Title:
Refund game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In a method of presenting and playing a game, one or more refund games may be awarded. Each refund game provides the player an opportunity for the award of winnings for winning game results. In addition, for each awarded game, the player is paid a refund. In one embodiment, a player places a wager to place a main or base game and may be paid winnings for a winning result of that game. The player may be awarded one or more refund games, either randomly or based upon the main game results. The amount refunded to the player for each refund game may be equal to the player's wager for the main game.



Inventors:
Borissov, Milo (Sharjah Al Durah Tower, AE)
Application Number:
11/605787
Publication Date:
05/29/2008
Filing Date:
11/27/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/20
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HENRY, THOMAS HAYNES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEIDE & MILLER, LTD. (LAS VEGAS, NV, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A method of playing a game comprising the steps of: accepting a wager having a value; presenting a main game to a player; determining the outcome of the main game; awarding winnings for winning outcomes of said main game; determining the award of one or more refund games; and if one or more refund games are awarded, presenting each refund game, the play of each refund game comprising: presenting a refund game; determining the outcome of said refund game; awarding winnings for winning outcomes of said refund game; and awarding a refund for said refund game independent of said outcome of said refund game.

2. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said refund is in an amount of said value of said wager.

3. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said step of determining said outcome of said main game comprises determining if a result of said main game is a winning or non-winning result.

4. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said step of determining said outcome of said refund game comprises determining if a result of said refund game is a winning or non-winning result.

5. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said main game and any refund games are presented to a player at a gaming machine.

6. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said main game and each refund game are selected from the group consisting of: a slot-type game, a poker game and a dice game.

7. The method in accordance with claim 6 wherein said poker game comprises a game of video poker.

8. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said step of determining the award of one or more refund games comprises awarding one or more refund games based upon a result of said main game.

9. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said step of determining the award of one or more refund games comprises randomly determining the award of zero or one or more refund games.

10. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said refund comprises a number of credits.

11. A gaming machine configured to present a game comprising: means for accepting a wager from a player to play a main game; a controller configured to generate main game data; a display configured to display main game data; wherein said controller configured to determine the outcome of said main game and award winnings for winning outcomes of said game; means for determining the award of one or more refund games; and wherein said controller configured to generate fund game data for each refund game, said display is configured to display refund game data, and said controller is configured to determine the outcome of each refund game, award winnings for winning outcomes of said refund game and award a refund for each refund game, regardless of the outcome of each refund game.

12. The gaming machine in accordance with claim 11 wherein said display comprises a video display.

13. The gaming machine in accordance with claim 11 wherein said display comprises at least one rotatable reel.

14. The gaming machine in accordance with claim 11 wherein device includes a first display configured to display said main game data and a second display configured to display said refund game data. 15. The gaming machine in accordance with claim 11 wherein said means for determining the award of one or more refund games comprises machine executable code.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to casino-style games.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A wide variety of casino-style games are well known. Some of these games include slot-type games and video poker games. As is known, in exchange for placing a bet or wager, these games offer a player a chance for a reward, normally a monetary payout (or credit equivalent), in the event the game has a winning outcome. These games are configured so that a portion of amounts wagered, over time, is retained by the house. In this manner, gaming is a revenue-generating event for casinos and other game-offering entities.

Casinos thus strive to offer a games which entice players to play, as the greater the number of games which are played, and thus wagers which are placed, the larger the “hold” or revenue associated with the games. As such, in order to make these games more exciting, game developers have presented a wide variety of variations of these games in order to appeal to game players. For example, game developers have created “themed” slot-type games. Other games offer bonuses, such as in the form of a spin of a wheel.

Casinos have also devised other incentives for game play, apart from the awards directly offered for winning results. For example, casinos often offer “comps” in the form of points for associated game play, which points may be redeemed for cash awards or discounts on goods or services offered by the casino.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises a method of playing/presenting a game and a gaming machine configured to present a game. One embodiment of the invention is a refund game. In accordance with the refund game, a player is presented a game and is paid winnings for winnings results of the game. Morever, the player is paid a refund regardless of the outcome of the refund game.

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, a refund game is associated with the play of one or more base games. In a preferred embodiment, a player is required to place a wager or bet in order to play or be presented a main or base game. The player is paid winnings for winning results of this main game.

The player may also be awarded one or more refund games, such as in response to a trigger event. The award of refund games may be dependent upon the result of the main game, or independent (such as randomly awarded) therefrom. If a player is awarded one or more refund games, those games are presented. Preferably, the player is awarded winnings for each winnings result of a refund game. Moreover, the player is paid a refund for each refund game, regardless of the outcome of the refund game. Preferably, the player is not required to place any wager or bet in order to be entitled to play each refund game. In this manner, a player is enticed to play the main or base game, knowing that they have the opportunity to be awarded one or more “free” refund games, are guaranteed to be awarded a refund for each awarded game, and may obtain a winning result for each refund game and be paid winnings.

In one embodiment, the amount of the refund for each refund game is equal to the player's wager or bet for the main or base game. In this manner, a player is enticed to place the maximum bet or wager for each main or base game.

The main game(s) and refund game(s) may be of a variety of types, such as video poker, slots or dice games. The games may be presented via a gaming machine or device, or at a table or by other means.

One embodiment of the invention is a gaming machine configured to present a game of the invention.

Further objects, features, and advantages of the present invention over the prior art will become apparent from the detailed description of the drawings which follows, when considered with the attached figures.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a gaming device of the type which maybe used to implement a game in accordance with the invention for play by a player;

FIG. 2 is a flow diagram of one method of playing a game in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 illustrates one set of symbols representing the outcome of a base game in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates an award of refund games in accordance with a method of game play of the invention;

FIG. 5 illustrates one set of symbols representing the outcome of a first refund game in accordance with the invention; and

FIG. 6 illustrates one set of symbols representing the outcome of a second refund game in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention is a method of presenting and playing a game. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough description of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.

In general, the invention comprises methods of playing and/or presenting a game. In a preferred embodiment, described in more detail below, a player plays a main or base game. A determination is made as to whether the player is awarded any refund games. If so, the player is permitted to play the refund game(s). For each refund game which is played, the player is paid a refund, preferably in an amount equal to a wager to play the main or base game. In addition, for each refund game winning result or outcome, the player is awarded winnings.

In accordance with the invention, a player is provided the opportunity to play one or more refund games. For the play of each refund game, the player is ensured they will be paid at least a wager amount, and possibly, game result winnings.

In a preferred embodiment, the game of the invention is presented to a player with a gaming machine. FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a gaming machine 20 in accordance with the invention. As illustrated, the gaming machine 20 includes a housing 22 for enclosing/supporting various components of the gaming machine. The housing 22 have a variety of configurations. In one embodiment, the housing 22 is configured to the machine has an “upright” configuration. The machine 20 might also be configured as a “slant”-type, “bar-top” or have other forms.

In one embodiment, the gaming machine 20 is configured as a “video” type gaming machine, the machine including at least one display 24 for displaying game information to a player. As described below, this game information may include playing card and non-playing card symbols or indicia.

The gaming machine 20 may include other means for providing information to a player. For example, speakers (not shown) or other devices maybe provided for generating sound associated with the game. The gaming machine 20 may also include lights, printed instructions and other displays/display devices.

In one embodiment, a player must make payment in order to be entitled to play the game. Preferably, the game is presented as a wagering type game, and a player must place a bet or wager in order to play the game for the opportunity to receive winnings. Preferably, if the player is a winner of the game, the player is provided an award, such as a monetary payout (such as coins), credits representing monetary value, points or tangible prizes. As illustrated, the gaming machine 20 may include a bill validator/acceptor 26 for accepting paper currency and a coin acceptor 28 for accepting coins. Other means of payment, such as a credit card reader, may be provided. An award of winnings in the form of coins may be paid to the player via a coin tray 30.

Preferably, the gaming machine 20 includes means for a player to provide input. In one embodiment, this means comprises one or more buttons. For example, a plurality of reel “spin” or “select” buttons 32 may be provided for permitting a player to hold/select cards in a hand. A bet one button 34 and bet max button 36 are provided for a player to select the amount to bet on a particular game. Other means of input may be provided, such as a touch-screen display and other devices now known or later developed.

A game controller (not shown) is provided for controlling the various devices of the gaming machine and for providing game information. For example, the game controller may be arranged to generate video and audio data for presentation by the display and speakers of the gaming machine 20. The game controller maybe arranged to detect a signal from the coin acceptor indicating the receipt of coins or from the bill validator regarding accepted bills and for registering credits corresponding to those inputs, for subtracting credits for wagers placed by a player, and for causing a coin delivery mechanism to deliver coins from a coin hopper to the coin tray 30 for payment of winnings and/or return to a player of unwagered credits. Preferably, the one or more player input devices provide an output to the gaming controller for use in play of the game. For example, in response to a “bet one” input by a player, the gaming controller is preferably transmitted a signal which causes the gaming controller to initiate presentation of the game.

It will be appreciated that the gaming machine 20 may have a variety of configurations, and that the gaming machine 20 illustrated and described above is but an example of a device for implementing the game of the present invention. For example, in one or more embodiments, the gaming machine 20 maybe associated with a network and receive game information remotely and may transmit information, such as payout and game play information, to a remote location. For example, a remote master controller may generate game information which is transmitted over a communication link to the gaming machine 20. That information may be utilized by a local controller or processor to present the game, such as by displaying game play data or information.

As indicated, in one embodiment, game information is displayed by a video display 24 to a player. That display may be of a variety of types, including CRT, LCD, plasma and others. The gaming machine 20 may also include more than one video display.

In another embodiment, the gaming machine 20 may include one or more physical reels capable of displaying symbols. In such a configuration, means are provided for rotating the physical reels. In one or more embodiments, the means may comprise a mechanical linkage associated with a spin arm, with movement of the spin arm (a “pull”) by a user causing the reels to spin. In such an arrangement, the reels are generally allowed to free-wheel and then stop. In another embodiment, electronically controlled mechanisms are arranged to rotate and stop each reel. Such mechanisms are well known to those of skill in the art. In this arrangement, actuation of the spin arm or depression a spin button causes a controller (not shown) to signal the activation of the spin mechanism associated with one or more of the reels. Preferably, the controller is arranged to either turn off the signal to the device(s) effecting the rotation of each or all of the reels or generates a signal for activating a braking device, whereby the reels are stopped. As is well known, the combinations of reel positions and their odds of hitting are associated with the controller, and the controller is arranged to stop the reels in a position displaying a combination of indicia as determined by the controller based on the combinations and odds. The principal of such an arrangement is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,448,419 to Telnaes, which is incorporated herein by reference.

The gaming machine 20 may have other configurations, including other features. For example, the gaming machine 20 may include a player tracking device, such as a card reader 3 8 and associated keypad 40. Such player tracking devices are well known and may permit the game operator to track play of players of the gaming machine. The tracked play may be utilized to offer player bonuses or awards.

In one embodiment, the gaming machine 20 may be configured to dispense media, such as printed paper tickets, which have associated value. For example, winnings or unused credits may be returned to the player via a printed ticket having value or associated value. In one embodiment, the gaming machine 20 might also be configured to accept such media for providing credit for game play. Such systems are well known and thus not described in detail herein.

It will also be appreciated that the games of the invention maybe presented or played as table games, as described in more detail below.

In one embodiment, the games of the invention are played as wagering type games in which a player must place a wager in order to play the game for an opportunity of winnings. In other embodiments, the game may be played for fun or prizes. In such event, the player may be permitted to play the game for free or may be required to make payment to play the game.

As indicated above, a player may provide value to the gaming machine 20 or machine operator in a number of ways, including with coins or bills. The player might also be permitted to provide value remotely. Value provided to the gaming machine 20 may be represented as credits. Each credit may have an associated monetary value.

Once the player provides value, the player preferably places a wager to play the game. This may be accomplished, in one embodiment, by the player pressing the “bet one” button 34 or the “bet max” button 36, or by other means.

One embodiment of a method of playing or presenting a game will now be described with reference to FIG. 2. In a first step S 1, a main or base game is presented to a player.

As indicated, in a preferred embodiment, entitlement to play the game is based upon a player placing a wager. The player may also be required to provide an additional input, such as by depressing a “spin” or other game-initiating input.

Preferably, in response to the player placing a wager, a main or base game is presented to the player. In one embodiment, this comprises the display of a plurality of symbols or indicia to the player. In one embodiment, the controller of the gaming machine 20 is configured to randomly select or generate the symbols which are to be displayed. Such methods of generation/selection are well known and may include the generation of random numbers which correspond to symbols which are to be displayed.

The symbols are displayed to the player. In one embodiment, display of the symbols is via the video display 24. As indicated above, in another embodiment, the display of the symbols could be by one or more physical devices, such as physical reels, or a combination of physical reels and virtual reels displayed by a display.

Preferably, the outcome of the game is dependent upon the symbols which are generated and displayed to the player. In particular, certain combinations of symbols preferably comprise pre-determined winning combinations of symbols. Other combinations of symbols are losing combinations.

The game may have any variety of types or forms now known or later developed. For example, the main or base game may comprise a game of video poker, a reel-type slot game or other types of games (including games involving the use of dice or dice indicia and/or games involving the use of numbers, such as bingo or keno).

The method of play or presentation of the main or base game may involve various steps and/or inputs, depending upon the particular nature of the base game. For example, if the base game is a slot-type game, then in one embodiment, mechanical reels are spun or a graphical reel spin is generated, and a set of symbols is generated and displayed. Those symbols represent the outcome of the game. If the game is a “draw”-type video poker game, then the game may involve the display of an initial hand of cards, such as five cards. The player may then be permitted to discard one or more, including all, of those cards in favor of replacement cards. Once any replacement cards are provided, the resulting set of five cards may comprise the symbols which represent the outcome of the game.

In accordance with the invention, a player may be awarded winnings in the event the player receives a winning game outcome. For example, if the player receives a particular combination of symbols as a result of play of the slot game or a particular combination of cards as a result of play of the card game, then the result of the game may be declared a winning result with an associated award or payout of winnings. Those winnings may be paid to the player as a monetary amount, such as coins dispensed to the coin tray of the gaming machine, as electronic credits, or in representative fashion, such as via a printed ticket or voucher which maybe redeemed for money or the like. In other embodiments, the winnings may be prizes, tokens or other items.

In a step S2, it is determined if a trigger event has occurred. The trigger event may comprise the receipt of one or more particular symbols as part of game play, a particular game result (such as a particular combination of symbols in a slot game or a particular set of cards or hand of cards in a card game), or the trigger event may be generated randomly and not be dependent upon the result of the main or base game.

If no trigger event occurred, then the game preferably ends and the player is again provided the opportunity to play the main game (such as by placing another wager).

If a trigger event occurred, then in a step S3, a refund game is presented. The refund game may be referred to as a bonus game or a secondary game, in that it follows a main game and, in a preferred embodiment, maybe played without a player being required to place any additional wager.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the refund game is presented, and a player is permitted to play the refund game, without having to place an additional wager or bet.

The refund game may be of a variety of types. The refund game may be of the same type as the main or base game, or may be a different game. In one embodiment, the player may be required to place one or more inputs to play the game, such as the selection of cards to be held and/or discarded or the like.

In a step S4, it is determined if the result of the game is a winning result. Preferably, the refund game has a plurality of possible outcomes. One or more of the outcomes are designated winning outcomes. The remaining outcomes are preferably non-winning outcomes.

If the outcome of the game is a winning outcome, then in a step S5, the player is preferably paid or awarded winnings. This award or winnings may comprise a monetary award, such as coins or credits, in similar fashion to the main game.

Regardless of whether the outcome of the refund game is a winning or non-winning outcome, in a step S6, the player is paid or awarded a refund. Thus, in the event the outcome of the game was a winning outcome, the player is awarded winnings and a refund. In the event the outcome of the game is a non-winning outcome, the player is still awarded a refund.

The refund preferably comprise a monetary award, such as payment of coins or credits. In the preferred embodiment, the value of the refund is equal to the value of the wager or bet which the player placed to play the main or base game. For example, if the player placed a single coin or credit wager of $0.25 in order to play the base or main game, then the refund is preferably $0.25. If the player placed a five coin or credit wager of $1.25 in order to play the base or main game, then the refund is preferably $1.25.

In a step S7, it is preferably determined if any refund games remain. In particular, a player may be awarded more than one refund game. For example, at the time of the trigger event, a number of refund games may be randomly selected (such as by use of a random number generator) or a number of refund games may be determined based upon a particular main or base game outcome (particular main or base game outcomes maybe associated with particular numbers of refund games). In another embodiment, a random number generator may be utilized as a “yes” or “no” indicator to additional refund games, which determination is made after the end of each successive refund game. In this manner, refund games may be played until a “no” is received at the end of a particular refund game.

In one embodiment, an indication may be provided to the player of the number of refund games. For example, at the time of the trigger event and the award of one or more refund games, a visual indication (such as visible display of a number) maybe provided to the player to this effect. This indication may be provided via the display 24 of the gaming machine 20, or by a secondary or other display, or by other means, including an aural indicator.

In step S7, if additional refund games remain, then the next refund game is presented, in step S3. In step S7 if no refund games remain, then “refund game” play stops, and the player is provided the opportunity to play another main or base game (as in step S1, described above).

One example of a method of presenting and playing a game in accordance with an embodiment of the invention will now be described with reference to FIGS. 3-6. Referring to FIG. 3, a player has been provided the opportunity to play a “stud” poker type card game. In accordance with this game, card indicia are displayed to a player, such as via the display 24 of the gaming machine 20 described above and illustrated in FIG. 1. In accordance with this game, indicia comprising five cards are displayed to the player and the outcome of the game is determined by comparison of the five cards to winning and non-winning hands. For example, winning hands may comprise standard poker hands of a Pair of Jacks or better, Two Pair, Three of a Kind, a Full House, Four of a Kind, a Straight, a Flush, and a Royal Flush. All other card combinations may be deemed non-winning hands or card combinations. Winnings may be assigned to each of the winning poker hands, such as in accordance with a paytable.

In accordance with the invention, the player is preferably required to place a wager or bet in order to play the main or base game. The player may provide coins, bills, tokens, a ticket or other means to associate value with the gaming machine (the value may also be provided as a “comp” by indirect means (i.e. not directly paid by the player)). In the embodiment illustrated, the player has placed a five (5) credit wager. These credits may each represent some monetary value, such as $0.25 or $1.00.

Once the player places their wager, the main or base game is presented. In this embodiment, the set of five (5) card indicia are displayed to the player. These card indicia may be selected from a set of card indicia comprising or representing one or more decks of cards (or even partial decks of cards). The card indicia or groups thereof may be selected in various fashions, including by a random number generator.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the player has been dealt or displayed the five cards A⋄, 4⋄, 3⋄, 8⋄ and J⋄. In accordance with standard poker hand ranking, this hand or set of cards comprises a Flush. If this hand is designated a winning hand or set of cards, then the player is awarded winnings. In the embodiment, illustrated, the player has been awarded 100 credits. If each credit represents $1.00, then the player received an award which is equivalent to $100.00.

In accordance with the invention, it is determined if a trigger event occurred. As indicated above, such an event may be assigned or result randomly, or be associated with a particular base or main game outcome or other event or activity.

In this example, a trigger event has occurred, entitling the player to play of one or more refund games. The trigger event might have comprised, for example, receipt of a “Flush” hand when playing the main game. Referring to FIG. 4, in this illustrated method, a visual indication has been made to the player of this fact, along with the number of refund games which the player has been awarded (as detailed above, such an indication may or may not be provided, and the number of refund games may or may not be known or generated at this point in the game play).

Next, the one or more refund games are presented to the player. As indicated in FIG. 4, the player may be provided the opportunity to start the one or more refund games, such as by providing an input to “play refund game.”

In the illustrated example, the refund game which is presented to the player is the same type of game comprising the main or base game—i.e. the poker game of five card stud. In accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention, this game is presented without the player having to place a wager or bet.

Referring to FIG. 5, one example outcome of a refund game is illustrated. As illustrated, the outcome is a five card hand comprising the cards 2 4⋄, A 10 and 5 In accordance with standard poker hand rankings, this hand comprises an “Ace”-high hand, and may be deemed a non-winning poker hand. As such, the player may not be awarded any winnings for the particular refund game outcome.

In accordance with the invention, however, the player is paid or awarded a “refund.” In accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention, this refund comprises a number of credits or a value equivalent to the player's wager or bet to play the main game. Thus, in accordance with this example, the player is “refunded” (or awarded a refund of) five (5) credits.

Referring to FIG. 5, the player may be provided an indication of the outcome of the game. As illustrated, the player may be provided a visual indicator that the refund game did not result in a winning result (and thus the award of zero (0) winnings credits) but did result in a refund of five (5) credits. In addition, the total number of credits belonging to the player may be indicated (as in “total credits 280”). The total number of credits preferably comprises the number of credits originally belonging to the player after play of the main game plus the number of credits awarded as winnings and refunded to the player.

Next, it is determined if the player is entitled to be presented with or play another refund game. In the example described, the player was awarded four (4) refund games, and is thus entitled to play or be presented three (3) additional refund games.

FIG. 6 illustrates the outcome of a second refund game. In this example, the player has been dealt or displayed the hand or set of cards A⋄, A A 10⋄, 6⋄. In accordance with standard poker hand rankings, this comprises a Three of a Kind, and maybe deemed a winning game result for which winnings are awarded. In the example illustrated, the player was awarded 100 credits for this winning outcome. In addition, the player was refunded five (5) credits, equivalent to their bet or wager to play the main game. The total number of credits belonging to the player has thus increased by 105 credits.

Game play then continues until all refund games have been played or presented.

Advantageously, in accordance with the present invention, a player is provided the opportunity to play or be presented with one or more “refund” games. The games are referred to as “refund” games in that the player is refunded value, such as credits, for each of the games, regardless of the outcome of the game.

This feature of the invention is particularly enticing to a player. A player if the main game knows that they have the opportunity to win one or more refund game which provide them the opportunity to obtain winnings results and thus winning payouts, without having to place an additional wager. In addition, the player knows that even if they do not receive a winning result of the refund game(s), they will obtain the refund.

In the embodiment where the refund is equal to the player's wager for the base or main game, the player is enticed to place the largest wager possible. In that event, the player's refund for each refund game will be the maximum. This feature is enticing to casinos, since the player is enticed to place the maximum wager for all base or main games which are played, the player not knowing when they might receive an award of refund games.

Various additional features and alternate embodiments of the invention will now be described.

The base and/or refund game may be presented in the form of a Class II type game or as part of such a game. It is known to play a Class II type game such as bingo and present the results of such a game as the outcome of a Class III type game. For example, based upon results of a Class II bingo game, a set of symbols as described above may be displayed to the player. That set of symbols may have a particular combination of winning symbols which corresponds to the outcome of the Class II game, thus representing the outcome of the Class II game in the format described above.

The base and/or refund games of the invention maybe presented as table or other types of games. For example, referring to game illustrated in FIGS. 3-6, the cards could be dealt to a player at a table. A number of refund games may be awarded based upon the main game outcomes. Alternatively, a computing device or other electronic indicator may be provided in association with the table game, which device is configured to randomly indicate refund game awards (for example, the dealer may press an input device to the computing device at the end of each main game, and the computing device may be configured to indicate the number of awarded refund games, if any). It is noted that the main/base games and refund games could comprise games “against the house,” such as games of Blackjack, where a player attempts to beat the house or dealer's hand without going over 21.

One or more refund games may be awarded in association with the play of a wide variety of games. As described, the refund games may arise from play of a main or base game and be played or presented at the conclusion thereof. In another embodiment, one or more refund games might be awarded and thus played or presented in the middle of a game. For example, a main or base game might have more than one component or part, and a refund game or games may be played after a first part or portion of the main or base game, and then play of the main or base game may resume. In another embodiment, one or more refund games might be awarded as part of a bonus feature of a main game. For example, if a player receives a particular main game outcome, a bonus event may be activated. The bonus event may comprise the spinning of a wheel or other random selection of a number of outcomes. Those outcomes might define the award of bonus winnings or the award of one or more refund games.

In a preferred embodiment, the amount of the refund is equal to the player's wager or bet to play the main or base game. While this is the preferred payout for reasons described above, the refund could be other amounts. For example, the refund could be a set or fixed amount which is greater than or less than the player's wager. The refund amount could increase or decreased or vary. For example, if a player is awarded more than one refund game, the amount of the refund for each game may increase (such as one (1) credit or $0.25 for the first game, two (2) credits or $0.50 for a second game, etc.).

In one embodiment, the number of refund games which are awarded maybe dependent upon a player's wager. For example, upon a trigger event for the award of refund games, a player may receive one (1) game if the player placed a one (1) credit or base wager, and two (2) games if the player placed a two (2) credit wager, three (3) games if the player placed a three (3) credit wager. Preferably, in this configuration, the refund for each game is equal to the base wager value, i.e. one (1) credit. In this configuration, however, a player is enticed to place a large wager because the number of refund games (and thus the number of opportunities to win each refund game) is dependent upon the size of the player's wager.

In one embodiment, the value of the refund may vary dependent upon other factors. For example, a multiplier may randomly be selected at the end of each game, and the amount of the refund may be a base refund amount multiplied by the selected multiplier. In the preferred embodiment, however, the amount of the refund is selected independent of the actual result of the refund game, with winnings being independently paid for that result. In this manner, the player knows that their refund is not tied to the outcome of the refund game (for example, in the play of“draw” type video poker, the player knows that even if they take a risk and try for a hard to obtain hand and are not successful, they will not be penalized and will receive the same refund as they would have if they had achieved that hard to obtain hand or had simply stood pat on a lower value winning hand).

One embodiment of the invention is a gaming machine configured to present the game. In one embodiment, the gaming machine includes a controller and at least one display. The controller is configured to generate game information or data, such as main game and refund game data. This data may include main and refund game results, as well as data used by the display to display game information to the player. The display is configured to display the game data, such as game symbols (such as card indicia). As indicated, the controller may be configured to receive input such as wager information and other player input. The controller is also configured to determine game results and, if appropriate, award winnings.

In another embodiment, the gaming machine may include a controller and one or more physical reels capable of displaying the game indicia. Preferably, the controller is configured to generate game information which is used to control the reels, including spinning of the reels and stopping of the reels in particular positions, such as in the manner described above in greater detail. Again, the controller may be configured to receive player input and award winnings.

As indicated above, the controller may be a single processing unit or device directly associated with the gaming machine, or may comprise one or more elements located remote from one another. For example, a main controller may be configured to generate game information which is routed to local game controllers.

The game may also be played in Internet and other distributed environments. For example, the game may be presented to a player at a home computer. In one embodiment, a player may access a website which is supported by a remote host server. The host server may generate game information which is transmitted to the player's computer for display.

In one embodiment, main game data or information may be presented via a first display device and refund game information or data may be presented via a second display device. For example, the main game may be a slot-type game displayed via a plurality of physical reels. The refund game may be a video-poker type game which is displayed via a video display.

In one embodiment, the main game data may be generated via a primary controller and the refund game data maybe generated via a secondary controller. As indicated, various information or data may be generated via a random number generator (RNG). For example, as described above, an RNG may be used to generate a numerical value representing the number of refund games to be awarded. The same or a different RNG may be utilized to determine if one or more refund games should be awarded. The primary and/or secondary controllers may utilize the RNG data in the presentation of the main and/or refund games.

The controller(s) may comprise hardware and/or software (i.e. machine readable or executable code or instructions), or combinations thereof.

In one exemplary configuration, a gaming machine includes a primary controller, at least one value input device (such as a card reader, ticket reader, coin acceptor, bill validator or the like), at least one display, and at least one RNG. Upon receipt of value, the value input device preferably transmits a signal to the controller causing the controller to recognize the value in the form of equivalent credits.

Upon receipt of an instruction from a player to place a wager, such as a player's depressing a “bet one” or “bet max” button, the controller is preferably configured to generate main game data. Some of this data is transmitted to the display for presentation to the player.

In one embodiment, the controller may generate card, slot position or other information utilizing the RNG. The RNG may randomly generate one or more numbers which correspond to symbols or groups of symbols in a look-up table. The controller may utilize the number(s) and look-up table to generate the symbols, symbol sets or other data.

The controller may determine the outcome of the game by comparing the game results to a look-up table, such as a table of winning game outcomes. For example, the controller may compare a set of generated card symbols to a look-up table to determine if the set of cards defines a winning card set.

If the outcome of the main game is a winning outcome, the controller maybe configured to award winnings according to the look-up table. The winnings may be awarded by incrementing credits to the player. If the player wishes to “cash-out,” the controller may send a signal to a coin dispenser, ticket generator or the like.

Once the main game is completed, the controller may cause the RNG to generate a number which determines whether a refund game is to be awarded. If so, then the controller may cause the RNG to generate another number which represents the number of games to be awarded. The controller may then generate refund game information, such as with the aid of the RNG, and cause the display to display refund game information. Once again, the controller may utilize a look-up table to determine whether the outcome of the game is a winning or non-winning outcome and award any winnings.

The configuration just described is one of the various configurations of devices which may be utilized to present the game of the invention.

It will be understood that the above described arrangements of apparatus and the method therefrom are merely illustrative of applications of the principles of this invention and many other embodiments and modifications maybe made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the claims.