Title:
Three-card poker game with progressive side bet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of playing a wagering game has a player betting a first single part wager to participate in a casino three-card poker-type game. A dealer deals a hand consisting of three cards to each of the dealer and to a player who placed a first wager. The dealer resolves each player's first single part wager against a paytable or against a dealer's hand according to a predetermined hierarchy of three card poker hands. Individual players place a side bet progressive wager that the individual player's three card hand are one of a defined set of a specific rank of hands. Individual players that have made the side bet progressive wager are paid an award out of a progressive jackpot according to the following criteria:
    • a) a highest amount or a highest percentage of the progressive jackpot for receiving one or more of the four possible A-K-Q straight flushes; and
    • b) a lesser amount less than the highest amount or an intermediate percentage less than the highest percentage of the progressive jackpot for receiving the one or more A-K-Q straight flush hands excluded from a).



Inventors:
Snow, Roger M. (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Application Number:
11/598915
Publication Date:
05/15/2008
Filing Date:
11/13/2006
Assignee:
Shuffle Master, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KLAYMAN, AMIR ARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark A Litman and Associates, P.A. (Edina, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A method of playing a wagering game, comprising the steps of: a) receiving a first single part wager to participate in a casino three-card poker-type game; b) providing participating players with an optional progressive wager, wherein players placing the progressive wager win at least one of a progressive amount and a percentage of a progressive amount depending on the player's three card hand ranking according to the following criteria: 1) a highest amount or a highest percentage of the progressive jackpot for any player receiving one or more first preset card combinations of the possible card combinations that form the hand ranking of straight flush; or 2) a lesser amount less than the highest amount or an intermediate percentage less than the highest percentage of the progressive jackpot for any player receiving one or more second preset card combinations of the possible card combinations that form a straight flush, wherein the second preset card combinations differ from the first preset card combinations according to 1

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the straight flush of the first preset card combinations according to 1) consists of a Royal Flush of a specific predetermined suit.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein the Royal Flush is selected from a single suit of Spades, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds, leaving three suits of Royal Flushes as not being awarded the highest amount or percentage from the jackpot.

4. A method of playing a wagering game, comprising: placing a first single part wager to participate in a casino three-card poker-type game; a dealer dealing a hand consisting of three cards to each player who placed a first wager; and resolving each player's first single part wager against a paytable for the player's three card hand according to a predetermined hierarchy of poker hands; individual players placing a side bet progressive wager that the individual player's three card hand composition is one of a defined set of a specific rank of hands; individual players having made the side bet progressive wager being paid an award out of a progressive jackpot for: a) a highest amount or percentage of the progressive jackpot for a specific combination of three cards of both suit and rank; and b) lesser amount or percentage of the progressive jackpot for three-card combination of specific suit and rank, but different from the specific combination of a).

5. The method of claim 4 wherein the specific combination of a) consists of three specific rank cards of a single specific predetermined suit.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein the specific combination of a) is selected from a single suit of Spades, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds, leaving three suits of similarly ranked specific combinations of cards as not being awarded the highest amount or percentage from the jackpot.

7. The method of claim 5 is not a Royal Flush, and Royal Flushes are then paid the intermediate amount of b).

8. A method of playing a wagering game, comprising: placing a first single part wager to participate in a casino three-card poker-type game against at least a dealer hand, a three card poker hand against a pay table or both; a dealer dealing a hand consisting of three cards to each of the dealer and to a player who placed a first wager; and resolving each player's first single part wager against a dealer hand, a paytable, or both, according to a predetermined hierarchy of poker hands; individual players placing a side bet progressive wager that the individual player's three card hand composition is one of a defined set of a specific rank of hands; individual players having made the side bet progressive wager being paid an award out of a progressive jackpot for: a) a highest amount or percentage of the progressive jackpot for a specific at least 4-card combination of three cards from the player's hand making the side bet wager and at least one card from the dealer's hand; and b) lesser amount or percentage of the progressive jackpot for either three-card combination of specific suit and rank in the player's hand only or specific at least four-card combinations formed from three player's cards and at least one dealer's card, but different from the specific four-card combination of a).

9. The method of claim 8 wherein the three cards of a) in the player's hand must be three specific ranked cards of like suit.

10. The method of claim 8 wherein the three cards of a) in the player's hand must be three specific ranked cards of like suit and consecutive in rank.

11. The method of claim 8 wherein the three cards of a) in the player's hand must be three specific ranked cards of like rank.

12. The method of claim 8 wherein the three cards of b) in the player's hand must be three specific ranked cards of like rank.

13. The method of claim 8 wherein the three cards of a) in the player's hand must be three specific ranked cards of like suit and the at least one card from the dealer's hand must complete a straight flush.

14. The method of claim 8 wherein the three cards of a) in the player's hand must be three specific ranked cards of like suit and the at least one card from the dealer's hand comprises two cards that must complete a straight flush.

15. The method of claim 13 wherein the straight flush must be a Royal Flush.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein the Royal Flush must be of a specific predetermined suit to win the highest amount or percentage of a).

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of wagering, or wagering on card games in a casino, video format, internet or multiplayer format, and of wagering on poker card games with a progressive jackpot component funded at least in part by revenues from a side bet made by players.

2. Background of the Art

One significantly attractive feature in gaming is the desire to win a large amount of money or value without wagering a large amount in each play of a game. The development of the progressive jackpot based on contributory wagers has become an important attraction in most aspects of gaming. One of the most successful video or slot games has been the Wheel of Fortune® slot game, in which a small portion of each underlying wager is added to a progressively increasing jackpot. To enable contributions from the single wager, the payout frequency and payout amounts from the underlying game are reduced.

Caribbean Stud® poker was the first live poker style game to provide an optional side bet wager on a progressive jackpot. A portion of the side bet wager is put into a progressive jackpot and payments are made for particularly high ranking hands. All payments on such hands are specifically withdrawn from a monitored jackpot fund, and all lost wagers include a contribution to increase the jackpot amount after an initial funding of the jackpot with seed money. All other payments on bonus level hands come out of the underlying ante and play wagers, while retaining profits for the casino. The success of this game encouraged the development of other progressive and side bet wagers.

Although progressive game events may seem as if they are desirable in a range of games, it is often difficult to devise game rules, identify jackpot events, and provide funding methods acceptable to players for different games. It is at least because of the individual design and format needs that have to be created for each individual game that there are still limited numbers of progressive games in the market, except on slot or electronic video gaming machines.

Published U.S. Patent Application No. 2006/0084506 (Yoseloff et al.) describes, among other things, a multi-player platform providing multiple player positions for live players to engage in an interactive processor-based wagering game comprising a Three-Card Poker® game with a virtual dealer and virtual cards and a database that contains the rules of the wagering game. The processor enables play for each player according to the rules in the database, wherein in one embodiment the game comprises the steps of placing a first wager to participate in a first poker-type game; placing a second wager to participate in a second poker-type game played against a pay table; providing at least a partial hand for the first poker-type game consisting of multiple cards to each player who placed a first wager, the partial hand for the first poker-type game being a complete hand for the second poker-type game; and resolving each player's first wager according to the rules of the first poker-type game and resolving the second poker-type game according to a predetermined hierarchy of poker hands in a pay table.

Published U.S. Patent Application No. 2003/0050106 (Lyfuong) describes, among other things, a playing card game and wagering method which involves each player playing a three card hand and placing a wager with an option of adding a side wager. Two cards are dealt face down to each player by the dealer. Each player has the opportunity to place a side wager after inspecting his two cards. The dealer deals himself one card face up; he exposes each player's two cards and matches them with his cards to form a three card hand to identify winners. Winners receive a bonus payment according to the ranking of their hands. This disclosure relates to a three card poker game dealt from a regular fifty-two card deck with a wagering method that has an option to add a side wager before completing the hand playing at a casino. The specification states that “there are many table games in casinos throughout the world that offer odds on the payment and a progressive jackpot to certain hands in the ranking”, and further, that the “three most well known are stated to be “Caribbean Stud™,” protected by U.S. Pat. No. 4,836,553, “Let It Ride™,” protected by U.S. Pat. No. 5,288,081 and “Three Card Poker™,” protected by U.S. Pat. No. 5,685,774.” No evidence is provided for use of a progressive jackpot for Three-Card Poker® games other than the statement quoted above itself.

The game described by Lyfoung is played with a regular fifty-two card deck. However, a multiple deck of cards may be used as well. The object of the game is to make a hand of three cards as high as possible in the ranking; for each specific ranking, there are corresponding payment odds, the higher the ranking, the better the payment odds. In addition, each player has an option to wager a side wager upon receiving two cards. It is generally stated that a wager for the progressive jackpot is optional, but is not further described, except to state that to play it, one must wager the initial wager.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,929,264 (Huard et al.) describes, among other things, a method and system for playing an auxiliary casino game managed by a casino house comprising: selecting at least one player of an underlying casino game on which to place a bet; identifying at least one event related to at least one play of the underlying game for which to place the bet; making a bet that at least one event will occur in association with a player during at least one play of the underlying game; determining an occurrence of the event in the underlying game in association with the player; and if the event occurred in association with the player, determining a payout to be paid. The system is described as applicable in poker games (such as, High-Low poker, Texas poker, Hold'em poker or other “one to seven” card poker games). It is further described that the payout could be established as a function of the bet amount, as a function of the event, as a function of the number of players, and as a function of the jackpot. Furthermore, the prize could be a predetermined fixed percentage of a progressive jackpot amount, a random percentage of a progressive jackpot amount, a random percentage of a fixed jackpot amount, or a randomly selected amount from a set of predetermined fixed amounts.

Published U.S. Patent Application No. 20040102234 (Gold) describes, among other things, a poker-style game and method in which a player who achieves a predetermined winning hand, preferably a royal flush, is provided with a free bonus hand. In the event that the free bonus hand, which preferably comprises a full playing hand, comprises a predetermined winning combination, a jackpot is paid. Preferably, the type of jackpot payable for achievement of a predetermined winning combination in the bonus hand is progressive. For the funding of a progressive jackpot, several methods are possible, such as for example, a portion of each amount wagered is diverted to the progressive jackpot. Alternatively, a percentage of certain (or all) jackpots earned during ordinary play can be diverted into the progressive jackpot. It is stated that the Gold invention is directed to any type of poker-type game, including three card poker, five card poker, seven card poker, Caribbean Stud® poker, etc.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,698,759 (Webb et al.) describes the underlying rules of Three-Card Poker® games and player-banking in that game, among other things. Webb describes a casino wagering game, among other things, which comprises placing a wager to participate in the game; a dealer dealing a hand of three cards to each player who placed a wager; resolving the player hands against a plurality of predetermined winning poker outcomes; and paying each player odds whose hand consists of a predetermined winning outcome. At least one variant of the game is a poker game with three cards. The specification describes that a bonus payout may be awarded on the hand against the dealer, with or without requiring an additional bonus wager for certain predetermined poker hands. The bonus payouts may pay a fixed amount, odds, a percentage of a pot or a progressive jackpot amount. Preferably, bonus amounts are paid without requiring a separate bonus wager according to an odds pay table. The reference also states that a progressive bonus may be used.

Clearly, Three Card Poker® is a popular game amongst card players. However, it is speculated that a Three Card Poker® game offering a side wager with a very high award for rare hands would serve to further increase its popularity. Increasing the already high level of interest in this game would also be desirable for the casino operators. Thus, there is a need in the art for such an event to improve the game by adding a wager having a very high payout for rare hands.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The technology of the invention relates to the play of Three-Card Poker® games according to any known available variant thereof, especially by the game's standard rules of play, in combination with a Progressive Wager in which payments for winning outcomes on the Progressive wager are made from a Progressive Jackpot.

The underlying game is a Three Card Poker® game, the rules of which are understood and the most basic disclosure of which is provided in U.S. Pat. No. 5,685,774 (Webb). Those basic rules will be presumed to be understood.

Before the observation of playing cards dealt to the player and the dealer, any player wishing to enter into the Progressive Jackpot event must make a side bet wager. At least portions of the side bet Progressive wager are deposited into the Progressive Jackpot and awards are made exclusively out of the Progressive Jackpot based on the occurrence of particularly high-ranked Three-Card Poker® game hands by players who have made the Progressive Side Bet wager. Some of the high ranking hands on which Progressive Jackpot awards are preferably made are, for example, 100% of the Jackpot for A-K-Q of spades; 10% of the Jackpot for any other suited A-K-Q (same suit from Hearts, Diamonds or Clubs); and $100.00 flat payment (out of the Progressive Jackpot amount) for any straight flush.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary table layout for use in the play of a game according to the present invention described herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The underlying rules of the game of Three-Card Poker® are described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,698,759, et al. Some of the rules are included herein for purposes of describing the embodiments of the present invention. However, the rules for this game and variations thereof, along with standard casino card games and associated conventions, are all presumed to be understood by those skilled in the art.

One aspect of the present invention is a method of playing a wagering game, comprising the steps of: a) placing a single part first wager to participate in a casino three-card poker-type game; b) a dealer dealing a hand consisting of three cards to each player who placed a first wager; and c) resolving each player's hand according to a predetermined hierarchy of poker-type game outcomes. Payouts are preferably made on the first wager when the player obtains a predetermined winning outcome. In one form of the game, all payouts pay odds. That is, all payouts are made on winning hands in proportion to the amount wagered, with the higher ranking poker hands paying a higher payout multiple than the lower ranking hands. Payouts are made to the player on the first wager for one of a plurality of predetermined winning outcomes. Preferably, all payouts are made in proportion to the first amount wagered. Payout odds typically are printed on the playing surface and are referred to as a “paytable.” One exemplary paytable for a three card poker game is outlined below:

HandPayout Odds
Straight Flush40:1 
Three of a Kind30:1 
Straight6:1
Flush4:1
Pair1:1

The standard rules of poker set forth hand rankings in the following descending order: Royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pair and a pair. In contrast, three card poker typically employs a different arrangement of hand rankings in which the order of certain hands (flush, straight and three of a kind) is inverted. Thus, in three card poker (as compared to five card poker), the hand rankings are (in descending order) as follows: straight flush, three of a kind, straight, flush and pair. The change in ranking is dictated by the frequency of occurrence of those hands during normal play of the game. Although the minimum winning card combination in this example is a pair, the invention contemplates other minimum hands, such as a single face card or a high ranking pair, such as a pair of 10's or better. Proportional payouts are typically between 1:1 and 100:1 against the first single part wager, although other payout schemes are contemplated.

In another form, at least one but fewer than all payouts are proportional to the single part wager. Payout methods may include fixed amounts (regardless of the amount wagered), odds payouts (payment of the amount wagered times the pay table multiple), a percentage of a jackpot or a jackpot amount. The pay table may contain one or a combination of different payout methods.

One method comprises the player placing a second wager to participate in a game against the dealer, wherein the dealer also preferably receives a hand of at least three cards. Preferably, the dealer is dealt a three card hand. It might be necessary to increase house odds, depending upon the specific game rules selected. This can be easily accomplished by dealing one or more extra cards to the dealer, and allowing the dealer to use his or her best three card combination in an attempt to beat the player hands. The second wager may be optional or mandatory. In fact, the first wager may also be optional, or both the first wager and the second wager may be mandatory.

In one format, when the player participates in a three card poker game against the dealer, he is required to place an additional third wager to stay in the game. This third wager may be smaller, larger or equal to the amount wagered against the dealer. Preferably, the player is permitted to view his three card hand prior to deciding whether to make the third wager or fold. In another form of the game, the player is optionally permitted to make the third wager after viewing his cards, but is not required to fold if he elects not to make the third wager. When the player plays a three card poker game against the dealer, it is sometimes preferable to require the dealer to have a qualifying hand. For example, the rules might require the dealer to have at least a single queen (queen high) in order to qualify to play against the player. In one example, the second and third bets are a push when the dealer does not qualify. In another example, the second bet pays 1:1 and the third bet is returned when the dealer does not qualify. In yet another example, the dealer is required to reveal at least one card to the players, and the players are also permitted to view their own three card hand prior to deciding whether to place the third bet.

When the player wins the game against the dealer, the dealer or banker typically pays 1:1 odds. In other examples, higher or lower payouts are made on the second bet. In another format, an additional bonus payout is made when the player's hand against the dealer is one of a predetermined high ranking arrangement of cards. No additional bet is required, and the bonus payout may be paid against the second or third bet or both bets. An exemplary pay table that pays odds on the second and third bets is shown below:

HandPayout Odds
Straight Flush5:1
Three of a Kind3:1
Straight1:1

In another format, the dealer and player hands may be combined to form the best three, four, five or six card bonus hand. In one example of the invention, a bonus amount is paid for the best five card hand made from the dealer's and player's three cards each.

Alternatively, an aspect of play may be described as a casino wagering game comprising 1) placing a single first wager to participate in the game; 2) a dealer dealing a hand of three cards to each player who placed a wager; 3) resolving the player hands against a plurality of predetermined winning poker outcomes; and 4) resolving each player's hand against a payout table providing payouts for predetermined ranks of poker-type hands, wherein at least some payouts proportional to the single part wager are available in resolving hands for obtaining a predetermined rank of hand. Predetermined winning poker outcomes that have proportional payouts pay odds. “Odds” in this context means payouts that are proportional to the player's wagers (that is, multiples of the wagers), not progressive payouts, fixed payout amounts or payouts that are part of or an entire pot.

In another example, an additional game segment or segments, optionally including a three card poker game against a dealer are also played with the same hand of cards. The predetermined winning outcomes can include a single face card, a pair or a higher ranking pair, depending upon the theoretical advantage to the house. When at least some of the outcomes pay odds, the odds may pay between 1:1 and 100:1 on the first single part wager. In another example, the house pays multiple payouts on the first wager. For example, the house may pay two separate payouts of up to 10:1.

Another aspect of the underlying game includes a method of playing a casino card game utilizing a standard deck of cards, comprising the steps of: placing a wager to participate in a three card poker game against a dealer; dealing three cards to each player who placed a wager; dealing at least three cards to the dealer; and resolving the hands according to a predetermined hierarchy of poker hands. This game play sequence can be played as a stand-alone game, in combination with a three card hand against a pay table and/or other poker-style games. Preferably, the dealer also deals himself three cards. The players hand must outrank the dealer's hand in order to win the bet. Preferably, the dealer's hand must meet a minimum predetermined rank in order to qualify to play against the player. For example, the dealer must hold a Queen or better. Otherwise the bet is a push.

The player is permitted to view his cards. He must then place an additional bet that his hand will beat the dealer hand or he must fold. The invention contemplates allowing the player to stay in the game if he opts not to make the additional bet. In one format, the player views his own three card hand and at least one dealer card before making the decision on whether or not to place the additional bet.

An optional feature is paying a bonus payout on either the bet, or the bet and additional bet (both against the dealer's hand) if the player's hand is one of a predetermined number of winning hands. For example, the player may receive a bonus payout when he has a straight flush. Preferably, no additional bet is required to collect on the bonus bet. In other examples of the invention, a bonus bet is required.

The technology of the present game adds to this background of the play of Three-Card Poker® games by adding the herein described progressive component as follows.

The Three-Card Poker® wagering game is played by placing a first single part wager to participate in a casino three-card poker-type game. A dealer deals a hand consisting of three cards to each player who placed a first wager. The dealer resolves each player's three card hand according to a predetermined hierarchy of poker hands. Individual players place a side bet progressive wager that the individual player's three card hand is one of a defined set of a specific rank of hands. Individual players having made the side bet progressive wager are paid an award out of a progressive jackpot according to the following criteria:

    • a) a highest amount or a highest percentage of the progressive jackpot for receiving one or more of the four possible A-K-Q straight flushes;
    • b) an intermediate amount less than the highest amount or an intermediate percentage less than the highest percentage of the progressive jackpot for receiving the one or more A-K-Q straight flush hands excluded from a);
    • c) a lesser amount less than the intermediate amount or a lesser percentage less than the intermediate percentage of the progressive jackpot for a straight flush other than a straight flush according to a) or b); or
    • d) an odds payout amount either instead of or in addition to the payouts of a), b), or c) for certain predetermined winning hands, i.e., three of a kind.

For example, a game according to the present invention may have a progressive payout of 100% of the available progressive jackpot displayed for any player receiving a Royal Flush hand (i.e., an A-K-Q straight flush) consisting of all spades, a payout of 25% for other suited Royal Flush hands, a payout of a fixed amount (e.g., $100.00) for a Straight Flush, and a payout of another lesser fixed amount (e.g., $90.00) for a Three of a Kind, or a payout of 40:1 and a fixed amount of $100.00 for Three of a Kind suited.

The above hands indicated for the payout on the progressive jackpot are only examples of hands that might be used. Other specifically identified hands with similar or even greater probabilities may be used, as for example A-2-3 in a particular suit; K-Q-J in a particular suit; or other particular cards identified for a special event (e.g., on the 5th anniversary of an opening, requiring the 5S, 5H and 5D for the winning hand (the same probability as A-K-Q of a same suit) and awarding the lesser amount of the progressive for the other three-fives hands or a specific three-fives hand, such as two black fives and a red five.

In Three-Card Poker® games, players are ordinarily allowed to handle their own cards. This would prevent the use of a delivered order of cards (e.g., the Ace first, then the King second, then the Queen third) as a further limiting qualification on the highest jackpot event, but if dealers were allowed to place and distribute the hands, the order of the cards could also be used as a consideration in constructing jackpot awards, as by saying that cards received in the order of A-K-Q of a specific suit from the bottom card of three delivered to the top card. This ordering, rather than merely right-to-left should be used to prevent the direction in which a dealer spreads a hand having any influence of the winning outcome.

Another option would be to have the dealer's hand of three cards used with the player's hand of three cards, and if a five-card Royal Flush were present, using that as the winning event. Additionally, the hand combinations could be further limited to A-K-Q of a specific suit and the J in the dealer's hand or the J-10 in the dealer's hand as the limiting event. Use of dealer cards to form hands with more than three cards would allow for the growth of even larger jackpots than A-K-Q of a specific suit, which still might be the recipient of a significant jackpot bonus event.

The side bets on the progressive gaming can be mechanically and physically collected through coin drop systems such as those used in Caribbean Stud® poker games (e.g., as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,078,405), the use of proximity detectors to count the number of wagers that are then swept from the table, camera systems such as those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,313,871; 5,781,647; and 4,531,187; and radio frequency identification of chips as taught in U.S. Pat. No. 5,735,742. It should be readily apparent that the configuration and implementation of such progressive wagering systems is well known to those skilled in the art.

FIG. 1 shows a table layout 10 for use in the play of a game according to technology described herein. The dealer's cards are placed at position 12. Each player position 14 (this embodiment includes seven player positions 14 as shown in FIG. 1) has various locations designated for the players to place wagers thereon and receive their respective hands. These locations include an ante wagering location 16, a Pair Plus wagering location 18, a Play wager location 20 and in accordance with the present invention, a progressive side bet wagering location 22. Pair Plus paytable or schedule is printed in area 24 and includes the hierarchy of player hands and corresponding payouts. In this embodiment, Pair Plus paytable 24 pays as follows:

HandPayout Odds
Straight Flush40:1 
Three of a Kind30:1 
Straight6:1
Flush4:1
Pair1:1

Layout 10 also includes a progressive wager paytable 26. In this embodiment, progressive wager paytable 26 pays as follows:

Ace-King-Queen of Spades100% of the jackpot
Ace-King-Queen suited 25% of the jackpot
Straight Flush$100
3 of a Kind$90

This embodiment also includes an envy bonus, meaning that if a player wins a progressive wager, all other players in the same round win an envy bonus according to the paytable area 26. Thus, the envy bonus is not paid to players that win the progressive wager. The game rules may be set so that the envy bonus can be won by players that either placed the progressive wager or did not place the progressive wager. However, in the preferred embodiment, only players that placed a progressive wager and that did not win are entitled to an envy bonus. In this embodiment, an exemplary paytable 26 is paid as follows:

Ace-King-Queen of Spades$100
Ace-King-Queen hearts, diamonds or clubs suited$25

In one form of the invention, all envy bonus hands trigger envy bonus payouts. In other forms of the invention, only the highest ranking envy bonus hand pays an envy bonus.

The operation of a game in accordance with the present invention, including the accumulation and decrementing of the progressive jackpot may proceed as follows according to this non-limiting example. A conventional Three-Card Poker® game is conducted on a gaming table. At the beginning of each hand, each player, in addition to making his usual wagers for the play of the Three-Card Poker® game hand, may also make an additional wager to be eligible to participate in the progressive jackpot component of the game during that hand. To do so, a player places a gaming token on the table felt in area 22 into the coin acceptor (not shown), or alternatively, on a token sensing region or a coin detector, or the like on the table, wherein the particular device or method used for registering the progressive wager may vary so long as the wager can be associated with a particular player. For example, a wager sensing device may be immediately below wagering location 22 for registering placement of a token thereon. Preferably, regardless of the particular embodiment, the present invention is configured so that each player may place the progressive side bet wager at that player's particular playing location, and the progressive wagering or coin system registers or recognizes that a gaming token has been placed therein. As a convenience to the house, an indicator signal such as a light is present adjacent to the coin acceptor, and lights up when that that particular player participates in the progressive jackpot component of the game during the play of that hand. Besides activating the indicator signal, the coin registration/recognition functionality also sends an electronic signal to a server, processor, game controller of, for example, a main control board. This signal may be sent to a counter-display system to alert players as to the level and status of the jackpot. This is typically done by an odometer-type counter or 7-segment display corresponding to the particular playing table to keep an ongoing accounting of the size of the jackpot and/or the number of gaming tokens that are placed in the particular coin acceptor. The display is typically large enough to be viewable by all players and is cabable of attracting other plays to the game.

The information receiving functions described above may also activate a progressive jackpot control box that controls the progressive jackpot meter. Each gaming token placed in a coin acceptor may result in the amount shown on the progressive jackpot meter being increased by a predetermined amount. If, for example, each gaming token has a value of one dollar, then the amount shown on the progressive jackpot meter would be increased by any amount up to $1.00, typically $0.20 for each gaming token placed into a coin acceptor. The progressive jackpot would be increased by less than the 100% value of the token to cover the payout costs of any fixed payouts on the event and to provide some house advantage to the economics of the game. For example, from between 80% to 98% of the amount of each gaming token being wagered could be retained for the jackpot. In other examples of the invention, the progressive side bet wager is variable and a fixed amount is contributed to the progressive fund, rather than a percentage of the amount wagered.

When each player has had a reasonable opportunity to make a progressive jackpot wager, the dealer may activate a lockout switch to deactivate each coin acceptor. In other embodiments, the removal of a last hand of randomized cards from an automatic card shuffler triggers a signal sent from the shuffler to the game controller to prevent further wagering. An example of a card shuffle capable of performing this function is included in U.S. Pat. No. 6,149,154, the content of which is incorporated by reference herein. Any tokens placed in a coin acceptor after lockout will not register. This prevents late wagering after the cards are dealt.

Although specific examples of the technology originally described herein have been provided, those specific examples are not intended to limit the scope of technology claimed. Alternatives and equivalents and extensions of the technology will be apparent to those skilled in the art.