Title:
GAMING MACHINE AND CONTROL METHOD THEREOF
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gaming machine comprises a controller, a first display and a second display. The controller is operable to (a) execute a poker game as a base game and (b) execute the base game to be played subsequently as a high-probability game with a raised winning probability when a specific condition has been met. The first display displays dealt cards images related to the base game The second display displays effecting images related to the base game. Furthermore, the controller is further operable to (c) display an extra effecting image, which indicates a start of the high-probability game, on the second display when the specific condition has been met, and (d) display at least one extra card, which includes at least a portion of the extra effecting image and brings the raised winning probability, on the first display as one of the dealt cards of the high-probability game.



Inventors:
Toyoda, Hirobumi (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
11/936240
Publication Date:
06/05/2008
Filing Date:
11/07/2007
Assignee:
Aruze Corp. (Koto-ku, JP)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/42
International Classes:
A63F9/24; A63F13/26; A63F13/52
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GRAY, BRANDON RAMON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
POLSINELLI PC / WATCHSTONE LLP (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A gaming machine for playing with plural kinds of cards, comprising: a controller operable to: (a) execute a base game, in which some cards selected by a player among initially dealt cards can be replaced with other cards and a payout is awarded if a predetermined combination is created by the finally dealt cards, and (b) execute the base game to be played subsequently as a high-probability game with a raised winning probability when a specific condition has been met; a first display controlled by the controller for displaying dealt cards images related to the base game; and a second display controlled by the controller and provided independently from the first display for displaying effecting images related to the base game, wherein the controller is further operable to: (c) display an extra effecting image, which indicates a start of the high-probability game, on the second display when the specific condition has been met, and (d) display at least one extra card, which includes at least a portion of the extra effecting image and brings the raised winning probability, on the first display as one of the dealt cards of the high-probability game.

2. The gaming machine according to claim 1, wherein the controller is operable to: execute the high-probability game with one of various winning probabilities, which had been preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game, and varies the number of the extra cards displayed on the first display according to the winning probability which had been preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game.

3. The gaming machine according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the controller is operable to display the extra card(s) on the first display as the dealt card(s) continuously during the high-probability games to be played subsequently.

4. A gaming machine for playing with plural kinds of cards, comprising: a controller operable to: (a) execute a base game, in which some cards selected by a player among initially dealt cards can be replaced with other cards and a payout is awarded if a predetermined combination is created by the finally dealt cards, and (b) execute the base game to be played subsequently as a high-probability game with one of various raised winning probabilities when a specific condition has been met; a first display controlled by the controller for displaying dealt cards images related to the base game; and a second display controlled by the controller and provided independently from the first display for displaying effecting images related to the base game, wherein the controller is further operable to: (c) set the one of various raised winning probabilities preliminarily before a start of the high-probability game, (d) display an extra effecting image, which indicates a start of the high-probability game, on the second display when the specific condition has been met, and (e) display at least one extra card, which includes at least a portion of the extra effecting image and brings the raised winning probability, on the first display as one of the dealt cards of the high-probability game, the number of the extra cards displayed on the first display having been determined according to the one of various raised winning probabilities preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game.

5. The gaming machine according to claim 4, wherein the controller is operable to display the extra card(s) on the first display as the dealt card(s) continuously during the high-probability games to be played subsequently.

6. A gaming machine for playing with plural kinds of cards, comprising: a controller operable to: (a) execute a base game, in which some cards selected by a player among initially dealt cards can be replaced with other cards and a payout is awarded if a predetermined combination is created by the finally dealt cards, and (b) execute the base game to be played subsequently as a high-probability game with one of various raised winning probabilities when a specific condition has been met; a first display controlled by the controller for displaying dealt cards images related to the base game; and a second display controlled by the controller and provided independently from the first display for displaying effecting images related to the base game, wherein the controller is further operable to: (c) set the one of various raised winning probabilities preliminarily before a start of the high-probability game, (d) display an extra effecting image, which indicates a start of the high-probability game, on the second display when the specific condition has been met, and (e) display at least one extra card, which includes at least a portion of the extra effecting image and brings the raised winning probability, on the first display as one of the dealt cards continuously during the high-probability games to be played subsequently, the number of the extra cards displayed on the first display having been determined according to the one of various raised winning probabilities preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game.

7. A control method of a gaming machine, which executes a game with plural kinds of cards and comprises a controller, a first display and a second display provided independently from the first display, wherein the controller is operable to: (a) execute a base game, in which some cards selected by a player among initially dealt cards can be replaced with other cards and a payout is awarded if a predetermined combination is created by the finally dealt cards, (b) execute the base game to be played subsequently as a high-probability game with a raised winning probability when a specific condition has been met, (c) display an extra effecting image, which indicates a start of the high-probability game, on the second display when the specific condition has been met, and (d) display at least one extra card, which includes at least a portion of the extra effecting image and brings the raised winning probability, on the first display as one of the dealt cards of the high-probability game.

8. The control method of a gaming machine according to claim 7, wherein the controller is operable to: execute the high-probability game with one of various winning probabilities, which had been preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game, and varies the number of the extra cards displayed on the first display according to the winning probability which had been preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game.

9. The control method of a gaming machine according to claim 7 or 8, wherein the controller is operable to display the extra card(s) on the first display as the dealt card(s) continuously during the high-probability games to be played subsequently.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based upon and claims priority of Japanese Patent Application No. 2006-309025, filed on Nov. 15, 2006, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

This application is related to co-pending U.S. patent application entitled “GAMING MACHINE, CONTROL METHOD THEREOF AND PLAYING METHOD OF CARD GAME” referred to as the prior Japanese Patent Application No. 2006-313469, filed in Japan on Nov. 20, 2006, co-pending U.S. patent application entitled “GAMING MACHINE AND CONTROL METHOD THEREOF” referred to as the prior Japanese Patent Application No. 2006-313470, filed in Japan on Nov. 20, 2006, and co-pending U.S. patent application entitled “GAMING MACHINE, CONTROL METHOD THEREOF AND PLAYING METHOD OF CARD GAME” referred to as the prior Japanese Patent Application No. 2006-313472, filed in Japan on Nov. 20, 2006, which are assigned to the assignee of the present invention. The teachings of the co-pending applications are incorporated herein by reference to the extent they not do conflict with the teachings herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a gaming machine and a control method thereof.

2. Description of Related Art

With a conventional gaming machine such as a poker machine installed in a casino, a base game is executed in which a winning is awarded when dealt cards constitute a predetermined card combination. With such a gaming machine, one or more medals are provided to a player for each poker game according to the number of inserted medals and odds of a winning poker hand.

In addition, a gaming machine is provided, which executes high-probability games with raised winning probability, recently. For example, a gaming machine is provided, which deals two sets of cards to each player, that is, ten cards in all (which is more than traditional one set of five cards). Each of the players tries to create one poker hand by combining the cards in two sets (see U.S. Pat. No. 5,882,260).

Furthermore, there is a new gaming style called double down game, recently. In the double down game, a player can try to double a payout amount, which has been awarded according to a poker hand in a general poker game, in order to increase the payout amount.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a gaming machine having a new gaming style which enhances expectation for more payout amounts, a control method thereof and a playing method of a card game.

A first aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine for playing with plural kinds of cards, which comprises a controller, a first display and a second display. The controller operable to (a) execute a base game, in which some cards selected by a player among initially dealt cards can be replaced with other cards and a payout is awarded if a predetermined combination is created by the finally dealt cards, and (b) execute the base game to be played subsequently as a high-probability game with a raised winning probability when a specific condition has been met. The first display is controlled by the controller for displaying images related to the base game. The second display is controlled by the controller and provided independently from the first display for displaying effecting images related to the base game. Furthermore, the controller is operable to (c) display an extra effecting image, which indicates a start of the high-probability game, on the second display when the specific condition has been met, and (d) display at least one extra card, which includes at least a portion of the extra effecting image and brings the raised winning probability, on the first display as one of the dealt cards of the high-probability game.

It is preferable that the controller is operable to (i) execute the high-probability game with one of various winning probabilities, which had been preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game, and (ii) varies the number of the extra cards displayed on the first display according to the winning probability which had been preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game.

It is further preferable that the controller is operable to display the extra card(s) on the first display as the dealt card(s) continuously during the high-probability games to be played subsequently.

A second aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine for playing with plural kinds of cards, which comprises a controller, a first display and a second display. The controller operable to (a) execute a base game, in which some cards selected by a player among initially dealt cards can be replaced with other cards and a payout is awarded if a predetermined combination is created by the finally dealt cards, and (b) execute the base game to be played subsequently as a high-probability game with one of various raised winning probabilities when a specific condition has been met. The first display is controlled by the controller for displaying images related to the base game. The second display is controlled by the controller and provided independently from the first display for displaying effecting images related to the base game. Furthermore, the controller is further operable to (c) set the one of various raised winning probabilities preliminarily before a start of the high-probability game, (d) display an extra effecting image, which indicates a start of the high-probability game, on the second display when the specific condition has been met, and (e) display at least one extra card, which includes at least a portion of the extra effecting image and brings the raised winning probability, on the first display as one of the dealt cards of the high-probability game. Note that, the number of the extra cards displayed on the first display has been determined according to the one of various raised winning probabilities preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game.

It is preferable that the controller is operable to display the extra card(s) on the first display as the dealt card(s) continuously during the high-probability games to be played subsequently.

A third aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine for playing with plural kinds of cards, which comprises a controller, a first display and a second display. The controller operable to (a) execute a base game, in which some cards selected by a player among initially dealt cards can be replaced with other cards and a payout is awarded if a predetermined combination is created by the finally dealt cards, and (b) execute the base game to be played subsequently as a high-probability game with one of various raised winning probabilities when a specific condition has been met. The first display is controlled by the controller for displaying images related to the base game. The second display is controlled by the controller and provided independently from the first display for displaying effecting images related to the base game. Furthermore, the controller is further operable to (c) set the one of various raised winning probabilities preliminarily before a start of the high-probability game, (d) display an extra effecting image, which indicates a start of the high-probability game, on the second display when the specific condition has been met, and (e) display at least one extra card, which includes at least a portion of the extra effecting image and brings the raised winning probability, on the first display as one of the dealt cards continuously during the high-probability games to be played subsequently. Note that, the number of the extra cards displayed on the first display has been determined according to the one of various raised winning probabilities preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game.

A fourth aspect of the present invention provides a control method of a gaming machine, which executes a game with plural kinds of cards and comprises a controller, a first display and a second display provided independently from the first display. The controller is operable to (a) execute a base game, in which some cards selected by a player among initially dealt cards can be replaced with other cards and a payout is awarded if a predetermined combination is created by the finally dealt cards, and (b) execute the base game to be played subsequently as a high-probability game with a raised winning probability when a specific condition has been met; (c) display an extra effecting image, which indicates a start of the high-probability game, on the second display when the specific condition has been met, and (d) display at least one extra card, which includes at least a portion of the extra effecting image and brings the raised winning probability, on the first display as one of the dealt cards of the high-probability game.

It is preferable that the controller is operable to (i) execute the high-probability game with one of various winning probabilities, which had been preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game, and (ii) varies the number of the extra cards displayed on the first display according to the winning probability which had been preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game.

It is further preferable that the controller is operable to display the extra card(s) on the first display as the dealt card(s) continuously during the high-probability games to be played subsequently.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate display screens of a first and second displays in the poker machine according to the present embodiment;

FIGS. 2A and 2B illustrate display screens of the first and second displays in the poker machine according to the present embodiment;

FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate display screens of the first and second displays in the poker machine according to the present embodiment;

FIGS. 4A and 4B illustrate display screens of the first and second displays in the poker machine according to the present embodiment;

FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate display screens of the first and second displays in the poker machine according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view illustrating an appearance of a poker machine according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 7 is a block diagram of the poker machine according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 8 is a flow chart of a main processing in the poker machine according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 9 is a flow chart of a bet processing in the poker machine according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 10 is a flow chart of an internal sortition processing in the poker machine according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 11 is a flow chart of a card replace processing in the poker machine according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 12 is a flow chart of a card redisplay processing in the poker machine according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 13 is a flow chart of an outcome determination processing in the poker machine according to the present embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENT

[Display of Poker Machine]

FIGS. 1A and 1B are explanatory views illustrating an example of display screens. As shown in FIG. 1A, the second display 33 displays a character image 90 (e.g., image of a sitting mermaid) and a character image 90a (e.g., image of a fish swimming in the water). In addition, as shown in FIG. 1B, the first display 32 displays an image 91 (e.g., poker odds table) and images 92 (e.g., card images). Furthermore, the first display 32 displays a text string image 93 (e.g., “SELECT HELD CARD!!”), a text string image 94 indicating credits (e.g., “00, 00, 00, 1000”) and so on.

FIGS. 2A and 2B illustrate the display screens after the hold switches 20 have been pressed on the displays shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B. As shown in FIG. 2B, the first display 32 displays the image 91 (e.g., poker odds table) and the images 92 (e.g., card images including cards with text string images “HELD” overlaid thereon) as dealt cards related to a base game. Furthermore, the first display 32 displays the text string image 93 (e.g., “SELECT HELD CARD!!”), the text string image 94 indicating credits (e.g., “1000”) and so on. In addition, as shown in FIG. 2A, the second display 33 displays the character image 90 (e.g., image of the sitting mermaid) and the character image 90a (e.g., image of the fish swimming in the water).

FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate the display screens after the deal switch is pressed on the displays shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B. As shown in FIG. 3A, the second display 33 displays the character image 90 (e.g., image of the sitting mermaid) and the character image 90a (e.g., image of the fish swimming in the water). In addition, as shown in FIG. 3B, the first display 32 displays the image 91 (e.g., poker odds table with grids “FLUSH” and “10” highlighted) and the images 92 (e.g., card images). Furthermore, the first display 32 displays a text string image 93 (e.g., “CONGRATULATIONS!!”), the text string image 94 representing credits (e.g., “1000”), a text string image 95 (e.g., “FLUSH WIN 10 MEDALS”) and so on.

FIGS. 4A and 4B illustrate the display screens immediately after the high-probability game has started. As shown in FIG. 4A, the second display 33 displays the character image 90 (e.g., close up image of the mermaid) as an extra effecting image for indicating a start of a high-probability game. In addition, as shown in FIG. 4B, the first display 32 displays the image 91 (e.g., poker odds table with grids “FLUSH” and “10” highlighted), the images 92 (e.g., card images) and so on. Furthermore, the first display 32 displays the text string image 93 (e.g., “CONGRATULATIONS!!”), the text string image 94 indicating credits (e.g., “1000”), the text string image 95 (e.g., “FLUSH WIN 10 MEDALS”) and so on.

FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate the display screens in the high-probability game. As shown in FIG. 5A, the second display 33 displays the character image 90 (e.g., image of the sitting mermaid) and the character image 90a (e.g., image of the fish swimming in the water). In addition, as shown in FIG. 5B, the first display 32 displays the image 91 (e.g., poker odds table), the images 92 (e.g., face-down card images) and an image 96 (e.g., extra card [joker] image with the mermaid, which includes a portion of the extra effecting image, illustrated thereon). During the high-probability games, this extra card is displayed on the first display 32 continuously. Furthermore, the first display 32 displays the text string image 94 indicating credits (e.g., “1000”) and so on.

[Configuration of Poker Machine]

An appearance of a gaming machine 10, which is an embodiment of the present invention, is shown in FIG. 6. The gaming machine 10 of the present embodiment is a porker machine, which is an example preferably adopted with the present invention, and the porker machine 10 will be described below.

Note that, although medals are used as game media with the poker machine 10. However, coins, medals, tokens or cards storing information about gaming value may be used as game media with the porker machine 10.

A first display 32 is provided on a front face of the poker machine 10. In addition, a second display 33 is provided above the first display 32. The first display 32 displays the effecting images as described above.

In addition, medal insertion slot 63 is provided on a right side of the front face. A medal cashout opening 61 and a medal receiver 67 are provided on a lower portion of the front face. A game can be played after a medal insertion into the medal insertion slot 63. In addition, medals are cashout from the medal cashout opening 61 according to the outcome of the gaming and accumulated on the medal receiver 67. As described below, a medal detection sensor 31 (see FIG. 7) is provided within the medal insertion slot 63. The medal detection sensor 31 detects insertion of medals into the poker machine 10 by a player. In addition, speakers 46a and 46b are provided at an upper portion of the poker machine 10.

Various switches are provided beneath the first display 32. A max-bet switch 26 and a one-bet switch 28 are used when the player starts the game. The one-bet switch 28 increases a bet amount according to the number of times pressed. The max-bet switch 26 is used when a maximum number of medals (five) are bet at a time.

A cashout switch 22 and a deal switch 24 are provided at a left side of the max-bet switch 26. Five hold switches 20 are provided above the max-bet switch 26. The deal switch 24 is used when the player wants to receive dealing of the cards on the screen. When the deal switch 24 is pressed after the player inserted one or more medals, images of the dealt cards or newly replaced cards are displayed on the first display 32. The cashout switch 22 is used when cashing-out credits accumulated within the poker machine 10. When the cashout switch 22 is pressed by the player, medals are cashed-out onto the medal receiver 67.

The five hold switches 20 are provided in total. The hold switches 20 are provided in association with respective card images displayed on the first display 32. Each of the hold switches 20 is used when the player selects a card to hold after cards are displayed. When the player presses one of the hold switches 20 beneath a card selected among five cards displayed on the first display 32, the selected card is held.

[Configuration of Control Unit of Poker Machine]

FIG. 7 is a block diagram of a control circuit of the poker machine 10 of the present embodiment.

A main control circuit 60, which is a “controller”, includes a central processing unit (CPU) 66, a read-only memory (ROM) 68, a random access memory (RAM) 70, a random number generator (RNG) 65, and interface circuits 62 and 72. These components are connected each other via an input-output (I/O) bus 64. The I/O bus 64 inputs and outputs data signals, control signals, and address signals from/to the CPU 66.

The CPU 66 reads data from, and writes data into respective components connected to the I/O bus 64 based on computer programs stored in the ROM 68. The CPU 66 executes various processings in cooperation with such components. In addition, an after-mentioned timer (not shown) is pre-implemented within the CPU 66.

A medal detection sensor 31 is connected to interface circuits 62 of a main control circuit 60. The interface circuits 62 convert the detection signal transmitted from the medal detection sensor 31 into a predetermined signal and supply the signal to an input/output (I/O) bus 64.

A deal switch 64 is connected to the interface circuits 62. An operation detection signal is transmitted to the interface circuits 62 when the deal switch 64 is pressed by the player. The interface circuits 62 supplies the operation detection signal to the I/O bus 64. In addition, the hold switches 20, the cashout switch 22, the max-bet switch 26, and the one-bet switch 28 are connected to the interface circuits 62. An operation detection signal is transmitted to the interface circuits 62 when each of these switches is pressed by the player. The interface circuits 62 supplies the operation detection signal to the I/O bus 64.

The speakers 46 (46a and 46b) and illuminating lamps 36 (36a and 36b) are also connected to the interface circuits 72. The interface circuits 72 supply driving signals and driving powers to the speakers 46 and the illuminating lamps 36 in order to control them, according to processing results of the CPU 66.

A ROM 68 and a RAM 70, which are storage devices, are also connected to the I/O bus 64. Control programs for controlling entire gaming of the poker machine 10 are stored in the ROM 68. In addition, initial data for executing the control programs, a control program for illuminating pattern of the illuminating lamps 36 (36a and 36b of FIG. 2), a display control program of the first display 32 or the like are stored in the ROM 68. Furthermore, various kinds of sortition tables are stored in the ROM 68. Each of the various kinds of sortition tables associates random numbers generated by a random number generator (RNG) 65 with card images to be displayed on the first display 32. Furthermore, a combination determination table is stored in the ROM 86. The combination determination table is used for determining whether or not a combination of cards displayed on the first display 32 has created a specific combination. Each of the sortition tables provides different winning possibilities, respectively. For example, a CPU 66 selects a high-probability sortition table as an internal sortition table when the specific combination has been brought. The high-probability sortition table provides a raised winning probability (S32 in FIG. 10). The RAM 70 stores flags and parameters used in the above-mentioned programs.

In addition, the RNG 65 is connected to the I/O bus 64. The RNG 65 generates random numbers within a predetermined range when a random number generation command is transmitted from the CPU 66, and transmits a signal indicating the random numbers to the I/O bus 64. The CPU 66 executes an after-mentioned internal sortition processing based on the generated random numbers. Here, the random numbers transmitted from the RNG 65 are stored in the RAM 70.

In the present embodiment, random numbers are generated in the RNG 65 connected to the CPU 66 via the I/O bus 64. However, the present invention is not limited to the above configuration. Random number generation may be implemented in a program operating of the CPU 66 as a random number generator. In this case, the RNG 65 may be omitted.

A display control device 200 is connected to the interface circuits 72. The display control device 200 transmits driving signals to the first display 32 and the second display 33, based on image display commands transmitted from the main control circuit 60.

Furthermore, a hopper control device 210 is also connected to the interface circuits 72. A hopper 50 is connected to the hopper control device 210. The hopper control device 210 transmits a driving signal to the hopper 50 based on the medal cashout command transmitted from the main control circuit 60. Medals are cashout from the medal cashout opening 61 onto the medal receiver 67 by driving of the hopper 50.

[Operation of Poker Machine]

Processings executed by the above-mentioned main control circuit 60 will be described. FIG. 8 is a flow chart of a main routine and FIGS. 9 to 13 are flow charts of subroutines. In the following description, the poker machine 10 has already been activated and the parameters used by the CPU 66 have been initialized to default values. The porker machine 10 has already been under an ordinary gaming state.

A bet processing is first executed (step S11). The bet processing is executed based on the player's inserting one or more coins or pressing the max-bet switch 26 or the one-bet switch 28. Details of the bet processing will be described below. The process flow proceeds to step S12 after the bet processing.

Next, an internal sortition processing is executed to determine cards to be dealt (step S12). In this processing, the CPU 66 transmits a command to generate random numbers to the RNG 65 and then the RNG 65 generates the random numbers. The random numbers generated by the RNG 65 are stored in the RAM 70 as an outcome of the internal sortition. The CPU 66 determines cards corresponding to the random numbers referring to the sortition table. And then, the CPU 66 stores data with regard to the cards in the RAM 70. Details of the internal sortition processing will be described below. The process flow proceeds to step S13 after the internal sortition processing.

Next, a card display processing is executed (step S13). The CPU 66 supplies the data, which relates to the five cards initially dealt to the player determined by the internal sortition processing of step S12 (stored in the RAM 70), together with a displaying order to the display control device 200 via the I/O bus 64 and the interface circuits 72. Here, the cards are dealt on the first display 32. The display control device 200 reads image data corresponding to the cards and stores the image data in an internal video RAM. In this manner, the five cards initially dealt to the player are displayed on the first display 32. In addition, the CPU 32 displays the effecting image (the extra card) as a dealt card according to a winning probability of the high-probability games which has been set. For example, the CPU 66 varies the number of the extra cards according to the winning probability of the high-probability games (specifically, the higher the winning probability is, the more numbers of the extra cars are displayed). The process flow proceeds to step S14 after the card display processing.

Next, a card replace processing is executed (step S14) In this processing, the CPU 66 preliminarily determines whether or not a combination of the five cards, which is going to be displayed as a result of card replacement, creates the specific combination before new card image(s) has been actually displayed. And then, the CPU 64 changes a displaying order of replace card(s) to be displayed based on the result of the preliminary determination. Details of the processing will be described below. The process flow proceeds to step S15 after the card replace processing.

Next, an outcome determination processing is executed (step S15). In this processing, the CPU 66 determines whether or not a winning outcome, in which the finally dealt five cards create a winning card combination (one of poker hands), has been brought after the card replacement. It is determined according to the determination table stored in the RAM 74. Here, the CPU 64 has already determined whether or not the winning outcome has been brought in the above-mentioned card replacement processing before the replace card(s) has been actually displayed. However, if the above-mentioned determination in the card replacement processing is made only in order to control the displaying order of the replace card(s) which is going to create the specific combination, it is definitely determined in this step whether or not the winning outcome has been brought. The determination in this step may be skipped if the above-mentioned determination in the card replacement processing has been made with respect to all card combinations to be displayed as a result of the card replacement. Details of the processing will be described below. The process flow proceeds to step S16 after the outcome determination processing.

Next, an effect/payout processing is executed (step S16) In this processing, the CPU 66 provides a payout to the player and produces various effects (displaying images on the display 32 and 33, outputting sound effects from the speakers 46, illuminating of the lamps 36 and so on) based on the outcome determination processing of step S15. Specifically, if it is determined in step S15 that the card combination creates the winning combination (one of porker hands), the CPU 66 displays the fact on the first display 32. Furthermore, the CPU 66 adds a payout amount to internally pooled credits. On the other hand, if it is determined in step S15 that the card combination does not create a winning combination, the CPU 66 displays the fact on the first display 32. Furthermore, if it is determined in step S15 that a specific condition to start the high-probability game has been met, the CPU 64 displays the effecting image indicating the fact on the second display 33. The process flow proceeds to step S17 after the effect/payout processing.

In this way, the CPU 66 functions, in steps S11, S12, S15 and S16, as a playing controller which controls the execution of the base game.

[Bet Processing]

A subroutine (FIG. 9) of the bet processing is invoked in the above-mentioned step S11 (FIG. 8).

In the bet processing, it is first determined whether or not one or more medals have been inserted, or whether or not the bet switches 26 and 28 have been pressed (step S21). Here, the CPU 66 judges whether or not it has received a detection signal, which indicates that one or more medals have been inserted into the medal insertion slot 63, from the medal detection sensor 31 or a detection signal, which indicates that the max-bet switch 26 or the one-bet switch 28 has been pressed. The process flow proceeds to step S22 when the CPU 66 has received at least one of the detection signals. On the other hand, the CPU 66 repeats step S21 when it has not received any of the detection signals.

If step 21 is affirmative, a bet amount is counted (step S22) Here, the CPU 66 counts the bet amount based on the result of step S21. Specifically, a sum of the number of totally detected coins and the number of totally pressing times of the one-bet switch 28 is stored in the RAM 70 as the bet amount. Maximum value of a bet amount per one game is “5”. The maximal value of “5” is recorded in the RAM 70 regardless of the number of the detected coins or the pressing times of the one-bet switch 28 when the max-bet switch 26 is pressed. The process flow proceeds to step S23 after counting the bet amount.

Next, it is determined whether or not the deal switch 24 has been pressed (step S23). Here, the CPU 66 determines whether or not it has received a detection signal which indicates that deal switch 24 has been pressed. The CPU 66 repeats step S23 when it has not received the detection signal. On the other hand, the CPU 66 terminates the bet processing subroutine when it has received the detection signal.

[Internal Sortition Processing]

A subroutine (FIG. 10) of the internal sortition processing is invoked in the above-mentioned step S12 (FIG. 8).

In the internal sortition processing, a gaming state determination processing is executed first (step S31). In this processing, the CPU 66 judges a gaming state based on a gaming state flag stored in the RAM 70. The process flow proceeds to step S32 after the gaming state is determined.

Next, a sortition table setup processing is executed (step S32). In this processing, the CPU 66 sets up one sortition table as the internal sortition table among the various kinds of the sortition tables, which are stored in the ROM 68 and provide different winning probabilities respectively, according to the gaming state determined in step 31. The process flow proceeds to step S33 after the sortition table setup processing.

Next, a random number generation processing is executed (step S33). In this processing, the CPU 66 transmits the random number generation command to the RNG 65. The RNG 65 generates the random numbers when it has received the command. The random numbers generated by the RNG 65 are stored in the RAM 70. The process flow proceeds to step S34 after the random number generation processing.

Next, a sortition table reference processing is executed (step S34). In this processing, the CPU 66 determines cards corresponding to the random numbers stored in the RAM 70 in step S33, referring to the sortition table setup in step S32. And then, the CPU 66 stores data related to the determined cards in the RAM 70. This subroutine is terminated after the sortition table reference processing.

In the internal sortition processing, ten cards are selected among cards used in the game. Five cards to be initially dealt to the player are included in the ten cards. Other five cards, which can be dealt to the player in card replacement, are also included in the ten cards. The five cards to be initially dealt are always displayed on the first display 32. Here, at least one joker is displayed as a wild card among the five cards to be initially dealt in the high-probability game. The joker raises probability that a winning combination (one of poker hands) is to be created. In addition, some of the other five cards can be displayed on the first display 32 as replacement(s) of card(s) which had been selected among the initially dealt cards by the player to be replaced. Note that, in the present embodiment, replace cards (the term “replace card” means a card to be replaced or a replaced card) are selected simultaneously with the initially dealt cards in the sortition as described above. However, the present invention is not limited to this, the replace card may be selected by the sortition after the player has selected card(s) among the initially dealt cards. In this case, the number of the replace cards selected by the sortition may be equal to the number of the card had been selected by the player.

[Card Replacement Processing]

A subroutine (FIG. 11) of the card replacement processing is invoked in the above-mentioned step S14 (FIG. 8).

In the card replacement processing, it is first determined whether or not any of the hold switches 20 have been pressed (step S41). In this processing, the CPU 66 judges whether or not it has received a detection signal, which indicates that any of the five hold switches 20 has been pressed. The process flow proceeds to step S42 when the CPU 66 has received the detection signal. On the other hand, the process flow proceeds to step S43 when the CPU 66 has not received the detection signal.

If step 41 is affirmative, the CPU 66 holds the corresponding card(s) to the pressed hold switch(es) 20 (step S42). Here, the CPU 66 executes a setup such that the hold card(s) (the term “hold card” represents a card corresponding to the hold switch 20 had been pressed in step S31) will not be replaced after the deal switch 24 is to be pressed. At the same time, the CPU 66 overlays the “HELD” image(s) on the hold card(s) on the first display 32 (FIG. 2B). The process flow proceeds to step S43 after the hold card(s) is determined.

If step 41 is negative or after step 42, the CPU 66 determines whether or not the deal switch 24 has been pressed (step S43). Here, the CPU 66 judges whether or not it has received a detection signal, which indicates that the deal switch 24 has been pressed. The process flow proceeds to step S44 when the CPU 66 has received the detection signal. On the other hand, the CPU 66 returns the process flow to step S41 when it has not received the detection signal. Next, the CPU 66 determines the replace card(s) to be dealt (step S44). Here, the CPU 66 selects the card(s) to be replaced among the five replace cards selected by the sortition in step S12 (FIG. 8). The number of the card(s) selected by the CPU 66 for replacement is equal to the number of the non-hold cards (i.e., the number of cards the player wishes to replace). Selection of the replace cards may be executed in this step by new sortition among the five cards. Alternatively, the five replace cards may have been selected with an order at the sortition in step S12 (FIG. 8), and selected in this order in the new sortition of this step S44. Note that, there may be a case in which the player wishes to replace all five cards (all of the cards in hand). The process flow proceeds to step S45 after the replace card(s) is determined.

Next, the CPU 66 executes a card redisplay processing (step S45). In this processing, the CPU 66 transmits data related to the replace card(s) determined in step S34 to the display control device 200. The display control device 200 displays the replace card(s) as replacement(s) for the non-hold card(s) on the first display 32. Details of this processing will be described next. This subroutine is terminated after the card redisplay processing.

[Card Redisplay Processing]

The card redisplay processing of step S45 (FIG. 11) will be described based on FIG. 12. More specifically, a case will be described in which (i) a “Spade 10”, a “Spade J”, a “Spade Q”, a “Diamond 3”, and a “Diamond 2” are initially dealt, (ii) a “Spade 10”, a “Spade J”, and a “Spade Q” are selected as hold cards by the player, and (iii) a “Diamond 10” and a “Spade K” are selected as replace cards by the sortition as replacements for the two non-hold cards.

In the card redisplay processing, the highest poker hand created by a combination of hold cards and replace cards is searched first (step S51). Since this hand is fixed after the card replacement, it is defined as a “fixed hand”. The CPU 66 searches for a fixed hand recorded in the ROM 68 based on the combination of the hold cards and the replace cards.

Poker hands, such as “royal flush” or “straight flush”, are stored in the ROM 68 together with their rank data. For example, as shown in the odds table (FIG. 1B) displayed on the first display 32, the rank of each poker hand is the payout amount per one credit (medal) according to the poker hand. For example, the ranks of “royal flush”, “straight flush”, and “four of a kind” are 500, 50, and 20, respectively. In this case, the larger the numeric value is, the higher the rank is. However, the ranks of poker hands may be ordinal numbers such as “1”, “2”, and “3” provided that they express the rank order of respective hands. The CPU 66 searches for the highest ranked poker hand according to the combination of the hold cards and the newly dealt replace cards. In the present embodiment, one pair of a “Spade J” and a “Diamond J” is searched as the fixed hand.

Next, the CPU 66 searches for the highest ranked hand if it is assumed that any one of the replace card(s) were substituted with a more advantageous card (step S52). Since this hand will not be created practically, it is defined as an “assumptive hand”. If it is assumed that one of the replace cards (e.g., a “Diamond J”) is substituted with another advantageous card, the CPU 66 searches for the highest ranked hand. Specifically, the CPU 66 sequentially searches for winning hands by substituting the “Diamond J” with the other advantageous card in order to find the highest ranked hand. In the present embodiment, tentatively substituting the “Diamond J” with a “Spade A” creates “royal flush”.

Next, the CPU 66 searches for the highest ranked hand if it is assumed that another card “Spade K” were substituted with a more advantageous card. In the present embodiment, tentatively substituting the “Spade K” with a “Heart J” or a “Club J” creates “three of a kind” of Jack. Since “royal flush” is ranked higher than “three of a kind”, “royal flush” is retrieved as an assumptive hand in the case where the “Diamond J” is assumed as a “target card”.

Next, the CPU 66 compares the fixed hand of step S51 and the assumptive hand of step S52 (step S53). The process flow proceeds to step S54, if the rank of the assumptive hand is equal to or lower than that of the fixed hand. On the other hand, the process flow proceeds to step S55, if the rank of the assumptive hand is higher than that of the fixed hand.

If step 53 is negative, the CPU 66 changes the displaying order based on the fixed hand (step S54). For example, if the fixed-hand is one pair of a “Spade J” and a “Diamond J”, the displaying order is changed such that the replace card “Diamond J” will be displayed first.

On the other hand, if step 53 is affirmative, the CPU 66 changes the displaying order based on the assumptive hand (step S55). Specifically, the displaying order is changed so that the target card in the assumptive hand will be displayed last. In the present embodiment, since the target card in the assumptive hand “royal flush” is a “Diamond J”, the displaying order is changed such that the “Diamond J” will be displayed last.

Next, the CPU 66 displays the replace cards in the displaying order determined in step S54 or S55 (step S56). Specifically, the CPU 66 first gives a command for displaying the first replace card to the display control device 200 via the I/O bus 64 and the interface circuits 72. The display control device 200 reads out the desired image data and stores it in the internal video RAM. In this manner, the first replace card is displayed on the first display 32. Subsequently, the CPU 66 gives a command for displaying the second replace card to the display control device 200 after a predetermined wait time, such as 0.2 to 2 seconds. And then, the CPU 66 displays the second replace card on the first display 32 via the display control device 200. The replace cards are displayed one by one with waiting time intervals.

Therefore, the first card is replaced, so that the “Spade King” is displayed. Here, the player may expect that a “royal flush” will be created if the next replace card is a “Spade A”. However, the second card (target card) is replaced with the “Diamond J”, actually. As a result, the fixed hand (one pair of Jack) is created.

In this manner, change of the displaying order of the replace cards based on the assumptive hand can provide the player with an expectation for a higher ranked hand until the last replace card is displayed. After step S56, this subroutine is terminated.

[Outcome Determination Processing]

A subroutine (FIG. 13) of the outcome determination processing is invoked in the above-mentioned step S15 (FIG. 8).

In the outcome determination processing, it is first determined whether or not the gaming state is in a high-probability game state (step S61). Here, the CPU 66 judges the gaming state based on the gaming state flag stored in the RAM 70. The process flow proceeds to step S63 if the gaming state is in the high-probability game state. On the other hand, the process flow proceeds to step S62 if the gaming state is not in the high-probability game state.

If step S61 is negative, a general outcome determination processing is executed (step S62). Here, the CPU 66 judges the outcome of the general base game. Specifically, the CPU 66 whether or not the base game has brought an outcome with a specific combination (e.g., “flush” of hearts or diamonds). The CPU 66 sets the gaming state flag to “1” when the specific combination has been created. Note that, the base game to be played subsequently will be executed as the high-probability game with a raised winning probability if the gaming state flag has been set to “1”. After step S62, this subroutine is terminated.

On the other hand, if step S61 is affirmative, a storing outcome processing is executed (step S63). In this processing, the CPU 66 stores the outcome of the game (the high-probability game, because step S61 is affirmative) in the RAM 70. After step S63, the process flow proceeds to step S64.

Next, a comparison processing is executed (step S64). In this processing, the CPU 66 compares the outcome stored in the RAM 70 this time with the outcome had been stored in the RAM 70 last time. After step S64, the process flow proceeds to step S65.

Next, a high-probability game outcome determination processing is executed (step S65). In this processing, the CPU 66 judges the outcome of the high-probability game. Specifically, the CPU 66 whether or not the high-probability game has brought an outcome with a specific combination (e.g., “flush” of clubs or spades). The CPU 66 sets the gaming state flag to “0” when the specific combination has been created. Note that, the high-probability game is finished if the gaming state flag has been set to “0”. After step S65, this subroutine is terminated.

In this manner, the CPU 66 is an example of the controller, which is operable to (a) execute a base game, in which some cards selected by a player among initially dealt cards can be replaced with other cards and a payout is awarded if a predetermined combination is created by the finally dealt cards, (b) execute the base game to be played subsequently as a high-probability game with a raised winning probability when a specific condition has been met, (c) display an extra effecting image, which indicates a start of the high-probability game, on the second display when the specific condition has been met, and (d) display at least one extra card, which includes at least a portion of the extra effecting image and brings the raised winning probability, on the first display as one of the dealt cards of the high-probability game. In addition, the CPU 66 is an example of the controller, which is operable to (i) execute the high-probability game with one of various winning probabilities, which had been preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game, and (ii) varies the number of the extra cards displayed on the first display according to the winning probability which had been preliminarily set before the start of the high-probability game. Furthermore, the first display 32 is an example of the first display, which is controlled by the controller for displaying dealt cards images related to the base game. Furthermore, the first display 32 is an example of the first display, which displays at least one extra card, which includes at least a portion of the extra effecting image and brings the raised winning probability, as one of the dealt cards of the high-probability game.

An example of the present invention has been described based on the above embodiment. However, the present invention is not limited to the above. The applicant intends that the scope which a person having ordinary skill can readily conceive, and that equivalents or substitutes of the components belong to the scope of the present invention.