Title:
ONE BET POKER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of playing a poker game comprises: each player making one bet (“Showdown bet”) and an optional side bet; dealing two face up cards to each player and to the dealer; dealing five community cards face up; each player and the dealer forming their best five-card poker hand comprised of any five cards selected from the two face up cards dealt to them and the five community cards; comparing each player's hand and the dealer's hand; resolving Showdown bets wherein a player is paid even money on the player's Showdown bet if the player's hand beats the dealer's hand; and resolving side bets wherein a player's side bet wins if the player's hand is comprised of a predetermined poker combination. In one embodiment of the invention, the predetermined poker combination may be a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, or Jacks-High Two Pair.



Inventors:
Colacone, John (Cranston, RI, US)
Application Number:
11/780439
Publication Date:
01/22/2009
Filing Date:
07/19/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NICONOVICH, ALEXANDER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jennifer J. Riel (San Diego, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of playing a poker game between a dealer and at least one player, the method comprising: (a) each player making one bet; (b) dealing two cards face up to each player and to the dealer; (c) dealing five community cards face up; (d) each player forming a player hand comprised of player's best five cards, wherein the player's best five cards are selected from the two cards dealt to the player and the community cards; (e) the dealer forming a dealer hand comprised of dealer's best five cards, wherein the dealer's best five cards are selected from the two cards dealt to the dealer and the community cards; (f) comparing each player hand with the dealer hand; and (g) resolving each player's one bet.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the player's one bet is paid even money if the player hand is higher than the dealer hand, and the player's one bet is lost if the player hand is lower than or ties with the dealer hand.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said dealing five community cards face up comprises: (i) burning a first card; (ii) dealing a first community card face up, a second community card face up, and a third community card face up; (iii) burning a second card; (iv) dealing a fourth community card face up; (v) burning a third card; and (vi) dealing a fifth community card face up.

4. The method of claim 1 further comprising each player optionally making a side bet wherein the side bet wins if the player hand is comprised of a predetermined poker combination.

5. The method of claim 4 wherein the predetermined poker combination is a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, or Jacks-High Two Pair.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein the side bet is resolved according to a payout schedule wherein: the side bet is paid 250-to-1 if the player hand is a Royal Flush; the side bet is paid 50-to 1 if the player hand is a Straight Flush; the side bet is paid 10-to-1 if the player hand is a Four-of-a-kind; the side bet is paid 6-to-1 if the player hand is a Full House; the side bet is paid 4-to-1 if the player hand is a Flush; the side bet is paid 3-to-1 if the player hand is a Straight; the side bet is paid 2-to-1 if the player hand is a Three-of-a-Kind; and the side bet is paid 1-to-1 if the player hand is a Jacks-High Two Pair.

7. The method of claim 5 wherein the side bet is resolved according to a payout schedule wherein: the side bet is paid 250-to-1 if the player hand is a Royal Flush; the side bet is paid 50-to 1 if the player hand is a Straight Flush; the side bet is paid 15-to-1 if the player hand is a Four-of-a-Kind; the side bet is paid 5-to-1 if the player hand is a Full House; the side bet is paid 4-to-1 if the player hand is a Flush; the side bet is paid 3-to-1 if the player hand is a Straight; the side bet is paid 2-to-1 if the player hand is a Three-of-a-Kind; and the side bet is paid 1-to-1 if the player hand is a Jacks-High Two Pair.

8. The method of claim 5 wherein the side bet is resolved according to a payout schedule wherein: the side bet is paid 100-to-1 if the player hand is a Royal Flush; the side bet is paid 50-to 1 if the player hand is a Straight Flush; the side bet is paid 12-to-1 if the player hand is a Four-of-a-Kind; the side bet is paid 5-to-1 if the player hand is a Full House; the side bet is paid 4-to-1 if the player hand is a Flush; the side bet is paid 3-to-1 if the player hand is a Straight; the side bet is paid 2-to-1 if the player hand is a Three-of-a-Kind; and the side bet is paid 1-to-1 if the player hand is a Jacks-High Two Pair.

9. A method of playing a poker game between a dealer and at least one player, the method comprising: (a) requiring each player to make one bet; (b) allowing each player to optionally make a side bet; (c) dealing two player cards face up to each player; (d) dealing two dealer cards face up to the dealer; (e) dealing five community cards face up; (f) each player forming a player hand comprised of player's best five cards, wherein the player's best five cards are selected from the player cards and the community cards; (g) the dealer forming a dealer hand comprised of dealer's best five cards, wherein the dealer's best five cards are selected from the dealer cards and the community cards; (h) comparing each player hand with the dealer hand using traditional poker rankings; (i) resolving the one bet wherein the one bet is paid even money if the player hand is higher than the dealer hand and the one bet is lost if the player hand is lower than or ties with the dealer hand; and (j) resolving the side bet wherein the side bet wins if the player hand is comprised of a predetermined poker combination.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein the five community cards is comprised of three flop cards, a turn card, and a river card.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein said dealing five community cards face up comprises: (i) burning a first card; (ii) dealing the flop cards face up; (iii) burning a second card; (iv) dealing the turn card face up; (v) burning a third card; and (vi) dealing the river card face up.

12. The method of claim 9 wherein the predetermined poker combination is a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, or Jacks-High Two Pair.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the side bet is resolved according to a payout schedule wherein: the side bet is paid 250-to-1 if the player hand is a Royal Flush; the side bet is paid 50-to 1 if the player hand is a Straight Flush; the side bet is paid 10-to-1 if the player hand is a Four-of-a-Kind; the side bet is paid 6-to-1 if the player hand is a Full House; the side bet is paid 4-to-1 if the player hand is a Flush; the side bet is paid 3-to-1 if the player hand is a Straight; the side bet is paid 2-to-1 if the player hand is a Three-of-a-Kind; and the side bet is paid 1-to-1 if the player hand is a Jacks-High Two Pair.

14. The method of claim 12 wherein the side bet is resolved according to a payout schedule wherein: the side bet is paid 250-to-1 if the player hand is a Royal Flush; the side bet is paid 50-to 1 if the player hand is a Straight Flush; the side bet is paid 15-to-1 if the player hand is a Four-of-a-Kind; the side bet is paid 5-to-1 if the player hand is a Full House; the side bet is paid 4-to-1 if the player hand is a Flush; the side bet is paid 3-to-1 if the player hand is a Straight; the side bet is paid 2-to-1 if the player hand is a Three-of-a-Kind; and the side bet is paid 1-to-1 if the player hand is a Jacks-High Two Pair.

15. The method of claim 12 wherein the side bet is resolved according to a payout schedule wherein: the side bet is paid 100-to-1 if the player hand is a Royal Flush; the side bet is paid 50-to 1 if the player hand is a Straight Flush; the side bet is paid 12-to-1 if the player hand is a Four-of-a-Kind; the side bet is paid 5-to-1 if the player hand is a Full House; the side bet is paid 4-to-1 if the player hand is a Flush; the side bet is paid 3-to-1 if the player hand is a Straight; the side bet is paid 2-to-1 if the player hand is a Three-of-a-Kind; and the side bet is paid 1-to-1 if the player hand is a Jacks-High Two Pair.

16. A method of playing a poker game between a dealer and at least one player, the method comprising: (a) requiring each player to make one bet; (b) allowing each player to optionally make a side bet; (c) dealing two player cards face up to each player; (d) dealing two dealer cards face up to the dealer; (e) dealing a first community card, a second community card, a third community card, a fourth community card, and a fifth community card face up; (f) having each player form a player hand comprised of player's best five cards, wherein the player's best five cards are selected from the two player cards, the first community card, the second community card, the third community card, the fourth community card, and the fifth community card; (g) having the dealer form a dealer hand comprised of dealer's best five cards, wherein the dealer's best five cards are selected from the two dealer cards, the first community card, the second community card, the third community card, the fourth community card, and the fifth community card; (h) comparing each player hand with the dealer hand using traditional poker rankings; (i) resolving the one bet by paying even money on the one bet if the player hand is higher than the dealer hand and by collecting the one bet if the player hand is lower than or ties with the dealer hand; and (j) resolving the side bet wherein the side wins if the player hand is comprised of a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, or Jacks-High Two Pair.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the side bet is resolved according to a payout schedule wherein: the side bet is paid 250-to-1 if the player hand is a Royal Flush; the side bet is paid 50-to 1 if the player hand is a Straight Flush; the side bet is paid 10-to-1 if the player hand is a Four-of-a-Kind; the side bet is paid 6-to-1 if the player hand is a Full House; the side bet is paid 4-to-1 if the player hand is a Flush; the side bet is paid 3-to-1 if the player hand is a Straight; the side bet is paid 2-to-1 if the player hand is a Three-of-a-Kind; and the side bet is paid 1-to-1 if the player hand is a Jacks-High Two Pair.

18. The method of claim 16 wherein the side bet is resolved according to a payout schedule wherein: the side bet is paid 250-to-1 if the player hand is a Royal Flush; the side bet is paid 50-to 1 if the player hand is a Straight Flush; the side bet is paid 15-to-1 if the player hand is a Four-of-a-Kind; the side bet is paid 5-to-1 if the player hand is a Full House; the side bet is paid 4-to-1 if the player hand is a Flush; the side bet is paid 3-to-1 if the player hand is a Straight; the side bet is paid 2-to-1 if the player hand is a Three-of-a-Kind; and the side bet is paid 1-to-1 if the player hand is a Jacks-High Two Pair.

19. The method of claim 16 wherein the side bet is resolved according to a payout schedule wherein: the side bet is paid 100-to-1 if the player hand is a Royal Flush; the side bet is paid 50-to 1 if the player hand is a Straight Flush; the side bet is paid 12-to-1 if the player hand is a Four-of-a-Kind; the side bet is paid 5-to-1 if the player hand is a Full House; the side bet is paid 4-to-1 if the player hand is a Flush; the side bet is paid 3-to-1 if the player hand is a Straight; the side bet is paid 2-to-1 if the player hand is a Three-of-a-Kind; and the side bet is paid 1-to-1 if the player hand is a Jacks-High Two Pair.

20. The method of claim 16 wherein a first card is burned before dealing the first community card, the second community card, and the third community card; a second card is burned before dealing the fourth community card; and a third card is burned before dealing the fifth community card.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a method and apparatus for playing a card game. More particularly, the present invention relates to a modified poker game that may be played as a casino table game or as a video game.

BACKGROUND

Poker is a very popular card game played all over the world. There are many variations of poker, which each follow certain basic rules. Nearly all poker games use a standard 52-card deck of playing cards (with thirteen values-2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace-and four different suits: Spades, Diamonds, Clubs, and Hearts). Sometimes, one, two, or four “Jokers” are added to the deck to serve as “wild cards,” which may be used to represent any card of any suit.

In all variations of poker, a dealer provides a certain number of cards to each player; additionally, in some poker variations the dealer also provides a certain number of “community cards,” which may be used by all players. In most poker variations, at least one card will be placed face down (so that only the individual player can see it), and other cards may be dealt face up or face down, depending on the specific poker game being played.

Wagering

Each variation of poker also includes the ability to make wagers (although friendly poker games may be played without wagers), according to a detailed betting system. Often, chips or other markers are used and placed in a central area called the “pot.” Most poker games begin with an “ante,” or forced bet, by some or all of the players. Depending on the particular poker variation being played, there often follows one or more betting rounds wherein players have the opportunity to “check” (meaning to refrain from betting) or bet (sometimes up to a certain pre-set limit, and sometimes with no limit) by placing chips in the pot. Other players then have the option to “call” the bet by matching it, “raise” the bet by placing more chips in the pot, or “fold,” by surrendering their cards and forfeiting that hand. After the final betting round, if more than one player remains in the game, there is a “showdown” where the remaining players reveal their cards and the winner is determined by ranking the relative value of the hands, as discussed below.

This method of betting engenders some fairly complicated strategy, and also allows for the possibility of “bluffing.” A bluff is when a player bets a large wager while only holding a relatively weak hand; such a strategy may work in poker because a player may win the pot (without ever showing the player's cards) if each other player folds. To successfully pull off such a maneuver, especially against skilled poker players, is difficult and requires a rare set of skills.

The complex system of betting, raising, folding, and bluffing used in most forms of poker requires a great deal of strategy, conviction, mathematical aptitude, ability to read other players, ability to bluff, and the ability to hide facial expressions or other signals that may give away a player's hand-or even the ability to manufacture and broadcast deceptive signals. Players lacking these skills will usually lose to players with greater skill, especially over the long run. While the cards dealt in poker are random, poker is primarily a game of skill, especially at higher betting levels.

Texas Hold 'em specifically has an even more complicated betting system than many other forms of poker. First, the player to the left of the dealer must ante a small blind, and the player to the left of that player must ante a big blind, customarily double the amount of the small blind. There are then four separate rounds of betting. Additionally, many variations of Hold 'em (including the most popular ones) use “no-limit” or “all-in” betting, where players may bet as much money as they wish, or at least as many chips as they have at the table. Some well-known Texas Hold 'em tournaments have pots of millions of dollars, which may be won or lost on a single hand. While this is certainly exciting to watch on television, not every causal poker player would enjoy or be able to afford to play a game where they could lose so much money on a single hand. Exacerbating the situation, most variations of Hold 'em are played “tournament style,” where a player who loses all of his or her chips is removed from the competition and not only loses all the money the player started with, but also is precluded from playing in that tournament any longer.

Ranking of Poker Hand Values

Each variation of poker uses a standard method of ranking the value of poker hands. Most variations require at least five cards; in variations where more than five cards are dealt, players may usually choose whichever five cards will give them the most valuable hand. The ranking of poker hands is based on rarity, and is as follows (from most valuable to least valuable):

    • Royal Flush: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10 of the same suit (e.g., A-K-Q-J-10)
    • Straight Flush: five cards of the same suit, in order (e.g., Q-J-10-9-8)
    • Four-of-a-Kind: four cards of the same value, and one extra card (e.g., J-J-J-J-7)
    • Full House: three cards of one value, plus two of another (e.g., A-A-A-3-3)
    • Flush: five cards of the same suit (e.g., A-J-9-7-2 of Clubs)
    • Straight: five cards in sequence, Aces may be low or high (e.g., 5-6-7-8-9)
    • Three-of-a-Kind: three cards of the same value, and two extra (e.g., 5-5-5-K-Q)
    • Two Pair: two cards of one value plus two cards of another (e.g., 10-10-6-6-Q)
    • One Pair: two cards of one value, and three extra (e.g., A-A-9-5-2)
      Hands higher in the list are more rare (the odds of attaining them are higher), and therefore more valuable, and beat hands lower on the list. If more than one player has the same type of hand (e.g., Three-of-a-Kind), higher cards beat lower cards (Aces are the highest, then Kings, Queens, Jacks, 10s, and so on). So, three Queens beats three Jacks. The remaining cards in a five-card hand may also be ranked in order if necessary to break ties (e.g., Q-Q-Q-A-5 beats Q-Q-Q-K-J, and A-A-K-J-9 beats A-A-K-J-8). Suits are equal, and therefore irrelevant, in ranking hands. The highest possible Straight Flush, A-K-Q-J-10 of the same suit, is called a “Royal Flush” or “Royal Straight Flush.” Also of note, Five-of-a-Kind is possible only with wild cards (or multiple decks), and beats a Straight Flush.

Variations

There are many variations of poker, each of which is based on the standard dealing, wagering, and hand valuation rules detailed above. One of the most popular variations of poker today is “Texas Hold 'em,” often simply called “Hold 'em.” Hold 'em play begins with a dealer providing each player with two face down cards (the dealer rotates among the players in successive rounds of play). There is then a round of betting, with the player to the dealer's left forced to wager an amount known as the “small blind,” and the player to the player's left is forced to wager an amount known as the “big blind,” usually double the amount of the small blind. Betting then continues around the table, with each player choosing to match the big blind (or “call”), raise, or fold. After the first round of betting is complete, the dealer places three cards face up in the center of the table. These cards, known as the “flop,” are community cards, and may be used by any or all of the players still in the game. There is another round of betting, before a fourth community card is added face up to the center (known as the “turn”). There is then another round of betting before the fifth and final community card is placed face up with the others (known as the “river”). There is a final round of betting, and then a showdown (if more than one player is still in the game), where players may use both, one, or neither of their face down cards (or “hole cards”) in combination with the five community cards to create the best five-card poker hand they can.

The advent of small cameras that can show each player's face down cards, and the televised, no-betting-limit “World Series of Poker” (in which players compete in a Texas Hold 'em tournament for large stakes of a million dollars or more) have combined to make Hold 'em, especially tournament-style, no limit Hold 'em, a popular home and casino game.

Drawbacks and Potential Improvements

While standard poker games are popular, there is a need in the art for new and improved games that appeal to different classes of players and gamblers.

The versions of Texas Hold 'em that currently exist in the art could be improved by providing the opportunity for players to place optional side bets that will afford them the opportunity to win multiples of five, twenty, or even two hundred and fifty times their original bet. Such bets will allow the opportunity for large payouts, while minimizing downside risk by not requiring the player to wager equally large amounts of money. Traditional forms of poker lack a bonus feature that pays out a large ratio (up to 250 to 1 in one embodiment of the present invention) to players who are dealt certain hands. They also lack the protection of an “automatic winner” feature that guarantees a payout to a player with a high-ranking hand, even if that player's hand is beaten by the dealer. In current poker games, players with high-ranking hands may lose to even higher-ranking hands; in fact, they are likely to lose a great deal of money in such a situation. There is a need in the art to remedy these deficiencies and improve on the current games available. The addition of such variations would likely make the present invention more fun and exciting for players, as it increases the payouts that a player may receive and provides the guaranteed protection of an automatic win feature.

Additionally, some players may be looking for a poker variation that uses familiar rules of play and is similar to the popular variation of Texas Hold 'em, but which is simpler and less stressful to play. A variation of Texas Hold 'em that does not require as much strategy to play would be very popular among some players especially those who are novice poker players. Additionally, a simpler game that does away with multiple rounds of betting used in traditional Texas Hold 'em would be much faster to play, and therefore more exciting for players and also more attractive to casinos who wish to conduct as many possible rounds of play in a given time period. Finally, some players will enjoy the guarantee of knowing that the most they can lose on any given hand is their initial bet (and optional side bet in some variations of the present invention), and that they cannot lose their entire stack of chips in one hand, or be precluded from participating in the remainder of the game if they lose an “all-in” bet.

Variations such as those detailed above are therefore likely to increase the popularity of poker-type games even further, and expand its reach to even more potential players. Poker games utilizing such variations and advantages are likely to be more popular than standard poker games, attract more and higher wagers from bettors, be more enjoyed by players, and be more profitable for the casinos that offer them. Other advantages of the present invention will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in light of the ensuing description of the present invention.

SUMMARY

The present invention is directed to a method of playing a modified poker game that is easier and quicker to play, generates additional excitement, allows for larger payouts than conventional poker games, and provides the guaranteed protection of an automatic win feature even if the player's hand loses to the dealer's hand. In certain embodiments of the present invention players are afforded the opportunity to place an optional side bet which pays out a large sum (up to 250 to 1 in one embodiment of the present invention) to players who are dealt certain hands thereby providing the protection of an “automatic winner” feature that guarantees a payout to a player with a hand that is comprised of a predetermined poker combination even if the dealer's hand beats the player's hand. Offering a more streamlined version of poker where all the cards are dealt face up and where there is no longer confusing multiple betting opportunities or options such as blinds or antes, checking or betting between cards, and folding would provide numerous advantages. For instance, a streamlined version of poker would (i) attract more players to the game; (ii) eliminate the complex system of betting; (iii) eliminate the need for strategy, conviction, mathematical aptitude, the ability to read other players, the ability to bluff, and the ability to hide facial expressions or other signals that may give away a player's hand; (iv) allow for a smoother and quicker flow of play; and (v) allow for more rounds of play in a given time period. Additionally, creating a showdown between the player and the dealer and providing players with an opportunity for larger payouts would bring greater excitement and interest to players. Nonetheless, the features of the present invention will likely attract higher wagers from bettors, be more enjoyed by players, and be more profitable for the casinos that offer them.

To achieve the foregoing and in accordance with the purposes of the present invention, the present invention is directed to a gaming method that comprises: each player making one bet; dealing two cards face up to each player and to the dealer; dealing five community cards face up; players and dealer each forming their best five-card poker hand using any of the cards dealt to them and any of the community cards; comparing each player's hand with the dealer's hand; and resolving bets. In certain embodiments of the invention, the gaming method further comprises each player making an optional side bet before any cards are dealt.

One embodiment of the present invention is directed to a method of playing a poker game between a dealer and at least one player, the method comprising: (a) requiring each player to make one bet (“Showdown bet”); (b) allowing each player to make an optional side bet; (c) dealing two face up cards to each player; (d) dealing two face up cards to the dealer; (e) dealing a first community card, second community card, and third community card face up (“flop cards” or “three-card flop”); (f) dealing a fourth community card face up (“turn card”); (g) dealing a fifth community card face up (“river card”); (h) each player and the dealer forming their best five-card poker hand comprised of any five cards selected from the two face up cards dealt to them and the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth community cards (the three card flop, turn card, and river card); (i) determining game outcome by using traditional poker rankings as a basis to make a comparison between each player's hand and the dealer's hand; (j) resolving Showdown bets wherein a player is paid even money on the player's Showdown bet if the player's hand is higher than the dealer's hand, and the player's Showdown bet is lost if the player's hand is lower than or ties with the dealer's hand; (k) resolving side bets wherein a player's side bet wins if the player's hand is comprised of a predetermined poker combination. In certain embodiments of the invention, the predetermined poker combination may be a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, or Jacks-High Two Pair.

The above description sets forth a summary of embodiments of the present invention so that the detailed description that follows may be better understood and contributions of the present invention to the art may be better appreciated. Some of the embodiments of the present invention may not include all of the features or characteristics listed in the above summary. There may be, of course, other features of the invention that will be described below and may form the subject matter of claims. In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in further detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or as illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways; for example, the invention may be carried out through software on a computer, via the Internet, or other electronic medium. Furthermore, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

Other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, various features of embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a block diagram depicting a gaming method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a flowchart depicting a gaming method in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 depicts a top plan view of a gaming layout in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 depicts the player's card positions and betting positions of the gaming layout shown in FIG. 3 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 depicts the dealer's card positions and the community card positions of the gaming layout shown in FIG. 3 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

In the following description of embodiments of the invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this application. The drawings show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

The order in which the steps are presented below is not limited to any particular order and does not necessarily imply that they have to be performed in the order presented. It will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art that the order of these steps can be rearranged and performed in any suitable manner. It further will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art that some steps may be omitted or added and still fall within the spirit of the invention.

Gaming Method

The present invention is directed to a gaming method and an apparatus that may be used to implement the gaming method. In general, there is a showdown between each player and the dealer in every hand, and the gaming method is designed to reward players who have compiled poker hands that are better than the dealer's poker hand based on conventional poker rules. In embodiments of the invention which permit the player to make an optional side bet, the gaming method is also designed to reward players who have compiled poker hands comprised of specific predetermined poker combinations. Each poker hand includes five cards although in alternate embodiments, the poker hand may be comprised of a different number of cards such as a three-card poker hand or seven-card poker hand. Traditional poker combinations and their corresponding ranks are used- namely (ranked in ascending order) High Card, Pair, Two Pairs, Three-of-a-Kind, Straight, Flushes, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, Straight Flush, and Royal Flush as more fully described above.

In the various embodiments described herein, the term “dealer” may represent the “house” or the casino, and for purposes of description the term “dealer” and “the house” may be used interchangeably herein to illustrate various embodiments of the invention. The term “dealer” may also refer to a virtual dealer in embodiments of the invention that involve computers, the Internet, and/or other forms of electronic media. In other variations of the invention, the dealer may be a player designated in advance, or the players may take turns acting as the dealer.

The gaming method of the present invention requires a dealer (or a player designated as the dealer) and at least one player. As depicted in the block diagram of FIG. 1, the gaming method of the present invention comprises: each player making one bet (block 500); dealing two cards face up to each player and to the dealer (block 600); dealing five community cards face up (block 700); players and dealer forming their best five-card poker hand using any of the cards dealt to them and any of the community cards (block 800); comparing each player's poker hand with the dealer's poker hand (block 900); and resolving the bets (block 1000). In certain embodiments of the invention, the gaming method further comprises each player making an optional side bet before any cards are dealt.

Referring now to FIG. 2, in one embodiment of the present invention, the gaming method of the invention begins with a dealer shuffling a set of cards (step 110). A standard single deck of 52 cards may be used although in alternate variations of the invention, the deck of cards may also include one or more Jokers. The Jokers may serve as “wild cards,” which may be used to represent any card of any suit. One deck or multiple decks of cards may be used in various embodiments of the invention.

Before any cards are dealt, each player places one bet (“Showdown bet”) to participate in the game (step 120). Additionally, each player may optionally place a side bet (step 125). The Showdown bet and the optional side bet do not have to be equal, and the outcome of the Showdown bet is independent of the outcome of the side bet.

Although the term “Showdown bet” is used to illustrate various embodiments of the invention herein, any one or combination of terms and/or symbols (e.g., “One Bet,” “1 Bet,” “1,” “Bet One,” “Bet 1,” etc.) may be used to designate the one bet required to be placed by the player to participate in the game. Therefore, the term “Showdown” should not be regarded as limiting in any way as it is employed for the purpose of description and to illustrate that after the cards are dealt, there is an actual showdown between each player and the dealer in every hand.

After the dealer shuffles the cards and the players have placed their Showdown bets and optional side bets, the dealer deals two face up cards to each player (step 130). The dealer also deals two face up cards to himself (step 140). Steps 130 and 140 may be accomplished in a variety of ways and sequences. For example, the face up cards may be dealt one by one wherein the dealer deals a first card face up to each player and then to the house and then deals a second card face up to each player and then to the house; or the dealer may deal a first card face up to the house and then to each player and then deal a second card face up to the house and then to each player. Alternatively, the dealer may deal the house two cards face up and then two cards face up to each player or vice versa.

The dealer then deals five community cards face up (steps 150, 152, and 154) and may do so in the following sequence: in step 150, the dealer deals three community cards face up (“flop” or “three-card flop”); in step 152, the dealer deals a fourth community card face up (“turn”); and in step 154, the dealer deals a fifth community card face up (“river”). Prior to steps 150, 152, and 154, the dealer may discard the top card of the deck prior to dealing the next card or prior to each round of dealing (hereinafter referred to as “burning” a card). In embodiments that include burning one or more cards, the dealer may deal the five community cards in the following sequence: burning a card and then dealing the flop cards (step 150); burning a second card and then dealing the turn card (step 152), and burning a third card and then dealing the river card (step 154).

It can be realized that if a card is burned, the outcome may be more challenging to predict as only some cards are used during play, and the game indicia of the burned cards cannot be seen by the players. Burning a card may also protect against the possibility of a stacked deck or prevent any chance of a player from being able to see the top card before it is dealt. Furthermore, burning a card may create excitement, suspense, and drama for the players as the community cards are revealed in some type of succession. It is noted, however, that burning a card may be omitted as desired. For example, in embodiments which involve computer/electronic applications such as online gambling websites and video games, the burning of cards is not necessary, but it may nonetheless be included to elevate excitement.

In alternate embodiments of the invention, steps 150, 152, and 154 may be accomplished by a variety of ways and sequences. The community cards do not necessarily need to be dealt the Texas Hold'em way (three card flop, turn, and river). Since there is no multiple and subsequent betting opportunities between the revelation/dealing of the community cards, the five community cards may be dealt face up all at once and thus, steps 150, 152, and 154 may be consolidated into one step. Alternatively, the community cards may be dealt face down at some point during the game and revealed all at once or in a particular sequence.

After the community cards are all dealt, each player and the dealer form their best five-card poker hand using any of the two face up cards dealt to them and any of the community cards (step 160). In other words, each player's hand and the dealer's hand is comprised of five cards selected from the two face up cards dealt to them and the five community cards. For example, when a player is forming a hand, the player may use: two of the face up cards dealt to the player and three of the community cards; or the player may use one of the face up cards dealt to the player and four community cards.

Every hand is a showdown between the player and the dealer. Once the dealer and players form their poker hands, each player's hand is compared to the dealer's hand (step 170) using traditional poker rankings as described hereinabove. The bets are then resolved.

Showdown bets are resolved by determining whether a player's hand is higher than the dealer's hand (step 180). If the player's hand is higher than the dealer's hand, the player's Showdown bet is paid even money (step 182). However, if the player's hand is not higher than the dealer's hand (which includes a player's hand tying with the dealer's hand), then the player's Showdown bet is lost (step 184). Thus, if a player's hand is lower than the dealer's hand or if a player's hand ties with the dealer's hand, the player's Showdown bet is lost.

Even if a player's Showdown bet is lost against the dealer, a player may still win on the player's side bet. Thus, the side bet is independent of the Showdown bet. Side bets are resolved by determining whether a player's hand is comprised of a specific predetermined poker combination (step 190). If the player's hand is comprised of a specific poker combination, then the player's side bet is paid according to a pay table/payout schedule (step 192). If the player's side bet is not comprised of a specific predetermined poker combination, then the player loses the side bet (step 194). In one embodiment of the invention, the predetermined poker combination may be a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, or Jacks-High Two Pair (or in other words, the predetermined poker combination is achieving a Jacks-High Two Pair or better).

To resolve the side bet, any suitable payout schedule may be used based on the rarity of the hand (i.e., rarer hands get paid more than less rare hands). For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the side bet is based on obtaining any of the following poker combinations: Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, or Jacks-High Two Pair and the side bet may be resolved according to the following payout schedule:

TABLE 1
HandPayment
Royal Flush250 to 1
Straight Flush50 to 1 
Four-of-a-Kind10 to 1 
Full House6 to 1
Flush4 to 1
Straight3 to 1
Three-of-a-Kind2 to 1
Jacks-High Two Pair1 to 1

In another embodiment of the present invention, the following payout schedule may be used to resolve each player's side bet:

TABLE 2
HandPayment
Royal Flush250 to 1
Straight Flush50 to 1 
Four-of-a-Kind15 to 1 
Full House5 to 1
Flush4 to 1
Straight3 to 1
Three-of-a-Kind2 to 1
Jacks-High Two Pair1 to 1

Yet, in an alternate embodiment of the present invention, the following payout schedule may be used to resolve each player's side bet:

TABLE 3
HandPayment
Royal Flush100 to 1
Straight Flush50 to 1 
Four-of-a-Kind12 to 1 
Full House5 to 1
Flush4 to 1
Straight3 to 1
Three-of-a-Kind2 to 1
Jacks-High Two Pair1 to 1

Of course, in different embodiments, the side bet may be based on other predetermined poker combinations and may be resolved according to any variety of suitable payout schedules.

Gaming Layout

An embodiment of a gaming layout 60 of the present invention is shown in FIG. 3. Gaming layout 60 may be made with the common shapes of conventional casino gaming tables such as a semi-circular shape. Gaming layout 60 may also be made with materials of conventional gaming tables, such as felt, vinyl, wood, plastic, laminate, and/or marble. In alternate embodiments of the present invention, gaming layout 60 may be a video or computer representation of a conventional gaming table, game layout and/or player position.

Gaming layout 60 includes a plurality of player positions 62A-G, which is adapted to distinguish each player's bets and cards from those of the other players. Although seven player positions 62A-G are depicted in FIG. 3, any suitable number of player positions may be included in a gaming layout of the present invention. The number of player positions may vary depending on the size of the gaming table and the number of players a casino wishes to accommodate in one given game. Also, it is not necessary that all player positions be utilized while the game is being played. At least one player position needs to be utilized for the game to be played.

Gaming layout 60 may further include a chip tray to store gaming chips 66. The dealer may place the cards dealt to the house in any designated area of the gaming layout according to the casino's preference. For example, the dealer may deal the dealer face up cards and place it on dealer card positions 80. Gaming layout 60 also includes community card positions 90. Community card positions 90 include five distinct community card positions located substantially in the center of the gaming layout or the board. Both dealer card positions 80 and community card positions 90 are at or near the center of the table such that it is easily visible to all players FIG. 4 depicts an enlarged view of one of player positions 62A-G of FIG. 3. Each player position includes the following betting positions: first bet position 71 and side bet position 72. (Naturally, in embodiments of the invention which do not include the optional side bet, player positions 62A-G do not include side bet position 72.) Before any cards are dealt, the player places one bet (“Showdown bet”) on first bet position 71 to participate in the game and the optional side bet on side bet position 72. First bet position 71 and side bet position 72 may be configured in a variety of positions and patterns. For instance, first bet position 71 and side bet position 72 may be positioned closer to the dealer (on the opposite side of player card positions 31 and 32) such that the player's cards are between the player's own stack of chips and betting positions to discourage players from trying to add or subtract from their bets and to enable dealers to more easily collect lost wagers and pay out winning ones. Additionally, any one or combination of words, numbers, colors, logos, borders, shapes, and/or other symbols may be used to designate first bet position 71 and side bet position 72. For example, “SHOWDOWN,” “1 BET,” “1,” or “ONE BET” may be used to designate first bet position 71; and side bet position 72 may simply be designated as “SIDE BET,” “SB,” “Bonus,” or with any other suitable indicia.

Each player position may further include card positions 31 and 32. When the cards are being dealt to each player, the dealer places a first face up card on card position 31 and a second face up card on card position 32. Any combination of colors, patterns, designs, words, numbers, borders, logos and/or other symbols may be used to designate the area to receive the player's face up cards.

Dealer card positions 80 and community card positions 90 of FIG. 3 are illustrated in FIG. 5. As seen in FIG. 5, dealer card positions 80 include card positions 81 and 82 which are where the dealer places the dealer's two face up cards. Community card positions 90 include first community card position 91, second community card position 92, third community card position 93, fourth community card position 94, and fifth community card position 95 which are each individually adapted to identify the first community card, second community card, third community card, fourth community card, and fifth community card respectively. In alternate embodiments of the invention, community card positions 91, 92, 93, 94, and 95 may each be individually adapted to identify the fifth community card, fourth community card, third community card, second community card, and first community card respectively since the card positioning is not limited to one configuration, and the configurations depicted in the figures herein are intended only to illustrate an example of the flow of play in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Additionally, any combination of colors, patterns, designs, words, numbers, logos, borders, shapes, and/or other symbols may be used to designate dealer card positions 81 and 82 and community card positions 91, 92, 93, 94, and 95.

Community card positions 91, 92, and 93 may collectively be designated with the term “FLOP;” community card position 94 may be designated with the term “TURN;” and community card position 95 may be designated with the term “RIVER.” Yet, in other embodiments of the invention, the community card positions 91, 92, and 93 may also be distinguished from community card positions 94 and 95 by its positioning as it is further spaced (and grouped away) from community card positions 94 and 95. Alternatively, community card positions 91, 92, 93, 94, and 95 may respectively be labeled “1,” “2,” “3”, “4,” and “5” to indicate that the first community card, second community card, third community card, fourth community card, and fifth community card should be placed thereon respectively.

Of course, locations, and designs of the betting positions and/or any of the card positions may be adjusted as desired so long as they remain within reasonable access and view for the player and the dealer. Also, any designation (any combination of colors, patterns, designs, words, numbers, logos, borders, shapes and/or other symbols) may be included within the betting locations and/or card positions so long as the meaning of the designation is clear or logical for the players and dealer. Other features may also be included within the gaming layout 60 such as payout schedules/tables, rules of play, logos, trademarks, casino name, designs and/or various artistic elements.

Conclusion and Alternate Embodiments

It can be realized from the embodiments described herein that the present invention provides a modified poker game that adds new excitement and is more rewarding than traditional poker games for both players and gaming establishments. The above-described embodiments of the present invention have many advantages. For instance, the present invention is easier and quicker to play, generates additional excitement, and allows for larger payouts than conventional poker games. The incorporation of a side bet feature utilizes appealing payout schedules and allows for larger payouts than conventional poker games.

The present invention offers a more streamlined version of a poker game where all the cards are dealt face up, and there is no longer confusing multiple betting opportunities or options such as blinds or antes, checking or betting between cards, and folding. This simplification would likely attract more players (especially those who are new to poker) to the game and allow for a smoother and quicker flow of play. A streamlined version of poker would also eliminate the complex system of betting and eliminate the need for strategy, conviction, mathematical aptitude, the ability to read other players, the ability to bluff, and the ability to hide facial expressions or other signals that may give away a player's hand. Since the present invention eliminates the foregoing skills, it is essentially as simple as Casino War with the thrill and excitement of playing Blackjack as each card is dealt, the Texas Hold'em way. Additionally, in a given time period, casinos can conduct more rounds of play of a more streamlined and simplified game. Thus, the features of the present invention will likely attract higher wagers from bettors, be more enjoyed by players since it is less stressful and less complicated to play, and be more profitable for both the players and the casinos that offer them.

The present invention's side bet provides an automatic win feature which provides protection for a player that the player will win if the player obtains a certain poker hand even if the player's hand loses to the dealer's hand. In this way, players have an opportunity to win money on certain hands which improves player enjoyment by providing a “fall-back” feature in case the player's one bet (or Showdown bet) is lost to the dealer. This side bet feature pays out a large sum (up to 250 to 1 in one embodiment of the present invention) to players who are dealt hands comprised of certain poker combinations. Even if the dealer or another player has the same high ranking hand (or better), the player can still win on the player's side bet. Providing players with more opportunities to win and the opportunity for larger payouts would bring additional excitement and interest to players and will likely attract new players to the game.

The showdown between the player and the dealer creates excitement for the player as the climax is reached in the game. The players do not compete against each other like in traditional poker games, but they compete against the dealer, and thus more than one player may win in each poker round. Competing against a dealer can be more enticing to new players as it may be less intimidating than playing against other more experienced players. Playing against a dealer may also create an atmosphere of camaraderie among the players and invoke a feeling of belonging together for the same cause, which is to beat the dealer.

The present invention retains some of the features and advantages of poker games while also providing the player with a streamlined version of poker and the dynamics of a side wager for enhanced player anticipation and enjoyment. The invention benefits the player who desires a novel variation of poker as well as the player who does not want to have to learn new rules for valuing cards and scoring hands, but desires some variety. Additionally, with the incorporation of additional side betting opportunities, the invention provides gaming establishments with the potential of generating more revenue. Nonetheless, it is advantageous to offer poker players some variation to maintain their long-term interest.

Furthermore, various embodiments of the present invention have reasonable odds for both the player and the house. This is another advantage of the invention because, to be a viable casino game, the gaming method should provide opportunity for a reasonable return for both the house and the player.

It is to be understood, that even though some advantages of the present invention are described herein, it is not necessary that all the advantageous features and/or all the advantages need to be incorporated into every embodiment of the invention.

Although the present invention has been described above in considerable detail with reference to certain versions thereof, other versions are possible. For example, in alternate embodiments of the invention, the optional side bet may be made on the occurrence of any one or combination of a variety of events other than the ones described above. The side bet may be based on the outcome of any combination of the following cards: one or more of the player's cards, one or more of the dealer's cards, and/or one or more of the community cards. For instance, in an alternate embodiment of the invention, a side bet may be made that the community cards will include a Three-of-a-Kind combination, or the dealer's two cards will form a pair combination. In other variations of the invention, a side bet may be based on one or more designated community cards (e.g., the turn and river community cards forming a pair or even a Blackjack combination wherein the sum of the values total twenty-one). Yet, in another example, a side bet wins if the designated card (e.g., the turn card or river card) is a certain value such as an Ace.

Additionally, the gaming method described above is not limited to being played as a table game. The gaming method may be played as a board game or by using computers or electronic devices having audio and video outputs. Thus, the term “cards” as used in this application refers to traditional cards made of paper stock having traditional game indicia, such as numbers (2-10), suits (Diamonds, Hearts, Spades, and Clubs), and characters (Aces, Jacks, Queens, and Kings). The term “cards” is also used to refer to electronic images of traditional cards. The term “dealer” may be an actual person distributing the cards. It is noted that the dealer may also be a player, and the dealer does not have to be associated with a business entity having a stake in any profits derived from operating the game. The players may play against each other wherein one player is designated as the dealer. Alternatively, the players may take turns acting as the dealer. The term “dealer” may also be used to refer to a virtual dealer that is programmed through an electronic device or computer.

The invention can be readily implemented in a wide variety of additional forms and media including, but not limited to: single player slot video machines, multi-player slot video machines, electronic games and devices, lottery terminals, scratch-card formats, software, as well as in-flight, home, and Internet entertainment. Furthermore, the invention can be readily implemented in software, which can be stored on a disk (e.g., magnetic disk, compact disc (CD), USB memory stick, pen drives, flash drives, etc.) and used with a computer system. In one embodiment, the gaming method of the present invention may be implemented as a computer game that may be executed via disk or downloaded from the Internet and played using a computer, gaming console, or an electronic handheld device (e.g., personal digital assistants (PDA), mobile phones, etc.). Such embodiments may be played individually or may be played with other real or virtual players. In another embodiment, the present invention may be played as an interactive online gambling game wherein the player may play against the dealer individually or with other players via the Internet. The dealer may be an actual person or a virtual dealer. Similarly, the other players may be actual people or they may be computer generated virtual players. In other embodiments of the invention, the gaming method may be played against a casino or wagering establishment from a remote location via the Internet or any other type of network.

Some steps of the gaming method described herein may be added, omitted, modified, or performed in various sequences. For instance, the burning of cards in between the rounds of dealing the community cards may be omitted. Additionally, some of the steps described in the various embodiments herein are for illustrative purposes, and as such, some of the steps may be modified, consolidated, added, or omitted without departing from the scope of the invention. For instance, instead of dealing the community cards as follows: dealing the flop cards, dealing the turn card, and dealing the river card, all the community cards may be dealt face up all at once. Additionally, the method and sequence of dealing the face up cards to the players and to the dealer may vary so long as each player and the dealer are ultimately dealt two face up cards. Nonetheless, the various embodiments of the invention which are described herein may be incorporated in a variety of contexts as mentioned above.

While the description above refers to particular embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit thereof. The presently disclosed embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.