Title:
GAMING METHOD AND SYSTEM WITH SECONDARY PAY TABLE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gaming system including at least one server configured to access and/or store at least one primary and at least one secondary game pay table. The primary game pay table can be adapted to provide a first payout percentage while the secondary game pay table can be adapted to provide a second payout percentage. The gaming system can include at least one gaming device in communication with the server, the gaming device being configured to allow a player to place a wager and initiate a game, download the primary game pay table from the server, use the primary game table to produce an outcome of a game, download the secondary pay table from the server after occurrence of a predetermined event (e.g., player qualification) and use the secondary pay table to produce a game outcome (e.g., higher valued payout, alternate prize, progressive prize), which can be produced for a predetermined time period.



Inventors:
Seelig, Jerald C. (Absecon, NJ, US)
Henshaw, Lawrence M. (Hammonton, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/847946
Publication Date:
03/20/2008
Filing Date:
08/30/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040116187LOW IMPACT BATON FOR TAPOTEMENT AND DISCIPLINE TRAININGJune, 2004Robyor
20080096673Adapter for auxiliary LCD gaming consoleApril, 2008Lube
20080102963Internally illuminated video game cabinetMay, 2008Flagg et al.
20090302540Casino Poker GamesDecember, 2009Snow et al.
20040087354Game for computer and slot machineMay, 2004Ellis
20090124354METHOD FOR ATTRIBUTING GAMEPLAY CREDIT TO A PLAYERMay, 2009Acres
20080268959GAMING COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT AND PERSONALIZATIONOctober, 2008Bryson et al.
20060189387Gaming machine with configurable button panelAugust, 2006Rigsby et al.
20080039166Systems and methods for multi-character online gamingFebruary, 2008Harris et al.
20080182659IN-PLAY DETECTION OF ALTERED GAME DATAJuly, 2008Sabella et al.
20060287101HOST CONSOLE OF AN ELECTRONIC GAMING SYSTEM AND METHOD OF MOVING A GAME CONTROLLED BY THE SYSTEMDecember, 2006Crawford III et al.



Primary Examiner:
SHAH, MILAP
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ATIP Law (RENO, NV, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A gaming system, comprising: (A) at least one server configured to store: (a) at least one primary game pay table, the primary game pay table having a first payout percentage; and (b) at least one secondary game pay table, the secondary game pay table having a second payout percentage; (B) at least one gaming device in communication with the server, the gaming device being configured to: (a) allow a player to place a wager and initiate a game; (b) download the primary game pay table from the server; (c) use the primary game table to produce an outcome of a game; (d) after occurrence of a predetermined event, download the secondary pay table from the server; (e) use the secondary pay table to produce a game outcome.

2. The gaming system of claim 1 wherein the second payout percentage is higher than the primary game pay table.

3. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the second payout percentage is equal to or greater than 100 percent.

4. The gaming system of claim 1 wherein the secondary pay table includes at least one prize that is not in the first pay table.

5. The gaming system of claim 1 wherein the secondary pay table includes at least one prize that is larger than any prize in the primary pay table.

6. The gaming system of claim 5 wherein the secondary pay table includes at least one progressive prize.

7. The gaming system of claim 5 wherein the payout percentage of the secondary pay table is the same as the payout percentage of the primary pay table.

8. The gaming system of claim 1 wherein the predetermined, event comprises the player qualifying to play a bonus game.

9. The gaming system of claim 1 wherein the gaming device is further configured to use the secondary pay table to produce game outcomes for a predetermined period of time.

10. The gaming system of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of gaming devices wherein each gaming device is configured to: (A) allow a player to place a wager and initiate a game; (B) download the primary game pay table from the server; (C) use the primary game table to produce an outcome of a game; (D) after one of the plurality of gaming devices produces a predetermined event, download the secondary pay table from the server; (E) use the secondary pay table to produce a game outcome.

11. The gaming system of claim 10 wherein the server is configured to store a plurality of different secondary pay tables, wherein each of the plurality of gaming devices is configured to download a different secondary pay table from the server.

12. The gaming system of claim 11 wherein one of the plurality of gaming devices produces a predetermined event and uses the secondary pay table longer than at least another of the plurality of gaming devices.

13. A method for playing a game, the method comprising, not all necessarily in the order shown: allowing a player to place a wager and initiate a game on the gaming device; downloading a primary game pay table from a gaming server, the gaming server being in communication with the gaming device and configured to store at least one primary game pay table having a first payout percentage and at least another secondary game pay table having a second payout percentage; using the downloaded primary game pay table to produce a first outcome of the game; in response to a pre-defined event., downloading the secondary game pay table from the gaming server; and using the downloaded secondary game pay table to produce a second bonus outcome of the game.

14. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein the downloaded secondary game pay table has a higher payout percentage than the primary game pay table.

15. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein value of the prizes awarded according to the secondary game pay table is increased relative to the prizes offered according to the primary game pay table.

16. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein at least one range of numbers in the secondary pay table corresponding to a winning result is increased relative to the primary pay table.

17. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein the payout percentage of tire secondary game pay table is increased by partially increasing the economical values of prizes rewarded according to the secondary game pay table and partially increasing the ranges of numbers or patterns corresponding to a winning result.

18. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein the secondary game pay table is configured to have the same payout percentage as the primary game pay table.

19. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein the secondary game pay table includes at least one prize that is different from the rewards configured on the primary game pay table.

20. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein the rewards on the primary game pay table are configured to be monetary rewards while the secondary game pay table includes at least one non-monetary prize being a good or service.

21. A method as claimed in claim 20, wherein the offered goods or services are selected such that the value of the offered goods or services is perceived by the player to be higher or more rewarding than the highest monetary reward offered according to the primary game pay table.

22. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein the secondary game pay table is configured to include at least a progressive prize.

23. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein at least one prize on the secondary game pay table is smaller and at least one prize on the secondary game pay table is larger than a corresponding prize on the primary game pay table.

24. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein upon expiry of the playing time allowed by the gaming device for a specified player, the gaming device downloads another primary game pay table from the central gaming server to initiate another game or downloads another primary or secondary game pay table from the central server to allow the current player to continue playing the active game.

25. A gaming system, comprising: (A) at least one server means for providing access to at least one primary game pay table, the primary game pay table having a first payout percentage and at least one secondary game pay table, the secondary game pay table having a second payout percentage; (B) at least one gaming device means for: (a) allow a player to place a wager and initiate a game; (b) download the primary game pay table from the server; (c) use the primary game table to produce an outcome of a game; (d) after occurrence of a predetermined event, download the secondary pay table from the server; (e) use the secondary pay table to produce a game outcome.

26. The gaming system of claim 25 further comprising a plurality of gaming devices means for; (A) allowing a player to place a wager and initiate a game; (B) downloading the primary game pay table from the server; (C) using the primary game table to produce an outcome of a game; (D) after the occurrence of a predetermined event, downloading the secondary pay table from the server; and (E) using the secondary pay table to produce a game outcome.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/824,013, filed Aug. 30, 2006, the contents of which is herein incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to gaming methods and systems. More particularly, the present invention relates to a gaming method and system that is capable of performing payouts according to a primary and a secondary pay table.

BACKGROUND

In the field of gaming, gaming devices often use pay tables to determine game outcomes. Pay tables may comprise a plurality of number ranges and outcomes associated with each number range. Outcomes may include a plurality of winning outcomes that award a prize to players and loosing outcomes that do not award a prize. During normal operation, a random or pseudo random number is generated by a random number generator. The outcome of the game is then determined by comparing the random number to the number ranges. The gaming device then displays an outcome that communicates the outcome to the player, and, if appropriate, awards a prize to the player. A simplified example pay table is provided below:

TABLE 1
Number RangePrizeDisplay
0.0 to 0.1$10A A A
0.11 to 0.15$25B B B
0.16 to 1.0 $0C C C

With reference to Table 1 above, if a random number generator provides a number of 0.12, then the gaming device would award the player a $25 prize and communicate the outcome by displaying the symbols “B B B”. Each pay table has a payout percentage. This is a theoretical portion of each unit that is wagered on the gaming device that is returned to players. For example, if a pay table has a payout percentage of 95%, then over time it should return 95% of all wagers to players. Payout percentages can be adjusted in any particular pay table by adjusting the number ranges, the prizes or the amounts to be wagered.

Payout percentages can have a large impact on the success of a gaming device. Players, of course, prefer high payout percentages because they perceive that they are winning more money. The gaming devices are usually programmed to pay out a certain percentage varying typically between 82% to 98% of the bet value placed by a gamer. The payout percentage for a particular gaming device is usually predetermined based on the software installed in the gaming device and the random number generator programming of the gaming device.

On a typical video poker machine, payouts start with a minimum hand of a pair of jacks. Pay tables allocate the payout, for hands based partially upon how rare they are, and also based upon the total theoretical return the game operator chooses to offer. Some machines offer progressive jackpots for card hands such as the royal flush, (and sometimes for other rare hands as well), thereby spurring players to both play more coins and to play more frequently. Other kinds of video poker only have positive theoretical returns when the progressive jackpot is high enough. Many establishments advertise with a billboard when the progressive jackpot is high enough. Otherwise sub-optimal games can become positive expectation when the jackpot is large enough.

Server based gaming systems are known in the art. In general, one or more gaming devices can be linked to a central server by a communication network. The central server can be configured to store a plurality of different games. Gaming devices on the system are capable of downloading the games from the server and allowing a player to play the games.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,059,658 appears to disclose a gaming device and a method for playing a primary game and a secondary bonus game. The secondary bonus game is actuated in response to a bonus outcome during play of the primary game. The secondary game presents an index as a secondary outcome, which is either used as an additional award or to multiply the award for the bonus outcome of the primary game. However, there exists a need in the art for gaming devices and systems that enhance the bonus payout received by a gamer while playing the secondary game.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,375,567 allegedly discloses a method for operating a group of gaming devices interconnected by a gaming network. The gaming devices each have a primary game associated with it, which is allowed to play in response to a pre-defined event such as the total coins played. The secondary game common to the network of gaming devices is initiated in response to a pre-defined event. However, there continues to remain a need in the art for gaming devices and systems that enhance the bonus payout received by a gamer while playing the secondary game.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,605,002 purports to disclose a gaming system which actively entices a gamer by partially revealing or unrevealing a first reward on the gaming device display system, and partially revealing a second award on the display system. The first award is selected from a provided first pay table while the second reward is selected from a provided second pay table.

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0092301 allegedly discloses a game wherein the point total of the primary game is compared to the point total of the player hand. The bonus game is resolved by comparing the point total of the player hand with the bonus pay table. However, there exists a need in the art for a gaming system and method that focuses exclusively on enhancing the payout during the secondary gaming event.

There exists a continuous need in the art for gaming devices that proactively entice a bettor to play and bet more and more. In one such method, a plurality of gaming devices can be interlinked to form a gaming pool that allows the networked gaming pool to offer a jackpot to a lucky bettor, who bets on a pre-determined winning pattern of symbols or numbers. The networked gaming pool therefore enables a large payout percentage to the bettor on hitting the jackpot, which was hitherto not possible on a single gaming device.

Because gaming systems are becoming more network and server dependent, having remote access to games from network servers, it will become necessary to provide remote access to more than one game pay table that might be associated with video games including different themes or presentations, and requiring different payment schemes. It will become necessary for networked gaming stations to share game tables affected by dynamic payment schemes, e.g., progressive payments, bonus rounds, alternate prizes, etc. The present invention addresses the need for a system providing remote access to more than one payment table over a data network from a server.

SUMMARY OF ONE EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

Advantages of One or More Embodiments of the Present Invention

The various embodiments of the present invention may, but do not necessarily, achieve one or more of the following advantages:

the ability to provide a gaming system including at least one server configured to access/store at least one primary and at least one secondary game pay table, wherein the primary game pay table can be adapted to provide a first payout percentage while the secondary game pay table can be adapted to provide a second payout percentage; and

provide a community game that allows a plurality of different gaming device to play different pay tables.

These and other advantages may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification, claims, and abstract.

Brief Description of One Embodiment of the Present Invention

A gaming system in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention includes at least one server configured to store at least one primary game pay table and at least one secondary game pay table. The primary game pay table can be adapted to provide a first payout percentage while the secondary game pay table can be adapted to provide a second payout percentage. The gaming system can include at least one gaming device in communication with the server, the gaming device being configured to allow a player to place a wager and initiate a game, download the primary game pay table from the server, use the primary game table to produce an outcome of a game, download the secondary pay table from the server after occurrence of a predetermined event, and use the secondary pay table to produce a game outcome.

In accordance with additional features of the present invention, the second payout percentage can be higher than the primary game pay table or equal to or greater than 100 percent. The secondary pay table can include at least one prize that is not in the first pay table or is larger in value than any prize in the primary pay table. The at least one prize can also include a progressive prize. The payout percentage of the secondary pay table can also be the same as the payout percentage of the primary pay table. Finally, predetermined events can include a player qualifying to play a bonus game. The gaming device can be farther configured to use the secondary pay table to produce game outcomes for a predetermined period of time.

In accordance with enabling use of the gaming system described herein, a method of conducting a wagering game is provided that allows a player to place a wager, downloads a primary pay table including a first payout percentage, and produces a game outcome using the primary pay table, downloading a secondary pay table having a second payout percentage after occurrence of a predetermined event, and producing a game outcome using the secondary pay table.

The above description sets forth, rather broadly, a summary of one embodiment of the present invention so that the detailed description that follows may be better understood and contributions of the present invention to the art may be better appreciated. Some of the embodiments of the present invention may not include all of the features or characteristics listed in the above summary. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described below and will form the subject matter of claims. In this respect, before explaining at least one preferred embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or as illustrated In the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is substantially a perspective view of a block diagram representing of one embodiment of a system of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is substantially a perspective view of a block diagram representing of another embodiment of a system of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a flow diagram of a method, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

In the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this application. The drawings show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.

In a preferred embodiment, the secondary game pay table has a higher payout percentage than the primary game pay table. It has been found that maintaining a higher percentage payout in the secondary game pay table than the primary game pay table motivates a player to continue playing the primary game for a longer duration of time looking for a bonus reward that entitles the player to play a bonus game. A player rewarded with a bonus game qualifies to play a secondary game having a higher percentage payout than the primary game thereby maximizing the perceived payout received by a player while playing the game.

Referring to FIG. 1, a gaming system 100 incorporating features of the present invention includes at least one server 110 accessible over a data network 150 by a gaming device 120 and capable of providing the gaming device 120 game-related data. Server 110 may be any of a large number of computers that are readily available, and it may be configured to run different operating systems and programs. Similarly, gaming device 120 may be any of a large number of devices that are known in the art that are configured to run a variety of operating systems and programs. The at least one server 110 can be configured to store at least one primary game pay table 112 and at least one secondary game pay table 113.

The primary game pay table 112 can be adapted to provide gaming devices with a first payout percentage while the secondary game pay table 113 can be adapted to provide gaming device a second payout percentage.

Referring to FIG. 2, a gaming system 200 can include more than one gaming device 220 in communication with at least one server 210, the more than one gaming device 220 can be configured to allow gaming device players to place a wager and initiate games, download a primary game pay table 112 from the at least one server 210, and use the primary game table to produce an outcome of a game associated with the primary game table. The more than one gaming device 220 can also be configured to download secondary pay tables 113 from the at least one server 210 after occurrence of a predetermined event, and use the secondary pay table 113 to produce a game outcome associated with the secondary pay table 113.

A second payout percentage associated with a secondary pay table 113 can be higher than the primary game pay table 112 or equal to or greater than 100 percent. The secondary pay table 113 can include at least one prize that, is not in the first pay table or is larger in value than any prize in the primary pay table. The at least one prize can also include a progressive prize. The payout percentage of the secondary pay table 113 can also be the same as the payout percentage of the primary game pay table 112.

It should understood that the systems and methods described herein can be implemented in hardware, software, functions and means, or a combination of hardware, software, functions and means to attain those functions. They may be implemented by any type of computer system or other devices adapted for carrying out the methods described herein. A typical combination of hardware and software could be a general-purpose computer system with a computer program that, when loaded and executed, controls the computer system such that it carries out the methods described herein. Alternatively, a specific use computer, containing specialized hardware for carrying out one or more of the functional tasks of the invention, could be utilized.

The present invention can also be embedded in a computer program, which comprises all the features enabling the implementation of the methods and functions described herein, and which—when loaded in a computer system—is able to carry out these methods.

In accordance with enabling use of the gaming system described herein, a method of conducting a wagering game is provided that allows a player to place a wager, downloads a primary pay table including a first payout percentage, and produces a game outcome using the primary pay table, downloading a secondary pay table having a second payout percentage after occurrence of a predetermined event, and producing a game outcome using the secondary pay table. Referring to the flow diagram 300 in FIG. 3, a method of using the gaming system in accordance with features of the present invention is shown. Although the method is described in terms of steps performed in a certain order, it is recognized that the steps may be performed in different orders. A gaming device can be configured to enable a player to place a wager and initiate a game as shown in Block 310. As shown in Block 320, a primary game pay table is downloaded into the gaming device from a server. The primary game table is used to produce a first outcome of the game played by the player as shown in Block 330. As shown in Block 340, a secondary game table is downloaded from the server after occurrence of a predetermined event during the game played by the player. The secondary pay table is used to produce a secondary game outcome during playing of the game by the player following the occurrence of the predetermined event, as shown in Block 350. Otherwise gaming using the primary game table is continued as shown in Block 330.

Predetermined events can include a player qualifying to play a bonus game. The gaming device can be further configured to use the secondary pay table to produce game outcomes for a predetermined period of time,

During normal operation, a gaming device 120/220 downloads a game from a server 110/210 and presents the game to a player. The player is allowed to place wagers and play the game. The outcome of the game may be determined by a primary game pay table 112 that includes a number of different possible outcomes. Generally, a controller (not shown, but known in the art) causes a random number generator, which may be part of the controller, to generate a random number. The controller then compares the random number to the primary game pay table 112 and determines the outcome of the game.

One of the outcomes on the primary game pay table 112 may be a bonus game. When the player qualifies to play a bonus game, the gaming device can download a secondary pay table 113 from the server 110/210. The secondary pay table 113 may have a higher payout percentage than the primary game pay table 112. Payout percentage is the theoretical average payout that a gaming device 120/220 might payout over a large number of plays. For example, a 95% payout means that a gaming device will on average payout 95% of all the wagers that are placed on it over a large number of plays. A secondary pay table 113 with a higher payout percentage may payout 102% of the wagers that are placed on the gaming device 120/220. Therefore, it is likely that if a player plays enough games on the secondary pay table 113, the player will receive a net gain.

There are a number of ways to increase the payout percentage of the secondary pay table 113. One way is to increase the size of the prizes. By paying out larger prizes each time there is a win, the payout percentage increases. Another way is to increase the ranges of numbers assigned to a winning outcome. By increasing the range of numbers of the winning outcome, more randomly generated numbers will fall within the range of random numbers and winning outcomes will occur more frequently. A third way to increase the payout percentage is a combination of both larger prizes and wider ranges of numbers assigned to winning outcomes.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, the secondary pay table 113 has the same payout percentage as the primary game pay table 112. However, the secondary pay table 113 includes at least one prize that is different from the primary game pay table 112. For example, all of the prizes on the primary game pay table 112 may be monetary amounts while the secondary pay table 113 has at least one prize that is a good or service. The value of the good or service may be perceived by the player to be higher than the highest monetary prize on the primary game pay table 112. Alternatively, the secondary pay table 113 may have a progressive prize while the primary game pay table 112 does not. In another embodiment, at least one prize is larger and other prize is smaller than the corresponding prizes on the primary pay table 112. Thus, the average payout is the same on the two pay tables 112/113, but a player may perceive that the secondary pay table 113 is more in the player's favor. Of course, a combination of the elements of these embodiments may be used.

Once the gaming device 120/220 has downloaded the secondary pay table 113, it uses the secondary pay table 113 for a period of time. The higher pay table increases the chance that the player will receive greater prizes from the gaming device. This increases the excitement and enjoyment experienced by the player, which encourages the player to play longer. When the period of time expires, the gaming device may revert back to the primary pay table or it may download another pay table from the central server.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a plurality of gaming devices may be grouped together. A gaming system can comprise a plurality of gaming devices wherein each gaming device is configured to allow a player to place a wager and initiate a game, download the primary game pay table from the server, use the primary game table to produce an outcome of a game, download the secondary pay table from the server after the plurality of gaming devices produces a predetermined event and/or use the secondary pay table to produce a game outcome. The gaming system comprising a plurality of gaming devices can also include a server configured to store a plurality of different secondary pay tables, wherein each of the plurality of gaming devices is configured to download a different secondary pay table from the server. When a bonus qualifying event occurs for one of the players in the group, the entire group is allowed to play with a secondary pay table. Each gaming device may download a pay table and pay tables may be different for different gaming devices in the group. In addition, different gaming devices in the group may use the pay fables for different periods of time. For example, the gaming device that experienced the bonus qualifying event may download the most favorable secondary pay table while the other gaming devices in the group may download less favorable secondary pay tables.

In another embodiment, the plurality of different gaming devices, which are not necessarily in the same gaming establishment, may be designated as eligible to receive the secondary pay table. When any one of these designated gaming devices experiences a bonus qualifying event, all of the designated gaming devices may download a secondary pay table. As discussed above, the pay fable may be different for different gaming devices and/or the different gaming devices may use pay tables for different amounts of time. In addition, gaming devices that have certain characteristics, such as particular themes or play for a particular progressive prize, could download the secondary pay table.

Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the embodiments of this invention. Wherein in the aforegoing reference has been made to integers or components having known equivalents, then such equivalents are herein incorporated as if individually set forth. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents rather than by the examples given.