is intended to mean that a ball of an intervening color cannot be pocketed in between balls having the same color. For instance, if the beginner player pockets the two-ball 108, followed by the one-ball 106, and followed by the ten-ball 110, the beginner player has not pocketed a color set in color sequence because the one-ball 106 is an intervening yellow ball.

Although one particular color set may not be pocketed according to the set of beginner level rules, eligibility may still be obtained if the beginner level player pockets a different color set. For instance, in the above example, although the beginner player cannot obtain eligibility for the blue color set, one potential alternative way for the beginner player to still obtain eligibility is by pocketing the red color set of the three-ball 112 and the eleven-ball 114 in sequence in a single inning or across multiple innings.

With respect to the eligibility for the red color set and the blue color set, an eligible player must wait until all of the remaining balls are pocketed before attempting to qualify pocket the nine-ball 104. The remaining balls can be pocketed by the qualified player, the opposing player, or both the qualified player and the opposing player. With respect to eligibility for the yellow color set, an eligible player can qualify and win, as a result of another type of break reward, and avoid having to wait for the remaining balls to be pocketed if the eligible player became eligible as a result of pocketing the one-ball 106 at the break and immediately thereafter, in the same inning, pocketing the nine-ball 104. In one embodiment, if the nine-ball 104 is not pocketed in the same inning as the one-ball 106, the player remains eligible, but is required to pocket the remaining balls prior to qualifying to pocket the nine-ball 104. In another embodiment, if the nine-ball 104 is not pocketed in the same inning as the one-ball 106, the player loses eligibility and must pocket a new color set in addition to the remaining balls prior to qualifying to pocket the nine-ball 104. In yet another embodiment, a break reward is provided for pocketing the blue or red color sets off of the break. For instance, if the player pockets the blue color set, the player becomes eligible and qualifies so that he or she can immediately attempt to pocket the nine-ball 104 without having to pocket the remaining balls. In one embodiment, if the player misses the nine-ball 104, the player retains eligibility, but must pocket the remaining balls prior to qualifying to pocket the nine-ball 104. In another embodiment, if the player misses the nine-ball 104, the player loses eligibility and must pocket a new color set in addition to the remaining balls prior to qualifying to pocket the nine-ball 104. These variations can also be utilized with respect to the red color set. Further, the set of beginner level rules does not require that the beginner level player call any of the shots prior to pocketing the nine-ball 104. In one embodiment, as another reward, the pocketing of the nine-ball, during any inning, by combination or carom leads an automatic win. The term combination is intended to mean the event in which a cue ball strikes a first object ball, and the first object ball then strikes a second object ball to pocket the second object ball. Further, the term carom is intended to mean the event in which a cue ball strikes a first object ball, and the cue ball ricochets off of the first object ball to strike a second object ball so that the second object ball is pocketed.

In one embodiment, the opposing player thinks not only how to become eligible to pocket the nine-ball 104, but also how to prevent the opposing player from becoming eligible. For instance, if the first player pockets the two-ball 108 off of the break and misses pocketing the ten-ball 110 in the first inning, the second player can then attempt, on his or her turn in the first inning, to pocket the ten-ball 110 so that the first player cannot pocket the ten-ball 110 in the second inning to become eligible based on the blue color set. Further, if the first player becomes eligible, he or she will want to prevent the opposing player from becoming eligible by trying to pocket corresponding balls in a color set to balls that have been pocketed by the second player. Accordingly, if only one player is eligible by the time that all of the balls other than the nine-ball 104 have been pocketed, the opposing player can attempt to pocket the nine-ball 104 to force a stalemate so that no one wins. In one embodiment, the opposing player can only attempt to pocket the nine-ball to force a stalemate once all the remaining balls have been pocketed. Further, in another embodiment, once all of the remaining balls have been pocketed, each player has a fixed number of attempts for which he or she is allowed to try to pocket the nine-ball 104 for a win or a stalemate. For example, the fixed number can be three times for each player. If no player has pocketed the nine-ball 104 within three attempts, there is a stalemate. By implementing a fixed number of attempts, the speed of the game is increased. Otherwise, the game may go on for an extended period of time, which would not be conducive to spectators and wagering. If there is a stalemate, wagers can be increased for the next game if wagering occurs.

In one embodiment, wagers are required to be placed by spectators prior to the initiation of game play. A display, electronic or paper, may be provided to indicate the skill levels of the players. Further, the display may indicate the win/loss records of each player. This information can help spectators in making a wager.

In another embodiment, wagers may be placed after the initiation of game play, but prior to the completion of game play. For example, spectators may see an underdog who made a shot that they liked during game play and may place a wager on that underdog. This type of wagering further adds to the excitement of the inter-level play billiards game.

In addition, it is possible for both the first player and the second player to become eligible. For instance, the first player can pocket the blue color set and the second player can pocket the red color set. Both players are then eligible to pocket the nine-ball 104. The players then attempt to pocket the one-ball 106 to clear all the remaining balls from the billiards table 100 and thereby qualify to pocket the nine-ball 104 for a win.

The example above is for illustrative purposes only. The concept of pocketing a color set to be eligible to pocket the game-winning ball can be implemented with any subset of the rules provided above. For instance, all of the game rules may be provided for without a particular break reward. For instance, a player may not become eligible to pocket the nine-ball 104 by pocketing the one-ball 106 off of the break. In one embodiment, pocketing of the nine-ball 104 off of the break results in a win. Further, variations of the first set of rules provided above can be implemented. The first set of rules can be any set of rules, distinct from the second set of rules, that requires less of a skill level than the second set of rules. Accordingly, a beginner level player can realistically beat a more experienced player.

The second set of rules is designed so that a more experienced player has a more difficult time pocketing the game-winning ball. In other words, the eligibility requirements to pocket the nine-ball 104 are more stringent for the more experienced player than for the beginner player. An example of the second set of rules shall now be provided. An intermediate set of rules shall be used as the example for the second set of rules. However, the second set of rules can be an intermediate set of rules, an advanced set of rules, or any other set of rules that requires a more experienced level of skill play than a beginner level. Further, for ease of discussion, the example provided shall involve two intermediate players. However, the second set of rules can apply to an intermediate player who also plays a beginner level player, an advanced level player, or a player of another designation with less or more experience than the intermediate level player.

In one embodiment, the intermediate set of rules provides that the billiards game begins with a break by lag or lot. The term lag is intended to mean that the two players shoot the cue ball from the head of the table towards the foot of the table to ricochet off an edge at the foot of the table and see how close the cue ball comes to an edge of the head of the table. The player with the closes shot wins the lag. The winner of the lag or lot determines who breaks. In one embodiment, the breaking shot must strike the apex ball, which is the three-ball in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2. If any ball is pocketed, the breaking player continues playing and can become eligible to pocket a color set. If the breaking player does not pocket a ball, the opposing player's turn begins.

The first player to pocket any ball must choose what side of the table he or she will pocket the nine-ball 104 if becoming eligible and qualifying to do so. The term “side of the table” is intended to mean a side of the billiards table 100 that includes two corner pockets 116 and one side pocket 118. In one embodiment, a marker can be utilized to indicate which side of the table the player has chosen. For instance, the player can be provided with an object to place on the side of the table that the player has selected. If the intermediate player becomes eligible and qualifies, he or she must pocket the nine-ball 104 into the one of the selected two corner pockets 116 and one corner pocket 118. The opposing player automatically must pocket the nine-ball 104, if he or she becomes eligible and qualifies, into one of the two corner pockets 116 and one corner 118 on the other side of the billiards table 100. This rule only applies if the opposing player is an intermediate player or an advanced player. If the opposing player is a beginner player, the beginner player plays according to his or her set of beginner level rules and is not required to select a side.

In order for the intermediate player to become eligible, the intermediate player must pocket a color set in sequence within a single turn. For instance, if the intermediate player pockets the two-ball 108 in his or her first turn and immediately thereafter pockets the ten-ball 110 in the same turn, the intermediate player has become eligible to pocket the nine-ball 104 based on the blue color set. However, if the intermediate player pockets the two-ball 108 in his or her first turn, misses the ten-ball 110 in his or her first turn, and pockets the ten-ball 110 in his or her second turn, the intermediate player is not eligible to pocket the nine-ball 104 based on the blue color set. To contrast the difference in difficulty levels, a beginner player, according to the example provided above, would have been able to become eligible by pocketing a color sequence across multiple innings. Accordingly, the intermediate player can attempt to become eligible from the remaining color sets. Further, if the intermediate player pockets the two-ball 108, followed by the one-ball 106, and followed by the ten-ball 110, the intermediate player has not pocketed a color set in color sequence because the one-ball 112 is an intervening yellow ball. In one embodiment, an eligible player who pocketed a color set can qualify to pocket the nine-ball 104 if all of the remaining balls other than the color set and the nine-ball 104 are pocketed. The remaining balls can be pocketed by either player or a combination of both players in order for the eligible player to qualify. Further, the intermediate player is not required to call shots.

In addition, the intermediate player can prevent the opposing player from obtaining eligibility. For instance, if the intermediate player is playing an opposing player, who is also an intermediate player, the intermediate player will want to pocket members of color set pairs. Accordingly, the opposing player will be prevented from pocketing a color set.

If an intermediate player becomes eligible and the opposing player is not eligible, the opposing player can still force a stalemate by pocketing the nine-ball 104 once all of the remaining balls have been pocketed. If both players become eligible, the first player to pocket the nine-ball 104 within a fixed number of attempts wins. If neither player pockets the nine-ball, then neither player wins a stalemate is forced. Further, if no player becomes eligible, a stalemate is forced. If the nine-ball 104 is not pocketed within the fixed number of attempts in any of these scenarios, a stalemate occurs. In one embodiment, as a reward, the pocketing of the nine-ball, during any inning, by combination or carom leads an automatic win.

The first set of rules and the second set of rules can have many similarities, as discussed above. However, the first set of rules is ultimately less stringent than the second set of rules so that a player of less experience can potentially win the inter-level play billiards game.

In another embodiment, a set of inter-level play rules are provided to give the player with less experience an additional advantage. In other words, in addition to the first set of rules that the first player plays according to and the second set of rules that the second player plays according to, there is also a set of inter-level play rules that makes it easier for the first player to win, more difficult for the second player to win, or both. For example, although the first set of rules may require an eligible beginner player to pocket all of the remaining balls prior pocketing the nine-ball 104, the set of inter-level play rules may allow the eligible beginner player to pocket the nine-ball 104 without pocketing the remaining balls if the eligible beginner player pocketed a color set in sequence in the same turn, as opposed to across multiple turns. As an example of an inter-level play rule that provides more difficulty to the second player, if the second player scratches prior to pocketing a shot to determine his or her side, the first player can select the side of the table that the second player must pocket the nine-ball 104 into.

In one embodiment, the second set of rules can be applicable to an advanced player. The second set of rules shall now be described for the advanced player. The second set of rules for the advanced player is similar to the second set of rules for the intermediate player, but with an additional layer of difficulty. In one embodiment, a lag determines who will break. The winner of the lag selects who will break. Further, the breaking shot is required to strike the apex ball, which is the three-ball 112 in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2. The rules for determining the side for pocketing the nine-ball 104 are similar to those for the intermediate set of rules. However, the rules for becoming eligible and qualifying to pocket the nine-ball 104 are more stringent for the advanced player than for the intermediate player. In one embodiment, to become eligible to pocket the nine-ball 104, the advanced player is required to pocket a color set in sequence in a single turn by combination or carom. Each ball of the color set must be pocketed by combination or by carom as opposed to the cue ball being shot directly into the pocket. In an alternative embodiment, the player is only required to shoot one ball of the color set by combination or carom. The other ball of the color set can be shot directly into the pocket. In another embodiment, the player can become eligible and qualified by shooting a color set by combination or carom, or by shooting in all the balls, other than the cue ball, in color sequence in one inning. For instance, if the first player does not pocket any balls on the break, the second player can attempt to shoot in the blue color set, followed by the red color set, followed by the yellow color set. The one-ball 106 is required to be pocketed prior to the nine-ball 104. Further, the nine-ball 104 is required to be pocketed on the side assigned to the second player. Accordingly, a beginner or advanced player can attempt to pocket at least one ball prior to the advanced player's turn to avoid the advanced player becoming eligible and qualified by pocketing all the balls in color sequence. The remaining rules and rewards for the advanced player are similar to that of the intermediate player.

FIG. 3 illustrates a process 300 for providing an inter-level play billiards game. At a process block 302, the process 300 establishes a first set of rules for the inter-level play billiards game. The first set of rules is associated with a first skill level. Further, at a process block 304, the process 300 provides the first set of rules to a first player of the inter-level play billiards game. In addition, at a process block 306, the process 300 establishes a second set of rules for the inter-level play billiards game. The second set of rules is distinct from the first set of rules. Further, the second set of rules is associated with a second skill level that is more advanced than the first skill level. In addition, at a process block 308, the process 300 provides the second set of rules to a second player of the inter-level play billiards game. Finally, at a process block 310, the process 300 monitors play of the inter-level play billiards game between the first player and the second player to ensure that the first player plays the inter-level play billiards game according to the first set of rules and the second player plays the inter-level play billiards game according to the second set of rules. For instance, the entity, such as a casino, can conduct the monitoring.

FIG. 4 illustrates a process 400 of playing an inter-level play billiards game. At a process block 402, the process 400 participates in a break determination. Further, at a process block 404, the process 400 plays the inter-level billiards game according to a first set of rules associated with a first skill level. In addition, the first set of rules is distinct from the second set of rules. Further, the second set of rules is associated with a second skill level that is more advanced than the first skill level. In one embodiment, the first set of rules is a beginner level set of rules.

FIG. 5 illustrates a process 500 of playing an inter-level play billiards game. At a process block 502, the process 500 participates in a break determination. Further, at a process block 504, the process 500 plays the inter-level play billiards game according to a second set of rules associated with a second skill level. In addition, the second set of rules is distinct from the first set of rules. The first set of rules is associated with a first skill level that is less advanced than the second skill level. In one embodiment, the second set of rules is an intermediate player set of rules. In another embodiment, the second set of rules is an advanced player set of rules.

In another embodiment, to provide further interest for the beginner level player, the choice of whether to break or not is given to a beginner level player that plays a player of a higher skill level. For instance, a beginner level player who plays an intermediate level player is given the opportunity to decide who breaks. Further, a beginner level player who plays an advanced player is given the opportunity to decide who breaks.

“General Rules of Pocket Billiards” and “Rules for Tournament Play,” each by the Billiard Congress of America (“BCA”), can be utilized for rules in the inter-level play billiards game outlined above when the rules outline above are silent on a portion of game play. However, the rules outlined above are intended to take precedence over any inconsistent rules of Pocket Billiards” and “Rules for Tournament Play.”

While the method has been described in terms of what are presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the disclosure need not be limited to the disclosed embodiments. It is intended to cover various modifications and similar arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the claims, the scope of which should be accorded the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and similar structures. The present disclosure includes any and all embodiments of the following claims.