Title:
Front and Back Side Playing card Games
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Variations of a playing card wagering game are provided in which the outcome of the game and/or the payoff scale for the game are determined based on the front sides of the playing cards and at least one distinguishable card back design. The game deck may comprise one or more standard or modified standard 52-card decks of playing cards with multiple different designs, for example, different colors, on the backs of the different cards. The wagering game may comprise, for example, a standard casino game with a tiebreaker that depends on the backs of the cards in the players' and dealer's hands, or a side bet or payoff multiplier based on the card backs in the players' hands. Multiple different card back designs and configurations are provided, along with multiple different techniques for incorporating card back determinations into the outcome and payoff scale of the wagering card game.



Inventors:
Kekempanos, Larry Emmanuel (Oak Lawn, IL, US)
Kenny, James Thomas (Shorewood, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/953531
Publication Date:
07/24/2008
Filing Date:
12/10/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/296, 463/43
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MYHR, JUSTIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BANNER & WITCOFF, LTD. (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A method of providing a wagering card game for one or more players comprising: providing a game deck of cards comprising one or more decks of playing cards, wherein the front sides of the cards for each of the decks comprises a standard or modified standard 52-card deck of playing cards, and wherein the back sides of the cards in the game deck comprise a plurality of card back designs, such that at least one card in the game deck has a different card back design than at least one other card in the game deck; providing a published set of game rules and a predetermined game pay scale; commencing a game hand by accepting an initial wager from one or more players; dealing one or more player hands each comprising one or more cards from the game deck, wherein each of the players is associated with at least one of the player hands or a dealer hand; determining whether a first player wins the game hand according to the game rules, wherein the determining is based on at least one of the card back designs of the cards in the first player's hand; and paying each of the winning players in accordance with the game pay scale.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the wagering card game corresponds to a casino game in which the front sides of the cards in a player's hand are compared to the front sides of the cards in a dealer hand to determine whether the player wins the game hand, and wherein the determining comprises using the card back designs of the cards in the first player's hand as a tiebreaker between the dealer hand and the first player's hand.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein the wagering card game is blackjack and wherein the card back designs of the cards in the first player's hand are used to determine if the first player wins or loses the blackjack hand when the first player's hand and dealer hand push.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the wagering card game is a casino poker game and the determining comprises comparing a poker hand corresponding to the first player's hand to a poker hand corresponding to a dealer hand.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the wagering card game is a casino baccarat game, and wherein the initial wager of the first player corresponds to a player bet associated with a player hand, a banker bet associated with the dealer hand, or a tie bet associated with the player hand and the dealer hand.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the game rules comprise rules for a first wagering game that depends only on the front sides of the cards and rules for a second side bet wager that depends only on the card back designs of the cards in the game hand.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein the rules for the second side bet wager comprise comparing card back designs of one or more cards in a player's hand to card back designs of one or more cards in a dealer hand.

8. The method of claim 6, wherein the rules for the second side bet wager comprise comparing card back designs of all of the cards in a player's hand to a predetermined side bet wager pay scale based on probabilities of different combinations of card back designs in the players' hands.

9. The method of claim 6, wherein the outcome of the second side bet wager is determined prior to the outcome of the first wagering game.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the game rules comprise rules for a first wagering game that depends only on the front sides of the cards to determine whether or not the one or more players win the game, and wherein the amount paid to each of winning players is based on the game pay scale and a separate payoff multiplier that depends on the card back designs of the cards in each winning player's hand.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the plurality of card back designs in the game deck corresponds to different colors of card backs.

12. The method of claim 1, wherein the game deck comprises a plurality of standard or modified standard 52-card decks of playing cards, wherein each of the decks individually has a single card back design, and wherein the card back designs of each of the plurality of decks is different.

13. The method of claim 1, further comprising: commencing a second game hand by accepting a second set of one or more initial wagers and dealing one or more additional player hands, wherein the game deck is not shuffled in between the first game hand and the second game hand.

14. The method of claim 1, wherein the game rules comprise rules for a first wagering game in which an initial determination of whether a player wins the game hand is based entirely on the front sides of the cards in the game hand, and wherein a second determination of whether the player wins the game hand is performed if a card back design in the player's hand corresponds to a wildcard affecting the outcome of the initial determination.

15. A computing device, comprising: a processor; a display device; one or more user input controls; memory storing instructions for controlling the computing device to perform a method of providing a wagering card game, said method comprising: providing a published set of game rules and a predetermined game pay scale; receiving input via the user input controls corresponding to an initial wager from one or more players; displaying on the display device graphical representations of playing cards corresponding to a one or more player hands of cards from a game deck, wherein each of the players is associated with at least one of the player hands or a dealer hand and wherein the game deck is stored in the memory of the computing device and corresponds to one or more decks of playing cards in which the front sides of the cards for each of the decks comprises a standard or modified standard 52-card deck of playing cards and back sides of the cards in the game deck comprise a plurality of card back designs such that at least one card in the game deck has a different card back design than at least one other card in the game deck; determining whether a first player wins the game hand according to the game rules, wherein the determining is based on at least one of the card back designs of the cards in the first player's hand; and paying each of the winning players in accordance with the game pay scale.

16. The computing device of claim 15, wherein the wagering card game corresponds to a casino game in which the front sides of the cards in a player's hand are compared to the front sides of the cards in a dealer hand to determine whether the player wins the game hand, and wherein the determining comprises using the card back designs of the cards in the player's hand as a tiebreaker between the dealer hand and the player's hand.

17. The computing device of claim 15, wherein the wagering card game is a casino poker game and the determining comprises comparing a poker hand corresponding to the front sides of the cards in the first player's hand to a poker hand corresponding to a dealer's hand.

18. The computing device of claim 15, and wherein the game rules comprise rules for a first wagering game that depends only on the front sides of the cards and rules for a second side bet wager that depends only on the card back designs of the cards in the game hand.

19. The computing device of claim 18, wherein the rules for the second side bet wager comprise comparing card back designs of one or more cards in a player's hand to card back designs of one or more cards in a dealer hand.

20. The computing device of claim 18, wherein the rules for the second side bet wager comprise comparing card back designs of all of the cards in a player's hand to a predetermined side bet wager pay scale based on probabilities of different combinations of card back designs in the players' hands.

21. The computing device of claim 15, wherein the method further comprises: commencing a second game hand by accepting via the user input controls a second set of one or more initial wagers, and dealing via the display device one or more additional player hands and associating each of the players with one of the additional player hands or a dealer hand, wherein the game deck stored in the memory of the computing device is not shuffled or randomized between the first game hand and the second game hand.

22. One or more computer readable media storing computer-executable instructions which, when executed on a computer system, perform a method comprising: providing a published set of game rules for a wagering card game and a predetermined game pay scale; receiving user input corresponding to an initial wager from one or more players; displaying on the display device graphical representations of playing cards corresponding to a one or more player hands of cards from a game deck, wherein each of the players is associated with at least one of the player hands or a dealer hand and wherein the game deck is stored in a memory of the computer system and corresponds to one or more decks of playing cards in which the front sides of the cards for each of the decks comprises a standard or modified standard 52-card deck of playing cards and back sides of the cards in the game deck comprise a plurality of card back designs such that at least one card in the game deck has a different card back design than at least one other card in the game deck; determining whether a first player wins the game hand according to the game rules, wherein the determining is based on at least one of the card back designs of the cards in the first player's hand; and paying each of the winning players in accordance with the game pay scale.

23. The computer readable media of claim 22, wherein the computer system comprises a video blackjack machine and the wagering card game is blackjack, and wherein determining whether the first player wins the game hand comprises using the card back designs of the cards in the first player's hand as a tiebreaker when the first player's hand and dealer hand push.

24. The computer readable media of claim 22, wherein the wagering card game is a casino poker game and the determining comprises comparing a poker hand corresponding to the front sides of the cards in the first player's hand to a poker hand corresponding to a dealer's hand.

25. The computer readable media of claim 22, wherein the game rules comprise rules for a first wagering game that depends only on the front sides of the cards and rules for a second side bet wager that depends only on a comparison of the card back designs of one or more cards in a player's hand to card back designs of one or more cards in a dealer hand.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/881,933 filed on Jan. 23, 2007, and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/898,782 filed on Jan. 31, 2007, both identifying Larry E. Kekempanos as inventor. Both provisional applications are incorporated by reference herein for all purposes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to playing card wagering games. More particularly, the present invention pertains to methods and systems of providing and playing new variations of wagering games adaptable to live table gaming in a casino, video gaming machines, or gaming software running on a computing device.

Gaming establishments, producers of video gaming machines, and designers of gaming and casino software products for computing devices continually work to provide new and interesting card games for players. If a gaming establishment such as a casino fails to offer its players exciting betting games that the players can understand and enjoy, the casino will not be able to attract or retain players and may lose the revenue that those players provide. Casino games and other wagering games are often structured such that one or more players may play against the dealer/banker controlled by the game provider (e.g., casino, gaming machine, gaming software). This structure of dealer-player games may have certain advantages over player-player games, for example, dealer-player card games may require less table space and are typically much faster than player-player card games. Accordingly, game providers frequently attempt to create new wagering card games and modifications of existing games that are both popular among players and profitable for the game providers.

Many previous attempts to create new wagering card games involve the introduction of non-standard playing card decks. However, many people are uncomfortable with non-standard playing card decks and unwilling to make the effort to learn new games on new card decks. Instead, most players have strong preferences for the familiar suits, ranks, and well-known probabilities associated with the standard 52-card deck of playing cards. Additionally, card games using non-standard decks are unlikely to achieve popularity among casual players who will not buy a non-standard deck for playing at home, but prefer to use standard card decks because they can be used in many entertaining games that are well-known even to beginning card players.

Additional previous attempts have involved modifying traditional card games with additional new features and/or side bet wagers. However, modifying well-know traditional games may confuse players, and therefore the new game features and side bets are often played at different times and in separate regions of the gaming surface (e.g., casino game table, video gaming display screen) than the traditional game. Many of these game modifications and new features may also require additional cards from the game deck to be dealt to the players or the dealer. However, the gaming surface on casino tables and video gaming screens is limited, and any new game features or additional cards dealt onto the surface may reduce the number of players that can play at the table, and therefore may potentially reduce the wagering revenue for the game provider. Furthermore, when additional cards are dealt as part of a new game feature or side bet, the game deck of cards will be depleted faster and shuffled more often, resulting in slower overall play and less potential wagering revenue.

Accordingly, there remains a need for designing and providing new and modified playing card wagering games.

SUMMARY

The following presents a simplified summary of the present disclosure in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the invention. This summary is not an extensive overview of the invention. It is not intended to identify key or critical elements of the invention or to delineate the scope of the invention. The following summary merely presents some concepts of the invention in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description provided below.

According to one aspect of the present disclosure, a playing card wagering game is provided using a game deck of cards having multiple different card back designs, in which the outcome or the pay scale of the wagering game is determined at least in part by the backs of the cards in the hand. The game deck may comprise one or more standard, or modified standard, 52-card decks of playing cards, and the wagering game may be, for example, a modification of a standard casino game that uses card fronts to determine game winners and payouts. The modified card game, including game rules, payout rules, and card back comparisons and evaluations, may be provided at a live casino or home gaming table, by a video gaming machine, or by gaming software running on a computer or mobile device.

According to additional aspects of the present disclosure, a conventional wagering card game may be modified to use card back designs in determining the winners and payouts of the game. In one modification, the rules of a conventional card game (e.g., blackjack) may be supplemented to include a dealer-player or player-player tiebreaker in which the backs of the cards in the players' and the dealer's hands may be used to determine which players win and the payout amounts. As an example, numbers, colors, symbols or other indicia on the backs of the player's cards may be compared against related indicia on the backs of the dealer's cards to make the tiebreaker determination. In another modification, a wagering card game may include a separate side bet wager based on the card backs in the game hand. For example, a pattern of symbols or colors may be identified on the backs of the cards in the player's hand and compared to a card back side bet pay scale to determine if the player wins the side bet wager regardless of whether or the not player wins the main bet wager. In yet another modification, a conventional wagering card game may be modified to include a payout modifier based on the pattern of designs found on the backs of the cards in the player's winning hand. In this example, the game rules determining wins and losses for the main wager need not be affected, but the pay scale for winning players may be modified based on the backs of the winning players' cards.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Having thus described the invention in general terms, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating a computing device, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIGS. 2A-2F are block diagrams illustrating various configurations for designing backs of playing cards in a game deck, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a flow diagram showing illustrative steps for performing a wagering game with a card back tiebreaker, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a flow diagram showing illustrative steps for performing a wagering game with a card back side bet wager, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram showing illustrative steps for performing a wagering game with a card back payoff multiplier, in accordance with aspects of the present invention;

FIGS. 6A and 6B are illustrative diagrams corresponding to screenshots from a user interface for playing a wagering game with a card back tiebreaker, in accordance with aspects of the present invention; and

FIGS. 7A and 7B are illustrative diagrams corresponding to screenshots from a user interface for playing a wagering game with a card back side bet wager, in accordance with aspects of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description of the various embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration various embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural and functional modifications may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention.

FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram of a generic computing device 101 that may be used in accordance with certain embodiments of the invention. Device 101 may include a processor 103 for controlling the overall operation of the computing device and its associated components, including RAM 105, ROM 107, input/output module 109, and memory 115. Also shown inside the RAM 105 are applications 106a-106c, representing the application data stored in RAM memory 105 while the computer is on and corresponding software applications (e.g., software tasks) are running on the computer 101, including, for example, system applications and user applications, such as native applications or managed applications executed in a managed runtime environment. Thus, computer 101 typically includes a variety of computer readable media, and combinations of the any of the above should also be included within the scope of computer readable media.

I/O 109 may include a microphone, keypad, touch screen, and/or stylus through which a user of device 101 may provide input, and may also include one or more of a speaker for providing audio output and a video display device for providing textual, audiovisual and/or graphical output. I/O 109 may also include a user interface including such physical components as a voice interface, one or more arrow keys, joystick, data glove, mouse, roller ball, or the like. Memory 115 may store software used by device 101, such as an operating system 117, application programs 119, and associated data 121. Additionally, an application program 119 used by device 101 according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention may include computer executable instructions for invoking system and/or user functionality. For example, an application program 119 used by the device 101 according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention may include computer executable instructions for invoking user functionality related to communication, such as email, short message service (SMS), multimedia messaging service (MMS), and voice input and speech recognition applications.

The device 101 may operate as a video gaming machine, personal computer, mobile device, or server in a networked environment supporting connections to one or more remote computers that include many or all of the elements described above relative to device 101. Thus, the device 101 may support connections to various networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and many other varieties of communication networks. When used in an Ethernet or other LAN networking environment, the server 101 may be connected to the LAN through a network interface or adapter 125. When used in a WAN networking environment, the server 101 may employ a modem 123 or other techniques for establishing communications over the WAN. It will be appreciated that the network connections described herein are illustrative and other techniques for establishing communications links between computers may be used.

As described above, the present disclosure relates to playing card games such as casino games and other wagering games. Accordingly, the device 101 may be an electrical or electro-mechanical apparatus such as a slot machine, video poker machine, or other wagering game apparatus. The device 101 may also be a computer or mobile device running a playing card game or casino software application. The device 101 may also be a single video gaming machine in a multi-unit video device system wherein a plurality of players may play card games against each other and/or against a dealer via a communication network.

The present disclosure relates to playing card games such as casino games and other wagering games using game decks that have a plurality of card back designs. In other words, the backs of different playing cards in a single game deck may have different designs (e.g., different patterns or different colors) which may be used to determine at least part of the outcome of the game. Thus, as described below, the game rules and payout rules of many existing card games may be revised to account for new card back aspects of these games. The possibilities for specific revisions to game rules and payout rules may depend on the card back designs of the game deck and the rules of the game being modified. In other words, different card games may be modified in different ways, and a card game modification based on card back designs will depend on which card backs designs are used in the game deck.

Referring to FIGS. 2A-2F, a series of diagrams is shown illustrating a few of the different potential configurations for designing backs of playing cards in a game deck in accordance with aspects of the present invention.

FIG. 2A shows a set of playing cards having different patterns of the backs of the cards. In this example, the first card has a diagonal pattern, the second card has a checkerboard pattern, and the third card has a dotted pattern. Thus, a game deck of playing cards that has these different card back patterns or other card back pattern designs may be used to revise or supplement standard card games that depend solely on the fronts of the playing cards. When creating a game deck with different card back designs, it may be advantageous to create the deck such that a predetermined number of distinct card back patterns are placed in equal numbers on the cards in the game deck. For example, a standard deck of 52 playing cards might use four different card back designs, each design printed on a random selection of 13 cards in the deck. In addition, standard decks of playing cards may also refer to modified standard decks that are based on the standard card deck having exactly 52 cards but that have been altered, for example, to include jokers or to remove cards of certain rank or suit and/or replace certain standard deck cards with other standard deck cards for changing the rules or odds of some card games. Thus, a modified standard 52-card deck of playing cards might not contain exactly 52 cards and might have a different composition or ratio of standard cards, and may have some additional and/or missing cards in comparison to a standard 52-card deck. When designing a configuration of card back designs on a deck of playing cards, it may be useful to determine the precise number of playing cards in the deck in order to divide the playing cards into groups and assign different designs (e.g., colors) to the backs of the cards in the different groups. As another example, a casino game that uses a six shoe game deck, such as blackjack, might use two or three different card back designs, each design printed on three or two, respectively, of the six 52-card decks included in the shoe. Thus, it may be possible to quickly create a game deck with multiple card back designs by combining or shuffling together multiple different standard or modified standard 52-card decks.

FIG. 2B shows another set of playing cards having the same pattern in different colors on the backs of the cards. In this example, a red backed card, a blue backed card, and a green backed card are shown. A game deck following this example might consist of multiple standard 52-card decks of cards, one-third red backed decks, one-third blue backed decks, and one-third green backed decks. Using this game deck, a wagering game may be modified so that player wins an additional amount based on the size of his main bet, or wins a separate side bet, when all of the player's cards have the same back color. Another game modification may involve a comparison of the colors of a player's card backs against the other player's and/or the dealer's cards. For example, the player may receive an additional payout if the set of card back colors for his hand matches the dealer's set of card back colors.

FIG. 2C shows a set of playing cards each having a different letter on the back of the card (‘J’, ‘R’, and ‘E’ in this example). A game deck following this example might consist of a standard deck of 52 playing cards, wherein every letter of the alphabet is printed on the back of exactly two of the cards. Larger game decks may be formed by combining multiple of these letter-backed 52 card decks. Using a letter-backed game deck, a wagering game may be modified to allow the player to match at least some of the letters on the backs of his cards to a predetermined bonus letter or set of letters, or to allow the player to form a word out of the letters on the backs of his cards, in order to win an additional game wager or affect the primary game wager. For example, the payout rules of a standard blackjack game may be modified so that when a player can spell out one of the number words ‘one’ to ‘ten’ with the letters on the backs of his cards, he will receive a payout multiplier bonus equal to the value of the word spelled. As demonstrated in this example, a card back modification may affect player strategy in the primary wagering game. That is, blackjack players in this modified version might risk taking additional hit cards if they have the chance to spell a number word and earn a payout multiplier bonus.

FIG. 2D shows another set of playing cards each having a different number on the back of the card (‘8’, ‘11’, and ‘4’ in this example). A game deck following this example may include one or more standard decks of 52 playing cards with one of a predefined set of numbers printed on the back of each card. Using a number-backed game deck, a wagering game may be modified so that a player can sum the numbers on the back of his cards, match one or more of the numbers to a predetermined bonus number, or compare his card back numbers (or the sum of his card back numbers) against other players and/or the dealer. For example, a modified three-card poker game may provide the user a chance to place a side wager or initiate a double-or-nothing wager with the dealer wherein the player wins if the sum of his card back numbers is greater than the sum of the dealer's card back numbers. In other examples, the use of numbers or other symbols on card backs may affect the game rules and/or payouts of a primary game. For instance, a modification of a game of blackjack or baccarat using card back designs with numbers may provide players with a choice of using the card back numbers instead of (or in addition to) the front side number values of the players' cards. In one such modification, a player might know that some or all of the card backs in the game deck have card back number symbols, but might not know which of his cards have numbers on their backs or the value of those numbers. The player may then have the option of turning one or more cards over and using the back side numbers instead of the front side numbers to make a blackjack or baccarat hand.

FIG. 2E shows another set of playing cards having printed words (or graphical icons in other examples) in other examples on the backs of the cards to allow users to play rock-paper-scissors against other users and/or the dealer in conjunction with a traditional primary game. A game deck following this example might consist of multiple standard 52-card decks of cards, wherein one-third of the cards in the deck have a card back showing a paper icon, one-third of the cards in the deck have a card back showing a rock icon, and one-third of the cards in the game have a card back showing a scissors icon. It may be advantageous to assign or print the rock-paper-scissors icons on the card backs in a random configuration, so that there is no relationship between the suit and rank one the front of the card and the probability of finding a rock, paper, or scissors on the back of the card. As described above, a game deck may be created by combining multiple standard decks of 52 playing cards, each of which has a single different card back design (e.g., one 52-card deck of scissor cards, one 52-card deck of rock cards, and one 52-card deck of paper cards). Using a game deck with rock, paper, and scissor card backs, a wagering game may be modified to incorporate one or more rounds of rock-paper-scissors between players or between a player and the dealer. The rounds of rock-paper-scissors may occur during a standard casino card game or other wagering card game and may affect the game outcome or payout of the casino game or other wagering game. In other examples, the rock-paper-scissors game may be implemented as a side wager, payout multiplier, or a double-or-nothing wager occurring just after the outcome of the primary wagering game is determined. Additionally, although this example describes a rock-paper-scissors game, other types of games may be similarly provided by printing game characters or symbols on the backs of the playing cards in the game deck. Dominoes, mah-jongg tiles, or characters in fantasy-based collectible card games may also be printed on the backs of playing cards, and card back versions of these games may be similarly incorporated into standard casino and wagering games that use card fronts. For example, mah-jongg tile or card designs on the back of cards may be used for a side bet in one or more games, such as baccarat and other card games.

FIG. 2F shows yet another set of playing cards in which two of the playing cards have normal card backs, and the third card back contains a wildcard symbol. In this example, a game deck may have a predetermined number of card back wildcard symbols (e.g., 4 per every 52-card deck), that are randomly printed on different cards in different standard decks. These wildcard symbols may be used to affect the outcome of a wagering game, such as two-, three-, or four-card poker casino games.

Having described some of the possible game deck configurations and designs that may be placed on the backs of playing cards, FIGS. 3-5 illustrate some of the possible techniques for revising standard wagering games based on card back designs. Although these examples may be discussed with reference to specific casino games (e.g., blackjack and three card poker), it should be noted that a wide variety of playing card games may be modified or supplemented by incorporating back-of-card designs into these games. For example, variations of baccarat, pai gow poker, two card poker, four card poker, faro, Caribbean stud poker, Texas hold' em, Spanish 21, let it ride, casino war, and other card games may be modified so that the determination of the game winners or the game payouts may depend on the both backs and the fronts of the playing cards in the game.

Referring to FIG. 3, a flow diagram is shown illustrating steps for performing a wagering game wherein the designs on the backs of the player's cards and/or the dealer's cards may be used as a tiebreaker in determining the game winner. This example may be used to create new variations of existing card games, for example, a no-tie blackjack game similar to the game described below in reference to FIGS. 6A-6B. In step 301, a hand of a wagering game has commenced and the game provider (e.g., a gaming table at home or in a casino, a video gaming machine, or gaming software running on a computing device) accepts a wager from one or more players and deals out one or more cards to each of the players. However, the number of hands dealt to players, number of cards in each of the hands, and whether or not a dealer hand is dealt may depend on the type of card game being played. For example, in blackjack or three card poker, each player and the dealer may be dealt separate hands, while in baccarat and other games, only a single player hand and dealer hand are dealt regardless of the number of players in the game. Additionally, in baccarat, each player may be associated with a community player hand (i.e., a player bet), or the dealer hand (i.e., a banker bet), or with both the player and dealer hands (i.e., a player-banker tie bet). In this example, a card back tiebreaker may be used to resolve the player bets and banker bets, while player-banker tie bets might be paid off regardless of the outcome of the tiebreaker. In certain other games, the players may have the option of betting on the dealer hand or on the hand of another player, thus a player and a player's wager might not depend on his own cards but might be associated with another hand in the game.

In step 302, the hand of the wagering game is played according to a set of standard game rules. For example, the play of a hand of blackjack at a gaming table or in video slot machine may be governed by a standard set of rules for determining the winning and losing players, and a standard pay scale for determining the size of the payouts for the winning players. For casino games and other wagering games, the payouts may correspond to monetary units such as chips or credits, while in other non-wagering card games (or for-fun versions of wagering games) the payouts may correspond to non-monetary sums such as gaming points.

In step 303, after the round of play for the game hand is complete, a determination is made if any of the players in the game has tied or pushed, for example, by matching the dealer's cards in a hand of two card poker or by having the same point total as the dealer in a hand of blackjack, etc. In standard variations of many card games (e.g., blackjack, casino war, pai gow poker), the player's original bet will be returned in the event of a tie or push against the dealer, and the player will not win or lose any money on the hand. However, in the example shown in FIG. 3, if a player has tied or pushed on a game hand, then in step 304 the designs on the backs of the cards of that hand may be used to break the tie and determine whether the player wins or loses the hand. Thus, after a tie with the dealer, the player may turn over his cards and compare the colors, values, symbols, or other designs on the back of his cards with the dealer's card backs using one of the illustrative techniques described above in reference to FIGS. 2A-2F. For example, if the player and dealer have tied in a hand played with a numbered card back deck (see FIG. 2D), the tie may be resolved by both the player and dealer turning over their cards and summing the numbers on the backs of their cards. In this example, the largest summed value may determine the winner of the game hand. The tiebreaker determination in step 304 may also involve comparing the card backs of two players against each other, or might be based on the backs of the player's cards only. For instance, ties in game hands played with a multi-patterned card back deck (see FIG. 2A) or a multi-colored card back deck (see FIG. 2B) may be broken in favor of the player if all of the player's cards have the same patterned or colored card back, or if the player has more cards having a higher ranking card back design than the other player or the dealer. In an illustrative blackjack game using a 6-deck shoe with two decks each having red, blue, and green card backs, the red cards may be considered to have a higher ranking than the blue cards, which have a higher ranking than the green cards. Ties (pushes) between players and the dealer may be broken based on whose cards have more higher ranking card back designs or values.

Finally, in step 305, any players that won the game outright in step 302 or in a tiebreaker in step 304 are paid out according to the standard game rules and pay scale. That is, in this example, a player that wins a hand because of a card back tiebreaker may be paid out exactly as though the player won the game outright without needing a tiebreaker. In other examples, a player winning in a tiebreaker may receive a reduced percentage of the standard winnings, or may be paid out according to a different pay scale.

Referring to FIG. 4, a flow diagram is shown illustrating steps for performing another wagering game wherein the designs on the backs of the player's cards and/or the dealer's cards may be used in determining the winner of a separate side bet. This example may be used to create new betting opportunities for players in existing card games, without changing any of the game rules or probabilities that the player has become accustomed to. An additional potential advantage of a side bet wager based on back-of-card designs is that no additional playing cards need to be dealt from the game deck for the additional wagering opportunity. Therefore, the number of game hands that may be played before reshuffling the deck may be unaffected by a card back side wager, and variations of wagering games with card back side bets may potentially have increased betting revenue and a more favorable betting ratio (e.g., bets per hour, dollars bet per hour). Additionally, it should be noted that multiple hands of a live or video/electronic version of these wagering games may be performed wherein the game deck is not shuffled in between hands. This may further increase the hands per hour ratio of the game (thus potentially increasing profitability for the game), and may help to maintain a high level of interest in the game by players who may become bored and/or distracted during shuffling breaks.

In step 401, a hand of the wagering game has commenced and the game provider accepts wagers for the primary card game (e.g., a standard casino game using card fronts to determine winners) as described in step 301 above. However, in this example, the game provider may accept an additional side bet wager from the players, wherein the side bet winner might be determined based entirely on the card backs of the game hand. In certain games, players might only be eligible to place a back-of-card side wager if they have also placed a wager in the primary game, while in other games a player might be eligible to play the back side wager without playing the primary game. Additionally, the provider may limit the side bet wager amount to a specific amount or range (e.g., a multiplier based on the amount of the primary game wager), while in other variations the amount of the card back side wager may only be limited by the game or table betting limits.

In step 402 the game provider deals out one or more cards to each of the players, and in step 403 the provider determines which of the players has won or lost based on the standard games rules and pay scale of the primary card game. Then, in step 404, the separate side bet wager is determined based on the back-of-card designs on the players' cards and/or the dealer's cards, for example, using one of the techniques described above in reference to FIGS. 2A-2F. The game rules and pay scale for the separate card back side wager may also be based on the primary card game. For example, certain card back designs and card back games may be better suited to primary games that have a large (or small) number of cards in the hand. Other card back games may be better suited to primary games having a variable number of cards (e.g., blackjack), while others are better suited to primary games with a fixed number of cards. Thus, primary card games in this example may be matched with appropriate card back designs and card back games for side wagers.

Finally, in step 405, both the winners of the primary wagering game and the separate card back side bet wager may be paid out according to the respective rules and pay scales of these games. It should also be noted that the timing of step 405 and the timing of the other steps may be implemented differently in different embodiments. For example, the primary game wager might be completely paid out before the winners of the side bet wager are determined in step 404. In other examples, such as in casino games in which the player and dealer cards are dealt face down, the outcome of the card back side bet wager may be determined and paid out before the primary game is played. Additionally, players might have the option to initiate a card back side bet wager during or even after the completion of the primary game hand. For example, the odds of winning certain types of card back side wagers might increase as the player accumulates more cards in the primary game. Thus, the player might decide while playing a primary game hand (e.g., blackjack) that his hand has enough cards that he should accept the card back side bet wager, and in this example he could do so at anytime before his primary game hand is over (e.g., before busting in blackjack). As another example, a card back side wager may be played with a baccarat primary game (e.g., using mah-jongg card back designs), where the outcome of the card back side wager may be determined either before or after the outcome of the baccarat hand. In other examples, a game may include only a side bet game using the card backs of one or more standard or modified standard 52-card decks, and might not include any primary wagering game.

Referring to FIG. 5, a flow diagram is shown illustrating steps for performing another wagering game wherein the designs on the backs of the players' cards and/or the dealer's cards may be used in determining the amount that winning players will win in the primary card game. In step 501, a hand of the wagering game has commenced and the game provider accepts wagers and deals the cards for the primary card game, as described above. In step 502 the players play the game and the game provider determines which of the players has won or lost based on the front of the players' and dealer's cards, according to the games rules and pay scale of the primary wagering game.

In step 503, if a player has won the primary game based on the card fronts (503:Yes), the player may be eligible to receive a payoff multiplier based on the backs of the player's and/or the dealer's cards in the hand. In this example, a player that did not win the primary game will not be paid off regardless of any determination using the card backs from the game hand. Thus, unlike the card back side betting games described in FIG. 4, in this example the card backs may only be used to supplement or multiply the player's winning from the primary game.

In step 504, the backs of the cards in the game hand are used to determine a payoff multiplier for any of the players that have won the primary wagering game. Thus, one or more of the techniques and back-of-card designs described in reference to FIGS. 2A-2F may be used to determine a multiplier value. In one example, the game deck may comprise different colored card backs (see FIG. 2B), and a winning player whose card backs are of all the same color may receive a “X3” payout multiplier so that the player will receive triple the winnings from the primary game. In other variations, numbered card backs (see FIG. 2D) from a player's hand may be averaged (or other computations may be performed) to generate the player's payoff multiplier. In another example, the game deck may comprise a number of card back wildcard symbols (see FIG. 2F), which if found in a player's winning hand may act as a payoff multiplier. In yet another example, a winning player may optionally accept a double-or-nothing wager against another player or the dealer, wherein a card back game (e.g., rock-paper-scissors) may be used to determine whether the player's winnings will be doubled or lost. A double-or-nothing wager using card backs might also be available recursively, potentially allowing the player to double their payout multiple times after a single hand of the primary game. For example, in a primary game in which both the player and dealer receive multiple cards, a winning player might accept a double-or-nothing wager using one of the techniques described above for comparing a first card in his hand to a first card in the dealer's hand (e.g., by colors, numbers, symbols, etc.). Then, if the player successfully doubles his payoff with the first comparison, he may opt to continue on to a second double-or-nothing wager based on comparing the second cards in the player's and dealer's hands. Finally, in step 505, the winning players are paid out according to pay scale of the primary wage game, supplemented and/or multiplied by the payoff multiplier determined in step 504. The multiplier may also act to reduce the player's winnings, e.g., by ½ in some embodiments.

Referring now to FIGS. 6A and 6B, illustrative representations of screenshots are shown from a user interface for playing “No Tie Video Blackjack,” a wagering game using designs on card backs as a blackjack tiebreaker and demonstrating some of the aspects described in the flow diagram of FIG. 3. In this example, the user interfaces 600a and 600b may represent user interfaces displayed on a display device of a electro-mechanical gaming machine or other computing device, such as a video blackjack machine 101 operated by a casino or other gaming establishment. Thus, the game deck with different card back designs may be implemented using a computer algorithm to assign a specific card back design to each digital playing card (i.e., to each reference in the memory 115 of the machine 101 corresponding to a stored game deck card). The video blackjack machine 101 may then store in memory 115 a table or other data referencing the playing cards in the digital game deck and linking each playing card to its assigned card back design.

The video blackjack user interface in this example has graphical and text displays showing the game title 605, the number of gaming credits available to the player 610, and the current game hand status 620. The user interface 600a may also include a touch screen with input buttons 615. In the user interface 600a, the player has completed a standard hand of blackjack against the computer dealer which has ended in a tie (or push). In certain conventional variations of blackjack, the player would simply receive his initial wager back and would not win or lose any money on the hand. However, in this illustrative version of no-tie blackjack, the player may be prompted after a tie via the status display 620 to select one of his cards via the input buttons 615. The user is informed by the game rules and/or the status display 620 that the back of the selected card will be exposed and compared to the back of a card selected from the dealer's hand to settle the tie.

Referring now to FIG. 6B, the user has selected the middle card 630 in his blackjack hand by pressing the corresponding “B” input button 617. In response, the processor 103 of the video blackjack machine 101 identifies the card back design corresponding to the player's selected card 630, a rock in this example for playing a rock-paper-scissors card back tiebreaker game. The processor 103 also selects a card 640, possibly at random, from the dealer's blackjack hand, and determines the back design corresponding to the dealer's selected card 640, a pair of scissors in this example for playing the rock-paper-scissors tiebreaker. The video blackjack machine 101 then displays an updated user interface 600b exposing the card back designs (i.e., rock icon 635 and scissors icon 645) respectively on the player's and dealer's selected cards 630 and 640. In this example, if the player's tiebreaker icon were to match the dealer's tiebreaker icon, the video blackjack machine 101 may initiate additional tiebreaker rounds using the additional cards in the player's and dealer's hands, and/or additional card back indicia. The video blackjack machine 101 may then compute the tiebreaker winner, which is the player in this example, and update the game status text field 615, the gaming credits field 610, and any other fields accordingly.

Although the above example relates to a blackjack game played on a computing device 101 with a video screen, other similar variations of a no-tie blackjack game may be played live, for example, at a casino gaming table. However, in live versions of no-tie blackjack and other live wagering games involving card backs, it may be of increased importance to prevent players from seeing their own card backs or the card backs of the dealer's hand before placing primary game wagers, side bet wagers, or playing the strategic portions of the game. For instance, a player that could quickly glance at the backs of cards as they were being dealt face-up could gain an unfair advantage over the house or the other players in any subsequent betting or strategic play that depended on the card backs. To prevent this problem for live card back games, the dealer might require all bets based on card backs to be placed in advance of any of the cards being dealt. Additionally, live wagering games based on card backs may be pre-designed so that there is no potential advantage to be gained by the player if the player happens to see the backs of his own or the dealer's cards. For example, in a live version of no-tie casino war wherein the player is dealt a single card and a comparison of the card backs is used to break ties between the player and the dealer, it would be inconsequential if the player sees a card back before the tiebreaking comparison because once the hand begins the player does not make any more betting or strategy decisions, and thus could not affect the outcome of any potential tiebreakers.

Referring to FIGS. 7A and 7B, illustrative representations of screenshots are shown from another user interface for playing “3 Card Poker with Card back Side Wagers,” a wagering game using designs on card backs as a separate side wager for a traditional three card poker game, and demonstrating some of the aspects described in the flow diagram of FIG. 4. As in the above example, the user interfaces 700a and 700b may represent user interfaces displayed on a display device of a video poker machine 101. The video poker user interfaces 700a and 700b in this example, having graphical and text displays showing the game title 705, the number of available gaming credits 710, the amount of the current main bet wager 715, the amount of the current side bet wager 720, the game status 725, a pay scale 730 for the three card poker game (i.e., the primary game), and a second pay scale 735 for the card backs game (i.e., the side bet wager).

In user interface 700a, the player has just completed and won a standard hand of three card poker against the computer dealer. As indicated in the game status display 725, the player has earned a 1-to-1 return on his main bet 715 of 4 credits. In certain conventional variations of three card poker, the game hand might end at this point and the user could optionally initiate another hand by betting more credits. However, in this illustrative version of three card poker with a card back side wager, the player may place both a main bet 715 and a side bet 720, the outcome of which is dependent on the backs of the player's cards 740. Thus, in user interface 700b, the processor 103 of the video poker machine 101 identifies the card back designs corresponding to the player's cards 740. The video poker machine 101 may then display an updated user interface 700b exposing the card back designs for the player's cards 740, and then determine the outcome of the side bet wager based on the card backs game rules and side bets pay scale 735. In this example, the game deck comprises a multi-colored card back deck (see FIG. 2B), and the card back game pays a 3-to-1 return on the side bet wager 720 when all of the backs of the player's cards 740 have the same color. Thus, as indicated by the credit display 710 and the game status 725, the player has won an additional amount of game credits from the card backs side bet wager.

Although the above examples are described using blackjack and three card poker variations, other casino games may be modified to include tiebreakers, payoff multipliers, side wagers, or other game modifications based on card back designs. For example, a baccarat casino game might incorporate a card back tiebreaker or separate card back side bet wager, etc. Additionally, in some modifications of casino and other wagering games, including variations of the examples discussed above in reference to FIGS. 6 and 7, the card backs may have mah-jongg tile or card symbols and numbers so that the backs of the players' and/or the dealer's cards form mah-jongg hands, and so that card back side wagers, primary game tiebreakers, etc, are determined based on mah-jongg game rules.

Because each variation of card back design usage in a card game affects the probability of winning by the gaming provider (the house's take), a gaming provider may commission a statistician or mathematician to determine the average payout based on usage of card back designs (e.g., based on two colors versus three colors; rock-paper-scissors; numbered backs; wildcards; player wins ties if all card backs alike; player wins ties if has higher ranking card backs than dealer; etc). Alternatively, in view of knowing the payout percentage for each variation, a gaming provider may vary the circumstances under which a player wins based on the gaming provider's desired payout percentage in any given game.

While illustrative systems and methods as described herein embodying various aspects of the present invention are shown, it will be understood by those skilled in the art, that the invention is not limited to these embodiments. Modifications may be made by those skilled in the art, particularly in light of the foregoing teachings. For example, each of the elements of the aforementioned embodiments may be utilized alone or in combination or subcombination with elements of the other embodiments. It will also be appreciated and understood that modifications may be made without departing from the true spirit and scope of the present invention. The description is thus to be regarded as illustrative instead of restrictive on the present invention.