Title:
Long shot progressive side bet and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A progressive jackpot casino table game is played with a 100% jackpot winning event designed to increase the odds against the winning event to statistically enhance the growth of the progressive jackpot. Probability for the 100% winning event may be lowered to less than one in a million by requiring unique events that may include both order and rank of cards provided, rank of cards plus an additional event occurring outside of a player hand and the like. Typically, mere content of a player hand must be supplemented by an additional qualifying feature to win the 100% progressive jackpot payout. For example, a Royal Flush must be dealt in a predetermined order of 10-J-Q-K-A, not merely be present in the hand dealt to a player to be the 100% winning event.



Inventors:
Snow, Roger M. (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Application Number:
11/811754
Publication Date:
12/11/2008
Filing Date:
06/11/2007
Assignee:
Shuffle Master, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F1/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
STANCZAK, MATTHEW BRIAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark A Litman and Associates, P.A. (Edina, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A method of playing a casino wagering game with a progressive jackpot event comprising: at least one player placing a first wager to play a progressive jackpot casino card wagering game; at least a portion of the first wager being contributed to the progressive jackpot; dealing a hand of cards to be used in both a resolution of a base game and a resolution of the first wager; evaluating the hand to determine if it meets criteria for a jackpot win, including a largest allowed progressive jackpot win amount; wherein at least one winning hand is selected from the group consisting of: i) specific cards in only a specific order of those specific cards; ii) specific cards plus an additional card from outside the hand that specifically relates to the specific cards in the hand; and iii) specific cards in only a specific order of those specific cards plus an additional card from outside the hand that specifically relates to the specific cards in the hand; wherein the largest progressive jackpot amount is awarded to the player who meets at least one of the conditions selected from the group of i), ii) and iii).

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the casino wagering game is a 5-card poker game.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein the condition comprises a Royal Straight Flush with each card naturally appearing in the sequence of suited A-K-Q-J-10 or 10-J-Q-K-A.

4. The method of claim 2 wherein the condition comprises a Royal Straight Flush with each card naturally appearing in the sequence of suited A-K-Q-J-10 or 10-J-Q-K-A and a specifically identified additional card.

5. The method of claim 2 wherein the condition comprises a Royal Straight Flush and a specifically identified additional card.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein a fixed percentage of the jackpot wager is dedicated to the progressive jackpot.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein each player receives a hand of cards and all cards in each player hand, and another card must be used in determining if a 100% progressive jackpot winning event occurs.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein each player hand has exactly five cards and at least one exterior card is considered in determining if a 100% progressive jackpot winning event occurs.

9. The method of claim 7 wherein the player hand comprises at least one community card.

10. A method of playing a casino wagering game with a progressive jackpot event in which an event capable of winning 100% of the progressive jackpot has a probability of less than 1 in one million, the method comprising: at least one player placing a first wager to play a progressive jackpot casino card wagering game; at least a portion of the first wager being contributed to the progressive jackpot; the at least one player receiving a) a complete hand of playing cards dealt as a group of cards to the at least one player or b) a partial hand of cards that eventually uses additional cards to form a complete hand of cards; and the complete hand of cards is reviewed to determine if it meets criteria for a jackpot win, including a largest allowed progressive jackpot win amount; the review determining if the complete hand has a condition selected from the group consisting of: i) specific predetermined cards in only a specific order of those specific cards; ii) specific cards plus an additional card from outside the complete hand that specifically relates to the specific cards in the complete hand; iii) specific cards plus an additional specific predetermined card from outside the complete hand; and iv) specific cards in only a specific order of those specific cards plus an additional card from outside the complete hand that specifically relates to the specific cards in the complete hand; wherein the largest progressive jackpot amount is awarded to the player who meets a predetermined condition selected from the group consisting of i), ii), iii) and iv).

11. The method of claim 10 wherein the casino wagering game is a poker game.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein the at least one player also places a play wager in an underlying poker wagering game in which a player hand competes against a dealer hand and/or a paytable of poker hand ranks.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the play wager comprises a multiple part wager and at least one of the multiple parts may be withdrawn by the at least one player during the underlying game, with the at least one player remaining in play in the underlying poker game.

14. The method of claim 12 wherein the play wager is made in the underlying poker game in which a player competes against a dealer hand, the player must make at least one additional wager to remain in the underlying game, and the dealer hand must have a minimum qualifying hand for both the play wager and the additional wager to be resolved against the dealer hand as a winning event, a tying event or a losing event.

15. The method of claim 12 wherein a fixed percentage of the jackpot wager is dedicated to the progressive jackpot.

16. The method of claim 12 wherein all cards in the player hand and another card or symbol provided exterior to the player hand must be used in determining if a 100% progressive jackpot winning event occurs.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the player hand has exactly five cards to be complete and at least one exterior card is considered in determining if a 100% progressive jackpot winning event occurs.

18. An apparatus enabling the method of claim 1 comprising a gaming table, physical cards or virtual cards for playing the casino wagering game, wagering positions or a data entry component on the gaming table for entering at least the progressive jackpot wager and a wager in an underlying casino table game using the cards, a visual display viewable by players for indicating both present jackpot totals and rate of incrementing jackpot totals and a paytable for the progressive jackpot wager in which an event that wins 100% of the progressive jackpot has a probability of less than one in one million.

19. The apparatus of claim 18 wherein the apparatus comprises an electronic card recognition system which reads and evaluates sequences of cards delivered to player hands, and sends a signal that can be viewed when a read sequence of a player hand has a sequence of playing cards that may or does qualify for consideration of at least a stated percentage win of the progressive jackpot.

20. The apparatus of claim 18 wherein the progressive jackpot is funded by jackpot wagers from linked tables, either within a single casino, within an affiliated group of casinos, or among groups of casinos networked within a progressive system.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to games of chance, particularly card games of chance, and more particularly to bonus games in casino table card games. The technology herein has particular application to games with jackpot wagers and most particularly, progressive jackpot wagers where portions of the progressive wager are contributed to the jackpot value. The invention has a highly desirable embodiment for use with poker games as well as any game that has a progressive jackpot feature in which playing cards are provided to players to determine poker ranks. The present invention includes a variant of the game of five card stud poker, Let It Ride® Poker, Caribbean Stud® Poker, Pai Gow Poker and the like. The game also includes the bonus event with a side wager.

2. Background of the Art

One significantly attractive feature in gaming is the desire to win a large amount of money or value without wagering a large amount in each play of a game. The development of the progressive jackpot based on contributory wagers has become an important attraction in most aspects of gaming.

Caribbean Stud® Poker was the first table game in the U.S. to introduce a progressive side bet wager. A portion of the side bet wager is put into a progressive jackpot and payouts are made for particularly high ranking hands. All payouts on such hands are specifically withdrawn from a monitored jackpot fund, and all contributions to the jackpot are made after an initial staking of the jackpot with seed money. All other payouts on bonus level hands come out of the house funds. The success of these games has stimulated attempts at other progressive and side bet wagers.

One problem with progressive jackpots is that not all jackpots are capable of growing large enough to attract players.

One solution to this problem is to reduce the amount of payouts on relatively lower ranked and higher frequency bonus events; allowing the progressive jackpot to increase to higher levels before the 100% jackpot event occurs.

It would be desirable to provide a system, rules and methods for playing card games in which a progressive jackpot size may be increased without diminishing rates or frequency of payouts on higher frequency bonus hands.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A method, system, rules and apparatus are provided for playing a casino wagering game with a progressive jackpot event. At least one player places a first wager to play a progressive jackpot casino card wagering game. At least a portion of the first wager is contributed to the progressive jackpot. The at least one player receives a) a complete hand of playing cards or b) a partial hand of cards that eventually uses additional cards to form a complete hand of cards; and the complete hand of cards is reviewed to determine if it meets criteria for a jackpot win, including a largest allowed progressive jackpot win amount. Embodiments of the invention include a dealer receiving a hand of cards, and the rules providing for the use of one or more dealer cards to complete the hand of cards that qualifies the player for a jackpot payout. The review determines if the complete hand has a condition selected from the group consisting of: specific cards in only a specific order of those specific cards; specific cards plus an additional card from outside the complete hand that specifically relates to the specific cards in the complete hand; and specific cards in only a specific order of those specific cards plus an additional card from outside the complete hand that specifically relates to the specific cards in the complete hand. The largest progressive jackpot amount is awarded to the player who meets the conditions required from within that group of conditions. The specified winning hands have a low probability of occurrence, enabling the jackpot funds to grow to higher levels, thereby attracting more players.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a playing surface of an example of game play of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A method of playing a casino wagering game with a progressive jackpot event is provided for an assortment of games in which players receive playing cards for use in determining hand ranks and/or counts in the play of the game. It is preferred that playing cards are used to determine hands of poker ranks in the play of the game, which may be in a competition against the dealer, a competition against a paytable or both. One preferred casino wagering game used in combination with the present progressive jackpot event is Let It Ride® Stud Poker. The base game is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,288,081 and the content of this application is incorporated herein by reference.

General descriptions of the method of this technology include a method of playing a casino wagering game with a progressive jackpot event. The method comprises at least one player places a first wager to play a progressive jackpot casino card wagering game. At least a portion of the first wager is contributed to the progressive jackpot. According to the method, at least one player receives a) a complete hand of playing cards or b) a partial hand of cards that eventually uses additional cards to form a complete hand of cards.

The complete hand of cards is reviewed to determine if it meets criteria for a jackpot win, including a largest allowed (e.g., 100%) progressive jackpot win amount. The hand is reviewed to determine if the complete hand has a condition that qualifies the player for a progressive jackpot. Preferred qualifying events are events having an extremely low probability as compared to the highest ranking of a hand in the base game. For example, the probability of hitting a Royal Flush in a five card stud game is about one in 644,740. Hitting an ordered royal flush occurs once in every 2,598,960 hands. The condition for winning the 100% jackpot must then be altered to have a probability lower than that for a hand merely having a 5-card Royal Flush. Among the conditions or criteria with a lower probability may be any more confining or limiting playing card event. For example, such a limiting event may be selected from the group consisting of: (i) specific cards in only a specific order of those specific cards; (ii) specific cards plus an additional card from outside the complete player hand that specifically relates to the specific cards in the complete hand; and (iii) specific cards in only a specific order of those specific cards plus an additional card from outside the complete hand that specifically relates to the specific cards in the complete hand.

The largest progressive jackpot amount may be awarded to the player who meets the conditions selected from the group of i), ii) and iii). The method is preferred where the casino wagering game (i.e., the base game) is a poker game.

A specific example of some preferred conditions comprise a Royal Straight Flush with each card naturally appearing in the sequence of suited A-K-Q-J-10 or 10-J-Q-K-A; a Royal Straight Flush with each card naturally appearing in the sequence of suited A-K-Q-J-10 or 110-J-Q-K-A, combined with a specifically identified additional card in a specified location on the gaming table; and a Royal Straight Flush without being dealt in a specific order combined with a specifically identified additional card in a specified location on the gaming table. The method may be practiced wherein all cards in the player hand and another card or symbol (e.g., a joker, a randomly provided symbol, a dealer card, a common card) enabling a 100% win on the progressive jackpot. For example, the random symbol may be as simple as randomly showing a spade, heart, diamond or club symbol, and if that symbol matches the suit of a royal flush, then the 100% jackpot is won, and if not, then the 10% (or other percentage jackpot) is won. This would increase the odds against a winning event from approximately 1 in 600,000 to approximately 1 in 2,400,000. The additional card or symbol is referred to as being provided exterior to the player hand. This means that the additional card is in addition to the cards used in the underlying poker game and is a card that when added to the player hand causes the player hand to exceed that number of cards used in the underlying poker game to determine a hand. A preferred maximum payout is on a 6-card royal flush, the 6th card (a 9 value suited card) being dealt separately and not forming part of a hand. For example, if the underlying game is 5-card stud, the additional card comprises a sixth card that is not used in determining a hand rank in the underlying card game. In this particular conditional event, the additional card must be used in determining if a 100% progressive jackpot winning event occurs. Thus, the player hand (consisting of player cards and/or community cards) may have exactly five cards to be complete and at least one exterior card is considered in determining if a 100% progressive jackpot winning event occurs. In a preferred method, the player hand has exactly five cards to be complete and exactly one exterior card is considered in determining if a 100% progressive jackpot winning event occurs. The method dedicates a fixed percentage of the jackpot wager to the progressive jackpot.

An alternative way of describing a method of playing a casino wagering game with a progressive jackpot according to the present technology is as enabling a progressive jackpot in which an event capable of winning 100% of the progressive jackpot has a probability of less than 1 in one million. The method may comprise the steps of at least one player placing a first wager to play a progressive jackpot casino card wagering game. At least a portion of the first wager being contributed to the progressive jackpot. The at least one player receives a) a complete hand of playing cards dealt as a group of cards to the at least one player or b) a partial hand of cards that eventually uses additional cards to form a complete hand of cards. The complete hand of cards is reviewed to determine if it meets criteria for a jackpot win, including a largest allowed progressive jackpot win amount. The review determines if the complete hand has a condition selected from the group consisting of: (i) specific predetermined cards in only a specific order of those specific cards; (ii) specific cards plus an additional card from outside the complete hand that specifically relates to the specific cards in the complete hand; (iii) specific cards plus an additional specific predetermined card from outside the complete hand; and (iv) specific cards in only a specific order of those specific cards plus an additional card from outside the complete hand that specifically relates to the specific cards in the complete hand.

The largest progressive jackpot amount is awarded to the player who meets a predetermined condition selected from the group consisting of i), ii), iii) and iv). Again, the preferred casino wagering game is a poker game. The at least one player also places a play wager in an underlying poker wagering game in which a player hand competes against a dealer hand and/or a paytable of poker hand ranks. Among preferred variations in the play of the underlying base game, the play wager may comprise a multiple part wager and at least one of the multiple parts may be withdrawn by the at least one player during the underlying game, with the at least one wager remaining in play in the underlying poker game. In another example of play, the play wager is made in the underlying poker game in which a player hand competes against a dealer hand. In this instance, the player must make at least one additional wager to remain in the underlying game, and the dealer hand must have a minimum qualifying hand for both the play wager and the additional wager to be resolved against the dealer hand as a winning event, a tying event or a losing event.

The other described progressive event and probability controls described herein may be used in combination with the above described base games or other casino card games.

An apparatus enabling these methods may comprise at least a gaming table, physical cards or virtual cards for playing the casino wagering game, wagering positions or a data entry component on the gaming table for entering at least the progressive jackpot wager and a wager in an underlying casino table game using the cards, a visual display viewable by players for indicating both present jackpot totals and rate of incrementing jackpot totals, and a paytable for the progressive jackpot wager in which an event that wins 100% of the progressive jackpot that has a probability of less than one in one million for a top payout. An example of a suitable apparatus for administering the progressive jackpot is found in Jones U.S. Pat. No. 5,078,405 and is herein incorporated by reference. The apparatus may further comprise an electronic card recognition system which reads and evaluates linear sequences of cards delivered to player hands, and sends a signal that can be viewed when a read sequence of a player hand has a linear sequence of playing cards that may or does qualify for consideration of at least a stated percentage win of the progressive jackpot.

Examples of suitable devices for reading rank and suit of cards in a casino card game, are disclosed in U.S. Publication No. 2005/0242500; U.S. Pat. No. 7,029,009; pending U.S. application Ser. No. 11/598,259 filed Nov. 9, 2006, and assigned attorney docket no. PA1717.ap.US; and U.S. Publication No. 2005/0272501. The content of the above specifications are incorporated herein by reference.

An exemplary general game may be played as follows. At least one player places a first wager to play a progressive jackpot casino card wagering game. This first wager may be a single wager to play both the jackpot game, an underlying base game (against the house and/or paytable) and/or in combination with other wagering events (e.g., bad beat wagers). In one example, a separate optional side bet is made on the progressive component of the game. At least a portion of a wager is contributed to the progressive jackpot, incrementing the size of the progressive jackpot total. Each player eventually receives a complete hand of playing cards. This may be accomplished by being immediately dealt a complete hand of cards (e.g., receiving five initial cards for a game of 5-card stud) or by receiving a partial hand of cards that eventually uses additional cards to form a complete hand of cards. In other games, all players play the base game with a community card hand, and any progressive jackpot prize is divided between the participating players.

Partial hands may be completed in any number of ways. In draw poker type games, players may draw undesirable cards, discard those relatively undesirable cards, and receive replacement cards from an original set of cards from which the partial hand was provided. In cases such as blackjack and baccarat point count games, initial 2-card hands are supplemented with additional cards according to rules and/or player election under rules of the game. In numerous casino table poker card games, initial player cards may be supplemented by community cards (common cards that are used by all players, and even all players and a dealer in some games), cards dealt individually to each player or combinations of the two. The supplemental cards are used to assure that all players have a sufficient number of cards from which to provide a hand of a minimum or specific card total number (e.g., 5-card poker requires at least five cards), adjust player-versus-dealer probabilities (giving more of fewer cards to players and dealer than a hand actually requires), and adjusting the likelihood of higher ranked hands appearing, without significant changing the house advantage of the base game.

After the hand of cards is completed, any underlying game or non-jackpot side bet events or bonus events are resolved. The Jackpot hand is completed and is reviewed to determine if the complete player hand meets criteria for a jackpot win, including a largest allowed progressive jackpot win amount.

There are a number of novel ways of defining unique jackpot winning event characteristics in the play of jackpot bonus card events with playing cards, whether virtual or physical playing cards, and particular rules that must be considered in the use of physical cards to assure rule compliance in the practice of the present technology.

Among the conditions of the complete hand that must be reviewed to determine if a largest jackpot prize winning condition has been achieved are, by way of non-limiting examples, those selected from the group consisting of: (i) specific cards in only a specific order of those specific cards; (ii) specific cards plus an additional card from outside the complete hand that specifically relates to the specific cards in the complete hand; and (iii) specific cards in only a specific order of those specific cards plus an additional card from outside the complete hand that specifically relates to the specific cards in the complete hand.

These conditions will be herein discussed and exemplified in greater detail to assist in an appreciation and enablement of this technology.

EXAMPLES

Specific Cards in Only a Specific Order of Those Specific Cards.

The following example illustrates games where specific cards (by rank and suit) must be present in a specific ordering in a player hand (or possibly in a dealer hand, if the game envisages such a jackpot event). The most easily recognized ordering would be a Royal Flush, such as A♡, K♡, Q♡, J♡ and 10♡ appearing in that order (or the reverse order of 10♡, J♡, Q♡, K♡ and Ace♡). However, other less recognized jackpot winning events (especially a highest jackpot award) may also be used, as by way of non-limiting examples of A♡, 2♡, 3♡, 4♡ and 5♡; A, A♡, A♦, and A (bridge ordering of suit ranks from highest to lowest) and the 7♡ (or any other specific card by suit and rank); Ace♡, 3♡, 5♡, 7♡ and 9♡ (a perfect lowest ‘kangaroo’ straight, that is with no cards touching), any four-of-a-kind with a specific suited or any suited card in the next lowest or next highest ranked card, such as four 9s and the 8♡, four 9s and the 10♡, or four nines and any 8, etc.; four-of-a-kind and the one-eyed King (of diamonds) or either of the one-eyed jacks (spades and hearts); and the like. The above examples are useful when the underlying game uses a standard single 52-card deck. When special decks are used, other ordering schemes may be preferred.

One important and subtle aspect of these various largest award jackpot winning events is that the probability differences vary significantly and therefore the probability of the major win on the progressive jackpot varies significantly. The probability of a jackpot reaching a larger average size can be adjusted by varying the specific ultimate winning hand defined by the game rules. The variations can be subtle, such as from about 1,000,000:1, or dramatic, as to about 5 million to one. This result can be achieved by varying the specific ultimate winning combination of cards according to the play rules.

Even more intriguing and highly useful is the fact that it no longer becomes essential to depress amounts of winnings on intermediate highly ranked poker hands or symbol/count combinations, as the game is likely to allow for a very long period of time for the jackpot to continue to increase to a very high level. The extended growth period will allow for adjustments upward for the intermediate hand payouts, within reasonable limits. For example, with an expected average and statistical value of 5 million dollars for a winning amount of a jackpot, the time to achieve that average value would not be dramatically affected by increasing the payout for a flush from $50 to $100, which would make the game more desirable for players who are not playing for the progressive jackpot.

One issue that has to be addressed with “specific order” in a physical card game is player manipulation of cards. In many games, players can or even must physically handle their cards and this can allow them to readjust their original order. This may or may not be allowable in some cases, but if order is a specific requirement, then it is important that players not be allowed to handle their cards. In some variations of blackjack, for example, players are not allowed to touch their cards, with all cards dealt face up. The reasons for this have nothing to do with changing the order of cards, but rather an obsolete fear that players would replace one card (swap) for another to improve their hands. This is no longer a significant threat to casino security as sophisticated monitoring systems exist, and security is much better at the tables themselves. In the modern casino, swapping cards is readily detected by existing technology.

However, in many games, such as Let It Ride® poker and Caribbean Stud® poker, players ordinarily pick up their hands and inspect them, and some house rules restrict players from disclosing their cards to other players to reduce potential player advantages in knowing the content of unexposed cards.

To address the security issues raised by specifying an order of a winning hand in the present technology, there are a number of unique solutions. Dealers may lay out each player complete or initial hand in a fixed manner. For example, when delivering a group of five cards to a player from a shuffler, the dealer may have to exercise specific protocols such as laying the five cards face up and spreading them always in a same direction, left-to-right or right-to-left at every player position. In this way, players would appreciate that consistency is being imposed on the rules. It is also possible that the game rules of “specific order” may allow for both left-to-right and right-to-left ordering of the cards in sequence, such as A-K-Q-J-10 being the same specific order as 10-J-Q-K-A insofar as the jackpot is concerned.

Another solution is to provide a card-reading delivery shoe or shuffler, or intermediate card reading device on the table that reads cards before or after delivery to player positions and can determine their order from monitoring equipment and knowledge of player numbers and positions at the table. The system may make an alert signal, as simple as a red light, or audio signal, or signage symbol, such as “JACKPOT WINNER” on a visual display device at the table, as has been done with Let It Ride® poker and Caribbean Stud® poker.

It is also possible to provide cards as virtual cards on screens to players, but some players still resist virtual cards at a table. The order on a virtual system would be fixed on the table and could not be player adjusted. An example of a suitable electronic gaming platform that permits multi-player card game play is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,607,443 and U.S. Publication No. 2005/0164759. The content of these publications is incorporated by reference herein. RFID card systems are also disclosed in the literature for playing cards, and these RFID cards may also be identified in the order in which they are delivered by automated analysis, as with playing cards in an automated or virtual system.

Violation of card handling by a player could disqualify a player from a jackpot event as a rule of play.

Specific Cards Plus an Additional Card from Outside the Complete Hand that Specifically Relates to the Specific Cards in the Complete Hand.

Here, the order of the cards may or may not be important. That is, for example, the winning event for the largest jackpot amount could be a Royal Flush in a player's hand and, where there is a dealer hand, the same-suited 9 (of the Royal Flush hand) in the dealer's cards. When there is no dealer hand, a separate jackpot card may be dealt, or a separate common card, for example. In this manner, there would be significant anticipation for the player seeing a royal flush (in any order), knowing at least a significant amount had been won, but awaiting a determination of winning the largest jackpot amount. The security issues relating to ordered outcomes are not an issue in this embodiment.

If there is no dealer hand in the base game, or as an alternative to a dealer hand, a separate bonus card can be dealt, if needed (that is, if there were a hand that could be improved according to the rules to a jackpot winning rank), to a separate bonus card or community card position, after all players have complete hands. The additional card could also be provided as a randomly generated virtual card, selecting one of the 52-virtual cards from the virtual deck, which might also contain a wild card(s), if the probabilities of the winning event were desired to be adjusted upwardly.

By specifically related to the winning hand is meant, that when a specific player hand exists, only unique cards may be used from outside the hand to establish the winning jackpot event. This can be exemplified by a Royal Flush in spades requiring a related card such as:

    • a) the 9 of spades in the dealer hand (i.e., a 5-card hand) or a bonus card position (this being a very low or even lowest probability event, as it is a specific card);
    • b) any 9 in the dealer hand or bonus card position (4 times as likely as the suited 9);
    • c) any other Ace in the dealer hand or as the bonus card (3 times as likely as the suited 9); and
    • d) any spade in the dealer's hand or the bonus card position (8 times as likely as the suited 9); and the like.
      It can be seen from these varying probabilities of events (dealer's hand would have five cards while the bonus card position might have a single card), the number of cards that define the completing event for the jackpot, and the like that the statistical average size of a progressive jackpot can be varied by the selection of the criteria for the winning hand as opposed to locking the game into the only traditional standard jackpot winner in a poker game of the 5-card royal flush.

If the player's hand were required to be the suited A-2-3-4-5 straight flush, then the specific additional extra-hand card could be the same suited, six, a different suited six, etc.

Specific Cards in Only a Specific Order of Those Specific Cards Plus an Additional Card from Outside the Complete Hand that Specifically Relates to the Specific Cards in the Complete Hand.

This alternative criteria for the jackpot winning hand would combine both elements of the first two separate criteria discussed above.

The cards in the player hand must be delivered in a specific order, and the additional extra-hand (outside the player's hand) card, must be specifically defined by the content of the player's hand.

In the play of any casino wagering system or game, where there is the desire to include a progressive jackpot event with a contributing side bet wager, the jackpot contributing wager (e.g., referred to herein generically as an “event wager” to distinguish it from the ordinary underlying base game wager), there is often a separate jackpot wager from which portions are taken to be added directly to the progressive jackpot. These portions may, for example, be between 10%-100%, although it is usual for the casino to retain a portion of this wager separately from the house vigorish on the underlying card game. For example, it is more typical for 20%-80% of the jackpot wager to be incremented into the progressive jackpot.

To appreciate the significant impact and technical distinction of this wager, the economic operation of wagers and casino profits on games have to be appreciated. In the development of games and wagers on games, the entire structure and operation of the games, the wagers allowed and the returns on winning wagers have to be designed so that there is a house profit margin on average for each wager placed in a game.

Other games and wagers in casinos have average house retention rates of about 1%, 5%, 10%, 20% and more on the average wager placed. Players are enticed to make these less desirable wagers (on an accounting basis) because of the enjoyment of the game or the potential for extraordinarily large payouts on a relatively small wager. This is exactly one basis of enticement to play in the Progressive Jackpot events associated with certain casino games. For example, in the play of Five-Card stud-type poker games, a typical progressive wager of exactly $1.00 (or one wagering unit) is wagered. Of that dollar, anywhere from usually 20% to 80% of the one unit wager is typically added to the progressive jackpot meter. Thus, without considering the relatively small seeding contribution of the casino, the house retains approximately 80% to 20% (respectively) of these wagers, even though the jackpot must eventually be paid to a player.

The underlying game may be any casino playing card wagering event, such as casino table card games, card games, and the like. In the play of slot or video machine systems, a button or automatic inclusion in the event wager may be provided. In table games, specific wagering positions may be provided on the table, including wagering positions that provide a signal (e.g., light or electronic signal) indicating the presence of a wager on that position. The use of RFID technology or other bet position sensors may also be used to determine not only the presence of the event wager and the specific player making that wager, but also the time when that wager is placed, so that late entry into such a wager may not be successfully attempted. An example of a suitable RFID bet recognition system is disclosed in French, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,651,548 and 5,735,742. The content of these patents is incorporated by reference herein.

The amount of the jackpot payback can be varied, as previously indicated, and the following paytables are exemplary of the types of paytables available and are not intended to limit the scope of the generic disclosure provided herein. This paytable is for an order player's hand of five cards in 5-card stud, with the player prohibited from manipulating the cards dealt.

6-card Ordered Royal Flush100% Progressive jackpot
Royal Flush10% Progressive Jackpot
Straight Flush$2,000-$5,000 
Four-of-a-kind $250-$1,000
Full House$75-$200
Flush$50-$150
Straight$40-$100
Three-of-a-kind$10-$50 

Bonus wagers, exclusive of the progressive jackpot bonus, may be retained in the underlying game, and the side bet wager from the event wager may pay back different amounts influenced by the desire to attract more wagers, higher wagers and the like, by increasing specific payouts, decreasing specific payouts, adding or eliminating specific payouts. For example, in a Let It Ride® stud poker game, with the above paytable retained in the jackpot event, the paytable for the regular player hand bonuses can remain the same, such as:

Royal Flush1000 × 1 of the play wagers remaining at
the end of a round (Final Wagers).
Straight Flush500 × 1 of the final wagers
Four-of-s-kind200 × 1 of the Final Wager
Full House50 × 1 of the Final Wager
Flush7 × 1 of the Final Wager
Straight5 × 1 of the Final Wager
Three-of-a-kind3 × 1 of the Final Wager
Two Pair2 × 1 of the Final Wager
One Pair1 × 1 of the Final Wager

By eliminating some of the lower payouts and increasing the higher payouts on the highest hands, the payback and house retention are balanced and higher ranked hands are far more desired and rewarding.

The percentage of the contribution to the Jackpot event from each jackpot or side bet wager is also in the control of the casino and/or the administrator. The range may be small to large, and even may vary over the life of the jackpot event. For example, a general contribution range might be, at any time during the play of the jackpot event, from 1-99% of the event wager. It is more likely that the contribution to the jackpot event would lie within the ranges of 5-95%, 10-80%, 10-70%, 10-60%, 10-50%, 20-80%, 15-75%, 15-60%, 15-50%, 15-40%, 20-40% and the like. The contributions may be higher at the opening of the jackpot event (e.g., 50%) to more rapidly increase the initial size of the jackpot (which may be seeded by the casino or administrator with an amount such as $1,000,000; $5,000,000; $10,000,000; $20,000,000 or more), and then as the jackpot reaches a higher level, the amount of contribution may be increased or decreased to either attract more interest or increase the house retention on the wager (e.g., by changing the 50% contribution to 20% or 65%).

Although as clearly indicated herein, the wager event of the present technology is clearly intended and enabled for use in a generic range of wagering events in a casino, on the internet, on wagering systems, and in inter-casino and intra casino gaming events, including combining the jackpot event among different games and events, the description emphasized below will discuss the use of the wager event with Let It Ride® stud poker (as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,288,081 (Breeding) and Caribbean Stud® poker (e.g., as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,861,041 (Jones et al.) as a way of simplifying the discussion rather that detailing its application according to the rules of the many and varied games available within casinos and other gaming environments. In connecting differing games, differing casinos or differing media (e.g., a live casino and an internet wagering connection), different percentages of the event wager may be apportioned among the jackpot and the game events. For example, the probability of a highest level jackpot event in the play of Let It Ride® stud poker may be significantly lower or higher than the probability for the highest level jackpot event in a seven-card stud poker game.

A preferred side bet wager bonus event is that disclosed in a pending U.S. Publication Nos. 2005/0269783 (Snow); and 2005/0170875 (Snow) and is often referred to as Fortune Pai Gow™ games. This format of play may also be desirable in the practice of the present technology.

An example of the present game may be more generally described as follows. An underlying game of Let It Ride® poker is played (with the side bets not being considered in this underlying game).

FIG. 1 shows a table layout and components useful in implementing play of a Let It Ride® poker progressive game. Referring to FIG. 1, the apparatus for the wagering game of the present invention includes a typically sized casino gambling or gaming table 10. The table 10 has a curved side 12 for accommodating up to seven players and a straight side 14 for accommodating the dealer. The table 10 has a flat surface 16 covered with felt or other appropriate material. Although seven playing positions or locations 18a-g for individual players are provided, it is not essential to the game that exactly seven persons play and as many as sixteen players or as few as one player may participate. For casino play, a field of seven players provides for a game that is easily manageable by the dealer and house, and one in which the individual players feel more involved. A house dealer position 20, including an area suitable for displaying the dealer's common cards 21, is provided.

Each of the playing positions 18a-g includes a wagering zone 22, comprising three separate and distinct wagering or betting areas 22a, b, c, for receiving or indicating a wager in the basic game. Each position 18a-g also includes a card area 19a-g for receiving and displaying the three cards dealt to the player occupying the position. A suitable wagering area or apparatus for receiving or indicating an optional or mandatory progressive jackpot wager is represented at area 23a-g. The wagering areas 22a, b, c and 23a-g may be designed to receive appropriate wagering indicators or settling means such as chips (not shown).

At one side of the dealer station 20, the apparatus for practicing the method of the present invention may include a microprocessor or computer controlled shuffling machine 32 supported by a table extension 34. The shuffling machine 32 may be of the type disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,807,884; 6,588,751; 6,655,684; 7,073,791; 7,114,718; and 7,137,627, the disclosures of which patents are incorporated herein by reference. The shuffling machine 32 may include a dealing module for automatically and sequentially dealing pre-formed hands of cards and also may include a display means for displaying wager amounts, the identity of winning players, progressive jackpot amounts or other game related information, including the jackpot amounts available or awarded.

The underlying game of Let It Ride® poker is generally played in a manner similar to the following steps:

Example 1

Let It Ride® Poker

At least one player at a Let It Ride® poker game table places three distinct and equal (e.g., $5.00) wagers on three designated wagering spaces 22a, b, c on the table.

The at least one player places a $1.00 on a progressive jackpot event in area 23a-g in which a meter already displays a jackpot amount of $1,076,057.43. The wager is registered in an incrementing/decrementing program, and 60% of each jackpot wager is added to the jackpot amount.

The at least one player is dealt three cards face down into area 19a-g. The dealer turns the cards face up and spreads them from the dealer's left to the dealer's right. The cards are shown to be 9, 9♡ and 9♦. The player is aware that the partial hand cannot win the entire jackpot, but that the hand already qualifies. The player to win a bonus amount for the Let It Ride® poker progressive game that pays as follows:

Jackpot Wager Event
Ordered Royal Flush100% Progressive jackpot
Royal Flush10% Progressive Jackpot
Straight Flush$2,000
Four-of-s-kind$500
Full House$200
Flush$100
Straight$70
Three-of-a-kind$40

Let It Ride ® Poker Base Game Pay Table
Royal Flush1000 × 1 of the play wagers remaining at
the end of a round (Final Wagers).
Straight Flush500 × 1 of the final wagers
Four-of-s-kind200 × 1 of the Final Wager
Full House50 × 1 of the Final Wager
Flush7 × 1 of the Final Wager
Straight5 × 1 of the Final Wager
Three-of-a-kind3 × 1 of the Final Wager
Two Pair2 × 1 of the Final Wager
One Pair1 × 1 of the Final Wager

The Player is aware that the hand will win at least $40.00 on the Jackpot Wager and at least 3× each of the three original wagers in the underlying game ($135.00).

The player is given an option of withdrawing a first part of his wager after viewing his three cards, but as the hand is already a winning event on the Poker Wager table there is no risk in letting all three wagers ride. The player keeps his 3 wagers in play.

The dealer has dealt himself two cards face down and spreads them face down, again from left to right. A first card is turned over to show a 7♦. The player has another option on withdrawing a second of the three Poker wagers, but as the hand is already a winning event on the Poker Wager table there is no risk in letting all three wagers ride.

The dealer then turns over the second and last community card and displays a 7 to complete a full house.

The player is first paid on the underlying wager with 50×1 on each $5.00 poker game wager or $750.00.

The jackpot wager is paid $200.00 from the jackpot, reducing the jackpot total jackpot to a total of $1,075,858.03.

Example 2

Let It Ride® Poker, 6-Card Royal is the Top Hand

At least one player at a Let It Ride® poker game table places three distinct and equal (e.g., $10.00) wagers on three designed wagering spaces 22a, b and c on the table.

The at least one player places a $1.00 on a progressive jackpot event in wager area 23g in which a meter already displays a jackpot of $1,075,858.03. The wager is registered in an incrementing/decrementing program, and 60% of the jackpot wager is added to the jackpot amount.

The at least one player is dealt three cards into area 19g face down. The dealer turns the cards face up and spreads them from the dealer's left to the dealer's right. The cards are shown to be 10, J and Q. The player is aware that the partial hand has a chance to win the entire jackpot, and that the hand has bonus potential against a paytable for the Let It Ride® poker wager that pays the same as in Example 1.

The Player is aware that the hand is not guaranteed any winning amount at this time on the Jackpot Wager or each of the three original wagers in the underlying game.

The player is given an option of withdrawing a first part of his wager after viewing his three cards. As the hand has a potential for winning the highest and very high multiples on the underlying wager and the jackpot wager cannot be withdrawn, only a very conservative player would withdraw one of the original base game poker wagers. All three wagers ride at least until the next card is displayed.

The dealer has dealt himself two cards face down and spreads them face down, again from left to right. A first card is turned over to show a K. The player has another option on withdrawing a second of the three Poker wagers, but as the hand is still in contention for the highest Poker Wager payment, again only the most conservative player would withdraw one of the three first wagers and would let all three wagers stay at risk.

The dealer then turns over the second and last community card and displays a 9 to complete a Straight Flush. The dealer then reveals the bonus card. The card is a 3♦.

The player is first paid on the underlying wager with 500×1 on each $10.00 poker game wager or $15,000.00.

The jackpot wager is paid 10% of the total jackpot from the jackpot (a 5-card, non-ordered royal), reducing the jackpot total jackpot by $107,586.

Example 3

Caribbean Stud® Poker With Long Shot Progressive Jackpot

At least one player makes a single $10.00 Ante wager at a designated location and places a $1.00 progressive jackpot wager into a coin acceptor slot. The coin is dropped in the slot, and 50% of the amount of the jackpot wager is incremented to a jackpot meter.

The player is dealt a single 5-card hand and the dealer is dealt a single 5-card hand. Both hands are delivered face down, five cards at a time.

The dealer reveals the player's five card hand, spreads them left to right to display 10, J, Q, K. and A, a sequenced Royal Flush. The paytables for this game are:

Ordered 5-card Royal Flush100% Progressive jackpot
Plus suited 9 in Dealer Hand
Royal Flush10% Progressive Jackpot
Straight Flush$1,000
Four-of-s-kind$400
Full House$150
Flush$80
Straight$50
Three-of-a-kind$30

Caribbean Stud Base Game Pay Table

Royal Flush900 × 1 of the play wagers remaining
at the end of a round (Final Wagers).
Straight Flush400 × 1 of the final wagers
Four-of-s-kind200 × 1 of the Final Wager
Full House50 × 1 of the Final Wager
Flush7 × 1 of the Final Wager
Straight5 × 1 of the Final Wager
Three-of-a-kind3 × 1 of the Final Wager
Two Pair2 × 1 of the Final Wager
One Pair1 × 1 of the Final Wager

The player has already won 900× on the initial wager of $10.00 or $9,000.00 and at least 10% of the Progressive Jackpot and anxiously will await display of the dealer hand to see if the 9 is in the dealer hand to obtain the 100% jackpot win.

The dealer reveals the dealer hand cards in any order, as the dealer hand order does not matter. The dealer hand is revealed to be 2, 7♡, 7, 9♡ and 9♦. Although at least one nine is present, it is not the 9 and the player's hand and additional cards do not win the 100% jackpot. The player wins 10% of the jackpot.

Example 4

Let It Ride® Poker

At least one player at a Let It Ride® poker game table places three distinct and equal (e.g., $10.00) wagers on three designed wagering spaces on the table.

The at least one player places a $1.00 on a progressive jackpot event in which a meter already displays a jackpot of $1,075,858.03. The wager is registered in an incrementing/decrementing program, and 60% of the jackpot wager is added to the jackpot amount.

The player is dealt three cards face down. The dealer turns the cards face up and spreads them from the dealer's left to the dealer's right. The cards are shown to be 10, J and Q reading from left to right. The game rules for ordered Royal Flushes or straight flushes may be applied in this game. The rules may require that only the three player cards must be in a specific order to enable the jackpot win, or that both the player cards and the dealer cards must be in the same order to win the jackpot. The “same order” may allow for an event wherein if the player hand were J, Q, K, the dealer hand could be 10 and A, in that order (the same order) while the reverse of A and 10 would enable a Royal Flush, but not an ordered Royal Flush, or require that the player hand have, for example, 10, J and Q and the dealer hand have K and A, while a player hand of Q, J and 10 (higher to lower in the player's hand) would not be ordered as the dealer hand is lower to higher with the K and A.

Again, these events allow control of the probabilities, but should be rigorously defined so that players appreciate the detailed implications of the ordering and the rules applying to ordering. As merely requiring the player's hand to have an ordered 10, J and Q, for example, still multiplies the odds against a 100% winning event, merely allowing any order of K and A still increases the statistical implications towards an enlarged progressive jackpot.

In this example, the player is aware that the partial hand has a chance to win the entire progressive jackpot, and that the hand has bonus potential against a paytable for the Let It Ride® poker wager that pays the same as in Example 1.

The Player is aware that the hand is not guaranteed any winning amount at this time on the Jackpot Wager or each of the three original wagers in the underlying game.

The player is given an option of withdrawing a first part of his wager after viewing his three cards. As the hand has a potential for winning the highest and very high multiples on the underlying wager and the jackpot wager cannot be withdrawn, only a very conservative player would withdraw one of the original poker wagers. All three wagers ride at least until the next card to be displayed.

The dealer has dealt himself two cards face down and spreads them face down, again from left to right. A first card is turned over to show a K. The player has another option on withdrawing a second of the three Poker wagers, but as the hand is still in contention for the highest Poker Wager payment, even in the ordered Royal Flush. Again, only the most conservative player would withdraw one of the three first wagers and would let all three wagers ride.

The dealer then turns over the second and last community card and displays the A to complete a Royal Flush.

The player is first paid on the underlying wager with 1000×1 on each $10.00 poker game wager or $30,000.00.

The jackpot wager is paid 100% of the total jackpot, reducing the jackpot to zero. The player wins $1,075,858.03. The jackpot would then be reseeded, with a starting amount, for example, of $25,000, and subsequent wagers would increment the progressive jackpot.

These games may be separately funded at each table or linked, either within a single casino, within an affiliated group of casinos, or locally or even nationally among any casino licensing or networked with the progressive system. For games linked via WAP networks, the larger jackpot potential is even more desirable.

Many variations are allowed within the play of the bonus event game. Another optional, but preferred element of the game is the addition of a separate bad beat bet or an envy bet. This latter is similar to the envy event found in the play of prior art games such as disclosed in Boylan et al. U.S. Pat. No. 5,863,041, which are described in greater detail below. The envy poker game may be entered by a separate (e.g., a second side bet wager of, for example, $1.00 $2.00, $3.00, $4.00 or $5.00) or by having a larger first side bet wager bet (e.g., at least $4.00, $5.00, or more or less). It is preferred to have the envy bet entered by a single wager combined with the first side bet wager on the pay table bonus event. For example, a $1.00 side bet wager may enter the player in only the pay table bonus event.

All of the apparatus, devices and methods disclosed and claimed herein, and alternative structures and rules within the teachings of this generic invention can be made and executed without undue experimentation in light of the present disclosure. While the apparatus, devices and methods of this invention have been described in terms of both generic descriptions and preferred embodiments, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that variations may be applied to the apparatus, devices and methods described herein without departing from the concept and scope of the invention.

The concepts of this technology are more desirably combined with table games where players (and dealer) must receive at least four cards and preferably at least five cards in the play of the hands to reduce probabilities for winning outcomes. However, special considerations must be given for card games with at least these numbers of cards where players must manipulate their cards, as in the game Pai Gow Poker. In that game, players pick up their cards and arrange two distinct hands, one with five cards and one with two cards. Ordering of the cards thus is passed to the player. This event can be marginalized by requiring that with a unique player 5-card hand (e.g., Royal Flush, kangaroo flush starting with the Ace, etc.) the dealer must have a two-card hand of at least a pair of Kings or a Pair of Aces (or other specific 2-card hand or 5-card hand). As Pai Gow Poker has specific rules of distribution of cards into the respective hands for the dealer, there can be no collusion or preference given for card placements to enhance or diminish frequency of dealer hands with respect to the 100% winning jackpot event. Lack of dealer options in providing, arranging or setting cards is an important consideration in such circumstances. When the base is game is a 7-card Pai Gow Poker game, the best 6 out of 7 card hand (not ordered) could be used as a basis of awarding a progressive jackpot.





 
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